We are thrilled to announce our new name: Te Nukuao Tūroa o Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington Zoo Trust, which can be abbreviated to Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo. 



“This has been a complex and enlightening process,” says Wellington Zoo Chief Executive and President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Karen Fifield MNZM. “We began the journey towards our Te Reo name some time ago with the development of our kaupapa, Me Tiaki Kia Ora!”


“Historical English definitions of the word ‘Zoo’ don’t fully capture the breadth of the mahi we do to save wildlife and wild places. As a progressive Zoo where animal welfare, veterinary care, and visitor engagement are front of mind, we wanted to explore what it means to be a Zoo today, while still reflecting our past, present, and future.”


“Te Nukuao signals a commitment to deepening connections, to inspiring wonder and strengthening community through rallying support for our kaupapa and causes. Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo is a place of positivity and compassion for wildlife and people alike, where innovations and ideas are stimulated.”


“Our Te Reo name, Te Nukuao Tūroa o Te Whanganui a Tara, tells the story of our commitment to conservation and care for communities, wildlife and wild places. Te Reo Māori is an official language of Aoetaroa New Zealand, and it is our honour to recognize mana whenua by proudly accepting a Te Reo name.”


Te Nukuao Tūroa o Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington Zoo Trust Board Chair, Jamie Tuuta, believes this new name is more than an exercise in inclusion. Tuuta says, “It is a chance to acknowledge that the land on which we stand remains home to those who came before us. Our names reflect who we are, and we are proud to be Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo,” says Tuuta.

Tuuta is an uri of Taranaki Maunga and has whakapapa to Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Maru, Te Ati Awa and Taranaki Tuturu


Going forward, the Zoo will be widely referred to as Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo.  Accepting a Te Reo name is a natural next step in the Zoo’s evolution towards becoming bi-cultural and re-committing to our existing use of Te Reo names for spaces in the Zoo like Te Kōhanga The Nest and Te Ao Māhina The Twilight.