Orangutans move to South Island

Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park is now home to the country's only orangutans.

The park is looking after them for two years, while Auckland Zoo goes through a $50 million upgrade.

The trio of Bornean orangutans - named Melur, Wanita and Charlie - arrived on South Island at 3am Friday, after fog delayed their transfer from Auckland Zoo. 

They share 97 percent of their DNA sequence with humans, which helped Auckland zookeeper Amy Robbins prepare them for their big move south.

"Because they're so intelligent, they understand what we're asking, we're speaking the same language," she says.

Just hours into their temporary two-year stay, they were out on show and settling in well.

Melur, Wanita and Charlie are expected to draw a large crowd of visitors while here in the South for the next couple of years.