From Golf Course to Golf Course & Sanctuary.
As one of the most popular courses in New Zealand for both local and international visitors, the general layout of Wairakei remains true to the original design, but over the last four decades there have been a number of enhancements to the golf course and experience.
Lakes, waterfalls and streams are some of the features that have been added over the years, complementing the natural beauty of the landscape and testing the skill of players.
Gary Lane, the course owner, wanted to enhance the ecological habitats for the local wildlife. It was decided that a predator proof fence was the only effective way to achieve that objective. Hence a massive project to erect a 2-metrehigh, 5.5km long boundary fence around the course, preventing both climbing and burrowing animals from entering the property was undertaken.
To further enhance the sanctuary habitats, in 2012 an agreement was established between Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary and the Department of Conservation to work cooperatively together to make the most of conservation and restoration opportunities within the sanctuary. That includes using the predator free environment as a crèche for kiwi chicks, a safe place for them to "find their feet" and grow.
In March 2015, Wairakei welcomed retired breeding takahē, Grant and Flotsam, followed by Matariki and Hauhanga in the August. For the takahē, the Wairakei retirement opportunity is an escape from competition while clearing vital breeding space for younger takahē pairs on their pestfree home bases.
Late in 2015, Matariki and Hauhanga (unexpectedly) came out of retirement to produce Wairakei's first takahē chick, Sammy. Sammy is a very special chick; especially considering there are only 280 takahē left in New Zealand.
As well as the takahē chick, five kārearea (New Zealand falcon) chicks have been raised within the
Tui and takahe at Wairakei International Golf Course and Sanctuary.