Wingspan raptor aviculturists

Our Raptor Team

About Us / Our Raptor Team

  • Heidi Stook, Raptor Manager

    Heidi Stook, Wingspan Raptor Manager Aviculturist

    Originally from Wellington, Heidi's journey to her current role has been as adventurous as it has been passionate. Escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city on her trusty Harley motorbike, Heidi found her sanctuary in the Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa New Zealand.

    And ‘plenty’ of it too, because since 2015, she has been an integral part of the avicultural team at Wingspan, where her love for birds of prey truly took flight. Every day, Heidi's dedication shines through, she has trained kāhu, kārearea, and ruru, an Australian barn owl too, with unwavering patience and expertise, and a natural empathy, ensuring their wellbeing is a top priority. But her talents don't stop there; she's also a skilled pilot of roprey – a polystyrene drone – adding an innovative twist to her work with raptors.

    Heidi is also our resident graphic artist, lending her creative talents to projects like our annual journal, signage, and branding, and even signwriting our trusty Wingspan vehicle, not least adding her personal touch in painting the drones to resemble falcons, hawks, and magpies too!

    Outside of her duties at Wingspan, Heidi's artistic flair knows no bounds. With an arts diploma under her belt, she's proficient in various mediums, from painting to carving and carpentry. When she's not busy caring for the grounds, managing onsite security, or tackling pest control, you'll often find her indulging her passion for art.

    Heidi Stook is more than just Raptor Manager – she's a staunch advocate for the conservation and appreciation of birds of prey, infusing every aspect of her work with passion, creativity, and unwavering dedication. Signs of a good thing at Wingspan, come visit; meet Heidi.

  • Riba Greally, Raptor Aviculturist

    Riba Greally, Wingspan Raptor Aviculturist

    Riba essentially stumbled into the raptor world – she wasn’t bird of prey mad until she started working with them. After completing her Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity, she spent some time abroad working at various animal sanctuaries. She’s worked with wolves and bears, but it was the winged predators at an Irish bird of prey sanctuary that seeded a new passion. Kestrels, turkey vultures, white-tailed sea eagles…she was hooked!

    After returning home, Riba worked as a ranger for four years before finding her home at Wingspan. The ultimate energiser bunny, if she’s not out luring her bird, Riba can be found prepping food, or cleaning aviaries – she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty!
    Come meet Riba. Just don’t shake her hand.

  • Manaia Hall, Raptor Apprentice

    Manaia Hall, Wingspan Raptor Apprentice

    Manaia (Ngāti Manawa/Ngāti Whakaue/Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Ngāi Tūhoe) has grown up with an affinity for our native wildlife and a keen interest in conservation. She achieved Enviro Leader at her school and went on to win the Enviro Group Leadership Award.

    Add the fact that she’s studying five languages, it's clear Manaia is nothing short of a superstar!

    Following a stint guiding visitors through the Whirinaki Forest and participating in a cultural exchange programme with the Aboriginal Gunditjmara tribe in Australia, Manaia found her way into the Wingspan whānau. With a hunger for learning and a genuine passion for environmental education, Manaia is right at home in the valley.