Former Kiwi Keeper, Corry Ann Langford with Maui

Willowbank bred Kiwis are the proud parents of a rare Kiwi chick!

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Lately we’ve been welcoming more and more families to Willowbank for kids’ birthday parties and events.  We think it’s great (we do love a good party!) and thought we’d offer some info on what a Willowbank birthday entails…

The Park

The park at Willowbank is always a hit with the kids.

Between the friendly animals in the Farmyard and the quirky native birds in our ‘Natural New Zealand’ area, there’s loads to keep the kids entertained and interested. Continue reading

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It’s been over a year since the first of many earthquakes disrupted Christchurch.  As a whole, we’ve been moving forward and every day seems to be a step towards getting back to normal.  The city is still a little scattered, and it’s always a bit of a trick to remember what’s open and what’s not when you plan a weekend activity with your family.

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We all look forward to our Christmas work functions, and after this past year we certainly deserve a little fun and relaxation.  Willowbank is a great option for a light-hearted end-of-year bash.  With beautiful surroundings, top kiwi cuisine and plenty to see and do, an event at Willowbank is always memorable.

And why not plan your end-of-year event to include partners and kids?  It’s a great way to add a little family-oriented fun to the night.  Family-friendly fun (rather than the traditional staff-only functions) has been a growing trend in the city since February, and really speaks to the strong sense of community that has resulted from the earthquakes.

Our goal at Willowbank has always been to provide an entertaining and educational experience that can be shared and enjoyed by guests of all ages.  This ethos extends to our functions, and we’re always happy to help you give staff the kind of Christmas party they deserve.

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We were lucky not to sustain major damage to the park, and we’ve been able to get up and running before many other Christchurch attractions.  Our animals are all fine, our exhibits are all open and so is our restaurant!  If you feel like you need a break from all the disorder, keep reading for some info about Willowbank’s latest deals and other things to do in Christchurch. Continue reading

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Last September, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve acquired two rare takahe from a Department of Conservation (DoC) rearing unit in Southland.  The pair, named Hamilton (a male) and Guy (a female), were sent to Willowbank to retire after years of fostering chicks in the rearing centre.  With the addition of Hamilton and Guy, Willowbank has become the only private park in the country where takahe are available for public viewing. Continue reading

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Further Update: Entry for children to Willowbank is free until all schools are back. Adult entry is $25 pp. Up to five children per one adult.

At Willowbank, we too were shaken up by the earthquake. But the animals and staff here can count themselves as the lucky ones and have been relatively unscathed by the recent earthquake.

Our Willowbank family would like to open its arms to your family and offer you a refuge to get away from it all for a few moments if you need a break.

  • We open at 9.30 am and are currently accepting our last visitor at 7pm daily.
  • We now have the power back on, so all our facilities including the kiwi house are open.
  • Willowbank has its own fresh artesian bore water, so you are welcome to fill up with some of Canterbury’s freshest water while you are here.

The team at Willowbank.

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Ko Tane Living Maori Village

Many visitors to New Zealand have questions about Maori life and culture.  As home to Ko Tane, one of the country’s premier Maori cultural tours, we’re always happy to share what we know!

‘Where did the Maori live before they arrived in New Zealand?’ is a question we get a lot.  The answer is that the Maori arrived in New Zealand from East Polynesia sometime before 1300.  Over several centuries of relative isolation from their Polynesian ancestors, Maori developed a distinct culture and identity.

Polynesia describes the islands found within a geographic triangle with Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island making up the three corners.  The diversity of the cultures found on these islands is fascinating, as are the many similarities.

To help you get a feel for Maori and Polynesian culture, we’ve come up with a list of some great cultural tours and experiences that will give you a fascinating peak into the lives of Maori and Pacific Islanders then and now. Continue reading

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Abel Tasman Park

Able Tasman National Park

One of the biggest draws of New Zealand as an international tourist destination is our fantastic landscape and wildlife.  The great outdoors truly are great in New Zealand, and we might be slightly biased but we have to say that the South Island is unbeatable when it comes to outdoors experiences.  Here are some of the best nature-based South Island attractions. Continue reading

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James Natta correctly answered all five questions on the "Big Five"

12 year old James Natta (of Hornby) received a call from Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on the 1st February to inform him that he was the winner of the “Big Five” competition held at Willowbank from the 1 December 2010 to 31 January 2011. During this time, any children (14 years and under) could enter the competition which took them around the Park to find the answers to 5 questions relating to the “Big Five” –  the takahe , kea, kiwi, kaka & tuatara.

James correctly answered all five questions. Continue reading

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