Kia ora! Welcome to NatureWatch NZ. You can use NatureWatch NZ to record your observations of species, get any species identified, help others identify species, and talk with other NZ nature enthusiasts. In other words, watch nature!
We're the New Zealand site in the global iNaturalist network. We're operated by the New Zealand Bio-Recording Network (NZBRN) Trust, a NZ charitable trust lead by a team of NZ ecologists and biodiversity IT professionals. iNaturalist is an open-source, global nature observation system supported by the California Academy of Sciences based in San Francisco. While NatureWatch NZ started out in 2012 as an independent NZ-optimised fork of iNaturalist, since November 2014 we've been operating directly from within the iNaturalist servers. Because iNaturalist is awesome.
That means that when you are using NatureWatch NZ, you are also using iNaturalist at the same time. NatureWatch NZ is a Kiwi window into iNaturalist that shows just the New Zealand observations, species, and users. That way your fantails and totara observations don't get lost in a flood of squirrels and bald eagles. Because nobody in New Zealand wants to get lost in a flood of squirrels and bald eagles.
Since all NatureWatch NZ observations also show up simultaneously on iNaturalist, this means that you've got the best world's naturalists looking at your observations, ready and keen to help. And, if you go overseas, you can use iNaturalist.org with your NatureWatch NZ account. When you get back home, all your overseas observations will be there in your list of observations inside NatureWatch NZ. It's the best of both worlds.
This also means that if you want to use NatureWatch NZ on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you can use the excellent iNaturalist mobile app (iOS, Android). Just download it and sign in with your NatureWatch NZ account. All of your observations will show up right here on NatureWatch NZ. (We currently have a separate NatureWatch NZ app on the Apple AppStore but we will be retiring that soon since the iNat app does it all already.)
You'll see links to help pages along the left side near the top of this page. We recommend you start with our "Add an observation" page.
Using NatureWatch NZ is the same as using iNaturalist, and iNat also has an extensive set of help pages that you can use. If you're just getting started with us, check out iNat's Getting Started guide to tour some of the site's features. If you have a question about the site, have a look through the iNat Frequently Asked Questions.
If you'd rather just send us an email and ask for help, that's good. Please do! We're here at firstname.lastname@example.org and are happy to give you one-on-one help getting started, or help you figure out how to do something a bit tricky. We're also very keen to hear about any non-biological bugs you might encounter on the site. We work closely with the iNaturalist developers to keep improving the system.
You can also post your questions to our Google Group and we'll try to beat other NatureWatch NZ users to the answer.
And thanks for sharing your observations with New Zealand and the world using NatureWatch NZ. Together we're discovering a lot of new and amazing things about NZ nature.