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Dr Jane Goodall DBE at Wellington Zoo

Media release

Local heroes join world famous conservationist Dr Jane Goodall DBE at Wellington Zoo

Dr Jane Goodall DBE will be giving a public lecture at Wellington Zoo on Saturday 18 September, Zoo Chief Executive Karen Fifield announced today.

‘We are thrilled that internationally acclaimed scientist, Dr Jane Goodall DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger for Peace is coming back to Wellington Zoo – the last time she visited here was in 1997.’

‘She will be giving a public lecture at Wellington Zoo on her new book Hope for Nature and sharing stories of some of the species that are being saved from extinction, worldwide, due to the work of scientists and researchers,’ said Karen.

‘Dr Goodall will be accompanied by some of our own local heroes, scientists and researchers who work to protect our unique native species.’

Dr Goodall said ‘I am very excited about returning to Wellington and am really looking forward to meeting your local heroes and talking to them about their work, and learning all about New Zealand’s unique fauna.’

The local heroes presenting alongside Dr Jane Goodall are:

Dr Nicky Nelson, Senior Lecturer and Programme Manager for Conservation Biology at Victoria University of Wellington. Dr Nelson is researching how the effects of global warming will affect reptiles with temperature-dependent sex determination, using tuatara as a case study. She is also studying conservation techniques for reptiles – the performance of captive-reared tuatara once they are translocated into natural habitat.

Dr Phil Bishop was co-leader of the New Zealand Native Frog Recovery Group (2005-2007) and is currently the lead author of the new Native Frog recovery plan. Dr Bishop, like Dr Goodall, is an ambassador for this year’s global ’Year of the Frog’ initiative. His current research has three main strands: native New Zealand frog reproductive behaviour and conservation; frog communication and frog diseases. Dr Bishop is also working to raise community awareness of New Zealand’s evolutionary distinct and critically endangered frogs.

Native to Canada, Monica Awasthy joined the Kererū Discovery Project as Wellington Zoo’s inaugural research fellow in 2006; and began her PhD thesis at Victoria University of Wellington. Since early 2007, she has been fitting wild and rehabilitated kererū with lightweight radio transmitters in order to learn about their urban habitat use, movements, feeding preferences and social interactions. This project demonstrates the potential role that cities and the people who live in them can play in conservation..

A wildlife ecologist of Ngati Tōa descent, Dr Phil Lyver is currently working with the Crown Research Institute, Landcare Research. Dr Lyver is researching how mātauranga (Māori traditional knowledge) can assist in the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife. Traditional monitoring methods used by Māori could allow the fusion of mātauranga and scientific inferences of population dynamics to assist co-management and conservation of our unique fauna.

Tickets for the Hope for Nature lecture are on sale now through Wellington Zoo and cost $25 each. All proceeds from the sale of tickets will go to the Jane Goodall Institute. Tickets can be purchased by calling 04 389 3692 or emailing For more information visit or


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