Conservation, community and consumers combine for Pūkaha success

Conservation is at the heart of Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Over the last six months, they’ve kept their purpose at the centre of what they do while exploring innovating ways to respond to the COVID-19 challenge.

Like other operators, Pūkaha have moved to attract the domestic market.

“Finding new ways to attract domestic visitors was something we got to work on fast, we created new products like overnight campervan stays where visitors can experience the sunrise with our unique native wildlife’, says Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre General Manager Emily Court.

Seeing increasing numbers of domestic visitors showing up in campervans, Pūkaha introduced campervan stays that allow guests to see the reserve at night and as the forest awakens.

“During alert level 2 we also introduced bubble tours. Which allowed us to still operate safely by taking up to six guests from one bubble, plus a Pūkaha guide, they were incredibly popular because people at that time were really looking to get out into nature.”

Keeping sustainability at the heart of what they do, Pūkaha’s sponsor a hectare programme makes 942 hectares available for annual sponsorship ranging from $50 - $500.

“Post COVID-19, people are showing increasing interest in giving back, we’re about to take the programme digital. It will allow sponsors to sign up online and see their personal hectare of Pūkaha on an online map,”

Community also comes first at Pūkaha with locals able to access Hapori rates at 50% off or free if they bring visitors from outside the region.

“This is about acknowledging our local community and the role they play but it also means they are encouraged to bring in their friends and family to learn from, enjoy and celebrate what we have here.