Ngā mihi o te tau hou / Happy New Year! It’s almost 2024, a perfect time to share some highlights from ‘the year that was’ and say a heartfelt thank you for all your support.

It was a challenging start to 2023 when the Zoo, along with many parts of Tāmaki Makaurau and the wider North Island, experienced significant rainfall and subsequent flooding. This saw the South America Rainforest and Te Wao Nui tracks close for several weeks as remedial works were carried out. We are incredibly grateful to our communities who supported and cheered us on until these tracks were able to be reopened again.

Earlier this year, we started to feed the Zoo’s big cats large pieces of carcass during public hours – an educational opportunity for our visitors to understand more about their diet, witness the power of these incredible apex predators, and more importantly an incredibly enriching and physiologically beneficial feeding strategy for the cats. In July we welcomed Bornean orangutan Daya from Ouwehands Zoo in The Netherlands as part of the International zoos breeding programme. We launched a whole host of amazing Zoo Experiences and we celebrated Te Wiki o te Reo Māori with a video series sharing pūrākau and whakataukī connected to three beautiful manu species. We also confirmed an amazing new home for Asian elephant Burma at Monarto Safari Park in Australia, with her journey set to take place in 2024. Most recently, we called on Kiwis to download the zoos free app ‘PalmOil Scan’ and use our collective purchasing power to help protect rainforests and critically endangered wildlife. 

We’ve achieved a lot for wildlife conservation this year with your help – continuing our vital work out in the field in Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes our third year of hatching and hand-rearing tara iti chicks as part of the recovery programme with our partners at the Department of Conservation, assisting with kākāpō health checks and transmitter changes on their sanctuary islands, lending our skills for kea banding and health checks in Matukituki Valley with Kea Conservation Trust, releasing more endemic wētāpunga to Ipipiri / Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf islands, conservation monitoring for Duvaucel’s geckos in the Hauraki Gulf, helping to hatch and rear hoiho / yellow-eyed penguin chicks at Dunedin Wildlife Hospital for the second year in a row, taking part in the annual pakake / seal pup count on Stewart Island and continuing conservation research and monitoring programmes for Korowai (Muriwai) geckos, northern striped geckos and Alborn skinks… as always list goes on!  

Further afield, our kaimahi journeyed to Fatu Hiva Island as part of an emergency conservation project with the Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie (SOP Manu) to save the critically endangered Fatu Hiva monarch and to Rarotonga to assist with recovery efforts for the kākerōri / Rarotongan monarch.


And that's a wrap...2023!

We look back and celebrate the year that was, and what we collectively achieved for wildlife and wild places!

We also continued to support conservation projects around the world through the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund through long term partnerships in Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific, and announced the 11 recipients of our 2023 small grants programme focused on Aotearoa species, supported by Barfoot & Thompson.

As always, our incredible Zoo veterinary team lent their conservation medicine skills to care for wildlife from the wild. This year the team cared for numerous taonga species that were brought into us for treatment and care, such as two critically ill matuku-hūrepo - one of which was successfully treated and released, an injured Olive Ridley sea turtle that was discovered washed up on Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē / Ninety Mile Beach and a sick Hawksbill turtle that was found on Muriwai Beach. Our senior veterinary nurse Breeze was recognised as one of our country’s top three veterinary nurses in the 2023 Vet Nurse of the Year Award!

And to top off this amazing year, we recently announced that giraffe Kiraka and Sumatran tiger Zayana are both pregnant and, all going well, are due to give birth during the summer holiday period – we’ll keep you updated!

You support all of this work and more every time you visit us and if you would like to contribute even more the please consider becoming a memberdonating to us or purchasing an item from our Zoo Shop. We look forward to seeing you over the summer!