WairarapaSee & Do
A family walking through the trees of Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

  • Location

    85379 State Highway 2, Mount Bruce, Wairarapa

  • Website


Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced breeding sanctuary for native wildlife. Located on the border of the Tararua and Wairarapa regions, the 942-hectare site is home to a dense lowland podocarp forest. The forest is home to native wildlife including birds and reptiles. Pūkaha has contributed to the recovery of several endangered native species including kōkako, kākā, whio, pateke and shore plover. The aviaries on-site hatch kiwi, kākā and kākāriki for release back into the wild.

There are many ways to enjoy Pūkaha including guided and self-guided tours. On the Te Hīkoi o Pūkaha tour, you’ll spend two hours with a guide from local . You’ll hear stories about the , information about native plants and local creatures, and get an insight into how people connect to the land.

People walking along the path at the Pūkaha Wildlife Centre, guided by a local iwi member on Te Hīkoi o Pūkaha.

For those who want to go it alone, there are easy paths to follow that cater to all ages and fitness capabilities. There are daily feeding sessions for birds (and eels, if you dare), and other attractions, including a visitor centre and carving studio. A free flight aviary allows you to experience native birds arcing and soaring around you. The onsite café is a great way to relax after the other activities tire you out.

Underpinning the Mount Bruce Reserve is its ongoing conservation work. Working alongside the local iwi and the Department of Conservation, Pūkaha is re-establishing bird populations throughout the country. As such, the team has a ‘keep only what’s necessary’ practice and breeds naturally resilient birds that can defend themselves from predators when they are released back into the wild. Those that remain at the centre become advocacy birds, speaking for their kind and helping to educate visitors.