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Wellington Zoo turns 100

Media Release
19 April 2006

Wellington Zoo turns 100

It was 100 years ago tomorrow, April 20th, that a group of Wellingtonians successfully petitioned Wellington City Council to establish a Zoo at Newtown Park, Wellington Zoo CEO Alison Lash said today.

“While doing research for our centenary celebrations, due to start later in the year, the City Archives found the documents which brought Wellington Zoo into being. Until then we didn’t think there was an actual date of establishment recorded,” said Alison.

The petitioners believed a Zoo would offer Wellington ‘a source of pleasure and perpetual interest.’ As New Zealand’s first Zoo it would also provide the ‘colony’ with a complete collection.

“We had thought that the Zoo was established because the Bostock and Wombwell circus gave the city a lion called King Dick. But one of the letters written by the petitioning group makes it clear that they wanted to establish a Zoo in Wellington before the lion was gifted to the city,” said Alison.

“We are going to celebrate the Zoo’s centenary later on in the year so we can make the most of the Wellington summer. We will be having a belated birthday party for all Wellingtonians to enjoy. We look forward to sharing our pride in the achievements of the last 100 years with our community, as well as our dreams for the future.”

Excerpt from Minutes of Wellington City Council meeting (Ref: 00166:0:16, p369)

“A deputation consisting of Messrs C M Luke, W Gill, A J Rand and three others waited on the Council and presented a petition from residents of Wellington asking for the formation of a zoo at the Newtown Park. It was also stated that the Manager of Messrs Bostock and Wombwell's Circus had offered to present to the City a young lion for the Zoo. The deputation were thanked for their attendance and were informed that their representations would receive every consideration.

The Mayor moved that the gift of the lion be accepted with thanks and the necessary steps be taken to house same, and that the question of establishing a Zoo be referred to the Finance Committee for report. Carried.”



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