Pridelands, Auckland Zoo Hero

Pridelands, Auckland Zoo

This project involved construction of a new giraffe feeding platform, installation of natural rock bleachers, a meerkat enclosure, watering hole and a new aviary complete with lovebirds and leopard tortoises.


The Pridelands project is part of the zoo’s master plan for bringing the animals together into global zones and integrating different species into single enclosures. This was achieved by construction of a new giraffe feeding platform, installation of natural rock bleachers, a meerkat enclosure, watering hole and a new aviary containing meerkats, lovebirds and leopard tortoises. The project has an African theme, which ties in to the surrounding African exhibits.

What we did:

Hawkins provided preliminary construction expertise for the structural and drainage design completion, assisting with buildability discussions and cost management advice. The project was divided into three areas; the giraffe feeding platform and rock escarpment; the watering hole camp; and the largest area, which was the aviary.

Work on the aviary commenced first as it required large foundations to support the aviary poles, and ground conditions could have affected the duration of delivery.  The two other areas came on line as required to deliver the project on time.

A natural rock seating area was constructed from rocks excavated during the construction of the aviary. All rocks were placed by hand and then the area around the rock was concreted in to ensure a natural look.


Unique Challenges:

A significant part of the structural work is hidden underground and behind themed elements. The construction of an aviary with cantilevered poles and aviary mesh draped off suspended cables was one very unique aspect of this project, as were the rock caves, constructed from a structural steel base, shotcreted and then colored to look natural. One of these caves required the installation of a waterfall.
Another waterfall and watering hole were built into the existing giraffe paddock.  Unsuitable ground conditions meant that the watering hole needed to be excavated down to the bedrock. The high water table meant that low strength concrete fill was used to displace the water and fill up the watering hole foundation to the correct level.

The programme was developed by the site team from the outset, with the plan to divide the project into three main areas and complete them all concurrently. This proved challenging due to the small site area and limited access because the rest of the zoo was fully operational. However, it ended up being a very successful strategy as works were completed in time for the planned opening.


The Outcome:

Working in the zoo means working very closely with our client and key stakeholders on a daily basis, and an excellent relationship was maintained throughout the project.

The whole team went the extra mile for the good of the project, which now provides a fantastic new facility for the Auckland Zoo and all its visitors.