Photo: Chris Helliwell
The Karori Sanctuary Experience

What is Zealandia?

Zealandia in a nutshell

Map: GondwanaZealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience is also known as Te Māra a Tāne: The garden of Tāne.
Tāne is the Māori creator of trees and plants.

Why are we called Zealandia?

Firstly, what can visitors experience here?

Takahē at the wetlands

Takahē at the wetlands. Photo: Fairfax NZ.

Zealandia is the first facility fully-dedicated to telling New Zealand’s unique conservation story. The Exhibition presents 80 million years of natural history right up to the conservation movement of the present day, with engaging interactive features and a big screen movie.

Our beautiful 225ha sanctuary valley provides routes for everyone from wheelchair-users to all-day trampers. You can choose from various fascinating guided tours and feeding talks (all free with admission), or simply roam at your leisure to find our valley’s remarkable native wildlife living free.

Our scenic café, Rata, can replenish you before or after your walk. And don’t forget our sensational night tours!

But hang on! Let’s take a quick history lesson…

Prior to the arrival of humans, New Zealand, Aotearoa, was a “bird land”, isolated and unique. Without any mammalian predators an ecosystem of remarkable flora and fauna had evolved – the likes of which could be found nowhere else in the world. Sadly, over the last 700 years, that paradise was almost destroyed.

So, what are we doing exactly?

Hihi nest in wooden nest box

Hihi nest in wooden nest box. Photo: Lauren Schaer

Before Zealandia brought them back we had to travel to offshore islands to see remnant populations of tuatara, hihi, saddleback or little spotted kiwi* in their natural environment. Now these species, and many more, are flourishing in the wild just 10 minutes from downtown Wellington – all thanks to the unique protection offered by our groundbreaking fence. Zealandia is a conservation and restoration success and a vital “lifeboat” for some of our most endangered native species.

…and what do we offer students?

Schools from all over the country join educational tours at Zealandia and they leave buzzing with new enthusiasm for New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. Tertiary students and researchers have found a living laboratory right on the doorstep of universities and the city.

A really important bit: community & support

Volunteers in action

Volunteers in action.

But Zealandia is not just an eco-sanctuary and an education centre, it’s also a community of 450 active volunteers – one of the largest volunteer-supported conservation organisations in New Zealand. Zealandia is run by a charitable Trust with a small core staff; we are supported by many different parties.

You can become a part of our 500-year vision to restore our sanctuary valley to its pre-human state by becoming a member or donating today.

P.S We do venue hire too!

With such a stunning setting, we’re a superb venue for functions – from meetings to weddings. All proceeds go towards funding our restoration and education work.

*For your chance to see kiwi, come on a night tour – that’s when they are awake!