Save New Zealand’s butterflies!

$1,550 of $130,000 goal
Given by 35 generous donors in 6 weeks

Save our butterflies from extinction….. we need to accurately identify them to conserve them before they disappear!

Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Save our butterflies by identifying them before they become extinct!

Can you imagine not having a name? Believe it or not, the majority of NZ butterflies have not yet been described! In fact, less than 50% of our insects have a scientific description.

As Dutch-NZ naturalist Ruud Kleinpaste explains, “if we can’t identify them how can we save them from extinction?”

To fix this identification crisis, The Butterfly Discovery Project will launch a full study to analyse the DNA of NZ's largest group of butterflies, known as coppers, part of the Lycaena family.

Currently they are grouped into only four scientifically-named species. But there may actually be up to more than 20 individual species within these groups! This creates major confusion for scientists and enthusiasts alike!

We aim to raise $130,000 for a PhD student to begin the important work of DNA sequencing, forming a genealogical tree of the NZ coppers to resolve the ongoing confusion, under the supervision and guidance of The University of Auckland Professor Thomas Buckley and Dr Robert Hoare of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

All donations during this fundraising campaign will be held in a trust account and will help to boost further funding grants. It is expected to take up to three years to complete this important project.

If you love NZ and our endemic species, even a few dollars will help us reach our goal.

Please spread the word to other butterfly and nature enthusiasts. Our butterflies are counting on you!

About us

The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust is a registered charity committed to protecting butterflies, moths and their habitats across New Zealand.

Use of funds

The funds will be held in trust until we can fund a PhD student to carry out this research aided by a team of scientists and volunteers.

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Latest update

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Nearly at $1,000  31 May 2022

I was just looking at this image this morning (it's on the shortlist for our 2023 Calendar) and wondering which copper it was. It's a glade copper, Lycaena feredayi, or could it be L. enysii? One day, and with help from people like you, we will know for sure! Thanks so much for your support. As I write this we've reached $1,000... our first milestone. The more people that spread the word, the better.

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Latest donations

Mel. 16 hours ago
Wonderful to see you doing this for our butteflies. I never knew that we had copper butteflies .
Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust

So many New Zealanders don't know about our copper butterflies. And we plan to get their names sorted and make sure EVERYONE knows how special they are. Thank you for your help.

Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust
Maria & Tama
Maria & Tama 16 hours ago
Kapai!!! Nga mihi ki a koe mo te tiaki i a tatou pūrerehua!
Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust

Ngā mihi maioha.

Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust
Jenni-Lee 17 hours ago
This is my pocket money and I hope it helps. It should have been 5$ but I didn't clean my room.
Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust

Thank you Jenni-Lee. That's wonderful. Thank you to your mum for being a good mum.

Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust
Private Donor
Private Donor 1 day ago
Good stuff.
Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust


Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust
Maggie T.
Maggie T. 1 day ago
This is wonderful, to hear what you're doing! I have often been puzzled when I hear so many names for coppers: Boulder Copper, Maui's Copper, Canterbury Alpine Boulder Copper, Coastal Copper, Glade Copper, North Island Glade Copper, South Canterbury Copper, Westland Copper, Rauparaha's Copper, Native Copper. It's too confusing! I am So glad that something is finally doing something about it. Wish I could donate more.
Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust

Thank you so much, Maggie. This will help - a step on the way to our goal, and demonstrates that we have more support.

Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust

Who's involved?

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Created by, and paying to a verified bank account of, Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust (Charity)
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A Registered Charity has legal recognition under the Charities Act 2005.
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This page was created on 23 May 2022 and closes on 21 May 2023.