Wild­base Re­cov­ery Cen­tre takes shape

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JA­NINE RANKIN

Sup­port for a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for in­jured birds continues to swell as foun­da­tions for the project take shape.

The $5.6 mil­lion aviary fa­cil­ity in Palmer­ston North will en­able the pub­lic to watch for free as birds and other wildlife treated at Massey Univer­sity’s Wild­base Hospi­tal re­cu­per­ate be­fore their re­turn to the wild.

While the main con­trac­tors Kynoch Con­struc­tion con­tinue to clear the ground at Vic­to­ria Es­planade and in­stall poles that will sup­port the aviary cov­ers, carvers, ed­u­ca­tion staff and ad­di­tional spon­sors are at work off site.

City coun­cil se­nior prop­erty and parks plan­ner Aaron Phillips said there had been a lot of ground work to do since the first sod was turned in April, and donations kept on com­ing.

The Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Wild­base Re­cov­ery Cen­tre is due to open about May next year. Its lo­ca­tion at the Es­planade is ex­pected to mean many peo­ple will see part of the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion jour­ney for wildlife in the city.

Pro­grammed Prop­erty Ser­vices, a na­tional firm with a Palmer­ston North pres­ence, had com­mit­ted to do­ing all the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior paint­ing, worth about $100,000.

Re­gional man­ager Dave Bleack­ley said the com­pany recog­nised the cen­tre would be not just a lo­cal draw­card, but an im­por­tant na­tional fa­cil­ity.

‘‘It would have been a huge donation for a branch, but we were able to con­vince the com­pany this was of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance.’’

Carved atua or guardians would be a key as­pect of the cen­tre, with Ran­gi­tane carvers Craig and Tipene Kawana al­ready craft­ing shapes from to­tara logs at a stu­dio at the Ash­hurst Do­main.

Kawana, from Ran­gita¯ne/ Ngati Apa and Muaupoko iwi, has been re­spon­si­ble for many of the tra­di­tional Maori carv­ings at the en­trance to Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge.

Other peo­ple were work­ing on the con­tent of ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial that would be dis­played in the cen­tre.

Cen­tral En­ergy Trust claimed nam­ing rights for the cen­tre with a $2m in­vest­ment, plus pledging an an­nual $25,000 for run­ning costs.

The cen­tre will be owned by the city coun­cil, put­ting in $1.3m, and co-man­aged by Massey Univer­sity’s Vet­eri­nary School.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Craig Kawana is work­ing on to­tara logs for carv­ings that will be a part of the Wild­base Re­cov­ery aviaries.

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