New Zealand is a land defined by many colour palettes, but that of the South Island’s high country is one of the most iconic.

The shades of grey that resonate through the schist rock and the dull greens and mustard yellows of the tussocks are contrasted in the bold wings of the birds that live here.

The Habitat

The High Country represents all the iconic elements of the South Ialand  in Te Wao Nui, and gives visitors the chance to come face-to-face with its most famous resident, the kea. The streams throughout this habitat are the ideal home for whio (blue duck), whose sole habitat is New Zealand’s fast flowing streams.

Like many animals in Te Wao Nui, the species seen in The High Country have developed their unique characteristics over centuries of isolation. As humans continue to explore and move into their habitats, it is important that we act as kaitiaki for these species and habitats.

Stone wall and High Country hut

The stone wall cladding is a basalt schist stone, typical of old South Island huts. The High Country hut features a mud textured floor and plaster work that is themed to look as though it is falling off to add to the aged appearance of the hut.


Monitoring the endangered Takahē

We’re helping to safeguard the future of takahē in Aotearoa! This incredible ground-dwelling bird was thought to be extinct for fifty years until they were famously rediscovered in 1948 and now 450 individual birds survive today.

Meet the Locals

Buy tickets online

Save time when you arrive and get your tickets to the Zoo online now.

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.