Te Wao Nui at Auckland Zoo

Posted by Ruth Atherley on May 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

We have had several opportunities to see kiwis (the birds, not the people) in their natural habitat and it is always amazing. They are interesting little creatures that are unique to New Zealand. I was excited to find out about the Auckland Zoo’s New Zealand precinct, Te Wao Nui. Below is what I learned from them.

Seeing a kiwi in the night, discovering tuatara on an offshore island, or meeting a kea up-close in the high country are all experiences on offer at Auckland Zoo’s amazing New Zealand precinct, Te Wao Nui.

Te Wao Nui opened in September 2011 as the biggest and most significant project in Auckland Zoo’s history. It takes up 20 percent of the Zoo’s 17-hectare footprint and provides a way for visitors to see a snapshot of New Zealand in one afternoon.

Visitors journey through six distinct ecological habitats that are home to around 60 New Zealand native animal species and over 100 New Zealand plant species. Even better, most of the species on display are rarely seen by people, including the ground-dwelling short-tailed bat, Otago skink and Campbell Island teal.

The Coast (Takutai), The Islands (Moutere Rahui), The Wetlands (Nga Repo), The Night (Te Po), The Forest (Te Wao Nui a Tane) and The High Country (Whenua Waotu) make up Te Wao Nui’s six habitats. These diverse landscapes give visitors the sense of really travelling around the country.

Large Maori artworks are also an integral part of the Te Wao Nui experience, with over 12 artworks created by renowned artists Lyonel Grant, Bernard Makoare and Manos Nathan, placed throughout the precinct.

Since opening, feedback from the Zoo’s visitors has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re really pleased that we can finally show off all the hard work that’s come out of our 15 years of planning, and the animals are all settling into their new homes really well,” says Auckland Zoo Director, Jonathan Wilcken.

“But there’s still more to come, including the critically endangered Archey’s frog going on display in The Night in early 2012, and a giant moa made of driftwood, which will soon find its home somewhere in Te Wao Nui.

“Visitors can be sure that there will be something new to see each time they visit,” says Mr. Wilcken.

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