Auckland Zoo welcomed some very special guests this morning to open our new blockbuster science exhibition, Bug Lab!

Open to the public from tomorrow (20 December), our zoo is excited to bring Bug Lab to Auckland. This insect focused exhibition features massive 3-D bug models set within four magical chambers, a spectacularly immersive and interactive experience for all ages that offers visitors the unique opportunity to learn from the genius of bugs.

To kick off our opening ceremony, our guests recieved a warm traditional welcome from Ngāti Whātua Orākei including a formal address by Taiaha Hawke.

In the second phase of our opening ceremony, Regional Facilities Auckland Chair Sir Don McKinnon welcomes our guests and acknowledges and gives thanks to Ngāti Whātua Orākei.

Next, Auckland's Mayor Phil Goff takes the stage and acknowledges the talent, innovation and ingenuity of Te Papa and Weta Workshop - the partnership that also created the ground-breaking exhibition Gallipoli.

Our Mayor also discussed the great impact that Auckland Zoo has had, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, to preserve our native giant insect, the wetapunga. Wetapunga have an important role in New Zealand's ecosystem and heritage and to date, we have been able to successfully breed and release over 3,000 individual wetapunga onto predator-free islands in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. 

At the conclusion of his speech, Phil Goff discusses the unique learning opportunity that this cutting-edge science exhibition presents for both children and adults alike - before officially opening Bug Lab!

Next to the stage is Te Papa's CEO Geraint Martin who discusses the extraordinary and special partnership that Wellington's iconic museum has with the talented people at Weta Workshop - a partnership that truly created something special with Bug Lab. 

To wrap up these proceedings, our own Auckland Zoo Director Jonathan Wilcken took to the podium to thank our amazing build partners NZ Strong, Camelspace and Eventbase, as well as our great family of sponsors that helped us make Bug Lab a reality - NZME, QMS, Mazda, Mainfreight, Auckland Co-op taxis and Val Morgan.