Tarakihi are found from Bay of Plenty southward and grow up to a length of 70cm. It is a very silvery coloured fish and often called the Jackass fish in Australia. It's normally caught from a boat using small hooks over relatively shallow reefs and is a very common food / table fish. Sexual maturity is reached at 25–35cm length at an age of 4–6 years, after which the growth rate slows. This species reaches a maximum age of 40+ years.
Tarakihi spawn in summer–autumn in several areas around New Zealand. The three main identified spawning grounds are Cape Runaway to East Cape, Kaikoura to Pegasus Bay, and the west coast of the South Island near Jackson Bay. Few larval and postlarval tarakihi have been caught and identified. The postlarvae appear to be pelagic, occur in offshore waters, and are found in surface waters at night. Postlarval metamorphosis to the juvenile stage occurs in spring or early summer when the fish are 7–9 cm 7–12 months old.
Several juvenile nursery areas have been identified in shallower, inshore waters, including the southwest coast of the North Island, Tasman Bay, near Kaikoura, northern Pegasus Bay, Canterbury Bight, Otago and the Chatham Islands. Juveniles move out to deeper water at a length of about 25cm at an age of 3–4 years. Only a small proportion of tarakihi found in commercial catches are immature, suggesting that they do not become vulnerable to fishing operations until they are sexually mature.
The results of tagging experiments carried out near Kaikoura during 1986 and 1987 indicate that some tarakihi are capable of moving long distances. Fish have been recaptured from as far away as the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast of the North Island, south of Whangarei on the east coast of the North Island, and Timaru on the east coast of the South Island.