St John of God Karori residents visit Zealandia

The team at St John of God Karori recently facilitated to Zealandia wildlife sanctuary. Zealandia is an ecosanctuary in the heart of Wellington that allows people to experience over 40 rare species of native wildlife.

 St John of God Karori residents visit ZealandiaThe visit was facilitated by Zealandia’s recently launched community development initiative, supporting nine residents and supporting caregivers to access the sanctuary for free.

The planned activity arose from lifestyle planning for our residents, identifying what their goals and aspirations were for the coming six months. This work was led by an Occupational Therapy student and was reflected into each residents individual Lifestyle Plan. One of the residents wanted to visit as the last time she went was at primary school in 1978.

Conducting an activity such as this for nine residents requires a high degree of coordination across the whole team. Preparing residents on the morning requires a coordinated approach to breakfast and morning medication procedures. The team also had to coordinate two separate trips with the facility van to get everyone there.

The team at Zealandia were so helpful in helping our residents along as a group, and in helping them to learn about some of the predators that Zealandia have prevented getting into the park. Ranger Cat Ayres was a natural and ensured we used all our senses. If residents had limited movement, she rubbed the predator (stuffed) over the residents arm. She had so much knowledge.

St John of God Karori residents visit ZealandiaThen the group all set off into Zealandia. Residents helped push and we had lots of stops to look, listen, feel and smell.

Cat fielded all the questions – from would we see a Kiwi to how could be encourage these birds to come up the hill to St John of God Karori. We sometimes just stopped and were quiet so the birds would come to us. The residents saw and heard tui, shags, ducks, kea and tuatara – to name but a few. After a meander down the path, Zealandia treated everyone to cold juice and biscuits. 
Cat told us about the plants and introduced us to some of the staff who worked at Zealandia. They were all cheerful and happy to help our residents enjoy their workplace. 

It was a fabulous day out and Cat has offered to come up to us to talk about who we can encourage the native birds and plants at St John of God Karori. It feels like we have made a strong connection with our neighbours.

Discover more about Zealandia, or how you can get involved in local conservation initiatives at