Orokonui Ecosanctuary visitor and education centre

It’s here, it’s green, it’s one more visitor attraction the Dunedin community can delight in.


### ODT Online Tue, 27 Oct 2009
Proud event for ecosanctuary
By Rebecca Fox
It is a moment that has been more than two decades in the making, and for Dr Ralph Allen, Friday’s opening of Orokonui Ecosanctuary’s visitor and education centre will be a worthy tribute to the people who have worked on the project. The $2.2 million environmentally sustainable centre was designed “for free” by Dunedin architect Tim Heath.
Read more

### ODT Online Thu, 29 Oct 2009
Editorial: Ecological vision
The opening tomorrow of the stunning visitor and education centre at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary caps off a remarkable project that has been a quarter of a century in the making. It would be difficult to imagine a more creative statement of intent and reflection of the values behind the ecosanctuary.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Museums, Name, New Zealand, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism

16 responses to “Orokonui Ecosanctuary visitor and education centre

  1. Elizabeth


    If you didn’t get to the opening, check out the video.

    ### Channel 9 News October 30, 2009 – 7:53pm
    Orokonui Ecosanctuary officially opens
    After almost ten years of preparation, the Orokonui Ecosanctuary is to be officially opened at a ceremony this evening. The Ecosanctuary is the only area of native forest in the South Island where native plants and animals are not threatened by introduced pests, and it’s looking to create a legacy for years and even centuries to come.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 31 Oct 2009
    Magazine: Orokonui: Eco of the present
    By Rebecca Fox
    Orokonui Ecosanctuary has exceeded all expectations – a 307ha sanctuary for native flora and fauna, protected from exotic predators. Rebecca Fox looks at the history of the project initiated by the Otago Natural History Trust. A lost world is flourishing in Orokonui.
    Read more + photos

    • Elizabeth

      ### TVNZ News 6:36PM Sunday November 01, 2009
      New eco-sanctuary opens in Dunedin
      Source: ONE News
      A world of endangered species officially opened to the public in Dunedin at the weekend with the completion of the Orokonui eco-sanctuary. It is the third eco-sanctuary of its kind in the country, but the only one in the South Island. It has been a long time dream of Orokonui Eco-sanctuary founder Ralph Allen, and now it has finally become a reality. “I thought the time had come when we should give something back to the birds and animals and plants that were here before us,” he says.
      The energy efficient building cost over $1 million and even has its own water treatment plant.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Oh oh… tweaking needed, please ~!!!!!!!!!

        ### ODT Online Mon, 2 Nov 2009
        Comment by janine on Orokonui Ecosanctuary admission charge disappoints

        I am writing with extreme disappointment regarding the recently publicised Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Yesterday was our daughter’s birthday and we wanted to spend the day doing a family activity. There was a great deal of excitement when we decided on the Ecosanctuary… A lovely lady welcomed us and let us know that we could go on a guided tour. We would have preferred to take our time and go on our own but this was not an option. This is where our disappointment and frustration jumps right in as we could not afford to do this for our daughter’s birthday as it was going to cost us $133 for a 90 minute tour. $38 per adult and $19 per child. Definitely not family friendly.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          My last entry makes me think back to my rural (of the time, typical) childhood, where we had run and farm property with remnant stands of native bush, creeks, native birds (bush dwelling, coastal waders, owls, etc), native freshwater lobster and longfinned eel (koura and tuna respectively) – all on tap to friends and extended family to explore at leisure, for free.

          The Ecosanctuary property will be much more intensive on the conservation front than anything we were up to, and that carries a considerable cost. But I wonder how charges have been set, in view of various prospective audiences and frequency of return visits, to encourage further private and public investment in the Ecosanctuary’s ongoing development.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Fri, 6 Nov 2009
          In a comment on the reader story (ODT Online 2.10.09), an ecosanctuary representative has confirmed that ticket prices are $38 per adult and $19 per child (5-18yrs). However, there is also a family pass available for $90.

          Like many families can afford that… get real.

        • Elizabeth

          On Friday, “someone” at Orokonui Ecosanctuary replied to posters at ODT Online regarding costs of the visitor experience. See new comments at http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/your-say/80336/orokonui-ecosanctuary-admission-charge-disappoints

          The OE replies are not so brilliant, this might help punters: “Our building is free entry, an attraction in itself with some fantastic interpretive displays and a great cafe.”

          Take note here, though:

          ### ODT Online Fri, 06/11/2009 – 8:37pm.
          Comment by FitzGerald36 on Orokonui Ecosanctuary
          I wish to add further comment as my attention has just been drawn to the Dunedin Difference ‘Passport’ which is valid until June 2010. These Passports were on display at the Ecosanctuary.
          [In the ‘Passport’] Entry No. 22 Orokonui Ecosanctuary… Preview Tour Special $20 adult, $10 children and $50 per family (2 adults, 3 children) One person free when returning with an out-of-town paying guest.
          Read more

          I checked my own Passport (received at no cost from Tourism Dunedin some weeks back) and indeed FitzGerald36 is correct.


          Follow this link to register for your free Dunedin Residents Passport (“Love the Dunedin Difference”):


          Then think about visiting the Ecosanctuary, and only then…
          More work to do on those prices for locals, crew.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 29 Dec 2010
          Ecosanctuary on target
          By Rebecca Fox
          One year on from its grand opening, Orokonui Ecosanctuary is on track to meet its targets for translocations, income, education and visitor numbers, operations manager Chris Baillie says.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Orokonui Ecosanctuary founder and former chairman of the ecosanctuary trust, Raph Allen, warns about the dangers of proposed changes to the trust’s constitution. They will be considered by trust members on Thursday.

          ### ODT Online Mon, 25 Jul 2011
          Opinion: Politics threaten direction of ecosanctuary
          By Ralph Allen
          The proposed constitutional change arises from coercion by the only people it would benefitTHE Otago Natural History Trust (ONHT) operates Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Local runaka Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki accepted an invitation from the ONHT to participate in the establishment of the ecosanctuary in 2002. The runaka has since approved several species translocations and has received cultural recognition throughout the ecosanctuary and land for a pa harakeke (flax plantation) there. The present ONHT constitution was written in 2004 with the participation of a runaka representative. It was unanimously endorsed by ONHT members at the 2009 annual meeting. It ensures that members control the ecosanctuary’s governance through the democratic election of the six trustees.
          Read more

  2. meg55

    Oh dear, it is unfortunate prices are high. Janine wrote a good letter giving credit where credit is due. I wonder if anyone associated with the ecosanctuary can justify those prices for us?
    Is the mandatory guided tour a temporary thing or will they eventually let visitors wander at will?

  3. Phil

    A 38 dollar door charge is not reasonable. If that is what is needed to cover costs, then financial assistance is required. It cost me less than that to view the Last Supper mural. Part of the purpose of zoos and santuaries is to educate the public, so that they will learn to take care of the environment themselves. It’s difficult to educate someone when they can’t afford the price of admission.

    I experienced a rather interesting environmental alternative not so long ago. Scandinavian countries have a law called “Allemansrätten”, which translates roughly to “Every Man’s Right”. Which essentially gives everyone the right of access across all land, regardless of ownership. The right to go hiking, camp for the night, all without asking permission from the landowner. Absolute chaos ? I thought so. But quite the opposite as it turned out.

    Allowing the freedom of access across land gave the whole country a feeling of ownership and responsibility over the land. With this law being generations old, people have grown up with an understanding of the need to take care of the land. So that it will always be a nice place when they choose to visit. Care of the environment was pretty much self regulating. Giving the locals a sense of ownership, and an understanding of the land, has resulted in the land being naturally protected and cared for. Effectively eliminating the need for Eco Sanctuaries and the like.

    By opening up the entire country, there was a significant reduction in congestion. By not having hundreds of holidays hikers packed onto a few small trails. Again, reducing the negative impact on the environment. I remember going for a day hike on one of the most popular hiking trails in Norway, right in the middle of summer. I was told that I was crazy, because there would be so many people on the trail. I expected Milford Track traffic. What I met was, a grand total of 15 people over the course of 8 hours hiking. That was the busy season.

    And the only time I ever saw rubbish being dumped, was by overseas tourists.

  4. David

    A couple of weeks ago I visited two North Island sanctuaries. Karori was $14 entry, which seemed a bit steep for what was there. Mt Bruce was $15 which seemed a little more reasonable at they had a few special extras like a Kiwi house, Takahe, Kokako, interactive educational and multimedia displays etc. Even that would be pretty expensive for a family

    $38 seems or $133 for a family is excessively expensive. Compare that to $15 for an annual pass to the Chinese Garden (or has that gone up a couple of dollars)

  5. Here is a new blog with information about iwi using tuatara to get themselves a seat on the Eco-sanctuary board:

  6. Calvin Oaten

    Does this mean the ‘Iwi’ are on the same plane as the Tuatara? Seems reasonable.

    • Elizabeth

      Ralph Allen is an honorable man. What a squalid situation forced on the Board by the iwi losers. I grew up in their immediate ‘district’, the main protagonists in this saga always fail to impress. Other family members will be upset with their cuzzies.

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Seems like the wrong species are inside the fence. A new committee should be formed. I suggest chaired by a ‘plump kereru’, six ‘tuis’, a bellbird, and tuatara as legal adviser. They would always meet at dawn, the same amount of real business would be done and it would be way more musical. What a tourist drawcard. Think of the economic benefits to the region.

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