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Changes planned for Trust that governs Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Changes planned for Trust that governs Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

1 August 2017

Changes planned for Trust that governs Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari


Changes are afoot to help the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, which governs Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, to operate more efficiently and effectively.


Co-chairs Tao Tauroa and Melissa Sinton say the Trust is considering reviewing the size of the Board, potentially reducing the number of Trustees from 15 to 12 and then progressively to nine (three representatives each from mana whenua, landowners and community).


The Trust is currently consulting with landowners, mana whenua and others on the proposal, which also follows the resignation of two trustees.


An independent review of the Trust will also be commissioned. Mr Tauroa says this is good practice and will help strengthen the Trust’s governance. “All organisations need robust reviews from time to time and this review aims to ensure we are doing all we can to meet our objectives, given the resources we have and the rules we must follow within our Trust Deed.”


He says trustees and key funders are supportive of the review and they’re keen to see what changes are possible to help administer the pest-free project, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.


“We won’t be rushing the review as it needs time to be done properly and we’ll be keeping key stakeholders, including funders, landowners, mana whenua and our staff and volunteers updated on any actions that might be recommended,” Mr Tauroa says.


As part of the proposed changes, trustees will conduct self-reviews, and the board will undertake professional development around governance.


At the request of the Trust, Co-Chair Miss Sinton has agreed to accept a short-term role of six months as Acting Assistant Manager at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. This temporary role allows for current General Manager John Simmons to reduce his hours, and takes effect from XXX August.


Under the Trust Deed, Miss Sinton must step down as co-chair during this time but can remain as a Trustee. An acting co-chair will be appointed at the board’s next meeting in September.


Mr Tauroa says the Trust is committed to finding solutions to continually enhance the work on the mountain, and the Trust has published a revised Strategic Plan with a 10-year vision for the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari project and a three-year business plan.  


“We’re also planning to expand our visitor facilities, and include a new education centre to cater for rapidly increasing school visits, plus additional car and bus parking,” he says.


He says Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is a large, complex project and collaboration is vital between the Trust, the management and operational team, and multiple parties including adjoining landowners; mana whenua; the community; volunteers; Waipa District Council; Waikato Regional Council, Department of Conservation and other funding partners.


Recent achievements at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari:

  • Kokako have been successfully translocated with proof of breeding in their first year
  • Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari has been announced as the stronghold of western brown kiwi through the Kiwis for Kiwi strategy – an estimated 500 kiwi will be released on the Maunga in the coming five years
  • The Trust reduced debt of $400,000 in the past year thanks to the generosity and support of Trust Waikato, WEL Energy Trust and DV Bryant Trust
  • Successful grant applications and fundraising have helped build a new depot at Tari Road, rather than leasing premises. Volunteers and workers now have a dedicated facility with secure storage for maintenance equipment
  • A lunch was held recently for volunteers to celebrate National Volunteers Week. The Trust has 470 volunteers and their annual contribution amounts to the equivalent of 10 additional full-time employees.


Upcoming projects to improve the visitor experience include:

  • Capital developments associated with the Visitor Centre and Southern Enclosure
  • Pop-up, contained, camper facility
  • New access to the Southern Enclosure with swing bridge entry
  • Over the Mountain guided walks, special interest tours for photographic enthusiasts, dawn walks over spring and autumn, birdwatching challenges
  • A new supporters’ programme with plenty of exclusive activities and special events.


Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari also aims to keep its database as updated as possible and is encouraging supporters and visitors to include or update their details. Email


For more information visit the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari website: