The banded rail (Gallirallus philippensis) is a strikingly marked bird, usually only glimpsed briefly as it dashes in and out of hiding.

The natives call this bird meriki, and catch it with nooses. He recorded that “A new kind of rail was formerly very common; but, since cats and dogs have been introduced, it has become very scarce.

The Inaccessible Island rail (Atlantisia rogersi), the smallest flightless bird in the world, is found only on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan da Cunha group in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is related to the more familiar weka, but is slimmer, and can fly. It is endemic to the Auckland Islands 460 km south of New Zealand where it is currently restricted to two islands in the Auckland group, Adams Island and Disappointment Island. The Auckland Island rail is much smaller than the banded rail and is probaby flightless, like the extinct dieffenbach rail of the Chatham Islands. In this list of the birds of New Zealand, the common name of the bird in New Zealand English is given first, and its Māori-language name, if different, is also noted.. The subspecies assimilis is the form found on the New Zealand mainland and dieffenbachi was endemic to the Chatham Islands before being exterminated in the 19th century. Ernst Dieffenbach, naturalist for the New Zealand Company, spent about a month on the Chatham Islands in May and June 1840.

The list's taxonomic treatment and nomenclature (common and scientific names) mainly follows the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2019 edition.

The wekas of New Zealand are about the size of chickens.

Banded rail breed in the South Pacific from Indonesia and the Philippines through Melanesia, Australia and New Zealand to as far east as Niue in western Polynesia. Banded rail (also known as buff-banded rail) subspecies are found on the Cocos Islands (Indian Ocean), Indonesia, Philippines, Melanesia, western Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand.