The Conservation Fund supports conservation efforts in the wild.

Zoo staff established the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund in 2000 to support conservation efforts in the wild, in New Zealand and overseas.

Funds are raised from visitor admissions and donations.

To date, the fund has raised over $4,000,000 to support a wide variety of conservation projects aligned with the work of Auckland Zoo.

We support our own staff to develop or utilise their specialist skills and participate in field conservation initiatives. These can be projects led by Auckland Zoo or by other conservation partners. On average, the Zoo spends approximately 11,000 hours working on around 40 projects around New Zealand and overseas to conserve wildlife and wild habitat.

We also provide financial resources for external organisations and individuals to carry out vital field conservation work in New Zealand and overseas.

Small Grants Programme

The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund Small Grants Programme exists to help provide relatively small levels of funding for ongoing projects or pilot programmes with clear conservation value.

​Small grants will be awarded up to a maximum of NZD$5000. However, in most cases, successful grants will be in the region of NZD$2000 - $4000. The amount applied for through the programme should represent a minimum of 25% of the project's overall budget.

Auckland Zoo is pleased to announce that, in our centennial year, the next round of the small grants programme will focus on projects conserving the world’s most threatened species – those that are believed to number 100 individuals or fewer.

 We therefore invite applications for up to NZ$5,000 for small projects (less than NZ$20,000 total cost) from New Zealand or any developing country by Friday 24 June 2022. Applications must include evidence of the species’ population size by IUCN Red Listing criteria or other similar data in a publication or official report

Small Grant Application Form

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Before completing an Auckland Zoo Small Grant application and to give your application the best chance for consideration please consider the following:

The intent of this programme is to help provide relatively small levels of funding for ongoing projects or pilot programmes with clear conservation value – please make sure your project qualifies. Many applications are rejected at this first hurdle because their project has a value greater than NZD $20,000.

We have noticed a particularly high number of applications with a very similar format of providing community workshops, meetings and /or events as a mechanism to promote conservation. While we remain open to this approach, generally these applications will not be considered unless:

  1. They are providing a targeted approach to a specific issue.
  2. Results are able to be measured.
  3. And have the support of a well-known, international conservation organisation or the relevant IUCN specialist group (e.g. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group).

Many applications are rejected due to inaccurate or too brief budgets. We recommend you put time into properly preparing your budgets including detailed breakdown of costs including hourly rates for labour associated with the project. It also helps if you have checked your figures – we believe the quality and accuracy of an application will be reflected in the delivery of a project.

It is also worth noting the that deadlines are New Zealand time, which means you might have to submit your application a day earlier in later time zones. We try and be flexible on this but with increasing number of applications to process you run the risk of your application being rejected for simply not being submitted before the deadline.

If you are providing professional references you must provide organisational/institutional email addresses for your referees rather than personal email addresses (e.g. not Hotmail and Gmail email addresses).

Please take the time to fill out our application form completely and don't be too brief in descriptions or answers. Remember this is a competitive process, so make your application compelling and don't be afraid to include pictures or additional support documents.

You can also ask our team for help or advice by emailing:

Eligible projects must:

  • Have a clear conservation value
  • Be based in New Zealand or in a developing country (although applicants can be based anywhere in the world)
  • Be aligned with the geographic or taxonomic scope of the current small grants round (if applicable). From time to time our Small Grants Programme is focussed on a particular region of the world (e.g the South Pacific) or a particular group of species (e.g. Invertebrates). 

General items not considered eligible:

  • Projects based in non-developing countries (except New Zealand)
  • Projects not aligned with the geographic or taxonomic focus of the current round of grants (if applicable)
  • Pure research (i.e. research projects must demonstrate applied benefit to conservation and/or target an identified conservation need)
  • The applicant's attendance at a conference, seminar, workshop or meeting

​​Specific examples of items not eligible within an application:

  • Thesis production costs
  • Retrospective costs
  • Prize money
  • Entertainment costs
  • Social or networking functions
  • Fundraising or general income-growth purposes
  • Debt servicing or financial costs
  • Office equipment (unless an essential element in completing field work)
  • Internships and volunteer programmes (unless benefiting an identified conservation need.)​​​​​​​

Project applications will score more highly during the selection process if they:

  • Are likely to have a direct conservation impact
  • Are collaborative and involve a local conservation organisation
  • Are logistically feasible, and fiscally and scientifically sound​​
  • Include an assessment of how well the project achieved its conservation objectives

Grants of up to NZD $5000 are available. However, in most cases, successful grants will be between NZD $2000 and NZD $4000.

The application must represent a minimum of 25% of the project's overall budget (excluding in-kind support). This means that the maximum budget a project applying for a Category 3 grant can be is  NZD $20,000.

  • The application must be completed on the standard Auckland Zoo form and saved in Microsoft Word format
  • The application must be submitted electronically. Hard copy submissions are not accepted. All application materials must be attached to a single email sent to:

Auckland Zoo staff will review all applications received by the submission deadline, including assessing references and other details (e.g. budgets, financial contributions from other sources).

A short-list of applications will then be forwarded for consideration to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund Committee, which will decide which projects will be funded

The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund Committee meet to evaluate shortlisted applications approximately 4 weeks following each Small Grants Programme closing date. We will attempt to inform applicants of outcomes by email within six weeks of the closing date.

Following notification of your successful application, Auckland Zoo will require the following:

  • Pre-printed deposit slip or certified bank statement (i.e. certified means signed and stamped by bank official) or if appropriate, letter on organisation letterhead stating the bank account you want the payment to go into and signed by the director or finance person with their name and position stated
  • For US accounts we require a SORT code
  • For European accounts we require an IBAN number