Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is New Zealand's most ambitious conservation project. Surrounded by the longest pest-proof fence in the world, the Maungatautari project was born in 2001 with a vision to restore to the forest a healthy diversity of indigenous plants and animals not seen in our lifetime.
An ancient volcano protected by a pest-proof fence stretching 47km around its perimeter, Maungatautari is the largest ecological island on mainland New Zealand, covering 3,400 hectares. The island was fully enclosed by the 'Xcluder' pest-proof fence in 2006 after a massive community fundraising effort. In 2009, the Global Restoration Network judged the project to be one of Australasia's Top 25 ecological restoration projects.
Since the completion of the pest-proof fence, 14 species of mammalian predator have been totally eradicated from the mountain, which is now home to many threatened species including kaka, hihi (stitchbird), takahe, Mahoenui giant weta, popokatea (whitehead), pitoitoi (North Island robin), tieke (saddleback), kiwi and tuatara, all of which are now thriving in the regenerated lush forest and pest free environment. Plans are underway to introduce more endangered species such as kakapo and kokako.
Visitors are encouraged to visit Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. There are two access points to the mountain: :
The more enthusiastic tramper can walk to Pukeatua Peak (1.5 - 2 hours) or right across the mountain from one side to the other (5 -6 hours). These tracks are graded moderate to difficult and are the original forest track so can be slippery and muddy depending on the conditions.
Please note that there are no dogs allowed on Maungatautari. Also, please check your bag for mice before entering the enclosure—apparently this has been known to happen at other restoration sites!
Maungatautari is about 16km from Te Awamutu.