ZEALANDIA is a world first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, restoring native forest ecosystems through reintroducing native wildlife and wider conservation activities throughout Wellington.
ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary is a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, 6 of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
Prior to the arrival of humans Aotearoa (New Zealand) 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 by humans and the mammals they introduced with them.
Now many of these unique species are flourishing, all thanks to the protection offered by our ground-breaking fence. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild within a beautiful 225ha (one square mile) sanctuary valley that provides 32km (20 miles) of routes for everyone, ranging from wheelchair and buggy friendly to rugged tramping grade – all through scenic terrain and just 10 minutes from central Wellington.
Our ultimate restoration goal is to create self-sustaining ecosystems representative of the pre-human state that existed in New Zealand approximately 1000 years ago. We aim to create a fenced safe haven as free as possible of non-native species, in which we can:
Re-establish wild populations of representative fauna and flora and restore indigenous habitats.
Restore the indigenous character of the valley.
Get key natural processes such as species dispersal and gene-flow functioning once again.
Gain knowledge and methodologies that can be applied elsewhere.
Contribute to national recovery programmes.
A 500-YEAR JOURNEY OF RESTORATION
We believe it will take 500 years for the restoration of the sanctuary valley. This is based on:
- Removing exotic trees like pine and replacing them with native vegetation so that more natural soil composition and processes can result.
- Forest giants like rātā, rimu and miro are rare or missing. It will be a long time before the small trees being planted now reach maturity and natural regeneration of these species is occurring.
The restoration of native forest in the sanctuary valley will provide habitat for the re-establishment of wildlife species that have disappeared. This is a mutually beneficial relationship as several of our most important tree species (such as tawa and miro) rely almost entirely on birds for transport of their seed and others rely on birds and lizards for pollination.
What or how does your business contribute to a more sustainable NZ?
ZEALANDIA manages 225ha of bush, wetland, and streams surrounded by an 8.6km long predator-proof fence. With the help of dozens of community groups, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of members we have reintroduced 18 native species back into the sanctuary, six of those being previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. over 700 kākā have been banded, 500 kākāriki have been banded, and we now have the second largest population of little spotted kiwi (reaching over 100 birds).
We are installing solar PV panels onto the roof of our Visitor Centre to offset our carbon use, as well as installing electric vehicle and bike charging stations. All organic waste from Rata Cafe is composted back into our kitchen gardens, from which we are able to grow more produce. We have two beehives, which produce organic honey and are planting an organic mini-orchard to further supply the cafe and community with hyper-local produce.
We receive over 100,000 visitors a year, giving visitors an authentic nature experience to inspire real conservation action. Our education team reaches thousands of kids through sanctuary visits and outreach programs that encourage them to make their school a sanctuary. This whole experience empowers the next generation of kaitiaki for our precious native taonga,
Certifications & sustainability programmes
- carboNZero Certified
- Qualmark Enviro Gold Award
- Conscious Consumers (first business to receive all 12 endorsements)