Wellington Zoo

A new masterplan is helping Wellington Zoo transform from a place of entertainment to a place of conservation and education.

Established in 1906 as New Zealand's first Zoological Park, Wellington Zoo has, like many zoos around the world, changed its focus from entertainment to conservation and learning. Isthmus was engaged by the Wellington Zoo Trust to assist in the most recent step in this evolution.

As part of the ten-year Zoo Capital Programme, Isthmus prepared a masterplan that integrates a new ‘Meet the Locals' project into the wider Zoo and Wellington Town Belt context. This project aims to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our environment, natural landscapes, unique wildlife, farm animals and native flora.

Visitors to the zoo will embark on a journey, travelling first from Wellington's wild shores at Penguin Point, housing blue penguins and the Whittakers skink, through rural New Zealand at Pohutukawa Farm, a home for a range of domestic farm animals, a new visitor centre ‘Woolshed', with toilet and kitchen facilities, to our native forest at Bush Builders, which provides habitat and enclosures for indigenous insects, frogs, eel, kaka and birds, including the existing ‘Roost' breeding centre. The final step is the experience of the rugged beauty of alpine slopes at Mountain Encounter, which provides a new ‘walk in' aviary for Kea and enclosures for Grand and Otago skinks.

On this journey, visitors will gain a greater understanding of the vital role conservation projects and wildlife restoration plays in the protection of our living taonga, with discrete signage and interpretation located to aid visitor knowledge and wayfinding.