In September, we welcomed the Zoo’s new CEO, Karen Fifield. Karen has spent 15 years in various roles within zoos. She is an inspirational and experienced leader in the Australasian zoo network and was the Director of Discovery and Learning and Acting CEO at Zoos Victoria. She has also been a consultant to a number of Australasian zoos in recent times. An ARAZPA Board member for six years, Karen began her career in zoos as an Education Officer at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Karen’s love for the Zoo and her focus on creating innovative, intimate and unique visitors experiences is the perfect combination to lead Wellington Zoo into its next era.
In addition to our new Australian CEO, we’ve had others join the team this year who bring their knowledge and experience to Wellington Zoo from working with wildlife overseas. They include Tilewa Ojo, an experienced animal handler who joined the training team in July 2006, chimpanzee keeper Cassandra Butler and bird /carnivore specialist Daniel Meates who also joined the life sciences team.
Within the learning team two new positions have been created, Team Leader Learning and Team Leader Guides, filled by Oli du Bern and Sarah Satterthwaite respectively.
In January Ross Provan became a full time employee as Co-ordinator of Development Projects, overseeing all aspects of the Zoo’s redevelopment.
Wellington Zoo would not survive without the help of those who selflessly donate their time. Our 69 volunteers worked around 8,460 hours last year – equivalent to four full time employees. Whether it is through making our events more special, making enrichment or helping out life sciences staff, the contribution made by our volunteers is impossible to overstate.
Lynda Whytock, a volunteer from the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (UK) conducted a three week audit of our volunteer programme. Her input will help as we develop the volunteer programme further.
Wellington Zoo serves as a living classroom for Unitec students studying towards a certificate in Captive Animal Management. These students do practical experience at Wellington Zoo getting hands on in all sections of the Zoo, so they get the chance to work across all species groups and learn the realities of life as a zoo keeper.
The Zoo has enlisted the help of a number of prominent Wellingtonians – at this stage, Tana and Rochelle Umaga and family, His Excellency John Dauth, LVO, the Australian High Commissioner and Jane Diplock, AO, Chairman of the Securities Commission – to act as Ambassadors for the Zoo. These enthusiastic Wellingtonians, who will be joined by other Ambassadors in the coming year, are committed to helping us energise our fundraising efforts and to lift the profile of the Zoo. We thank them for their willingness to support us.
As we acknowledge those whose efforts help the Zoo to succeed, we pay tribute to the contribution made by Neale Pitches as the Zoo’s foundation Chair. Neale was appointed in July 2003 to lead the establishment of the Trust and stepped down in December 2006. Neale brought not only his skills as an internationally acclaimed educationalist and experienced organisational leader but his enthusiasm and energy for zoos and conservation. Neale was instrumental in shaping the Zoo redevelopment proposals and gaining Wellington City’s support for these. We thank him for his tireless efforts in helping to build the foundations for the Zoo’s future.