One of the key factors contributing to our Zoo’s success and achievements over the last year is our people. Their calibre, passion and commitment are what make our Zoo great.
As part of our commitment to embedding a culture of ongoing learning, and growing and developing our people we held 20 internal learning sessions throughout the year. These covered a range of topics such as project planning, sustainability at home, collections, kokako research and planning for a debt free future. The sessions were run by a mix of external and internal facilitators and they highlight the passion and skills of our people.
Our Aoraki Awards are one of the ways we reward and recognise our people. The word Aoraki means ‘sky piercer’ and the annual long service function took place for the second time in June 2011. The awards honour staff who are celebrating their 5, 10, 15 etc year anniversary at the Zoo. While we value the service of all of our people the most notable award went to Murray Roberts for his outstanding contributions and commitment during an impressive period of 45 years service to the Zoo.
The monthly ‘Roar of Honour’ is where we take time out to reflect on and formally celebrate the successes of our people and the way in which they have demonstrated their commitment by going the extra mile. All staff have an opportunity to provide nominations which are linked to our six strategic elements. This recognition programme provides an opportunity to take stock and share some of the truly amazing work carried out by our people.
Participation in the JRA Best Workplaces survey saw a huge increase in our response rate this year. This moved from 75% to 90.2% and we were ranked 12 out of 112 in the small-medium organisation category. Areas where we have achieved a significant improvement include; “People share their knowledge and ideas freely in this organisation”, “Communication in this organisation is open and honest”, “The organisation delivers on the promises it makes to its customers” and “The work I do makes full use of my knowledge and skills”. While these improvements are fantastic we are keen to build on this even further and our aim is that Wellington Zoo is the ‘best little place to work in the world’.
Our Veterinary Wildlife and Zoo Medicine Masterate Programme with Massey University also continues to be extremely successful in building wildlife and zoo veterinary capability for New Zealand. We also remain involved in training skilled zoo keepers for the region through the Unitec Captive Wild Animals programme, of which we have four students this year. The Zoo also supports the carpentry apprenticeship of a member of the property team who won a diligence award at WelTec and was also the first to finish his year, finishing one month early.
In March this year we successfully renewed our primary level accreditation under the Accident Compensation Corporation’s Workplace Safety Management Practices scheme. This confirms that we have sound health and safety practices and standards in place and entitles us to a discount on our ACC levies for the next three years.