Date: 27 March 2009 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Conservation Minister Tim Groser today officially opened the upgraded Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre and marked the occasion by releasing a young brown kiwi into the Pukaha forest.
"Congratulations to the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board for all their hard work in realising the excellent new features of the visitor centre. It's now a wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors alike to learn about New Zealand's unique natural heritage," Mr Groser said.
Improvements to the visitor centre, managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), are expected to boost visitor numbers by around 10 per cent, to more than 40,000 visitors a year.
New computer generated moving images and interactive displays recreate the sights and sounds of an ancient forest, and tell the stories associated with the visitor centre and adjoining Pukaha forest.
Visitors can also learn about the centre's captive breeding programmes, helping to save some of New Zealand's iconic species, and progress being made towards restoring Pukaha forest, into which kaka, kiwi and kokako have been returned.
Release of the young brown kiwi, named Timata, brings the kiwi population in the Pukaha forest to around 20 birds.
"Releasing young Timata, adopted by pupils at nearby Eketahuna School, into the forest symbolises the huge amount of community support for the Pukaha Mount Bruce centre.
"The Department of Conservation, Horizons and Greater Wellington Regional Councils, sponsors and the Wairarapa community have all put in a huge effort towards restoration of the Pukaha forest. It's a great example of community conservation in action," Mr Groser said.