NZVA Wildlife Conference - Nelson: From the mountains to the sea

Trailways Hotel, Nelson

Local talks will focus on conservation issues in the Tasman Region, and there will be the usual great range of member talks. There will also be two field trip options including kayaking at Cable Bay, and a trip to the local wildlife sanctuary, Brook Waimārama Sanctuary, and workshops including basic avian triage, and waterway health monitoring. We look forward to seeing you there!

Any late registrations after 24 November will be processed at the conference on Friday. Please register on arrival.


Friday 27 November - Lectures: 8am - 12pm | Workshops: 1pm - 4.30pm | AGM: 4.45pm - 5.30pm | Night-time field trip (Bat-stravaganza) 7:30pm - 11:30 pm

Saturday 28 November - Lectures: 8.30am - 12pm | Field trips: 1pm - 5pm | Dinner: 6.30pm (Trailways Hotel)

Sunday 29 November - Lectures: 9am - 2pm


View the preliminary programme here.


Environmental toxins: Algal blooms, waterways, and wildlife mass mortalities (dry lab)

Are algal and cyanobacterial blooms becoming more common, or do we just hear about them more often? What factors contribute to blooms, and what can be done about the environmental factors that cause them? And what can veterinarians do to help diagnose a die-off when one is suspected? Join us on a voyage into the world of algal and cyanobacterial blooms. The first part of this workshop will review the basics of these microscopic organisms. This will be followed by a switch to focus on the veterinary and ecology implications of these die-offs, including techniques for investigation and sampling of algal and cyanobacterial toxin-associated mortalities of animals. No equipment is needed for this workshop, just your curiosity!

Basic avian triage and diagnostics (wet lab)

This case-based workshop focuses on the immediate needs of sick or injured birds when they come into the clinic. While focused on wild birds, the principles equally apply to pet birds. Learn how to make triage decisions and recognise which diagnostic tools will give you the most useful information. Improve your success rates with birds by giving them specific supportive care and help to ease suffering. Learn some of the unique needs and methods for working with birds to build your confidence. The workshop also includes a wet lab for initial diagnostic techniques such as crop wash, blood sampling and radiographic positioning.

Field trips

Cable Bay Kayak

Join a small group of conference-goers for an afternoon paddle. Just 20 minutes from Nelson, Cable Bay is both a beautiful and historical site, showcasing the rich local marine ecosystem of this region. Come experience the natural world of Cable Bay and nearby Pepin Island, which serves as a nesting area for Spotted Cormorants, white fronted terns, black backed gulls, and little blue penguins, as well as acting as a haul out site for southern fur seals. To bring: waterbottle, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses, windbreaker/fleece, togs, towel, dry spare clothes for afterwards.

Brook Waimārama Sanctuary

Close to Nelson City, this is the largest fenced haven for endangered plants and creatures in the South Island. Come experience the beauty of Nelson’s native bush and continue with the Wildlife Conference tradition of touring our mainland islands! Brook Waimārama is a newcomer, having opened to the public in July 2018. Come take a guided tour along one of the many short or more adventurous walking tracks on offer. Along the way look for riflemen, South Island robins, tomtits, peek into the weta hotels for spiky occupants, and enjoy this lovely remnant of intact southern beech forest. To bring: water bottle, sturdy walking shoes, sunhat and sunscreen, windbreaker/fleece as needed.

Night-time field trip - Friday 27 October | 7:30pm - 11:30pm

Bat-stravaganza – Pelorus Bridge long-tailed bat trapping

Join bat ecologist Gillian Dennis on an evening expedition to Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, home of Forest and Bird’s Bat Recovery Project. Watch endemic NZ long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) hunting insect prey on the wing after their dusk emergence and use ultrasonic detectors to pick up their echolocation calls. Participants will also be able to observe the process of setting up harp traps to capture bats, and depending on catching success, may be able to watch bats being processed and released. Bring sturdy shoes, warm clothing, a headtorch, camera (no close flash use), snacks and water. This event is weather dependent. $10 from each registration goes towards supporting the Bat Recovery Project.


3 days - Wildlife member: $475 | NZVA member: $525 | Non-member: $625 | Student/retired/veterinary nurse/partner: $225

1 day - Wildlife member: $225 | NZVA member: $250 | Non-member: $300 | Student/ retired/ veterinary nurse/ partner: $100

Environmental toxins: (workshop) - Wildlife member: $50 | NZVA member: $55 | Non-member: $65 | Student/ retired/veterinary nurse/ partner: $45

Basic avian triage and diagnostics (wet lab) - Wildlife member: $65 | NZVA member: $70 | Non-member: $80 | Student/ retired/veterinary nurse/partner: $60

Cable Bay Kayak (field tip) - $90 (limited to 8 tickets) | Brook Waimārama Sanctuary (field trip) - $25 | Bat-stravaganza (night-time field trip) - $30

Conference dinner - $50

Conference apparel - Must be ordered by 3 November - T-shirts: $27 | Hoodies: $50 (view colours and sizes available here)

Accommodation options

View accommodation options here.


To register, you will need to log in to your NZVA account. If you do not have an account, please contact the NZVA on

Terms and conditions

By registering for the 2020 Wildlife conference you are agreeing to the NZVA Events Terms and Conditions.

Read the terms and conditions here.

In addition to the NZVA Terms and Conditions, the Wildlife Society has decided that if you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, a full refund of your registration fee will be made. Note that T-shirt sales are non-refundable.


Danielle Stevens | NZVA events coordinator | 04 495 1140 |

Sessions for this event

NZVA Wildlife Conference - Friday
Nov 27, 2020, 8:00:00 AM

This session is selectable as part of an event ticket purchase.

NZVA Wildlife Conference - Saturday
Nov 28, 2020, 8:30:00 AM

This session is selectable as part of an event ticket purchase.

NZVA Wildlife Conference - Sunday
Nov 29, 2020, 9:00:00 AM

This session is selectable as part of an event ticket purchase.