Rescued from an unholy fate, Pengu the chick takes to a penguin box at Tatapouri to await his waterproof feathers.
The juvenile seabird, thought to be between six and eight weeks old, was spotted waddling along berth seven at the port close to trucks and other machinery.
“The foreman picked him up and came and said, ‘look what I've found, it's a penguin’,” said Patea McFarlane, who was working at the time.
Pengu, as he was named by the workers, was placed in a cardboard box until Department of Conservation ranger Jamie Quirk came to pick him up.
“There is most likely a nest around there and he wandered out and got in harm’s way. The ship yard is no place for a penguin. He could have easily been squashed by machinery,” Mr Quirk said.
Pengu is moulting, and will stay in a penguin box at Tatapouri until he has grown waterproof feathers and can enter the water.
“He is in a much safer place now.”
Blue penguins are the smallest species of penguin. It is common to see them off the coast here and some are found nesting in burrows under beachfront houses, particularly at Wainui.
They usually lay their eggs between September and November and parents guard chicks for the first two weeks of their lives.
Adult size (1000 grams) is reached within four to five weeks and the chicks will become fully independent after fledging at around eight weeks, although they are reluctant to leave the area where they were born.