Wellington: Te Papa, Zelandia and Weta-Cave

Wellington, the capital of NZ, isn´t a really big city. You can compare it with Graz concerning area occupation and number of inhabitants. Overall it is a nice town, but there are not so many special things to see.

For us there were three things that are worth to mention:

First, the Te Papa Museum, that can be described as a national museum.  It is for free and absolutely state of the art. We spent there at least 3 hours and there were still a lot that we haven´t seen. But it was so a nice sunny day that we couldn´t spent the whole day inside a museum.

Second – the Weta Cave. This is the name of the movie production facility in Wellington. There costumes, movie settings and digital effects are made. Working on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy made them famous. With a short tour they give a tiny insight into the great things they are doing. Working there must be amazing. After the visit we were absolutely in the mood to spend time in a cinema to watch some of the movies where Weta Cave has participated.

Third, Zelandia – formerly known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Background: NZ was a land of birds until the humans arrived. First victim of the humans, that conquered this untouched Islands, were the Moas. Later on more and more creatures were brought to NZ by the humans. Like the possum from Australia for the fur industry or rats as blind passengers on the ships. Both kind of animals are a big and constant threat to the diverse bird life in NZ. So the government of NZ and also a lot of NGO´s are putting a lot of effort into the creation of bird sanctuaries. To clear islands of animal pests is comparable easy, but for Zealandia they try to do something big. In 1999 they erected a fence around a former water reservoir valley and then started to eliminated all mammals that aren´t belonging there. Hunters killed alone in this small area 700 possums – the rest, together with the rats, were poisoned. After clearing the Zone of Zealandia endangered birds (like the Takahē – only a bit more than 260 birds of these species exist right now) and plants were brought to this sanctuary. The vision is that by the year 2500 this area will be a jungle full of indigenous life, like it was before humans came – of course without all the animals that were already extinct.

 

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