The Twilight Te Ao Māhina, the nocturnal experience at Wellington Zoo celebrating Kiwi and Tuatara, has had a makeover and will open to visitors on Saturday 9 July.
“The Twilight Te Ao Māhina has had a revamp to create a rich experience for our visitors and our animals,” says Amy Hughes, General Manager Community Engagement. “Kiwi and Tuatara are iconic New Zealand native animals, and now our visitors can discover what makes them unique and why we think they’re true conservation rock stars.”
The Twilight Te Ao Māhina visitor experience links to the experience in Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha – the Zoo’s recently opened New Zealand walk-through experience, by weaving five ‘voices’ through the space. The animal habitats have been revamped with new planting and upgraded lighting.
“We wanted to link The Twilight Te Ao Māhina to Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha,” says Amy. “The animal voice showcases the physical and behavioural adaptations of Kiwi and Tuatara. The iwi voice shares the story of Te Ao Māhina – the doorway between light and dark, and focuses on the whakapapa of Punga – the guardian of animals like Wētā and Tuatara.”
“We’ve also shared our conservation community voices from Kiwis for Kiwi, Victoria University, Rimutaka Forest Park, and the Department of Conservation. The Zoo voice shares how Kiwi and Tuatara are a flagship species for other precious native taonga, and how we care for them both inside and outside the Zoo. Lastly, the future voice shares kids’ views on these iconic species.”
“We want to connect our visitors to these iconic animals, and think about what they can do to save them in the wild, or help save other native animals in the wild. One thing pet owners can do is to ‘take the lead’ by keeping their dog on a leash when walking in the bush.”
The redevelopment was supported by Lottery Grants Board Environment and Heritage Grant, and also acknowledges the support of the Zoo’s partners at Trade Me.
“Trade Me have been supporting Wellington Zoo since 2010 and we appreciate how well their values fit with ours,” says Amy. “The Twilight Te Ao Māhina is a great place to recognise this support, as it ties our shared values of being involved in the community and caring for native wildlife.”
Author: Libby Chandler – Marketing and Communications Manager