NEWS


 

New Zealand’s lizards: remembering a forgotten fauna

New Zealand: a land of birds?

Christopher Woolley

Aotearoa is well known as a land of birds. Some of the earliest observations of the country’s natural history were ornithological: Joseph Banks famously described being “awakd by the singing of the birds ashore” on his voyage aboard the HMS Endeavour (1768-1771). Ngā manu (birds) often appear in whakataukī (Māori proverbs). The phrase: “He Kotuku rerenga tahi/ A white heron flies once” is used to refer to an auspicious occasion. Birds are taonga and part of the ‘kiwi’ identity. They have become part of our national brand, standing for the uniqueness of our way of life and the fragility of our ecosystems, and we treasure them for it.

Kākahi are coming to ZEALANDIA!

Learn about this important ecological engineer

Dr Danielle Shanahan

ZEALANDIA is welcoming a new addition to the sanctuary - Kākahi (freshwater mussels) are being introduced to our upper lake for the first time!

While they don’t have feathers and eyes, we are REALLY excited. The two species of kākahi are considered as ‘At Risk – Declining’ by the Department of Conservation—and they have a very important role as an ‘ecosystem engineer’ in our waterways. They can help keep lakes clean and healthy.

Wellington is becoming a global leader as we learn to live with nature

Dr Danielle Shanahan

Our nation’s capital is being celebrated as ‘an ecological triumph’ (National Geographic January 2018)—Wellington is one of the only cities in the world where the diversity of native birds is increasing. This change has been driven by the establishment of ZEALANDIA 22 years ago, the 225 ha sanctuary for wildlife just 3 km from downtown Wellington. 

Native fish surveying

Restoring ZEALANDIA's waterways

Dr Danielle Shanahan

ZEALANDIA has a 500-year vision of restoration, and our lakes offer a unique challenge in this respect. They are man-made, and restoring them to the state they were in before the dams went up is not really an option. As a result, we are now aiming to create healthy, functioning lake ecosystems here in the heart of Wellington.

Older and wiser? Foraging in adult and juvenile hihi

Research by PhD Student Vix Franks

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Young animals face many challenges when they become independent from their parents. One problem is they need to find food, but have little experience to help them. Even human teenagers can struggle when there’s no one else around to do the shopping, and for wild animals, making the best foraging decisions is even more crucial for their survival. During my PhD I’m investigating how juvenile birds overcome this challenge.

Sanctuary to Sea

Kia Mauriora te Kaiwharawhara

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

ZEALANDIA’s first 20 years was all about focusing on the land within our pioneering predator-proof fence, and what a success this has been. The valley now harbours a rich habitat for many birds, lizards, and invertebrates, and our vegetation is now thriving. This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of a huge range of volunteers, members, staff and donors that have supported the project along the way.

Freshwater Citizen Science at ZEALANDIA

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

On 18th November 2017, Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) run its first Freshwater Citizen Science workshop aimed at community groups. This workshop was held in ZEALANDIA as part of its new project, Sanctuary to Sea. Around 40 people from all ages and from various locations around the Wellington region, including Kaiwharawhara water catchment, Owhiro and Waiwhetu streams, attended this instructive and fun event.

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