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A gift for our city. A legacy for our children. A sanctuary for nature

He wāhi taonga mā te tini  


Waitākiri Ecosanctuary will be somewhere for Christchurch people to reconnect with their natural and cultural heritage. The first large-scale, predator-proof ecosanctuary in Canterbury, it aims to fill a void in our national biodiversity recovery efforts.

The proposal is to transform 50ha of the Burwood red zone into a safe haven for wildlife, surrounded by a sensitively integrated, and publicly accessible 1.9m high, 3km long predator-proof fence.

Not as large as Orokonui in Dunedin, or Zealandia in Wellington, Waitākiri Ecosanctuary will sit alongside Ōruapaeroa-Travis Wetland Reserve and the regenerating river corridor, to provide a crucial protected area for species to breed. They will then spread out into the wider green space - activating the halo effect.


The Burwood site includes some of the rare higher, drier land in the red zone, giving an opportunity to plant trees, extending the number of native species that can live within the city limits.

A pedestrian bridge will connect the Burwood block to the existing Ōruapaeroa-Travis Wetland Reserve, a 25-year-old restoration project that is now home to many wetland species.


Christchurch is the only major urban centre in the country without an ecosanctuary


Ongoing free access is a key goal, providing locals and visitors with a living, growing resource for education, conservation, recreation, tourism, and research.

This was the most popular project following the Regeneration Plan consultation, and the ecosanctuary will return a little of the Ōtākaro Avon's floodplain forest, a remnant of which we can still see at Pūtaringamotu-Riccarton Bush.

Eco Sanctuary Halo map

Toitū te marae o Tane... Toitū te marae o Tangaroa... Toitū te iwi

Healthy lands, healthy waters and healthy people.

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