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Sanctuary celebrates award win

May 2008

Wellington’s world-first wildlife sanctuary celebrates award win.

Multi award-winning Karori Sanctuary has added another prestigious accolade to its collection, winning the 2008 TIANZ Conservation in Action Award.

The award, which is sponsored by the Department of Conservation, recognises the achievement of organisations that have invested considerable effort and resources into conservation-related initiatives. The Sanctuary was a finalist last year. The award was accepted on behalf of the Sanctuary by its Chief Executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward.

‘The timing of this award is perfect’ said Ms McIntosh-Ward

‘With our new world-class visitor experience due to open in less than 18 months, the Sanctuary is set to become a must do destination for visitors to New Zealand. This award recognises our contribution to New Zealand’s growing sustainable tourism industry and our achievements in managing the Sanctuary as both a visitor attraction and an internationally-respected ecological restoration project.’

The new state-of-the-art facility, which is due to open in summer 2009/10, is New Zealand’s first facility dedicated exclusively to our country’s unique natural history and internationally-renowned contributions to wildlife conservation. As soon as you step through the doors of the exhibition hall it will be like arriving on another planet: New Zealand 1,000 years ago. A totally immersive sound and light show heralds the arrival of humans and the 700 years of devastation that followed. Upstairs you see the fragments of old New Zealand that remained, and what places like the Sanctuary are doing to make them whole again. Visitors will then be invited to experience the Sanctuary first-hand.

Additional Information: Karori Sanctuary - A national treasure

The Sanctuary was established in 1995 as New Zealand’s first fully fenced mainland conservation island, and is recognised around the world as a leader in urban conservation and ecological restoration. As the most accessible project of its kind in New Zealand and a home to some of our rarest native animals, it is has become a major visitor attraction.

‘Seventy thousand visitors a year currently enjoy unforgettable, authentic experiences like seeing tuatara in the wild and taking a guided tour by torchlight to look for kiwi’ said Marketing Coordinator Alan Dicks.

‘It is a “must do” destination for anyone interested in New Zealand’s natural history, and offers one of the best chances of seeing our iconic wildlife in its natural environment.’

There are no cages at Karori. Yet with a bit of patience, or the help of a professional guide, daytime visitors are almost guaranteed to see creatures like hihi, saddleback and tuatara that are otherwise almost entirely restricted to off-shore islands. At night, the forest is filled with the calls of roosting kaka (a bush parrot); scavenging weka (a flightless rail); and over 100 little spotted kiwi – the smallest and rarest of the North Island’s critically-endangered kiwi species.

The Sanctuary offers a range of fully-guided tours to give visitors the best possible chance of seeing wildlife, and an opportunity to learn all about eco-restoration in New Zealand. Alternatively, visitors can take a self-guided walk. With over 30km of beautiful bushwalks and tramping tracks there is something for all abilities.


Last year the Sanctuary won the Dominion Post Green Gold Award for sustainable business practices and the Ministry for Environment’s Green Ribbon Award for urban sustainability. It was a finalist in the Tourism Industry awards. In 2006 it was voted by New Zealanders as one of ten experiences they wanted to see added to the AA Travel’s ‘101 Must-Dos for Kiwis’ and in 2005, it won a prestigious Skål International Tourism Award. It has been featured as one of ‘35 things not to miss’ in the Rough Guide to New Zealand since 2003and is currently the only Wellington attraction other than Te Papa to feature in the Lonely Planet guide.


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