Mount Bruce's $1.1m aviary takes flight

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 10:44 13/08/2014
Aviary standard
NET GAIN: A new walk-through aviary at Pukaha Mount Bruce gives visitors closer access to native birds and flora.

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A new $1.1 million walk-through aviary at Pukaha Mount Bruce will treat visitors to a new experience at the national wildlife centre, allowing them to get even closer to native bird life, flora and fauna.

The 40-metre by 20m structure will be built on a site near the current blue duck aviaries and is expected to house at least eight different species of native birds.

Construction starts next May, to fininsh in November 2015.

"The walk-through aviary will give visitors an amazing experience, providing them an even greater understanding of New Zealand's precious flora and fauna and how we, as individuals and collectively can play our part in its protection,"  Pukaha Mount Bruce general manager Helen Tickner said.

Funding for the aviary is well underway after the announcement of a $250,000 grant from Trust House Foundation.

Improvements to Mount Bruce started in 2008 with the upgrade of the visitor centre and interpretive gallery, the kiwi house including nursery and theatre, and the upgrade of the toilets and replacement of the onsite sewerage and water collection facilities.

Pukaha Mount Bruce Board chairman Bob Francis says he is very grateful to have continued support from Trust House, who have been extremely supportive of the other three capital development stages.

"Trust House Foundation has been instrumental in helping us improve infrastructure here at Pukaha Mount Bruce and thereby improving the experience of thousands of visitors that come here each year. We believe the new aviary will just add to that unique experience and prove a valuable tourist attraction for the region," Francis said.

Chairman of the Trust House Foundation Craig Cooper says trustees had no hesitation in supporting Pukaha Mount Bruce's application.

"The trustees had no hesitation in supporting this application and this reflects our support for what we regard as the jewel in the crown in the Wairarapa," Cooper said.

"You can have a wonderful experience at Pukaha seeing the eel and kaka being fed, walking through the interactive gallery and visiting the nocturnal house.

"But having a walk through aviary with eight different species of native birds will have another dimension to that experience; it will be the icing on the cake."

Pukaha attracts 35,000 visitors annually and this is expected to grow with the new aviary.

The state-of-the-art aviary was designed by the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board in collaboration with Fabric Structures Limited, who built Auckland's The Cloud; Boffa Miskall Landscape Architects and Rigg Zschokke Limited.

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Pukaha also received assistance from Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia and the Department of Conservation.

- Wairarapa News

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