Cockles are widespread in New Zealand harbours and estuaries from the mean tide level to low tide. Found in sediments ranging from soft mud to soft, silty sand, they often form dense beds that contain cockles of similar size. Cockles dig a shallow burrow into the seabed.
Cockles are plump, round shells with fine ridges that run in two directions. Usually purple on the inside. Cockles have a delicate cream flesh with a low oil content. The meat is small in proportion to shell weight.
New Zealand cockles are members of the Veneridae family (venerid clams). They are superficially similar to the European cockle.
Cockles are harvested year-round.