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The Sanctuary Of New Zealand Comes One Step Closer

Media Release

For Immediate Release

10 March 2005

The Sanctuary Of New Zealand Comes One Step Closer

The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust's proposal for a $16 million world conservation site and benchmark tourism attraction came one step closer to reality today following the Wellington City Council Strategy and Policy Committee's recommendation to the Council to include an $8 million loan in the 2005/2006 Draft Annual Plan.

The Trust's proposal for the Sanctuary of New Zealand would see major redevelopment of Karori Wildlife Sanctuary into a national icon and tourism experience for the local community, domestic and international visitors. Karori Wildlife Sanctuary chief executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward says the Committee's recommendation is a huge boost for the project.

"We're absolutely delighted that the committee has recognised the value and potential of the Sanctuary of New Zealand proposal and recommended the proposal be included in the 2005/6 Draft Annual Plan. The proposed development will build on the Sanctuary's conservation successes and maintain its leadership in eco-restoration and sustainable development globally."

Ms McIntosh-Ward notes however, there is still some way to go before the project will receive the final go-ahead. "There are a number of other milestones to be achieved before the project gets underway. As well as Wellington City Council's public consultation process, the Trust will also be seeking additional funding from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, private sponsors and Government during coming months," she said.

The Sanctuary development includes: an all weather Visitor Centre with interactive educational and experiential exhibitions that 'tell the story' of New Zealand's conservation history; tracks and trails demonstrating New Zealand's unique conservation assets; as well as retail; café and additional car parking facilities, which would be completed in 2007.

The Trust's proposal estimates the Sanctuary of New Zealand visitor numbers will reach 190,000 per annum by 2010/11 - up from 45,000 annual visits currently. Economic benefits for Wellington are projected to be more than four million dollars per year. The financials reflect a sustainable business than allows for the repayment of the $8 million loan over a 25 year period.

"This is an exceptional opportunity for Wellington's tourism industry," said Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive, Tim Cossar. "The Sanctuary of New Zealand proposal fits perfectly with our tourism strategy and will add significantly to the city's appeal for both international and domestic visitors. Critically, it builds on Wellington's brand strength as a vibrant city right on the edge of a stunning natural environment. This aspect of Wellington is particularly appealing to international visitors.

"It will also add much needed commissionable tourism product - a key factor in encouraging the international travel trade to sell Wellington."

Ms McIntosh-Ward says Karori Wildlife Sanctuary has achieved a huge number of significant conservation milestones since its inception in 1995 and it's now time to take another step forward.

"We're extremely positive about the potential to create a high impact, unique visitor experience that will attract increased visitors without compromising the existing bird release and wildlife population growth programmes."

"This project has the ability to put Wellington on the world eco-tourism and conversation map," Nancy McIntosh-Ward says.

ENDS

Attachment - factsheet outlining the Sanctuary of New Zealand project.

The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust

The Sanctuary of New Zealand Proposal


The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust proposes to redevelop the Sanctuary to become The Sanctuary of New Zealand - a national icon and a benchmark attraction for Wellington and New Zealand.

The Sanctuary development is estimated to attract visitors from New Zealand and around the world to experience the story of New Zealand conservation and heritage – through both, an all weather Visitor Centre and, a live example within the 250 hectares of Sanctuary valley. The Sanctuary would retain its leadership role in eco-restoration to continue in its core objective of conservation and education.

The Sanctuary has a strong fit with the Council’s key outcomes and goals, and Positively Wellington Tourism’s key brand elements, nationhood and nature close to the City. There is also a strong alignment with Tourism New Zealand’s 100% Pure New Zealand campaign. The Sanctuary of New Zealand would provide a commissionable tourism product.

Visitor numbers are forecast to achieve 190,000 per year by 2010/11 per year. It is estimated the new venture will see $4.3 million per year of economic benefit pumped into Wellington’s economy. This is the equivalent of estimated new visitor spend of $5.3 million per annum.

The proposed development includes:

- 1450 square metre Visitor Centre – designed in keeping with its natural surroundings. The Visitor Centre will feature an emotive environmental exhibition telling the story of New Zealand conservation and its heritage

- Tracks and trails development

- Other visitor services including retail, a café and expanded car parking.

In line with the new positioning the Sanctuary will seek a name change.

Proposed exhibition theatre space
The capital cost of the project is estimated at $16.38 million. The funding plan includes:


- $8 million from Wellington City Council in the form of an interest-free loan. This loan will be repaid over 25 years.


- The remaining capital funding will be sought from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Government, private sponsorship and other contributors.


The Sanctuary of New Zealand proposal was developed by a working group consisting of representatives from the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust and the Wellington City Council. A number of experts including Planning Consultants McDermott Miller and Mallard Cooke have peer reviewed elements of the project.

The Sanctuary Trust would work in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, Positively Wellington Tourism and other nationally significant tourism attractions to grow Wellington and New Zealand’s profile and drive visitor arrivals internationally. Te Papa management has committed to explore all possible opportunities for cross marketing and joint programmes.

ENDS

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