As part of Wenita’s ongoing biodiversity initiatives, we are sponsoring Orokonui Ecosanctuary’s environmental education programme.

The programme is designed to offer high quality, science-based learning experiences to Dunedin students, from pre-school to tertiary level.

Wenita is joined by Port Otago, Pioneer Energy and Viridian Glass in sponsoring the programme, while Oceana Gold’s existing sponsorship covers the entry and transportation costs to Orokonui for 500 students annually.

Wenita Chief Executive, David Cormack, says Wenita’s support complements its commitment to local biodiversity initiatives.

“Wenita’s sponsorship of the Orokonui education programme reflects our commitment to backing local biodiversity initiatives and environmental education – it’s a natural fit.”

The Orokonui education team has delivered the programme to over 75,000 students since it began. Orokonui Ecosanctuary General Manager, Amanda Symon, says the multi-year support will ensure the sanctuary can continue to deliver meaningful educational initiatives.

“It gives the programme certainty for the future and allows us to focus on connecting young people with the environment, rather than worrying about money.”

The ecosanctuary’s predator-free environment serves as a powerful example of the land as it was centuries ago. This “living classroom” gives students a hands-on interactive experience with the sanctuary’s most endangered species, and a chance to engage with the scientists, rangers, staff and volunteers who care for them.

The programme receives consistently positive feedback from teachers and students, with many schools taking conservation action after visiting the sanctuary. Alongside the educational programme, Orokonui provides off-site programmes to support habitat restoration projects in schools that can’t afford to travel to the sanctuary. This inspires and supports conservation action among the wider Otago community.


  • Photo credit: Melissa Purnell.