Jobs for Nature


A new conservation project is underway with support from Jobs for Nature/Mahi mō te Taiao to ensure our 185ha of land is further enhanced as a biodiversity hotspot and a critical habitat for some of Canterbury’s most threatened species (e.g. Canterbury boulder copper butterfly).


Through pest eradication and planting programmes, Orana’s grounds have become a safe breeding habitat and connecting wildlife corridor for over 50 native species, such as korimako/bellbird, skinks and multiple locally significant invertebrate species. Our site is also home to a “Site of Ecological Significance” consisting of several historic kōwhai trees and a rare clematis species.

In 2021, Orana received a grant through DOC via the central government’s Jobs for Nature programme for this separate conservation project. The project involves creating an 8.45ha native forest, planting 36,000 eco-sourced stems and site-wide predator control. Site-wide biodiversity surveys showed that the zoo grounds provide important habitat for a plethora of native birds, insects, plants and reptiles.


The new conservation project will restore key grassland/dry savannah and riparian habitats at Orana. An 8.45ha native forest is being established. In total 36,000 eco-sourced stems will be planted. An extensive site-wide pest control programme has been implemented for mammalian predators. Incredible success is being realised, especially in relation to possums and feral cats. Weed control focusses on eradicating wilding pines, gorse and broom.

McLeans Island, where Orana is located, is a highly modified landscape with widespread exotic plantings and grazing animals. Despite this, it is considered ecologically important due to its rare and localised flora and fauna species. Orana’s Jobs for Nature project is a genuine community partnership involving DOC, Lincoln University and Environment Canterbury (ECan). Orana has a co-funding arrangement with ECan as we have shared values for land use long term. 

Our team is truly on a journey creating something for future generations by taking our conservation efforts to a new level.


Protecting the new conservation project

As a charitable trust, Orana Wildlife Park separately raises 100% of funds for capital projects and essential maintenance works. We wish to sincerely acknowledge the Kiwi Gaming Foundation, J.I. Urquhart Family Trust, Mainland Foundation and the Christchurch Casinos Charitable Community Trust for generously providing the funds needed to enable us to extend our MPI compliant boundary fence by 2 kilometres to protect this significant restoration area.