Media Releases

27 April 2022: Your turn to help bring kākāpō to Maungatautari

The inaugural Mauri of the Maunga Gala Dinner & Auction will be launched on Thursday, 9 June 2022, and will help raise the significant funds required to relocate the kākāpō and create a safe and secure environment by modifying the existing fence.

Sanctuary Mountain Gala Dinner & Auction: Mauri of the Maunga

An evening of Conservation & Art to bring Kākāpō to Maungatautari

The inaugural Mauri of the Maunga Gala Dinner & Auction will be launched on Thursday, 9 June 2022, and will help raise the significant funds required to relocate the kākāpō and create a safe and secure environment by modifying the existing fence. Along with presenting partner BiteLAB, Sanctuary Mountain’s Mauri of the Maunga Gala Dinner & Auction will take place beneath the mountain on the edge of beautiful Lake Karapiro. It will be an extraordinary evening of fine dining, entertainment, and captivating guest speakers.

For several years Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari has been working to bring kākāpō to the maunga. And now the next step is upon them – start raising funds so they’re able to make modifications to the 47km long pest-proof fence to ensure the kākāpō are kept safe within the enclosure. CEO of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Phil Lyons, says “The Mauri of the Maunga gala dinner and auction will provide us with the opportunity to connect with our community and provides them with a tangible way to help save the kākāpō. They are a national treasure, and without our help will face extinction in our lifetime. Sanctuary Mountain is extremely proud to have 3,400 hectares of predator-free native and suitable habitat to transfer them to on the mainland”.  

Kākāpō are amongst the rarest birds in the world, with 201 in existence. Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari offers the only mainland site to establish kākāpō and will provide much needed habitat to expand the growing kākāpō population. Beyond the 2022 breeding season, there are no safe sites with sufficient breeding habitat to expand the kākāpō population.

The plan is to transfer up to ten kākāpō to Sanctuary Mountain in the final quarter of 2022. Along with Te Papa Atawhai - Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery Team and mana whenua Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Sanctuary Mountain is working closely with Ngāi Tahu to achieve the vision of restoring the mauri of the kākāpō. For this to happen, Sanctuary Mountain will have to modify the existing predator-proof fence to prevent kākāpō from climbing out of the sanctuary. Any birds leaving the sanctuary would be highly vulnerable to predation – from dogs, cats, ferrets, or stoats.

The gala dinner and auction aims to raise close to $100,000 and a key component to raising these funds is auctioning incredible artwork from local artists. There has been overwhelming support from 30 artists, with a mixture of artistic mediums including photography, paintings, illustrations, ceramics, sculpture and contemporary tukutuku a traditional Māori art form.

Lyons says, “we are so grateful to all the artists who have contributed their art, this event is so important to New Zealand conservation, through these artworks we can help save the kākāpō”.

One of the highlights is a recent work from distinguished artist Fred Graham of Ngāti Korokī Kahukura who grew up beneath the mountain. Graham’s works have represented New Zealand at many international exhibitions throughout his career, notably in Seattle, Vancouver, and South Korea. Other artists include London-based photographer Casey Moore, sand artist and painter Nancy Tschetner, , watercolourist Bernadette Parsons and James Ormsby, an artist renowned for his intricate large-scale pencil drawings. Plus, many more.

If you’re unable to attend in person, you can still support Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari's vital conservation work through the Silent Auction. You will be able to preview and bid on any artworks online via www.galabid.com/kakapo two weeks prior and in person at the event. 

Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.sanctuarymountain.co.nz/gala-dinner  or by emailing admin@maungatrust.org 

This event would not be possible without our generous sponsors BiteLab, Waipa District Council, Vidcom, Mighty River Domain and the contributing artists.