The team behind the $846,000 Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari Education Centre is celebrating the approval of its building consent.
“It is very exciting news. After five years of working with our partners, it is amazing to see this wonderful vision finally becoming a reality,” said Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari chief, Phil Lyons.
The centre will be available to schools, tertiary groups, community groups, and anyone who is taking part in Sanctuary Mountain’s Conservation Education Programme.
“The key themes for our education programme are natural history and conservation, taught in the context of the story, and conservation work of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari,” Lyons said.
The site will be blessed on Monday by mana whenua, and construction will begin in March. Lyons says the centre will take about 24 weeks to complete.
Sanctuary Mountain is also progressing their plans to introduce kākāpō to the maunga.
Once one of the more common birds in New Zealand, kākāpō are now being nursed back on off shore sanctuaries and their numbers are just over 200.
The Sanctuary Mountain team will install specially designed fences to house them this year. They were recently granted $10,000 to prototype these designs and have received positive feedback from the Kākāpō Recovery Group. They have also been trialling kākāpō transmitters at different areas of the maunga’s terrain to test their efficacy.
Later this year they will begin sourcing the $800,000 required to complete the kākāpō fence work.
Adding to their celebrations, Lyons announced at last week’s committee meeting that Sanctuary Mountain was awarded the New Zealand Tourism award for community engagement.
“It’s a testament to all the great work everyone has been doing over the last 20 years,” he said.