Things to do  |  29 Mar 2021

Send the kids on a wildlife treasure hunt exploring surprise spots in the central city.

From Tūranga and Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū to the Botanic Gardens and Canterbury Museum, the colourful Ōtautahi Go Wild map takes users on a journey of discovery.

Follow the trail – featuring the illustrations of award-winning local author Gavin Bishop – to find where the wild things are living in the most unexpected places.

The maps are available at the four exploration places, with a new Tūranga exhibition – inspired by a Kiwi classic, Wildlife of Aotearoa – also specially created for the wider community and young explorers.

Wild Ōtautahi features original illustrations from Bishop’s popular wildlife book, within a large, interactive space packed with activities and created by library staff.

The exhibition also profiles local people and groups making a positive impact on the environment.

“There is lot of interest in the world around us,” Bishop says. “Children, in particular, like to know about our plants, birds, animals and insects.

“I hope that the exhibition will heighten youngsters’ awareness of what we have here in and around Ōtautahi Christchurch. Today’s children will inherit this place and will have to make careful decisions to ensure the well-being of our wildlife.”

He also highlights the “push to eradicate predators such as rats, mice, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs”, and the “huge negative impact on our native birds”.

It is the first time that the original illustrations have been part of a wider exhibition.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson explains that Wild Ōtautahi and the new map “invite youngsters to delve into our local environment and discover so much about the animals, insects and fish living in our city”.

“By making a strong connection with our indigenous wildlife, they can learn more about sustainability and taking on the role of protectors of our unique species,” she says.

Wild Ōtautahi encourages people to explore the ‘wild side’ with two of the book’s indigenous characters, tuna (freshwater eels) Tahi and Toru.

“You can explore living habitats in our interactive space and meet the heroes who help ensure so many special creatures survive – and, hopefully, thrive – in our backyard.”

Wild Ōtautahi is open in Te Pito Huarewa – Southbase Gallery on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga, until Sunday, 20 June.