ENTRIES CLOSE: 25th October 2023

Our Freshwater for our Taonga team have just launched this fun project in time for the school holidays!

We would like to acknowledge Taaja Tucker-Silva for the initial design of the Papercraft Kanakana. You can find more amazing papercraft projects on her website.
Our sincere apologies to Taaja for omitting this acknowledgement of her awesome work from the beginning.

Make your very own #PapercraftKanakana! Learn some cool fun facts about this awesome taonga, like “The ancestors of Kanakana appear in the fossil record 450 million years ago, 250 million years before Tuatara!”

You can print our outline version and colour in your own unique kanakana or just print and start building with our colour version.

Both come with printed instructions.

Special thanks also to Mel Hight (Hight Design) who brought this ‘kiwi’ kanakana to life!


This is a challenging project, even for big kids (and researchers), so here are some kanakana construction tips from the project team and one of our test pilots, Nōah:

  • We recommended printing on A3 paper.
  • Keep the instructions handy!
  • Glue each section separately and let them dry before joining them.
  • Glue the sections together in stages, allowing each join to dry before moving on to the next one – that’s a good time to learn more about these fantastic fish!
  • Cut out the fins and glue onto the body at the end – so you don’t lose them.
  • Nōah made his Kanakana with a bendy (articulated) body.
  • Kerri-Anne made a rigid Kanakana by holding a butter knife inside the paper tubes to help glue the tabs together.

For more suggestions and progress photos, visit us on Facebook and Instagram.

Share a creative photo of your papercraft Kanakana with a favourite fun fact about kanakana and be in to win – $500 worth of prizes are available!

Post on our Facebook or Instagram with #bioheritagenz #papercraft #I_love_piharau #kanakana #piharau #lamprey #I_love_kanakana

Or email your photos to

ENTRIES CLOSE: 25th October 2023