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ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary
Wildlife Refuge
Today 8AM–5PM
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53 Waiapu Rd Karori, Wellington 6012 New Zealand
53 Waiapu RoadNZWellington6012
+64 4-920 9200visitzealandia.com
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4.7
207 reviews
5 star
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4 star
39 reviews
3 star
6 reviews
2 star
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Steven Wolff's profile photo
Steven Wolff
in the last week
Absolutely loved our day at Zealandia! The bird songs can be heard for the entire walk no matter the trail and there is so much to learned about native New Zealand animals and plant life. I was looking for a more challenging walk so we took the road less traveled up into the trees and it was well worth it. The views were spectacular and it did not feel like you were in Wellington anymore, we were transported to a different time and loved every minute of it!
Glenn Rose's profile photo
Glenn Rose
in the last week
Really nice eco place. Great walks. Nice day out. Kid friendly.
Bradley Rohrlach's profile photo
Bradley Rohrlach
a month ago
Wonderful walk even with misting rain. Must do for bird lovers
Simon Hartman's profile photo
Simon Hartman
a month ago
If you want to see some NZ nature and (hopefully) some wildlife, this hs the zoo beat by a mile. Highly recommended for an affordable wander, or catch a free walk about with a guide who'll help you spot some of the natives! The cafe is also a lovely spot with good beers and amazing birdsong (of course).
John Penny's profile photo
John Penny
in the last week
Amazing sanctuary recreating New Zealand as it was prior to human habitation. Oh, and a great cafe for after a wonderful walk in the bush!
Maarten van der Bent's profile photo
Maarten van der Bent
2 months ago
Great effort to protect the native flora and fauna of New Zealand.

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Banded kōkopu are a native fish that have sensors on their heads. They can detect when and where something hits the water, like insects that fall from overhanging plants, which they feed on. As with all galaxiids, the banded kōkopu does not have scales. Instead it has a thick, leathery skin covered with mucus. The introduced brown trout is a fast growing active predator and competitor. It eats native fish and invertebrates as well as competing directly with native fish, like the kōkopu, for food. Make sure you don’t release exotic/pet fish into our waterways, they’re a real pest and a threat to native fish, like kōkopu!

Photo of a banded kōkopu by Andrew McDonald
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Tī kōuka (cabbage tree) can help prevent erosion due to the peg root that shoots 2 metres down into the earth. Once established, it is almost impossible to pull it. It is one of the sturdiest native trees for ecological restoration. Māori planted groves of tī kōuka to attract pigeons which were snared when they came to eat the tī kōuka berries. As tī kōuka were generally long-lived, māori planted them to mark trails, boundaries, and urupā (cemetries) and to celebrate birth. Tī kōuka add a crucial layer and ecological benefits to any wetland which few other plants can provide. Look for young tī kōuka through the wetlands at Zealandia.

Photo of tī kōuka by Allison Buchan
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Harakeke (flax) is one of the most important plants to Māori and there are harvesting rules: never cut leaves when korari (flower stalks) are growing; both sides of the plant are left balanced after cutting; you should not try to harvest harakeke if you are unwell as illness and disease also
destroy tapu; harakeke should be harvested during the day when the blades are dry (it should not be harvested at night or in the rain or frost, as doing so will affect the quality of the harakeke making it very brittle). Each pā (fortified village) typically had a ‘pā harakeke’ or flax plantation. Different varieties were cultivated for their special proprieties, such as softness, strength and colour. When early European settlers arrived in New Zealand, harakeke was much more abundant, but large, wild stands today are much less common because of the draining of wetlands and their conversion to farmland. Strappy-leaved flax are found throughout the lower valley at Zealandia, especially in the wetlands. #WetlandWonders

Photo of a harakeke flower by Steve Attwood
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Kapokapowai (dragonfly) is one of New Zealand's largest insects. New Zealand has over 200 species of freshwater macroinvertebrates, and many more species are yet to be discovered. They live in a range of habitats, from the muddy depths of our wetlands to the gravelly streams of our mountain forests. There are 11 species of dragonfly found in New Zealand. The giant bush
dragonfly has a wing span of up to 13cm – the size of a saucer! Spot the difference: dragonflies usually have thicker and shorter bodies than damselflies. When resting, dragonflies hold their wings flat, while damselflies hold their wings together above the body. Water invertebrates, such as the dragonfly, are indicators of water quality and the health of our waterways and wetlands. Some invertebrates are sensitive to habitat degradation and pollutants, while other kinds of invertebrates are found in a range of conditions. What can you do to help? Join a group in your community and help clean up your neighbouring waterways. In Zealandia, you will often see dragonflies and damselflies when you walk through the wetlands from the Takahe Lawn via the Te Mahanga Track.

Photo of a dragonfly by Phil King
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Pāpango (New Zealand scaup) is best known for its ability to dive. Smaller than other ducks with a rounded “rubber duckie” profile, they usually live on deep South Island lakes and North Island hydro and dune lakes. Pāpango use their broad splayed feet to dive to at least 3m, to feed on aquatic plants and invertebrates. Changes in water levels (they nest close to the water line), predation and hunting are the greatest threats to the pāpango.

Photo of a male scaup by digitaltrails
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There are two species of freshwater eel (also known as tuna) in New Zealand; the longfin and shortfin eel. Did you know that freshwater eels can live up to 100 years old and only breed once? The longfin eel is less able to cope with changes to its habitat than its shortfin cousin, and some may never breed. This leads to declining numbers. Tuna were so important to Māori that they had over 100 names for them! These names were for different sizes, colours and other characteristics (such as good eating). What can you do to help? Don’t catch them, and if you do, return them to the water. Plant trees along the banks of rivers as eels love shade. Help clean up our waterways and wetlands. From the Takahe Lawn at Zealandia, follow the Te Mahanga track and keep an eye on the stream. You may be lucky to see a tuna swimming by! #WetlandWonders

Photo of a long-fin eel by Alton Perrie
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Toetoe have many benefits – not all of these are ecological! Māori use toetoe leaves to fashion baskets, kites, wall linings and roof thatching. Toetoe also had many medicinal uses: the seed heads were used on fresh wounds to stop the bleeding, toetoe was used to treat burns and diarrhoea. Toetoe add a crucial layer to wetland areas – they help re-vegetate areas destroyed by slips and earthworks, and help reduce erosion of stream banks. Large clumps of toetoe populate the wetlands at Zealandia. Look for the frothy plumes of seed heads, which are much more delicate than the invasive look-a-like pampas grass.

Photo of a seedless plume (c) Zealandia
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Did you know wetlands filter and replenish our water, act as a natural shield to protect our coastlines and mitigate climate change? Visit ZEALANDIA during Wonders of the Wetlands month to learn more about our wetlands! (Photo by Janice McKenna)
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Learn more about the fragile beauty of our wetlands and waterways. Join us for a wetlands talk tonight at 7.30pm!
Wetlands Youth Photo Competition · Seminar - Botanical Bonanaza ». ZEALANDIA's wetlands. Photo by Steve Attwood. Date: Wednesday 11 February Time: 7.30pm. Cost: Koha (Donation) Location: ZEALANDIA Visitors Centre. Every dollar donated contributes to saving our endangered species.
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Pūtangitangi (paradise shelduck) were uncommon and in decline during the nineteenth century due to over-hunting. Stricter regulars on hunting, the creation of stock ponds, and the conversion to native forest to pasture have all helped increase the number of pūtangitangi. Pūtangitangi are very vocal birds. The males have a deep ‘zonk-zonk’ call while the females make a shrill ‘zeek-zeek’ sound. The biggest threats to pūtangitangi are introduced predators and the draining of wetlands. Keeping wetlands free of pollutants will help pūtangitangi as well as many other native species. Our resident pūtangitangi are raising a family of seven shelducklings - you'll often see them around the Takahe Lawn at Zealandia. #WetlandWonders

Photo of a pūtangitangi pair (female has a white head, male has a black head) (c) Zealandia
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Getting ready for #Waitangi Day at Cafe Rata! Enjoy delicious "W" biscuits with your coffee on Friday
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