Hoka of the Maori. Red cod are found all around New Zealand in moderately deep water on a sandy bottom, but are more common in the south, where they sometimes occur in great numbers. They occur also in Australia. Red cod are a coral pink in colour, tinged with grey, but when struggling on a hook they darken to a deep red. A dark grey blotch is present at the base of the pectoral fin, and beneath the lower jaw is the barbel or feeler characteristic of the true cods. (The blue cod is not a true cod, but belongs to a different family.) Other species of the cod family are sometimes confused with the red cod. The bastard red cod (Pseudophycis breviusculus) is stouter, a deeper red in colour, and has a rounded tail fin. The Cloudy Bay cod (Lotella rhacinus), also known as rock cod and southern hake, is rather more brown and lacks the dark blotch by the pectoral fin. The ahuru (Auchenoceros punctatus), a small fish 4–5 in. long superficially similar to the red cod, is frequently found in the stomach contents of southern fish.
by Lawrence James Paul, B.SC., Fisheries Division, Marine Department, Wellington.