DOC is closing its Ōtepoti Dunedin Visitor Centre and will focus on wildlife advocacy in the city in other ways.

Date:  19 April 2024

The visitor centre, located in the Dunedin CBD alongside a Dunedin City Council isite, will close by the end of June 2024.

The isite will continue to provide visitor information and share wildlife advocacy information.

DOC Operations Director Southern South Island Aaron Fleming says with DOC’s occupation at the site expiring in June this year the time was right to reassess how the Department was serving visitors and the community in Dunedin and Coastal Otago.

“People interact with DOC in a variety of ways to find DOC information and services about wildlife, tracks and huts and we need to think differently about how to best reach people at major urban areas with the outdoor visitor information and services they need. 

“Dunedin is a wildlife hot spot and we’ve partnered with the Dunedin City Council over the years to develop the Wildlife Care Code, which will continue to be delivered at the isite, while DOC will focus on wildlife education in the community in other ways,” Aaron says.

As part of this, a new role focusing on advocacy and other conservation outcomes has been created within the DOC Coastal Otago team. This means there will be no reduction in the number of DOC staff as a result of the change, says Aaron.

DOC’s Visitor Centre opened in the Octagon in 2015. Over the years staff had done an excellent job sharing a range of products and information with visitors, he said. However, changing visitor habits to visitor centres in urban locations, and the need for DOC to adapt to these changes in financially sustainable ways, means it’s time to think differently.

“We’ll continue to have a presence in the coastal Otago region to give information, advice, and education on how to enjoy and share our wild spaces, heritage locations and recreation places safely and enjoyably.

“DOC and the Dunedin City Council have a close working relationship. Both parties remain committed to strengthening our existing relationship to support Dunedin, visitors, and its wildlife as New Zealand’s wildlife capital.”

Information about wildlife, tracks and huts in the region, as well as details of other visitor centres and conservation places, can be found on the DOC website


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