ZAA NZ Conference 2018 Email Us

Welcome to the 2018 ZAA conference, hosted by Wellington Zoo.

The Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) is pleased to invite registrations for the combined ZAA and ZAA NZ Conference 21-24 May 2018 hosted by Wellington Zoo in Wellington, New Zealand.

The theme of the conference is Collaboration: The Value of Partnerships. We aim to explore the opportunities and importance of working in partnership to deliver outcomes for animals, people and the planet.


Conference Venue

The conference will be held at Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand. Te Papa is situated on Wellington’s waterfront and is 5 minutes walking distance to the CBD, accommodation and restaurants.

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Wellington Zoo is the world's first carboNZero certified zoo. As part of the registration process, you can choose to offset your carbon emissions. Please indicate on the registration page if this is something you would like to do.

To limit our environmental impact, all registration and programme information will be available online through an app. Before or upon arrival at the conference, delegates can download Showgizmo on their smartphones and select the ZAA conference icon for access to all conference information.

We ask delegates to bring their own drink bottles to the conference (and it wouldn’t hurt to bring your reusable coffee cup to enjoy some of Wellington’s finest roasts while you’re here).

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Conference timetable

 DOWNLOAD the draft programme HERE

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Key Speakers

Key Speakers confirmed for the 2018 ZAA conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

Josh Kempinski, Fauna & Flora International

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been working in Vietnam for over 20 years, and has been at the forefront of saving the unique and gravely threatened wildlife, much of which is teetering on the verge of global extinction. Projects include the protection of the natural habitat of the northern White-Cheeked Gibbon, and many other species in the Pu Mat National Park.

Josh Kempinski FFI, specialises in the emerging field of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a mechanism that offers financial incentives and a range of other social and environmental benefits to developing countries that manage their forests sustainably.

Martin Kessick, Deputy Director-General, Biodiversity, NZ Department of Conservation

In 2003, Martin joined DOC as a Conservancy Solicitor for Otago. Since then, he's worked closely with Science and Technical Teams in the Environment Court, Council Hearings, Criminal Courts; on Tenure Review, conservation management strategies and national park management plans. He's recently been leading DOC's Battle for our Birds programme and the operational components of Predator Free 2050. Martin was appointed Deputy Director-General, Biodiversity in July 2017.

Dr Michael Looker, Country Director NZ, The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy protects Earth's natural resources and beauty with a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Appointed previously as Director of Regional Strategies, Infrastructure to focus on developments across the Asia Pacific, and Australia Program Director before that, Michael is the first Australian to join The Nature Conservancy. He has led the Australia Program to achieve remarkable results including the protection of 3.6 million hectares through 28 land acquisitions, the establishment of a Corporate Conservation Council to forge a closer alliance between business and conservation, and the development of close working relationships with Indigenous communities and organisations.

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Optional activities

Zealandia Twilight Tour

NZ $100 pp, Tuesday 22 May, 5.30pm pick up from Te Papa
Wellington Zoo has a strong partnership with Zealandia, a world-class conservation project where 225 ha of forest has been fenced and restored to encourage native fauna and flora to thrive without the threat of introduced predators.

Zealandia has offered ZAA conference delegates a special rate for their guided twilight tour which includes transport to and from the city CBD. The Twilight tour is a popular attraction where visitors can spot Kiwi, Tuatara, Weta and other nocturnal animals in the sanctuary.

A reduced rate of NZ $100pp incl GST will be on offer for a 1.5hr personalized tour. Bookings will only be accepted through the conference registration page. Visitors will need good shoes and warm clothing.

Please note: Spaces are limited to the first 50 applicants

Otari-Wilton's Bush Glow Worm Tour

NZ $100 pp, Tuesday 22 May, 5.30pm pick up from Te Papa
Otari-Wilton's Bush is the only botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to New Zealand native flora.

Otari-Wilton's Bush have offered ZAA conference delegates the opportunity to experience a glow worm tour and behind the scenes presentation on the only native botanic garden in New Zealand. 

Visitors will walk down through the bush at night, past tree ferns, rimu, epiphytes, rata, eels and glow worms, where they can be seen up close and personal complete with their midge-catching, sticky-thread nets. A rate of NZ $100pp incl GST will be on offer. Bookings will only be accepted through the conference registration page. Visitors will need good shoes and warm clothing.

Please note: Spaces are limited to the first 50 applicants.

Gala Dinner & ZAA Awards

NZ $130 pp, Wednesday 23 May, Wharewaka, Wellington
Entertainment for the evening includes a 20 min Kapa Haka (Maori performing arts) performance and live Jazz band.

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Workshops & Meetings

Animal Welfare Workshop

As part of the 2018 ZAA conference, Wellington Zoo would like to offer delegates the opportunity to attend an additional workshop on Animal Welfare.

The Animal Welfare workshop will be held at Wellington Zoo on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May and will feature a number of speakers offering both New Zealand and international perspectives.

Confirmed speakers/ workshop presenters are:

The final programme will be confirmed shortly and will include workshops on:

With the new round of accreditation underway, the Animal Welfare workshop will set the stage for ongoing improvement while helping ZAA members consider partnerships with government, NGOs and other organisations to better improve the lives of the animals we care for.

The programme is available for DOWNLOAD HERE.

ZAA conference delegates are able to attend the workshop free of charge.

Non ZAA conference delegates wanting to attend the Animal Welfare workshop will be charged a fee of $100 to cover catering.


Australian Society of Zoo Keeping (ASZK) Animal Training Course

Sunday 20 May & Monday 21 May, 8.30am - 5.00pm, Wellington Zoo Archibald Centre

Day 1 - Sunday 20 May
An Introduction to Animal Training Topics include: Why train?, classical vs operant conditioning, reinforcement, the “bridge”, shaping behaviours, desensitisation, training plans & records, foundation behaviors

Day 2 - Monday 21 May
Advanced Training Concepts Topics include: The operant conditioning quadrant, dealing with incorrect responses, schedules of reinforcement and problem solving. Course includes animal training demonstrations.

For more details “like” us on Facebook: ASZK Animal Training Community or visit for registration link.

ZAA board meeting

Monday 21 May, 9am - 5pm
Wellington Zoo, The Nest Te Kõhanga

ZAA NZ committee meeting

Thursday 24 May, 2pm - 5pm
Wellington Zoo, The Nest Te Kõhanga


Friday 25 May, 11am - 12pm
Wellington Zoo, The Archibald Centre

NZ Native TAG workshop

Friday 25 May, 9am - 11am
Wellington Zoo, The Archibald Centre

TAG workshop on NZ Fauna to discuss updates, alignment with ZAA Strategic Plan, assessments of programme standings, and plans for upcoming year. Register online to attend.


Environmental SAG

Friday 25 May, 8.00am - 12.00pm
Wellington Zoo, The Nest Te Kõhanga

The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Group aims to provide a central point of coordination and communication for issues relating to environmental sustainability in relation to zoos and aquaria. Members communicate through email, telephone linkups and face to face at conferences.

As well as supporting the Zoo and Aquarium Association through advice on policy and accreditation, areas of interest for the group are:

The workshop is structured through collaborative information sharing. Possible topics for discussion could include:

Register online to attend. For more information please contact Kiam Yoong - ZAA ES SAG Convenor at or mobile on +61 438 536 505.

Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP)

Friday 25 May, 1.30pm - 5.00pm
Wellington Zoo, the Den

Accreditation and Animal Welfare Committee 

Friday 25 May, 9.00am - 12.30pm
Wellington Zoo, the Den

Engagement SAG

Friday 25 May & Saturday 26 May, 9.00am - 5.00pm TBC
Wellington Zoo, Living Room
DOWNLOAD Programme 

Storyvolution has been designed to guide our growth as storytellers, specifically in the area of Nature Theatre - zoos, aquaria, wildlife parks and in the field.

It's been designed to get us thinking and feeling about how we can put our own stories as Humanimals into the stories we share with those seeking their own closeness to nature - whether they know it or not. Stories are always about evolution. After all, evolution is about survival through learning, changing, adapting and improving; so are stories. Language evolved so that we could exchange tales of trial and error, share success stories and build communities.

Communication is central to our progress. Humanimals are the only animal on earth to use words in spoken and written language. As a result, we enjoy both a great privilege and a big responsibility, as we can use the model of evolution to help us use our words well and be more effective storytellers.

Led by Nicholas Bishop - Nature Theatre Manager, Zoos SA, we invite you to join us with energy, passion and a sense of fun. 

Register online to attend. Delegates attending the 2 day Engagement workshop will be charged $100 to cover catering.

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Conference fee includes: icebreaker function (including transport back from Zoo only), full access to the conference, welcome reception, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a tour of Wellington Zoo (including transport). Please note registration costs do not include: Gala dinner, Zealandia twilight tour, Otari-Wilton's bush glow worm tour.

Registration fees

Earlybird members NZ $550
Earlybird non members NZ $600

Members NZ $600
Non-members NZ $650

Day rate members NZ $275
Day rate non members NZ $320

Please note: all prices include NZ GST; credit card payments incur an additional 3.1% charge.

Accompanying guests

Delegates are welcome to purchase tickets for the ZAA Awards dinner, Zealandia twilight tour and Otari-Wilton’s Bush Glow worm tour for their accompanying guests. Please indicate the number of tickets required on the conference registration form.

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Wellington Accommodation

We are delighted to have been able to secure fantastic rates for hotels close to the conference venue of Te Papa, and close to the city and public transport. To take advantage of these special rates, bookings must be made directly with the hotel citing the associated code.

For more accommodation options, please visit:
All rates are NZD and inclusive of GST.

West Plaza Hotel

Queen and Twin Share
Rate: NZD $155 (including GST) per night

How to book: Email, phone 0800 731 444
Code: Zoo & Aquarium Conference #420716

Room amenities: Fully self contained rooms with wheel chair access to all public areas. Sky TV, flat rate broadband wireless internet access, phone, work desk, coffee & tea making facilities, automated wake up service, hairdryer, ironing board, clock radio.

Hotel amenities: On-site car parking, porters, guest laundry, dry cleaning services, 24 hr reception, 24 hr room service, safety deposit boxes, guest rooms for people with accessibility needs, bar, restaurant.

QT Museum Wellington

QT Superior King
Rate: NZD $229 (including GST) per night

How to book: visit , “book now”> “more booking options” >“corporate ID”

Room amenities: air conditioned, coffee machine, LCD Flat screen TV, Bose sound system, arm chair, en suite with shower. Sky TV, broadband (extra charge), phone, automated wake up service, hairdryer, ironing board, clock radio.

Hotel amenities: On-site car parking, porters, guest laundry, dry cleaning services, 24hr reception, 24hr room service, safety deposit boxes, bar, restaurant, spa, gym, sauna, swimming pool.

Copthorne Wellington – A Millennium Hotel

Superior City View Room
Rate: NZD $214 - $234 (including GST) per night

How to book: visit
Code: ZOO18

Direct with the hotel over the phone +64 4 385 0279
Code: 4263628

Room amenities: Cable TV, high speed internet, in room entertainment, hairdryer, toiletries, coffee and tea making facilities, minibar, en suite with shower, phone, automated wake up service, clock radio.

Hotel amenities: On-site car parking, porters, guest laundry, dry cleaning services, 24hr reception, 24hr room service, safety deposit boxes, bar, restaurant, heated swimming pool.

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Wellington Airport

Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and Fiji Airlines all travel to and from Wellington Airport. Wellington airport is a short 10 minute car ride to the city. Airport transport can be arranged via the airport bus (NZD$9 from the airport to CBD, taking approx. 20 mins), UBER (now picking up directly from Wellington airport for around  NZD$15 to CBD, taking around 10 minutes) and standard Taxi (approx. NZD$30 CBD and 10 minutes).

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Wellington City

Wellington Weather

You never know what you’re going to get in Wellington, so the best thing to do is to pack layers. In May, the weather in Wellington can be stunning but may also be cold and windy, so make sure you pack something warm especially if you are going on a night tour. Temperatures in May range between 11 – 16 degrees Celsius.

Wellington tourism – things to do in Wellington

For more information on what to do in Wellington, maps, good pubs and where to eat please visit the Discover Wellington website on

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: 21-May-2018
: 24-May-2018
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