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Dear friends of Maungatautari

Kia ora koutou, here is your latest edition of Maunga Matters.

From the Chief Executive Officer
by Phil Lyons
Kia ora Koutou,
It would be fair to say that despite everything COVID has thrown at SMM, this has been another year of significant outcomes, delivered by the determination, skill and dedication of our team of volunteers, contractors, partners and staff.
 
At this time of writing, Aotearoa New Zealand is about to move to our new COVID-19 protection framework. Our team are ready and looking forward to sharing the mauri and mana of the maunga with our local, regional and, fingers crossed, international visitors, in the very near future. 
 
With the holiday period just around the corner, I am sure you will all be looking forward to: quality time with whanau; spending a little time reflecting on the year that has been and looking forward to the new year, and the opportunities it will bring.
 
2022 provides further opportunities for Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari to make significant impacts in our communities. Of note will be the: continuation of the kākāpō project; construction of our new Education Centre, which is confirmed to start in February 2022; launch of our new health & wellness programmes; and the continued deployment of Geographic Information System (GIS) throughout our operation. 
 
So, as the year draws to a close, I would like to thank you all on behalf of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, for your amazing support throughout 2021. 
 
Ngā mihi,
Phil
 
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari under the Covid-19 framework
 
Maungatautari is a tāonga for all Aotearoa, and ensuring the longevity of the sanctuary is of vital importance.
 
We’ve decided that the best way to ensure the well-being of our staff, volunteers, local community and visitors is that all people who enter our Visitors centre and staffed areas, Tautari Wetlands enclosure and Te Tui a Tane – Ancient forest enclosure to provide proof of vaccination. We have made this decision by weighing up the risks associated with the work we do in being kaitiaki guardians, not just for Maungatautari, but the local community too. Ultimately, we want to do all we can to take care of our people, including our visitors under 12 who cannot be vaccinated.
 
We consider that requiring approved vaccine passes will make our close-contact areas as safe as can be, and keep the sanctuary accessible for as many of our visitors as possible.
 
The Covid-19 protection framework (aka the traffic light system) will be effective as of 11:59PM on Thursday December 2nd. From then on, all visitors, staff, contractors, volunteers and will need to provide an approved My Vaccine Pass to access the Visitors centre and both our Tautari Wetlands enclosure and Te Tui a Tane – Ancient forest enclosure. Our trained staff will check visitors’ vaccination status as you enter the Visitors centre using the My Vaccine Pass process.’ Children under 12 are currently exempt from being vaccinated and will be exempt from producing a pass.
 
At Sanctuary Mountain we are kaitiaki of the maunga, and that includes caring for the communities that surround the maunga too. We consider these to be necessary for the hauora of our people, and the people of the communities we serve.
 
We will continue to review our policies as the Covid-19 situation evolves and will continue to follow the advice and regulations from government.
 
My Vaccine Passes will only be required to enter our close-contact areas ie Visitors Centre and wildlife enclosures. The Wairere traverse track (Over The Mountain Track) public reserve is still completely open to all of the public. This area makes up close to 90% of Maungatautari and is completely free to enter.
 
Our purpose at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is to share the mauri and mana of the maunga. We’ve worked hard to ensure that whatever choice you’ve made for you and your whanau, that you all can still experience the mauri of Maungatautari regardless.
 
Ngā mihi,
SMM Team
 
SMM Virtual AGM 2021
By Freeman Ehu
 
On October 26th we held our Annual General Meeting virtually via Zoom, where a select panel presented on the mahi that has been happening at Sanctuary Mountain. Our team work extremely hard and with the combined efforts of staff, volunteers and board members we were able to showcase all of the results from the past year. The team are very passionate about the work that they do and in spite of some minor technical difficulties on the evening, the presentation was widely received by the attendees. To view a recording of this year’s virtual AGM, head over to our website by clicking here.
 
 
A special presentation speech given at our AGM
Kootuku Rerenga Tahi – White Heron Award.
By Don Scarlet MNZM. Co-Chair, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari | Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust
Before I announce the recipient of this award, I want to pause and reflect on the essence of this award. 
 
Firstly, we all know a Kootuku, a white heron, is rare and beautiful. We also know a white heron’s visit is both rare and very special. This award honours a rare and special person who has provided longstanding exceptional volunteering service to MEIT.  
 
With the support of volunteers, staff and the MEIT Board, this year’s Kootuku Rerenga Tahi award is awarded to Ally Tairi.
 
The citation that accompanied Ally’s nomination for this award records that in, 1998 Ally volunteered, inspired by the vision, to support the dream which was to become SMM. Early in June 2004 Ally was employed by the Operations Manager, Pim De Monchy. It would be fair to say that Ally learnt on the job. Tasks were many and varied, from administration to transporting track cutter gear along the tracks in a 4WD! To quote Ally, “I was like Pim’s PA without the PA wages…..”
 
In 2012, Ally moved with the team to the Visitor Centre at Tari Road.
 
Since then, Ally has been the person who has been responsible for coordinating over 18,600 volunteer hours or 9 FTE’s per annum.
This is the equivalent of $2,873,000 of wages
Forming 25 teams plus of volunteers
However Ally’s contribution has been more than that. Ally has been the glue that held our volunteer effort together, a truly inspired kaitiaki.
I now record some reflections from some who have worked with Ally. 
 
Pim De Monchy. We enjoyed a good relationship and I remember many long days and evenings planning volunteer activities, helping manage volunteer expectations, overseeing tracking card reading, discussing landowner and tangata whenua relationships, and celebrating our wins. She is fun to work with!
 
Tao Tauroa. From memory, Ally was first employed to compile the list of ownership of individual Māori Land Blocks impacted by the pest-proof fence. I am not quite sure if she did this voluntarily before being employed or not.
 
I think it is also fitting at this time to remember that in 2017 Ally was awarded a Kiwibank local hero award for the Waikato. This award honoured selfless, optimistic and generous citizens for their service to our community. 
Ally – you have selflessly, lovingly and with true dedication contributed to our project over a very long period of time.
 
I will take this opportunity to add some of my personal reflections as I have known you for what must be almost the whole time you have been part of this project. I certainly remember your dedicated smiling at the former Alpha Street office. I see the mural beside that office is still on the wall. It brings back great memories of those early days when I pass and see it.

Ally, you have been synonymous with MEIT for me, for the life of this project. You were also a special mentor for my son Ben, when he was a volunteer for one of his university summer breaks. His view of that experience is best summed up by a Facebook post a couple of days into the job – alongside a photo he had taken looking from Pukeatua Peak across Lake Arapuni, he posted “best job in the world, sad about the pay”! He still remembers his time working as part of the MEIT team that way. Your mentoring helped grow a wonderful young man.
 
Ally, you have been a rare and beautiful contributor to MEIT over a long time. You are a truly deserving recipient of our Kootuku Rerenga Tahi Award.
 
Thank you for your service.
 
NZ Tourism Awards 2021
By Freeman Ehu
 
We want to say thank you to all of our supporters and we are very thankful for being the recipients of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust - Community Engagement Award for 2021.
 
We were amongst great company and are extremely proud of the work we do and most importantly, the people we do it with.
 
We've always said that we are extremely lucky to be kaitiaki of Maungatautari and are blown away with the win.
 
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari was built on the backs of our community and tonight's win is a testament to all of their hard work for the last 20+ years.
 
This is a win for all the dedicated people who've contributed to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and have shared the mauri and mana of Maungatautari. 
 
Past, present and future.
 
A big congratulations to the other nominees and award winners!
 
When one of us wins, we all win!
Something for the family 
By Tali Jellyman
 
The education team is missing being at the maunga and being able to share the ngahere with school groups this term. But what about trying some Backyard Bingo?
 
The backyard bingo activity sheet (link) was designed as a competition for the October school holidays, but if you send in a photo of you and your family doing the bingo activity by the end of December, you can be in to WIN a family pass to the Southern Enclosure. Spring is a great time of year to explore nature!
 
Families could also check out the resources DOC has put out for ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’ : https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-education/outdoor-classroom-day/
 
 
Up Front and Behind the Scenes on the Maunga!  
By Freeman Ehu
 
Jobs4Nature Series: New recruits.
 
Last month, our four new Ranger recruits start their mahi at Maungatautari. As part of the Jobs4Nature programme, supported by the Department of Conservation, our new Rangers will contribute greatly to the project and the future of Sanctuary Mountain. As part of their induction, our new Rangers will be working with both our Biosecurity and Operations teams. This will ensure that they are able to take part in all areas of protecting the sanctuary in any condition.

The new recruits have been with us for a month and enjoy the variation in work. From fence building to trap-setting, our new Rangers are essential to maintaining our project.
 
This partnership with Jobs4Nature ensures that our Rangers are committed to the conservation of Maungatautari for the next three years. In that time, they will learn everything that it takes to care for the sanctuary and in turn, become our newest inspired kaitiaki.

 
 
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari Community Day 2021!
 
To celebrate the final days of 2021, we'd like to extend an invitation to the locals who live in the Waikato to visit the sanctuary for free!

Just bring along proof of address and your whanau to immerse yourself amongst the forest. This is our way of thanking you for supporting Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari this year and we look forward to 2022!
Early Christmas presents for our Rangers thanks to The ToolShed!
 
Truly blown away!
 
We'd like to thank The Tool Shed and all of our partners and supporters for supplying over 20K worth of tools for our Rangers, Biosecurity and Operations teams.
 
Less than 24 hours after taking home the NZ Tourism award for community engagement, the community once again steps up to support our kaupapa!
 
We are extremely lucky to be surrounded by amazing people who want to take care of our land, and help any way that they can.
 
We're extremely humbled by all of the support we receive from our partners, supporters, land owners, manawhenua and volunteers.
 
We've been tasked with a big job, being kaitiaki of Maungatautari and we can't do it alone. Thankfully, with the aroha and support of our community, we'll never have to.
 
 
An Update from the Volunteer Co-ordinator
By Lian Buckett
As reported at the AGM, our volunteers are incredibly generous people who give up their time to help restore Maungatautari; they are the life force of our project. We now have 30 active Volunteer Teams, each with a Team Adviser.
  
New teams have been created to cater for the ever-increasing number of jobs that are required to be undertaken on and around the maunga. New recruitment processes have been put in place, and a new Volunteer Information pack created, including necessary requirements and obligations, to provide the best tools for getting involved as a precious member of SMM. 
 
If you feel you can contribute some of your time and skills as a volunteer to our wonderful team here at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, please contact Lian on volunteer@maungatrust.org
 
Ngā mihi maioha
(with thanks and appreciation)

The team at Sanctuary Mountain® Maungatautari
Copyright © 2018 Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari,  All rights reserved.
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Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari · 99 Tari Road · Pukeatua, Waikato 3880 · New Zealand