Story: Native plants and animals – overview

Split from Gondwana

The land mass that was to become New Zealand split away from the supercontinent Gondwana about 85 million years ago. From around 55 million years ago, the gap between New Zealand and the nearest large land mass, Australia, has been around 2,000 kilometres wide. Any plants and animals that have arrived in New Zealand since then will have had to cross this huge body of water.

Using this item

GNS Science
Animation by Rupert Sutherland

Permission of GNS Science must be obtained before any use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Bob Brockie, 'Native plants and animals – overview - Species unique to New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 June 2020)

Story by Bob Brockie, published 24 Sep 2007