The Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Wellington has been named one of Time magazine's World's 100 Greatest Places of 2019.

For 24 years, Zealandia has been working to restore a valley located just 2km from downtown Wellington, with the vision to restore its forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state.

Alongside a passionate community dedicated to conservation, Zealandia has achieved astounding results in re-introducing native wildlife to back into the area, and as a result people are now encountering many once-rare species in their own backyards.

This has resulted not only in improvements for nature, but a transformation of people who now take action to care for the wildlife across the city.

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The takahē, also known as the South Island takahē or notornis, is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand. Photo / Janice McKenna
The takahē, also known as the South Island takahē or notornis, is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand. Photo / Janice McKenna

Acting chief executive Dr Danielle Shanahan said the organisation is extraordinarily proud of what has been achieved.

"[We] are thrilled to have been recognised by Time magazine in this way. Zealandia's success shows what is possible when a community gets behind a wild and ambitious idea," she said.

"The incredible changes in birdlife that we have experienced across the region show that cities don't have to be places devoid of native wildlife. In fact, Wellington is one of the world's only cities where native bird biodiversity is increasing rather than decreasing."

Mayor of Wellington Justin Lester said we have long known that Zealandia is a special treasure, or taonga, for Wellington.

"This achievement recognises the many people and organisations who got behind the dream and is an exceptional result for Wellington," he said.

The Time list was drawn from nominations across a variety of categories—including museums, parks, restaurants, and hotels. From there they evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence.

Two other New Zealand sites also made the list; Hiakai restaurant in Wellington and Camp Glenorchy.