Science and research

New Zealand faces serious and ongoing decline of native flora and fauna. The Hamilton Ecological District has only 1.6 per cent of indigenous vegetation habitat remaining and inland Waikato River catchment wetlands have been reduced from 14 per cent to 1.0 per cent making this reconstruction a national priority. 

Urban dwellers are increasingly disconnected with the natural world. As kaitiaki/stewards of our natural heritage, we have a responsibility to reverse this decline and repair past damage and reconnect urban dwellers with nature.

Planning and management at Waiwhakareke is underpinned by seven years of government-funded urban ecology research led by the University of Waikato, and a permanent monitoring network. This long-term, research-based project is a robust step towards remedying biodiversity decline in the Waikato that addresses a need for reliable and efficient approach to restoration. It also provides a significant opportunity to undertake new and original research involving the community.

Science and research are important focuses for Waiwhakareke's partners, and a range of scientific reports and analysis have been undertaken – and continue – at the site.

These research and science project cover a range of topics, including:

  • ​The effects of conversion of farmland to native forest, and how that effects a lake catchment.
  • Successful revegetation, and revegetation monitoring methods.
  • Reconstruction of functioning ecosystems, particularly semi-swamp forest, in urban areas.
  • Peat bog recreations.
  • Population analysis of plants, and the use of seeds, in ecological restoration and rehabilitation projects.

​Hamilton Zoo is contracted to the Ministry of Education, providing Learning Experience Outside the Classroom experiences to about 8,000 school students every year. Learning shelters will be distributed throughout the park and zoo, providing a unique, stimulating learning opportunity for students and visitors. This will enable delivery to multiple groups at the same time. Tracks and walkways provide recreational opportunities and access for regular maintenance ensuring the plantings have the best chance of establishing. A progressive phased development of the park will focus environmental and conservation education in the Waikato and provide a national model for urban greening and sustainability connected to several international initiatives.

Page reviewed: 06 Apr 2016 1:04pm