In November 1911, a zoo opened in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga. This area belonged to John James Boyd, who set up a private menagerie consisting of six lions, a tiger, a panther, one hyena, two dogs, vultures, an emu and several monkeys - and here the early seeds of Auckland Zoo were sown.
The residents of Onehunga were upset about the zoo - and the following years saw a multitude of safety concerns and complaints about the noise, smell, and crowds. In June 1922, Auckland City Council purchased the animals and six months later, on 17 December 1922, opened what is now Auckland Zoo, at the current Western Springs location.
One of the early challenges the Zoo faced was to build a collection of animals. City business people were encouraged to seek out new stock whilst on overseas trips, which brought many more new animals for the Zoo.
In 1956, it was decided
that zoo visitors wanted more "entertainment". Chimpanzee tea
parties had been happening for some time at London Zoo, and were
very popular. Auckland Zoo decided to follow suit, and four young
chimpanzees arrived in October 1956 to entertain the crowds.
Having spent time in London learning this art, the chimpanzees, Janie, Bobbie, Josie and Minnie, settled in quickly to the daily tea party ritual and entertained thousands of visitors. This famous four featured in tea parties until the Zoo put an end to this primarily visitor-focused activity in 1964. By this stage, attitudes to animals in captivity were beginning to change.
Janie is the last remaining of the group known as the "tea party chimps". You can visit her at the Zoo, where she is one of the oldest and much-loved members of the Zoo family.
|1922||On 17 December 1922, Auckland Zoo opened at its current Western Springs location|
|1923||Auckland Zoo's first star arrives - Jamuna the elephant. The area outside the Old Elephant House is now named Jamuna Plaza after her.|
|1925||Excitement, fear and panic rages in Auckland when a leopard manages to escape from the Zoo. A month later it is found drowned in Lady Bay, near St. Heliers.|
Rajah, the Zoo's first male elephant arrived at Auckland Zoo, from Hobart, Australia, in November 1930. Unbeknown to the Zoo at the time, Rajah was a difficult animal to manage. After many years of trying to cope with him, Rajah sadly become too dangerous and unmanageable, and was eventually shot in March 1936. Rajah is currently on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. According to the book, 'Tiger by the Tail', prior to his coming to Auckland Zoo, the brutal action of a visitor at Hobart Zoo placing a lighted cigarette in Rajah's trunk is thought to have been key in triggering his difficult behaviour.
|1949||The Zoo was officially allowed to exhibit kiwi.|
|1956||First 'chimpanzee tea party' held on Sunday, 25 November, 1956 (continuing until 1964).|
|1958||The Zoo opens the Children's Zoo.|
|1965||Jamuna the elephant passes away.|
|1971||ASB funds the gifting of female elephant Kashin to the Zoo. She arrives in 1973.|
|1977||In June 1977, floods gives hippo, Faith, freedom as it floats out of its enclosure into Western Springs.|
|1981||The Zoo's first animal hospital opens.|
|1988||The Zoo plays host to two
giant panda bears. Xiao Xiao (four year old male)
and Fei Fei (three year old female). More than 300,000
visitors see the pandas in three months.
Their visit raises $100,000 for panda research and conservation in China as well as funds for conservation projects in New Zealand.
|1989||The Zoo's Japanese Garden opens - a joint sister-city cultural project of the Fukuoka City Hall authority and Auckland City Council.|
|1990||Burma, a young female Asian elephant arrives from Myanmar (Burma) to join Kashin.|
|1992||The New Zealand Aviary opens - a free-flight aviary and bush walk featuring NZ native species. This area has been redeveloped to become 'The Forest', as part of the Zoo's NZ precinct development, Te Wao Nui, which opened in September 2011.|
|1996||The Rainforest opens - a naturalistic exhibit, featuring different primate species, including cotton-top tmarins - which have access to a large area of this forest precinct.|
|1996||The Zoo becomes part of the BNZ Save the Kiwi Operation Nest Egg programme - incubating, hatching, rearing and releasing kiwi to safe sanctuaries to help improve kiwi survival rates in the wild.|
|1997||The Kiwi and Tuatara House is re-vamped. A new lemur exhibit opens.|
|1998||The Zoo's new large African precinct, Pridelands, opens - an immersive and expansive naturalistic environment - home to African species - including giraffe, zebra, lion, rhino, springbok, and flamingo.|
|1998||Female Sumatran tiger Nisha arrives.|
|1999||The first series of "The Zoo" television series screens on TV1. To date, 12 series of The Zoo have screened.|
|2001||The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund is established to support the conservation of endangered animals in the wild in both New Zealand and overseas.|
|2001||Sea Lion and Penguin Shores (now called 'The Coast') opens in September 2001 - an award-winning exhibit representing New Zealand's coastline, featuring a beach, walkthrough aviary and large underwater viewing window, and planted out with 100% NZ native plant species.|
|2003 - 2004||Newborn siamang gibbon Iwani is rejected by his mother Iuri at 7 weeks old, and successfully hand-raised by keepers and re-introduced back to his family, aged one year.|
|2004||Following the Zoo's decision to focus on just one great ape species - the orangutan, Auckland Zoo's family of six chimpanzees relocate to Hamilton Zoo - to a new state-of-the-art facility. This leaves Auckland Zoo with just 2 chimps, Bobbie and Janie - the two remaining "tea party" chimps. Bobbie dies in November 2004.|
|2005||ZOOM (behind the scenes) tours start.|
|2005||Bornean orangutan Madju born - the first orangutan to be born at the Zoo in 11 years.|
|2005||Auckland Zoo awarded Department of Conservation's 2005 Conservation Achievement Award in Partnerships and Community Involvement.|
|2006||The Zoo's only tiger - female Sumatran tiger Nisha, dies suddenly. Male Sumatran tiger Oz arrives from Israel, and female Sumatran tiger, Molek, - to be paired with Oz, arrives from Hamilton Zoo.|
|2006||Auckland Zoo vets are appointed supplier of veterinary services for the Department of Conservation's (DOC) Kakapo Recovery Programme.|
|2007||Official opening of New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine (NZCCM) - the first national centre for conservation medicine in the world - replacing the Zoo's old vet centre.|
|2007||Auckland Zoo is awarded the highest international accreditation standard in environmental management - the International Standards Organisation's ISO 14001. This comes two years ahead of its 2009 target. The Zoo also achieves another 2009 environmental goal - that of reducing 85% of all Zoo waste.|
|2008||After 10 years planning, the Zoo makes history with the breeding of three Sumatran tiger cubs (Jalur, Berani and Cinta) for the international captive breeding programme for this critically endangered big cat.|
|2009||The Zoo releases 12 Northern tuatara of rare Cuvier Island descent onto Cuvier Island, boosting this island's known tuatara population by over a third.|
|2009||The Zoo's much-loved matriarch - 40-year-old female Asian elephant Kashin is put to sleep, after losing her battle with chronic health problems. A record 18,000 people come to celebrate her life on Sunday 29 August - the most visitors ever to visit the Zoo in one day.|
|2009||Auckland Zoo hosts kakapo Sirocco for Conservation Week in partnership with DOC - providing a unique opportunity for visitors to see a kakapo - and the first zoo in New Zealand to ever host a kakapo.|
|2009||Auckland Zoo is awarded the Year of the Frog Award by ARAZPA (Australasian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquaria) for its outstanding efforts in raising awareness of the amphibian crisis - a year-long campaign that also resulted in over $35,000 being raised to assist frog conservation.|
|2010||Construction begins on the new NZ precinct development, Te Wao Nui, due to open in September 2011.|
|2010||The Zoo achieves milestone of successfully incubating, hatching, rearing and releasing 200 North Island brown kiwi chicks for the BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme.|
|2011||Te Wao Nui, Auckland Zoo's largest ever development, opens on 11 September 2011.|