Job opportunities

Job opportunities

Zoo Director

Hamilton Zoo - New Zealand

New Zealand Closing date for applications is: 9th Feb 2020
Sector: CEO/Director
Type: Paid
Contract type: Full-time

Hamilton Zoo is a key visitor attraction in New Zealand’s fourth-largest city.


The position of Hamilton Zoo Director recently became vacant, and we’re looking for an experienced and strategic zoo sector professional to take the helm.


You’ll take charge of a popular publicly owned facility staffed by a group of committed and passionate zoo professionals responsible for more than 600 animals. Our zoo plays a key role in breeding programmes for rare and endangered species and you will have a part in the planning and delivery of those, alongside our curator and keepers – and our industry partners. Animal welfare and care is a key focus for our team and for our zoo: we want the best for our animals and aim to ensure the best possible quality of life for them. In addition, this role will also look after Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park – our beautiful award-winning and community-led “urban island” ecological restoration. This 65ha park is being restored to bring back Hamilton’s native flora and fauna and to reconstruct the natural forest, wetland and lake ecosystems, and recently opened to the public.


A key focus of this role will be an emphasis on building a positive and collaborative team culture, and ensuring the health and safety standards are exemplary. Your management and leadership style will be positive, strategic and tactical, with a desire to create a cohesive team environment in which strategic goals can be delivered.


A can-do attitude will be a key to success, as is knowing when to celebrate success and achievements.


Animal husbandry experience is vital, and you will already be in a senior position in the zoos sector. We expect to see a relevant qualification and experience in your CV, and you must be able to demonstrate high-level understanding of zoo practice and principles.


Similarly, you need to be commercially savvy, with a strong grasp of the financial and budgetary requirements which come with this kind of leadership position.

We have an ambitious masterplan for Hamilton Zoo, and you will be instrumental in its implementation. We want our zoo and its people to be industry leaders and to be seen as setting the standards for our industry nationally and globally.


This is a senior position in Hamilton City Council’s Community Group, and you’ll be reporting to our Visitor Destinations Manager. Staff reporting to this role are experienced high-calibre zoo professionals.


Opportunities of this kind are rare, and if you are inspired to lead a high-quality zoo with a positive and safe culture, we’d like to hear from you. For the right candidate, we will explore options around relocation and accommodation to ensure you and your family feel comfortable and welcome here.


Hamilton is a fast-growing city enjoying a recognised renaissance, with lively hospitality, cultural and creative sectors, regular international events and an attractive green environment. We’re confident our next Zoo Director will love and thrive Hamilton like we do.


All candidates will be notified of the outcome on their application via email. Short-listed candidates will be required to complete an interview process, reference checks, pre-employment medical and drug assessments and Ministry of Justice or Police vetting check.


Hamilton City Council is committed to being a high-performance organisation with people who think differently, act with integrity, make it happen and work together.


Please note this role is being sourced directly and we are not accepting applications via external recruitment agencies.