Living with Nature: Tiaki Taiao, Tiaki Tngata, The case of Zealandia

Copyright © NCEUB 2017. The overpopulating growth attendant with high-density urban living has stressed natural landscapes in most major urban centres, devastating their rich indigenous ecologies. In the case of New Zealand, the mid-19th century colonisation saw the introduction of predators and aggressive plant species, significantly scarring and reshaping the landscape. This also devastated New Zealand's endemic ecologies, resulting in the extinction of species and loss of biodiversity. In the last 800 years, 32% of all indigenous flora and fauna have been lost. In an attempt to protect those last remaining and threatened species, a fenced sanctuary was developed in the capital city, Wellington, taking advantage of an unutilised water reservoir system that had been established inadvertently on a major earthquake fault-line. Twenty years from its inception, the unbroken predator-free ecosystem nestled amongst Wellington's suburbs and scrublands has become a world-first to restore indigenous natural habitat, illustrating our past native natural heritage. This paper examines the phenomenon of Zealandia, where green and blue infrastructures foster the existing ecologies while accommodating visitor services, which improve the social, cultural, economic and environmental health of the city. It finds that the benefits have far exceeded the original goals of the project and offer new prospects for health and wellbeing as its influence extends to network adjacent green and blue infrastructure.