August 06, 2021
Maungatautari tourism company supports iwi’s bird song push
A south Waikato iwi’s efforts to bring its maunga back to life have earned it a place in this year’s New Zealand Tourism Awards.
Member Linda Te Aho says tourism wasn’t the objective when Ngaati Korokii Kahukura used some of its settlement money and other resources to build a 47 kilometre fence around Maungatautari to keep out predators like rats, stoats and possums.
But Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, which is a finalist in the community engagement section of the awards, has become a valuable tool to manage visitor interactions and raise funds for the upkeep of what’s described as an ecological island.
She says when the fence was started 20 years ago, elders talked about how noisy the mountain had been when they were young, but it went silent as the land around was developed into farms.
"So it was our mission to get that mountain thriving again, full of birds. Now there are kereruu that swoop in, kaakaa that play in the trees, the tuuii are just prolific and it has had a halo effect, so there are lots of other areas that benefit because those birds fly out, even as far as Kirikiriroa," Ms Te Aho says.
Maungatautari has also reintroduced flightless species like takahee and tuatara, as well as propagating threatened native plant species.
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