Zealandia is the world's first fully fenced urban sanctuary with a 500 year vision to restore a Wellington Valley Forest and freshwater ecosystem as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare eco-sanctuary is a ground breaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of nature wildlife back into the area, six of which were previously absent from mainly in New Zealand for over 100 years. Their ultimate restoration goal is to create a self sustaining ecosystem as free as possible from non-native species.


Paul Atkins discussed the 500 year journey with part covering the last 20 years. He commented on the 1990s and the building of the 9 km fence which was predator proof, killing all predators which was considered absolutely crazy at the time. Crazy is now the reality. His comments were focused on the next 20 years. 2016 saw  126,000 visitors to the sanctuary and Zealandia is in good health and the Valley has managed to transform the city.


Living with nature is the strategy for the 2016-2035 period covering within and beyond the fence.  Zealandia will be the place to transform biodiversity, people and knowledge and through this to transform our capacity for living with nature. A large aspect of this will be making Wellington a better place to live and part of this will be the sanctuary to sea project. This will cover looking at the whole water catchment area from Zealandia lake to the sea with one area in the migration of eels.


Another aspect will be Enhancing the Halo, outside the fence. There is a huge predatory presence there and part of the aspect will be to reduce the number of predators. This will let people hear the birds and restore them in that area. Hopefully this will enable the establishment of a New Zealand urban ecology research centre with active research projects in the sanctuary and establish the health benefits of contact with the natural world. The focus is on the Valley that transforms the way we live with nature, not just in Wellington but in New Zealand and the outside world


Pauls last comments were to refer us to their website at www.visitzealandia.com/livingwithnature