Protecting a perfect piece of New Zealand

In a forested valley just minutes from downtown Wellington, our rarest native animals are thriving and living free in a unique safe haven.

In an extraordinary 500-year vision, this valley is being restored as closely as possible to its original state: the moment before humans arrived in New Zealand. It’s a 255-hectare living ark.

Of course, we’re talking about Zealandia: the Karori Sanctuary Experience. This landmark conservation project is a huge tourist attraction, a must-see for all visitors to Wellington. The newly completed multi-million-dollar visitor centre takes in hundreds of thousands of people every year and presents our pristine past in a state-of-the-art experience.

We’re very proud to be a long-term principal partner of Zealandia. Our goals of reduced emissions, smaller footprints, recycling and responsible practice are all carried out with this kind of environment in mind. Zealandia is a shared vision of what once was, and can be again. Once you see the place, you’ll understand our attraction to it.

We’ve also supplied an i-car to Zealandia, to help this valuable project operate. The branding and wild animal graphics crawling all over the vehicle also help to spread their message of conservation.

80 million years in the making

Zealandia shares its new name with a lost landmass that broke away from the super-continent of Gondwana. The islands of New Zealand are nearly all that survives of this vanished continent – an isolated ark for the extraordinary survivors of Zealandia. These unique conditions created an ideal habitat for birds to flourish. Free from mammal predation, many different kind of birds evolved, along with insects like the giant weta and the reptile that pre-dates the dinosaurs: the tuatara.

“New Zealand may call itself the youngest country on Earth, but the incredible diversity of our flora and fauna has been at least 80 million years in the making!” says Nancy McIntosh-Ward, head of Zealandia. “Our new name not only links back to this distant past, we plan to create an experience that will, in turn, inspire more visitors to take on the Sanctuary’s mission in their own lives."

The site became famous for the major breakthrough in conservation technology achieved in the 90s, when volunteers built the 8.6 kilometre predator-proof fence that surrounds the Sanctuary. The fence keeps out non-native animals like hedgehogs or possums and enables some of our most threatened species to thrive in regenerated native forest. (Zealandia acknowledges the Maori god of the forests in its Te Reo name - Te Māra a Tāne – which translates as ‘the garden of Tāne’.)

Zealandia is open every day except Christmas Day.

The world’s oldest classroom

Education is a key feature of Zealandia’s operation and a vital part of the worldwide conservation message. Here, students and teachers walk through hectare upon hectare of regenerating forest, where rare and endangered wildlife live freely in their natural habitat.

The Sanctuary offers environmental programmes that provide positive and inspiring experiences for thousands of schoolchildren: in, about and for the environment.

Programme leaders create fun, innovative, hands-on learning experiences that correlate to many of the achievement objectives in the National Curriculum.

Now see it for yourself

A visit to Zealandia is an experience like no other. If you have a current Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage Card, take advantage of the special entry offer noted on the card.*

Bring your walking shoes. There are 34 kilometres of walking tracks through regenerating forest to explore. It took 80 million years to complete this sanctuary, take all the time you like.

Pick up a map and choose where to go. Or join an experienced guide for a two-hour tour. On a guided tour, you’ll learn about New Zealand’s treasured animals and plants and find out why Zealandia is a unique, world-first eco-attraction.

* 'Two-for-one' entitles the holder of a current Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage Card to one free entry to Zealandia: the Karori Sanctuary Experience (and to the Visitor Centre) of an equal or lesser value, when a ticket is purchased and the card is presented. Limited to one use of the card per year.

We’re involved, you can be as well

There is enormous satisfaction to be gained from helping to restore New Zealand’s natural heritage for ourselves, our children and for generations to come.

There are many ways you can get on board. You could become a member, or join the over 400 volunteers who do incredibly valuable work around Zealandia. You could make a donation or leave a bequest.

Already members, volunteers and other supporters have helped the Sanctuary reintroduce little spotted kiwi, saddleback, hihi, tuatara, Maud Island frog and giant weta to the wild on the mainland for the first time in many years, and re-establish wild populations of iconic species like kaka, brown teal, weka, robin, tomtit and whitehead.