Like many kiwi kids, 8-year-old Jack Bright celebrates his birthday with a party in his backyard – but this year was a little different. He asked his parents Lettie and Chris if instead of a party with presents, they could hold a festival to raise funds for endangered animals!

Jack is an avid native bird lover and some of his favourite species are tīeke (saddleback), kererū and kōkako. He likes to read information about each bird in his spare time and has a wealth of knowledge on their bird calls, their colouring, how many are in the wild and where they live. 

After mulling it over they decided this would be a great way for Jack to engage in conservation. As Lettie herself works for the charity Big Buddy, she knows only too well how invaluable contributions like this are for not-for-profit organisations like ours.

As Friends of the Zoo the family already knew about Auckland Zoo’s conservation work. So they decided that all proceeds from the day would be donated to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund so that we could continue our work helping these species, and others like them. 

They set up their backyard with games and activities; animal face-painting, a sausage sizzle and ball-toss into a barrel where the winner would get to take home a swan plant and learn how to raise their own monarch butterflies. Lettie says the part that took her the most time was making sure all of the prizes were environmentally friendly so they weren’t contributing to plastic pollution and unnecessary waste. Before engaging in the fun, Jack gave a quick speech letting their friends and family know why native birds are in need of our help and they were able to raise an incredible $570!

To thank them for their conservation-spirit and generosity our Conservation Fund administrator (and former bird keeper) Michelle welcomed Lettie, Jack and his 6-year-old brother Luke, to help us feed some of our endemic birds in our Forest aviary. Kākā, kererū, tīeke, korimako, pāteke and kākāriki all live here and the family had a wonderful time connecting with, and helping to feed them fruit and nuts.  

This was a wonderful way for Jack to have a tangible link to the money that he helped to raise and the species that are helped through this support. We’re very thankful of considerate kiwis like Jack and his family. If you’d also like to contribute to our conservation work in Aotearoa, you can find out more here