Financial success & sustainability

Wellington Zoo is committed to balancing the need to be as accessible as possible for all sectors of the community, with the requirement to generate revenue to enable us to be the best little Zoo in the world.

In a challenging economic climate the Zoo exceeded 20 out of 23 of our key performance measures...

It has always been our goal to be financially self-sustaining in the long term and to reduce our reliance on Wellington City Council for operational funding. Since becoming a charitable trust in 2003 we have made much progress in increasing our share of the costs of running a modern zoo.  The Zoo generated 49% of its operational costs this year and finished with a positive financial result of $30,011.

The table below shows our key earnings for the financial year.

Visitor admissions$1,935,000
Fundraising for capital projects$943,000
Zoo shop retail sales$262,000
Operational sponsorship and grants$209,000

We met or exceeded 16 of our 20 key performance indicators in a still challenging economic climate, including our outstanding total of 196,267 visitors. Successes like this are key to achieving our goal to be more financially sustainable.

Living green is not only better for the environment it is saving us money also. The financial savings gained over the last year through our environmental management system total over $22,000.

Fundraising Highlight

In early March the Zoo hosted its biennial fundraising event, “The Big Bite”, which serves a dual purpose; raising funds for the construction of the new ASB Malayan Sun Bear enclosure at the Zoo, as well as raising funds for Free the Bears Asia. We were fortunate to host Matt Hunt, CEO of Free the Bears Asia as part of this event. The work that Free the Bears Asia does is extremely important, and having him here was a great chance for our staff, visitors and special guests to learn from him. A money-can’t-buy auction raised more than $4,000 for Free the Bears Asia through as well as around $30,000 to help build the our sun bears’ new home. The evening’s auction saw our guests digging deep and we are very grateful for their generosity.

The following organisations helped us with in-kind support for “The Big Bite” event; Attitude for Food, Baxters, Bolton Hotel, Comfort & Quality Hotels, House of Travel, Lake Chalice Wines, Mojo, Red Pebble, Ruth Pretty, Smith the Grocer, Spyglass & The Improvisers. We would also like to thank Ian Paterson (auctioneer), The Cambodian Youth Khmer Community group and Pelangi Nusantara Indonesian dance group for their time.

Friends lending a hand

We enjoy our central role in our community and our place in their affections, thanks to our wonderful donors and supporters:

Wellington City Council, Pricipal Funder  
ASB, Major Partner  
Arataki Honey Stout Trust
Brian Whiteacre Trust The Holdsworth Charitable Trust
Dominion Post The Lion Foundation
Fonterra Brands (Tip Top) Ltd The Radio Network
Infinity Foundation Limited The Southern Trust
Koala Trust Thomas George Macarthy Trust
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Trade Me
Ministry of Tourism Wellington Community Trust
Mojo Coffee Cartel Weta Digital
Pub Charity Victoria University

We also wish to thank all our Big Bite Club members, Monthly Giving Programme members and everyone else who has given their support to the Zoo over the last 12 months. Wellington Zoo could not survive without the support of our friends and supporters.

  • Pacific Radiology continues to provide invaluable support to our veterinary team and are increasingly supporting us with our 'native species' admissions
  • Saatchi & Saatchi continue to create innovative ideas and campaigns for Zoo promotions and events on a pro bono basis
  • Capital & Coast Health Board contribute equipment for use at The Nest Te Kōhanga
  • CDC Pharmaceuticals donate equipment and consumables for The Nest Te Kōhanga
  • GO Wellington provided a Wellington Zoo bus livery and advertising space
  • New Zealand Community Post provided the Zoo with community post envelopes
  • Our Digital Partner, NV Interactive, provided the Zoo with technical support for our website and database platforms
  • The Print Room contributes to the production costs for our quarterly ZooViews newsletter
  • Southern Cross Hospital continues to supply important equipment and consumables to support our veterinary team
  • Tip Top Bakery continues to provide food supplies for our animals
  • Resene Paint provided the Zoo with a substantial supply of buckets for our animal keeping staff
  • McMeekin, Melbar Engineering, Mitre 10 and Trumac provided us with heavily discounted services

And thanks also to all those — too many to mention — who provide us with donations of everything from hazelnuts to honey!


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