Friends and supporters of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari are being encouraged to do their bit for the national icon, by supporting a fundraising campaign for the birds.
The mountain was last year announced as the national stronghold for western brown kiwi, which will see up to 500 new kiwi introduced to its reserve over the next five years.
The opportunity to use this predator-free environment was identified by Kiwis for kiwi, a national charity working alongside the Department of Conservation to turn around the national decline in kiwi populations from the current 2% loss each year to a 2% net gain.
The introduction of the new kiwi will enable Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari to continue to use its expertise to nurture and grow current kiwi populations.
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari CEO Phil Lyons says the organisation has a short-term fundraising campaign underway, and he’s urging people to donate to help the kiwi. The campaign runs until the end of June and all money raised will go towards the upkeep of the mountain for the safety of the kiwi living there.
At 47km, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari near Cambridge has the longest pest-proof fence in the world, protecting 3,363 hectares of ecological reserve and many of New Zealand’s endangered species.
Mr Lyons says the Kiwis for kiwi organisation has identified Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari as the best opportunity for growth in western brown kiwi numbers, a valuable kohanga kiwi (source site) able to provide kiwi to other sites in the near future.
“If we can tap into some financial help from our many friends and supporters, and when we combine that with the help of Kiwis for kiwi, we think up to 680 pairs could soon call Maungatautari home.”
He’s encouraging people to visit the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari website and make a quick and easy credit card donation through the donate now page. All donations made by the end of June will go into a draw for a Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari pictorial guide.
“The money we raise is really important as it goes towards our programmes of pest eradication and fence monitoring – all of which is vital to help keep the kiwi safe. It’s a shocking statistic that 95% of kiwi chicks don’t survive in the wild; we must do what we can to save our national icon and turn around the population decline.”
He says the pest-free mountain is key to New Zealand’s goal of making the nation predator-free by 2050. “It was pleasing to see recently that Taranaki is keen to rid itself of pests and predators. Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is an important part of the predator-free story in New Zealand and we look forward to working with them and sharing our knowledge.”
Mr Lyons says Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari has a large group of determined supporters but he hopes others will also be keen to help change the conservation story of the western brown kiwi by making a donation to the mountain.
The ecological restoration project that became a tourism venture recently celebrated 10 years as New Zealand’s largest mainland sanctuary.
Fondly known by locals as ‘the maunga’, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is accessible to the public, currently attracting 12,000 visitors a year with an aim to have 50,000 visitors by 2021.
The mountain has a large database of friends and supporters and Mr Lyons says they’ll soon be in touch with all those people as the organisation is updating and streamlining its information and communications.
Its trust, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, is governed by a board of trustees comprising mana whenua, adjoining landowners and community trustees.
To make a donation, visit Sanctuary Mountain Kiwi Donations
PHOTO CREDIT: John Parker, Maddox Photography