News | 18 April 2023
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Get down to earth with the City Nature Challenge

Te Whanganui-a-Tara, let’s branch out and get down to earth with the global City Nature Challenge heading to our shores, coastline and backyards this month.

Children at environment event looking at pieces of nature with magnifying glasses.

Each year, Pōneke competes against over 400 cities worldwide, plus five around Aotearoa, to record as many species as possible in the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge.


Last year there were 7,608 observations taken in Wellington, up from 1,537 the previous (and first) year – so we’re not beating around the bush when we say we want to improve on those numbers this year, says Wellington City Council’s Campaign Lead Peta McMillan.


“The City Nature Challenge is a fun, friendly competition that encourages people to discover and document the biodiversity of our urban spaces – and the collated data will go towards protecting and learning more about our local species for the future. 


“Tens of thousands of people from hundreds of cities around the world will be competing to see which one can log the most nature observations on iNaturalist over the four-day period. 


“We are getting behind the challenge more than ever this year by collaborating with our regional friends and putting on more events around Te Whanganui-a-Tara, as we aim to take the New Zealand title by working better together,” adds Peta.


“We challenge Wellingtonians to take up to five photos a day over the four-day event, even just in your garden, and we’ll be on top of the world.”


A number of species were recorded for the first time in the capital during last year’s challenge including Lophunrella caespitosa (a red alga found only in New Zealand), moss Pseudotaxiphyllum falcifolium (a first recorded south of Palmerston North), and the bird dropping spider (Celaenia olivacea).

Group of adults and children searching around the coast and among rocks.

How to get involved: 



  • Download the iNaturalist app and get out in nature to start making observations. 
  • All observations recorded from 28 April - 1 May within the Wellington Region boundary during the challenge will automatically be added to Wellington’s tally. 
  • Come along to one of our events – keep an eye on Council’s Facebook page for more information.  
  • You can keep an eye on Wellington’s results on the project page, and the progress other Aotearoa cities are making here.


Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush - Guided walk and exploration 
Friday 28 April, 10am – 11.30am, Ōtari Wilton’s Bush


Tarakena Bay Discovery Day 
Saturday 29 April, 2pm – 5.30pm, Tarakena Bay, South Coast


Discovery Garden Te Kaapuia o Te Waoku Open Day

Saturday 29 April, 10am – 3pm, Wellington Botanic Garden


Nature Play and Bioblitz 
Sunday 30 April, 10am – 12.30pm, Willowbank Reserve, Tawa


The City Nature Challenge Guided Walk - The 3 Southern Reserves

Sunday 30 April, 10.30am – 12.30pm, Paekawakawa Reserve, Island Bay
Mataimoana Nature Play Day  
Sunday 30 April, 1pm – 4pm, Mapuia Community Prison Garden


Night walk and bug hunt 
Monday 1 May, 6pm-7.30pm, Khandallah Park