What to Expect

Pūkaha is a wonderland of native wildlife and bushwalks.


Visit our many aviaries, then check out the kiwi nursery, where we raise kiwi chicks for release.


In our free-flight aviary as native New Zealand birds arc and soar around and above you.


Pou (signposts) throughout the reserve which connect with Māori whakapapa (ancestry) and atua (gods) to help guide visitors with rich stories about the wildlife and forest.


Kai whakairo (carvers) in action at the whare whakairo (carving studio) located just off the carpark. Entry to the studio is free and it’s open six days a week, 9am – 5pm from Monday – Saturday.

Strike out

On a two hour tramp to really explore the depths of the forest.

Note: there are no rubbish bins in the forest.
What you take in you must also take out!


We’re not a petting zoo.

We’re the National Wildlife Centre, a place of conservation and restoration, in partnership with Rangitāne o Wairarapa; Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua; Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust and the Department of Conservation.

You can’t hold baby kiwi or pat the takahē.



You can watch our Rangers feed the tuna (eels) – at 1:30 pm!


You can

Marvel at the Giant Wētā, a scale model of a real life wētā but 50 times its size!

This metal monster stands 1.6m (5’3”) tall and 5m (16’4”) long, not including the legs and antennae.


Take a tour with our amazing rangers who will fill your time with insights into what happens at Pūkaha and introduce you to the wonders of the forest.

You will

Experience nature in harmony.

We call this rongo te mauri – feeling life’s essence.

Take your time wandering through – the highlight is spotting a little face peeking at you through the foliage!
Some of our birds are in aviaries,  such as the breeding pairs that are replenishing their species. Other birds are wild, including the kererū (New Zealand pigeon), the kārearea (New Zealand falcon), tītipounamu (rifleman), and other fauna such as the moko kākāriki (Wellington green gecko) and tuna (longfin eel).
We hold the following daily talks included in your entrance ticket:
  • 12:00 pm Kiwi
  • 1:30 pm Longfin Eel (Tuna)
  • 3:00 pm Kākā
Please note that there are no rubbish bins in the forest and what you bring in you must also take out.  This helps to keep our forest healthy!