Waikeruru Ecosanctuary - Gisborne, New Zealand
Clad in Abodo's Tundra, the Longbush Welcome Shelter helps to educate visitors on the vision behind the Waikeruru Ecosanctuary.
The Waikeruru Ecosanctuary was conceived of in 2000 as a haven for native plants, birds and animals. Located in the sanctuary’s Longbush Reserve, a slice of rare, untouched native bush, the Welcome Shelter is an integral part of that vision, as a place for visitors to congregate and learn about pre-human Aotearoa and the importance of natural regeneration.
For this reason, only the most environmentally friendly materials were used in the shelter’s construction, including Abodo Tundra timber cladding.
It is only through perseverance and collaboration that the innovative vision for Waikeruru Ecosanctuary was realised. Landowners Dame Anne and Jeremy Salmond purchased the land with the idea of regenerating the native bush, planting new native trees and shrubs, cleaning the waterways that run through it, and reestablishing the valley as a place for nature to thrive.
The sanctuary has been a success but is a continuous work in progress, as the impact of human beings continues to encroach on its borders. This is why the Welcome Shelter is such an important part of the vision, acting as a venue for educating and exemplifying to visitors how we can better cohabitate with the rest of the natural world.
Architect Sarosh Mulla not only designed the Welcome Shelter but also worked extensively alongside Dame Anne and Jeremy Salmond to make it happen. Sarosh organised sponsorship and funding from many sources for the shelter’s materials and systems, and organised teams of volunteers for the build, which was in part prefabricated off-site.
The Abodo Tundra vertical shiplap cladding was donated by Abodo Wood, who also provided technical support. Made from naturally durable, FSC® Certified heart Douglas fir timber cladding, Tundra Cladding provides a unique natural skin, and its low carbon, preservative-free state is the perfect fit for Waikeruru.
The Welcome Shelter comprises a large floating roof protecting three box-like forms that are used for storage, a composting toilet, running water and a lookout tower. In its role as an outdoor classroom, educational and volunteer programs are hosted there, encouraging conservation, knowledge sharing and research.
It is hoped that visitors will leave with new learnings about what Aotearoa looked like before early settlers appeared, with the ancient landscape at Longbush providing a key example, and the award-winning, synergetic architecture of the Welcome Shelter enhancing this new knowledge and showing a way forward for humans living among nature.