Before humans came to this land, New Zealand was almost completely covered in forest.

Many of New Zealand’s unique native species called these forests home – the beautiful sounds of the songbirds echoed throughout towering stands of kauri, kahikatea, and our other native trees.

The Habitat

While many forests have disappeared, those that remain are revered for their beauty and the life they support. The Forest habitat in Te Wao Nui celebrates our forests and the birds that call it home. From the kākā and kūkupa (also known as kererū) to the kākāriki and tūī, these birds have long been icons of our wildlife.

The Forest takes visitors out of the city to a habitat defined by birdsong, rustling leaves, and a trickling stream.  Representative of the forests of the Waitākere ranges, this is a reminder of the beauty around us and the forest’s grace and power. With so many forests already lost, now is your chance to stand up and be a kaitiaki (guardian) for those that remain.

Tāne Nui a Rangi

A 3m high carving made from totara by renowned artist Lyonel Grant (of Te Arawa). Tāne, the entity of the forest and a life giver, was the son who forced his parents Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūanuku (earth mother) asunder to allow light to fall upon the earth.


Keeper Chat - Ashleigh tell us about New Zealand's kākā and tīeke!

Just one of the many incredible gems waiting to be explored in our sanctuary for New Zealand’s wildlife, The Forest / Te Wao nui a Tāne aviary is home to a whole host of fascinating birds like tūī, kererū, pāteke and the stars of this video!

Meet the Locals

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Te Wao Nui

Te Wao Nui explores the past, showcases the present, and focuses on the future – inviting us all to play a role as kaitiaki (guardians) for our unique wildlife and wild places.