Currently White-flippered penguins breed in 3 main locations – Motunau Island, Harris Bay and Flea Bay.

Motunau Island is a small Nature Reserve located off the North Canterbury coast that is administered by the Department of Conservation and considered safe from predators. Public access is not available.

The Harris Bay colony located within the Godley Head Coastal Park is predator fenced and accessible by the public with, because of the terrain, some degree of difficulty. Harris Bay has long been the research area for Dr Challies and wherein the protection and monitoring of the birds has been under his diligent care.

The Flea Bay colony is located on farmland on Banks Peninsula and generally considered to be safe from predators, in the main because of the sterling work of the landowners, the Helps Family.

To ensure protection for the species and improve their status 3 major safe havens are considered essential. It is the intention that the Boulder Bay colony will ultimately be much larger than the adjacent Harris Bay colony and that Boulder Bay will become the focal point for drawing attention to the bird's plight and the generator of support from both a conservation and financial viewpoint.