This major project over 2021 and 2022 will create a new conservation precinct showcasing two of our key visitor attractions: Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. The new entry precinct will connect the two sites and provide facilities for visitors to either destination as well as the local community.
Hamilton Zoo is well-loved community asset and plays an important role in connecting people with nature and conservation activities and providing fun experiences that inform and
educate visitors. Zoo staff are kaitiaki to over 600 exotic and native species and
the Zoo participates in breeding programmes for endangered animals and ongoing
conservation and research projects.
Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is a unique ecological restoration project
situated in a largely urban setting, with the long-term aim of reconstructing
the forest, wetland and lake ecosystems present in pre-European times. The park
opened to the public in late 2019 and entry is free.
Both attractions are on Brymer Road in north Hamilton.
The shared entry precinct project has three stages:
The welfare of our animal whanau is our top
priority. We will work closely with contractors through all stages of the
project to maintain the wellbeing of our animals and minimise the impacts of
- In February 2021, stage 1 will deliver a new entry building for Hamilton Zoo, connections between the two destinations, a public-facing café and toilets. A viewing tower and an educational walk will be constructed, subject to achieving external funding.
- Starting in late 2021, stage 2 will deliver safe access for pedestrians and all modes of transport, improved bus facilities and an upgrade of Brymer Road, from Baverstock Road to just north of the Zoo, so it is appropriate for an urban environment.
- Stage 3 will develop a new education and function centre. The timing of stage 3 will be set through Council's long-term planning process.
Why is the work being carried out?
The Hamilton Zoo master plan includes development of a shared entry precinct with Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park to better link these two destinations. With the current Zoo entry building due for renewal, we have decided to begin construction of the shared entry precinct. Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, which opened to the public in November 2019, does not have any facilities, so this project will provide shared facilities such as parking, public toilets and access to a café.
Brymer Road is currently a rural road. As it is part of the shared entry precinct, we want to make it safer for all visitors and the community as Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke grow in popularity. Works will include pedestrian and cycle facilities and a reduced speed zone of 30km/hr between Bagust Road and the Zoo Waiwhakareke entry precinct. This project is staged, with the first stage (Baverstock Road to north of Zoo) starting in 2021. Stage 2 is planned for year seven of the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan (2027/28)
How long will it take?
The project to create a shared entry precinct starts in February 2021. It is expected to take 18 months to complete the full project, including the first section of the Brymer Road upgrade. As areas are completed, they will be open to the public.
Will the Zoo be closed at any point?
It is likely the Zoo will need to be closed for short periods while the new building is commissioned. We will provide customers with plenty of notice and do the best we can to avoid busy times such as school holidays.
Will the work affect the playground?
The Hamilton Zoo playground is being replaced alongside this project. We will provide alternative play spaces in the lower area of the Zoo while work is underway. The existing playground will close in February and reopen in December.
How will the project affect Zoo operations generally?
We will do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum. Some parts of Brymer Road will be under traffic management at different points of the project. We may need to change the way visitors access the Zoo entrance building and bus drop-off and parking will be relocated during the project.
The Zoo playground will be closed from February 2021 while it is upgraded.
Will there still be plenty of parking available?
There will be reduced parking capacity in the existing Zoo car park. However temporary parking will be available behind the Hamilton Astronomical Society building beside the Zoo.
Will the café be open throughout the project?
The café within the Zoo will remain open for the majority of the project. There will be a period when it is closed but alternative food and beverage facilities will be provided during this time.
Will there still be animal experiences and keeper talks?
Animal experiences are currently on hold due to COVID-19 precautions. We will continue our popular keeper talks apart from periods when the Zoo is temporarily closed.
What steps are you taking to protect the animals?
We take our responsibilities as kaitiaki to the Zoo's more than 600 animals very seriously. Zoo staff will monitor the health and behaviour of our animals closely to make sure they remain calm and happy.
Will I still be able to drive down Brymer Road during and after the project?
The road may have to be closed at certain points with detours in place and there will be traffic management during the upgrade. Once the work is completed, a permanent 30km/h speed limit will be in place within the Zoo boundaries. Motorists who use Brymer Road regularly may want to reconsider their route.
How is this project being funded?
Funding is through the 2018-28 Long-Term Plan.