One destination, multiple activities for Hamiltonians and visitors



The new entry precinct for Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park officially opened 31 March,2023 with a blessing from Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa (Photo Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Two of Hamilton’s most loved visitor experiences are now one connected destination in Te Kaaroro Nature Precinct.

Hamilton City Council recently approved a new place name for the area, Te Kaaroro Nature Precinct that includes Hamilton Zoo, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, Hamilton Observatory and Everyday Eatery, bringing a number of varied experiences under one name.

The name reflects conservation and kaitiakitanga values (protection and guardianship of the environment) that join these destinations together, and the complementary visitor activities that connect people with the nature.

Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is a reconstruction of the natural forest, wetland and ecosystems present in pre-European times (Photo Supplied)

A unique project

‘Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa’ gifted the name to Council, which is meaningful for the space. ‘Te Ara O Kaaroro’ is the name of the ranges that run along Newcastle Road towards Hamilton Zoo and Rotokauri. The area is named after Chief Kaaroro, of Ngaati Maahanga and Ngaati Hourua, who reigned in the area. His Paa site was situated on the ridge.

Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Chairperson of the Community and Natural Environment Committee said, “Te Kaaroro provides Hamilton with a second visitor destination that has a unique conservation focus to complement Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton’s premier visitor destination.”

“Te Kaaroro offers something for everyone. Whether you are a local or visitor to Hamilton, there is something at Te Kaaroro for anyone who wants to connect with nature, regardless of your budget. It could be a stroll through Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, a day at the Zoo, or lunch at Everyday Eatery,” said Lee-Ann Jordan, Unit Director, Visitor Destinations at Hamilton City Council.

Experiences for everyone

Hamilton Zoo is home to more than 600 native and exotic animals, and hosts New Zealand’s largest walk-through aviary for native birds and plants.

Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is New Zealand’s largest inland restoration project, and provides an ecological paradise for native wildlife. It has a rich cultural history for tangata whenua.

At Hamilton Observatory, visitors can learn about astronomy and stargaze through telescopes with assistance from members of the Hamilton Astronomical Society.

Hamilton Zoo is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 4.30pm, The Viewing Tower at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 8am to 5.30pm. Hamilton Observatory is open to the public on selected evenings and must be booked in advance. Everyday Eatery is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 8am to 4pm.

View the virtual walkthrough here.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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