2 March 2022
Hi, I’m Oliver Lewis and I was recently based at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari for my university project placement for my thesis (University of Otago). I was tasked with surveying the newly introduced riflemen (titipounamu), and working out the current size of their population; how many fledglings there are, etc.
For anyone who doesn’t know, they are NZ’s smallest bird (they weigh as much as six paper clips), and because of that, very tough to spot! They like to spend a lot of their time in the canopy and make small high-pitched squeaks to communicate while foraging.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the community here at Sanctuary, from the swooping mayhem of the kākā to the never-ending sunsets in the evening. One of my highlights would have to be the early morning walks to the top of the maunga and seeing the sunrise across the valley. Of course, meeting all the vibrant staff and volunteers here really added to the experience. I felt incredibly welcomed and at home from the moment I arrived. All in all, I deeply appreciated my time at Maungatautari, and am looking forward to getting back.