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School groups and tourists boost Pukaha numbers

PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

It’s been a good year for Pukaha Mt Bruce, with five new kiwi chicks hatched, the introduction of new locals’ rates, and the highest number of school visits.

In the past six months, more than 2000 children from around 20 schools had visited the wildlife centre to learn about its conservation, restoration and captive breeding programmes.

General manager Emily Court is delighted.

“November was huge with a total of 731 children.

“This year saw the highest number of school groups come through. From pre-schoolers fascinated by the giant long-finned eels, to college students gaining hands-on work experience with our rangers.”

The introduction of a new locals’ rate in October had also contributed to increased attendance rates.

Court said this year’s visitor numbers were nearly 30 percent higher than in December last year.

“The locals’ rate has been very well received and the visitor centre staff are welcoming locals every day,” she said.

The overall visitor numbers are also showing very positive growth.”

The locals’ rates cover half price entry fees to residents from Norsewood to Featherston, provided they produce proof of address.

But most visitors to the centre in November were international tourists – around 70 per cent.

“This impact of international visitor growth along with more and more locals visiting on a regular basis bodes well for reaching and exceeding our short-term target of 40,000 visitors [a year],” she said.

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