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Sorry to say any octo you are able to keep (if you're looking to keep?) in NZ will be wild-caught. Most of the common species here are small-egged and have so far proven pretty much impossible to culture in captivity (the hatchlings don't feed). Kelly Tarlton's usually catches its display animals up at Leigh or elsewhere north of Auckland.
Hi fillup; terrible question that I ask, but live or dead? I just bought 5 dead ones today, 16kg all up, and paid ~$9.50/kg for them (from a local fish shop). We needed them for dissection purposes, and I wasn't about to go out and collect them for this purpose.
What species are you looking for? Pinnoctopus cordiformis (= Octopus maorum of many), Octopus gibbsi (= O. tetricus of some, but I have some doubts until the systematic status of tetricus is resolved), or O. huttoni (= Robsonella australis of old, and Octopus warringa of others more recently)?
If you SCUBA and want to keep the animals alive then P. cordiformis is easy to find subtidally on soft-sediment flats, wherever you get scallops (not represented in collections from north of Whangarei); O. gibbsi is a shallow-water reef-dwelling species, reasonably common in the Auckland area, more common north of Whangarei, in clean-swept habitat; O. huttoni is not at all common around Auckland (it is far-more common in southern waters, and strangely, off the very top of New Zealand), though I believe it once was common in Hauraki Gulf (primarily subtidal on shell-armoured clean-swept sea bed). Neither P. cordiformis nor O. gibbsi would be appropriate for aquaria - they grow far too large!
I'm after them alive now. I've looked at a few dead ones - one very fresh, but have just about learned all I need from them. A few of the fisheries have my number in case of a live catch, but it seems this is very rare.
Hopefully there's some pots going down around Ti Point now on my behalf, but progress is going very slow and I'm all setup to receive up to three of them now.
I've emailed you a while ago Steve, regarding my project. I'm looking at the development of octopus eyes, owing to their similarity to human eyes, despite convergently evolving. Hence the younger the better!
I'm actually from Whangarei originally and would love an excuse to go hunting up there - are there any beaches/bays in particular?
Sorry for the slow replies - forgot to 'subscribe' to the thread.