The Rotorua public have the chance to learn more and get up close to some of New Zealand's beautiful birds of prey as Wingspan opens its doors again.

The new Wingspan NZ Bird of Prey Centre site remains under development, but is now offering hosted one hour 'Progress Visits' on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

The visits start at 11.30am and include being taken to the Falconers Shed for an introduction to the Wingspan conservation programme, followed by a falcon in-flight training at midday.

Wingspan director Debbie Stewart says these visits are a way in which they can share the conservation programme.


She says Wingspan is coming up to a busy time with chicks and doing field work - "we try and share these stories with people".

Debbie says at the Falconers Shed people will get an overview of the programme and there will be talk about falconry around the world.

A falcon spreads its wings and takes flight. Photo / Kurien Yohannan
A falcon spreads its wings and takes flight. Photo / Kurien Yohannan

The progress visits started about a week before Christmas and the response has been "absolutely overwhelming", she says.

"It's all about sharing with the people that supporting us."

She says it has even been an opportunity for the contractors working on the site to see the work Wingspan does, and has often been a first-time experience.

"We are grateful for the community support we've had to get us to this point."

These visits are by appointment and bookings are strictly limited, so it is recommended people get in contact early.

Wingspan's new address is 1334 Paradise Valley Rd, best accessed from the Ngongotahā end of Paradise Valley Rd, and less than a kilometre from State Highway 5.

The shift came about as Wingspan's former lease came to an end, and in a previous Rotorua Daily Post story Debbie says one of the main reasons for the move was so the organisation could expand and grow.

Members and sponsors of the Wingspan programme are complimentary, otherwise it costs $25 for an adult and $10 for children at school.

People can pre-purchase online or pay on arrival.