As part of the park-wide capital investment program, we partnered with Auckland Zoo to reframe the zoo as a wildlife conservation organisation committed to the protection of our wild world. 

Auckland Zoo
Auckland Zoo

We needed to challenge the growing negative public sentiment towards zoos and focus on the positive role Auckland Zoo plays as a non-profit with all ticket income channelled toward wildlife care and conservation. This required us to communicate and demonstrate to the public that Auckland Zoo is a “good zoo” staffed with professionals who care deeply for the wildlife and initiate conservation efforts within and outside the zoo.

Understanding the current context was crucial, and we embedded ourselves within the organisation to help shape their values. A core challenge was how to amplify the conservation-based work going on within Auckland Zoo to encourage visitors to identify, connect to and engage with the organisation.

The identity is bi-lingual across all customer touchpoints to express the Auckland Council-owned organisation’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi. The identity has manifested across precinct naming, wayfinding, interpretives and communications ensuring all visitor-facing touchpoints work together to convey the new narrative.

From deep stakeholder and customer research, we developed customer facing promise we called ‘wildlife conservation at work’, to act as a transparent northstar to direct all our combined effort at the core perceptional challenge. This thinking was used to engage all Zoo staff and align behaviours, efforts and values across the organisation to identify how the Zoo can better demonstrate its conservation efforts.

Communication design was an important part of the solution, from the creation of a strong and distinctive brand identity that evoked a sense of authority, through to a tonality that helped shape conservation messages in a more engaging way. Imagery, typography, wayfinding and livery were the touchpoints essential to changing the perception of the Zoo from a place of entertainment to a place of conservation.

Auckland Zoo

The second stream of activity related to the design and build of a range of visitor interpretives throughout the new South East Asia Jungle Track. Each designed with hands-on involvement from the public to educate the visitor on the magical characteristics of each species whilst clearly communicating the Zoos role within the conservation efforts to protect them.

The project has created a platform for Auckland Zoo to reframe how it contributes to wildlife conservation. This has enabled the launch of new wildlife conservation initiatives, visitor attractions, a new naming system across the Zoo and an internal cultural programme.

We demonstrated that a Zoo can openly communicate its value proposition in a way that is easy for the public to understand, believe and relate to. This has helped drive greater advocacy and support from the public, which has been realised through visitation growth and donations towards projects.

visitors in January 2021 despite Covid and no international visitors

All visitor interactives were developed onsite with visitors of all age playing a crucial role in their creation.


Good Design Awards (AU)

Creative Partners

Formway Design
Vision Thing