On April 20th, 1906, a group of citizens
successfully petitioned the Wellington City Council to establish
a zoo at Newtown Park. The petitioners believed a zoo would offer
Wellington 'a source of pleasure and perpetual interest'. As New
Zealand's first zoo it would also provide the 'colony' with a complete
collection, starting with ‘King Dick’ the young lion
later presented by a visiting circus.
They were right. A hundred years later Wellingtonians are still
flocking to the Zoo to enjoy both the outing and the exciting opportunities
for discovery. Less predictable would have been the dramatic shift
in zoo philosophy. No longer are animals collected for their entertainment
value, now their interests come first and conservation is paramount.
The current collection – upwards of 450 animals – covers
more than 100 species nearly all of which are in trouble in the
In the year leading up to the centenary – and the third year
since the Wellington Zoo Trust was formed – we have strengthened
our commitment to conservation, to education and research, and to
development of innovative, expert animal care. So it is with some
pride that we have been making exciting plans for the Centennial
celebrations. These will be announced in the run-up to the official
birthday at the end of October.
As departing CEO Alison Lash recently stated, ‘We look forward
to sharing our pride in the achievements of the last 100 years with
our community, as well as our dreams for the future.’