By the Miocene, New Zealand was perched between the Indian-Australian and Pacific plates. It suddenly became a string of ever changing active volcanoes, adding new land to the eroded terrain. This phase of mountain building and volcanic activity is named the Kaikoura Orogeny, and it continues to this day.

This was a time of warm weather and floral and faunal flourish. The formation of alpine areas (as well as subtropical areas) made for a great number of ecological niches.