The Auckland Zoo is currently home to over 875 animals representing 138 species, and covers 16.35 hectares (40 acres) of lush parkland and is just minutes from central Auckland. Auckland Zoo is home to the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand, organized into exhibition areas grouped by region of origin, taxonomy, or biome. The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund was established in 2000 and provides financial support to conservation projects in 12 key regions in New Zealand and overseas. The six New Zealand regions are: the Coast, the Islands, the Wetlands, the Night, the Forest and the High Country. The six international regions are: Africa, Nepal, Pacific Islands, South America, Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Auckland Zoo supports conservation through captive breeding programs, education, advocacy and research. Zoo staff are also sent to assist projects in New Zealand and overseas, where they lend and develop their specialist skills. The zoo helps educate school children about their own environment and the animal kingdom in general at the Discovery and Learning Center. Other features offered by the zoo are function facilities including an overnight stay option and twilight tours (Safari Nights) as well as behind-the-scenes experiences.
Down under, in Australia and New Zealand, Sean Connolly is an acclaimed celebrity chef who heads up an empire of restaurants, home cooking products, cookbooks and television shows. Setting up The Grill was the subject of a reality show, “Under the Grill”, where viewers saw the challenges involved with establishing a restaurant, complete with chef Sean Connolly – who comes with a respected reputation from Sydney, feeling the intense pressure of having only 100 days before the doors opened to the public (and four million dollars). His philosophy of food is pretty simple; “Everything tastes better on the bone and in the shell. Since man created fire, we have been eating cooked meat on the bone (or in the shell) where the meat remains as close to its original state as possible, Sean chooses to cook over coals or on the grill – simple, but this lets the food taste the way it should. He likes locally sourced, sustainable produce and protein and proudly lists his suppliers on the menu.
When we were in Auckland, we visited the Auckland museum and came across an exhibition for WOW (World of Wearable Art). In 1987, WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff had an idea, she would get art off the walls and onto the body. Over 25 years later, thousands of artists have translated her vision into their own unique pieces of wearable art. These spectacular creations from WOW’s archives prove that the only limit to wearable art is the artist’s imagination. Some come from a technical challenge. Some show everyday materials transformed into something extraordinary. Some are aimed to simply delight the eye. WOW’s judges look for originality, creativity and skill in construction. Get up close to these exquisitely detailed artworks and you’ll see why they’re show-stoppers. What started as a promotion for a small rural gallery in 1987 has now gained an iconic status within New Zealand.