The Minister of Conservation Hon. Eugenie Sage, Vice Chancellor of Massey University Jan Thomas, MP for Palmerston North Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, the Mayor of Palmerston North and kaumātua from Rangitāne o Manawatū were amongst 240 sponsors, stakeholders and supporters that gathered in the Victoria Esplanade to celebrate the new $6.4 million facility.
Chair of the Wildbase Recovery Community Trust Roger Kennedy says people don’t often realise that even our common native birds are rare by world standards, and this is why Wildbase Recovery is so important.
“Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital is New Zealand’s only dedicated wildlife hospital for the medical and surgical treatment of native wildlife, with 50 per cent of animals treated at the hospital are threatened or endangered species.
“Wildbase Hospital is a fantastic facility, but it does not have the full rehabilitation facilities required to make sure the animals are strong enough to return to the wild. As a result, wildlife have been held in hospital for longer than ideal. This is where Wildbase Recovery comes in – with specialised rehabilitation aviaries and pools where recovering birds can become ambassadors for their species.
Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says what has been achieved in such a relatively short timeframe is nothing short of remarkable.
“Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery has captured the hearts of the community. This might be the end of the construction, however it is just the beginning of the phenomenal impact that this the centre will have – connecting generations of New Zealanders with the conservation of some of our most endangered species.”
The centre also includes the bilingual, interactive Powerco Education Centre – which tells the stories of the recovering wildlife, resident animals, Rangitāne o Manawatū and conservation insights.
Palmerston North City Council Mayor Grant Smith says he is particularly proud the centre is completely bilingual.
“This project has also received significant engagement and support from our community. There have also been many individuals who have worked for many years towards making the original vision a reality and we’re indebted to them.”
“This centre reflects the partnership our council has with Rangitāne o Manawatū, and our bilingual commitment within Council. Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery will provide te reo Māori speakers and learners with a full immersion experience – something we think is extremely important for a centre with such an important kaupapa.”
Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery is owned by Palmerston North City Council and co-managed with Massey University’s Veterinary School, working alongside Rangitāne o Manawatū, the Department of Conservation and community supporters.
The centre is currently going through a commissioning period and is due to open to school groups next term. For more information head to facebook.com/wildbaserecovery.