Wild Ōtautahi: An exhibition about wildlife in our city

Do you know the name of a fish that likes to sunbathe? Or how far do eels from our rivers travel to mate? Have you ever seen a wētā motel?

Take a walk on a wild side and visit exhibition Wild Ōtautahi on from 20 March to 20 June at Te Pito Huarewa/Southbase gallery in Tūranga. Inspired by Gavin Bishop’s illustrations from his book Wildlife of Aotearoa, Wild Ōtautahi tells a story about the wildlife habitats of our city.

From the mountains to the sea, precious pockets of wildlife can still be found throughout the city: Riccarton Bush, Ōtakaro and Ōpawaho rivers, Travis wetland, Ihutai estuary, the South shore sand dunes… each of them is a unique habitat and plays an important role in nature and also in our city. Each of them is a home to a variety of native and non-native species and would not survive without conservation efforts from our community, individuals and local and national agencies.

Bishop’s original illustrations of the habitats provide a context for further exploration of the richness and fragility of these local habitats and species living within them. Through an interactive screen, you will be able to learn about the threats to these habitats and the simple actions you can take to help each of them, as well as listen to their soundscapes. With the help of iNaturalist and through play, you can test your knowledge about where certain species live and look at the wildlife from taxonomical perspective, but also reflect on how different animals make you feel.

A wētā motel, tracking tunnel, sweeping net, microscopic slides and other gadgets will offer a closer look into the life of conservation and environmental heroes who study, monitor, protect, and nurture wildlife in our city. A photo story of their portraits and thoughts about nature and their work pays homage to their passion and endeavours.

Come and get inspired!

Exhibition events

Wild natured events and workshops are on offer for all kinds of creatures:

For kids

City Nature Challenge, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May, Spark Place, Tūranga

The City Nature Challenge is an international event anyone can take part in to find and document wildlife and nature in cities across the globe. More than 400 cities are participating in 2021. Join us as we make as many observations as we can of species living in the Christchurch District (that’s the city and Banks Peninsula), and then record them all on iNaturalist NZ - Mātaki Taiao. Participation is easy and free! Tūranga is the hub for this free, family-friendly event, so visit Auaha Hīhī/ Spark Place during the event to talk to experts and see how we’re doing, or check out the Library website for times of field trips you can join, talks by scientists, and other ‘pop-up’ activities.

Animal Home Workshop, 30 May, 1-3pm, Auahatanga / Creativity, Level 4, Tūranga

Come discover some of the gadgets used in the wild to protect our local habitats. Find out what they’re used for and have a go at making animal homes ready for winter. All welcome, young children must be accompanied by an adult.
Free, no bookings required.

Speaking 4 the planet, 11 June, 9am to 4.30pm, Tautoru / TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga

A public speaking, spoken word and visual arts competition, supporting school students to express their ideas for a better world. Free, all welcome. No bookings required. Presented by Sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch and the NZ Association for Environmental Education.

School Holiday programme:

Tangaroa Whakamautai – Sea Art

Looking for something to do during the April holidays? Then come learn about the sea through story, games and craft – there’s something for everyone! For ages 5-15 years - Children younger than 5 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions are at South Library, New Brighton Library and Tūranga. Free, bookings required.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Explore wildlife and discover nature living in your neighbourhood. Join us for a walk on the wild side, taking photos along the way that will contribute to biodiversity research. For ages 8-12 years. $16.24 per child (including booking fee).

Exploring Nature with Minecraft

Find out about a native New Zealand species and then work in a team to design a Minecraft build inspired by your learning. To really enjoy this programme, you need to have a basic understanding of Minecraft. Sessions are at New Brighton Library, South Library, Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre, Tūranga and Upper Riccarton Library. For ages 6-13 years. $10.99 per child (including booking fee).

Bots and Bugs Adventures

What is a robot? Come and find out! Hear some great stories about what robots get up to. There’s a chance to play with a robot and consider some robots which are inspired by real world creatures.  You’ll also do some other fun activities which run alongside our City Nature Challenge programmes. For ages 5 to 7 years. $10.99 per child (including booking fee).

More details about our school holiday programmes.

For adults

Café Scientifique, 12 April, 6 pm, Foundation Café, He Hononga / Ground Floor, Tūranga

Café Scientifique is a place where kōrero about the latest ideas in science and technology happen over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Come and enjoy an evening with the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society and special guests which explores the theme of the exhibition.
To reserve a table, phone 03 365 0308.

Open Mic Poetry Night, 16 June, 6pm, Foundation Café, He Hononga / Connection, Ground Floor, Tūranga

Reveal your love of our Wild Ōtautahi! An open mic night of poetry inspired by the impact of nature on our lives. Sign up on the night. To reserve a table, phone 03 365 0308.

Sensing Art Creative Workshops, 22 and 29 May, 1 to 4pm (CANCELLED)

Surround yourself in nature with the Wild Ōtautahi exhibition. Explore what nature means to you in a series of two workshops designed to engage with your artistic processes, language and skills. This is a space to be inspired by nature, converse or quietly reflect while you create with a variety of mediums and tech at Tūranga.
Bookings are required, these workshops are aimed at adults. $31.99 (includes booking fee). Spaces are limited, book online., opens a new window 

Find out more