Wellington Zoo’s journey to Gold

Be. Coach Sandie Waddell presenting a Be. Welcome certificate to two staff members from Wellington New Zealand's oldest zoo has also become our most accessible after upgrading from a Silver to Gold rating in 2017. They formally received their gold certificate from Be. Coach Sandie Waddell at an event that coincided with the opening of the upgraded learning space The Living Room.

Wellington Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle attended the event. "Wellington City Council is a strong supporter of the great work Be. Accessible does with organisations like Wellington Zoo. Improvements to accessibility help to achieve a Wellington in which everyone, regardless of their needs, can enjoy all the fantastic things our city has to offer."

Be. Accessible has been working closely with the zoo to achieve the gold certification following their silver award back in 2015. "The team at Wellington Zoo were great to work with and listened to our feedback, resulting in several improvements to accessibility at the Zoo," Sandie said.

The improvements that saw them achieve their well-deserved upgrade included a new accessibility map showing a gentler route around the Zoo, new ramps over gutters, and workshops for staff to brush up on their New Zealand Sign Language.

This means that visitors with access needs can plan they journey within the attraction with more ease, and allows for more safer navigation with the new ramps over the gutters for people with mobility needs, parents, children and the elderly. The New Zealand Sign Language workshops also create a more inclusive work culture for Wellingtonians with hearing impairments seeking employment.

"We're delighted that our hard work has paid off, resulting in a more accessible Zoo that allows more people to enjoy Wellington Zoo and connect with our animals and our conservation messages," Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive of Wellington Zoo said.

The upgraded learning space The Living Room was also officially opened at the event, where Be. also hosted our launch of Be. Wellington. "The work we have done on The Living Room shows our commitment to providing inspiring spaces for learning programmes and striving to always keep improving the Wellington Zoo experience," Ms Fifield said.

This new learning space is more engaging and has more usable space which is especially useful for learners with accessibility needs.