4 things ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums did for Conservation Week


Conservation Week/ Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa is always an important time of year in New Zealand, but this year was particularly so with the 50th anniversary of the event. ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums in New Zealand held a vast range of activities to engage their communities with this year’s theme: ‘nature needs us’. Here are four ways zoos and aquariums celebrated Conservation Week:


Family and student activities

Auckland Zoo held fun activities at their Wild Work centre, where visitors created seed-bombs to spread healthy herbs and vegetables in their backyards to help native wildlife thrive.


The Hamilton Zoo education team hosted a special event for school students at neighbouring Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, which is a large-scale restoration project which covers about 60ha. New Zealand’s largest inland restoration project, the aim is to recreate an example of the Hamilton Basin’s previously rich ecological diversity.

Almost 350 students from 14 Waikato schools joined the Hamilton Zoo team for the chance to venture into the park and see the fantastic restoration work going on at Waiwhakareke first hand.


Kiwi North partnered with a range of organisations to deliver an event called ‘Friends or Foe in Your Backyard’, a free event for people interested in the native and endemic species that live around them and want to create and protect habitats that encourage these species to thrive in their locality.


Natureland Wildlife Trust kicked off the weekend with a hunt to find five ways you can help their Conservation Critters. The activity encouraged kids to find all five native species hiding around the park. The activity aimed to engage the kids with the five featured species and help them discover a few ways they can help them and their homes survive.


Rainbow Springs Nature Park collaborated with Forest and Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club to hold BioBlitz 2019, a unique and interactive way to understand what’s happening to the local environment over a period of time. For this fun research project, their guides taught participants new ways to get involved in local conservation activities with the Kiwi Conservation Club – connecting Kiwi kids to New Zealand’s amazing wildlife and wild places.


Kids participating in the BioBlitz event run by Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Forest and Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club 

Wellington Zoo staff who spent the morning planting around Owhiro Bay, as part of our Zoo staff conservation leave.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Rangers at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.

DOC conservation dogs visiting Auckland Zoo. Photo credit: Joseph Kelly

Conservation partners and projects

Department of Conservation (DOC) Kiwibank Conservation Dogs Pai and Piri were at Auckland Zoo to show the great work they do to conserve native wildlife, with hourly demonstrations taking place at the zoo. In between demonstrations, the dogs walked the zoo grounds with their handler and DOC staff to meet visitors and answer questions.


Kiwi Birdlife Park kicked off Conservation Week with their partners at Ziptrek Ecotours Queenstown as they launched their new community space and awesome green wall. The Kiwi Birdlife Park Manager Paul was a guest speaker on a panel alongside Richard from Real Journeys to discuss the role of tourism in conservation.


SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium held a special event for kids curious about creatures and who love all things weird and wonderful to come and meet the Department of Conservation (DOC) Rangers who had all kinds of quirky and magnificent marine artefacts for them to look at, hold and learn about.


50 years of Conservation Week

The Department of Conservation celebrated the 50th anniversary of Conservation Week at Otago Museum with the popup special exhibition 50 Years of Conservation Week! The installation presented posters featuring a wide range of conservation programmes and projects over the years to teach visitors about the long history of Conservation Week in New Zealand. 


Special announcements

Wellington Zoo had a special announcement for Conservation Week. They have launched their very own Conservation Fund Local Grants Programme. These grants will provide funding for projects or programmes with clear community conservation value for native wildlife and wild places. The zoo team want to support projects in the wider community and invite applications from the Greater Wellington Region and the Chatham Islands (part of the local Rongotai electorate).

Grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $5,000 and most grants will be between $1,500 - $3,000. The deadline for applications is 5pm Thursday 31 October 2019.