The magic of the maunga
Rising above Lake Karāpiro, an ancient forest blankets the slopes of one of the largest pest-free sanctuaries in the world.
Protected by a 47 kilometre long pest-proof fence, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is home to many of New Zealand’s most endangered native birds, rare species such as tuatara, giant wētā, frogs, bats and more than 2,000 kiwi.
The ambitious project was established in 2001 when Maungatautari was made a reserve and restorations began with the vision to eradicate all mammalian pests.
Today, the sanctuary is an example of what our native forests would have looked and sounded like before humans arrived. Alive with birdsong and rich in biodiversity, the maunga provides a window into what predator-free bushland can look like.
Just a 30 minute drive from Cambridge, you can explore its many walking tracks, take a guided tour run by local volunteers or experience an introduction to traditional Māori medicine through a rongoā rākau tour.
As well as hosting school groups to educate rangatahi on conservation, Sanctuary Mountain has a rich calendar of events for the public including working bees, school holiday activities and a wellbeing programme with meditation, forest serenity days
Nature inspires office execs
On Maungatautari, a secret path leads to a hidden location where you’ll find the country’s first outdoor boardroom nestled under native canopy. The Bush Boardroom was designed as an open-air office space in the middle of the forest. It’s a novel concept for companies wanting to bring their teams into nature for special strategy sessions or an offsite day outdoors, supported with mindful hiking, wild food foraging and nature feasts.
Bush Boardroom founder Kylie Rae says she was inspired during the first Covid-19 lockdown to find a way to get more people into nature. “After spending so much time isolated and tied to screens, we saw this huge increase in anxiety and burn out. I know from experience how spending time in nature can help with both prevention and cure.”
Scientific research shows that time spent in nature reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves mood and can even boost creative thinking.
Rae partnered with Sanctuary Mountain to bring her idea to life, hosting corporate groups and contributing to their conservation efforts through these unique experiences.