What's been happening

Over the past 12 years, 26 hectares of plantings matched to habitat conditions have been established at Waiwhakareke. Supported by Council and other community nurseries, eco-sourced seed is collected, propagated and grown on to the grade required - ensuring strong, robust plants are available. 

A combination of volunteers and contractors will plant up the remaining 34 hectares in the years ahead. Most notably an annual Arbor Day event is undertaken at the park where volunteer numbers have reached 2,000 (mainly children) with as many as 35,000 plants planted on the day. A dedicated maintenance and monitoring programme underpins the restoration programme and its success is clearly evident on the ground.

The full range of plant life forms, including epiphytes (plants which grow harmlessly on other plants), can be introduced only over decades as late successional trees take many years to reach full maturity and deliver the canopy function. 

Native bird and invertebrate introductions depend on the developing plant communities and will occur as the necessary habitat conditions are developed, and following Tainui tikanga. Tieke (saddleback) will likely be the first introduction. Ecological monitoring is conducted annually mainly by the University. Results regularly feed into management to ensure a best practice adaptive management approach.

Structures, tracks, community park entrances, playgrounds and pouwhenua are to be added as the planting unfolds across the park.

By 2020 Hamilton Zoo's education staff will deliver education programmes to at least 50 per cent of all school students in the learning shelters. Tertiary programmes provided by Wintec and the University of Waikato will build capability and capacity. All visitors will benefit from unique experiences and learning opportunities in line with the zoo’s purpose of inspiring conservation action.

Page reviewed: 06 Apr 2016 1:07pm