The Maunga is the classroom

The restoration of Maungatautari offers people of all ages the opportunity of a hands-on learning experience in a unique ecological environment.


The maunga provides a variety of enriched learning opportunities that support the education philosophy that the maunga is the classroom. The aim is to create positive and memorable experiences.


Learners are able to:

  • Experience the rich history of the maunga and its unique and ever-changing biodiversity.

  • Discover how two significant conservation technologies (pest proof fencing and pest eradication) have enabled the ecological restoration of the maunga.

  • Understand the important role people have as kaitiaki or guardians of the land.


We are very grateful to acknowledge the contributions from the David Johnstone Charitable Trust for the latest donation, and would like to acknowledge that without these contributions over the last 3 years the Education section would not be where it is today.


Meet our Educator

Tom Lynch is the environmental education ccoordinator for the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust. He comes to us from Zealandia and is relishing the opportunity to pass on his passion for conservation to students who visit Maungatautari.


Email with any enquiries or bookings.



Sanctuary Mountain education programmes:


Our education programmes are delivery focused, meaning your students will be with knowledgeable, experienced staff for the duration of your visit.


Standard education programme:


Our standard programme is 4 hours in duration and includes the following;


10:00 Arrive at Matapihi, our educational facility, located at nearby Pukeatua School

10:00 - 10:45am Welcome and introductory talk/discussion about the Maungatautari project (or other themes as required)

10:45 - 11:15am Morning tea, transport to Southern Enclosure

11:15 - 12:00pm Visit wetland to check out “big blue chickens” (takahe) and maybe tuatara!

12:00 - 12:30pm Lunch at our visitor centre

12.30 – 2.00pm visit southern enclosure

2:00pm Return to school


Obviously our programs are conservation and natural history focused but we pride ourselves on meeting teachers' needs. We can customise an educational visit to cater to the needs of your group, including supporting programmes for many themes as well as NCEA standards. We have delivered successful programmes supporting biology, geography, EFS and other learning areas. We are always keen to work with teachers to give their class the best support for their inclass programs we can.


Ratio requirements:  We suggest a ratio of one adult supervisor per six students (1:6).


Facilities:  The education facility, Matapihi, is located behind Pukeatua School on school grounds. We have parking available free of charge for either cars or buses. The bus driver will be allowed free access to the Southern Enclosure for the duration of your visit. Please note that toilets are only available at the entrance to the Southern Enclosure.


Booking information: Bookings are essential. Please email for booking information.


Cost: $10.00 (inclusive of GST) per student and adult supervisors, with free entry for teachers.


Requirements: The session will start on time - please be prompt. 

All students need to wear enclosed footwear and clothing appropriate to winter conditions.  If extreme weather conditions are forecast the programme will be cancelled and the educator will notify a designated teacher by no later than 7.30am on the day of the visit.


International and tertiary students


We also provide education programmes for international and tertiary students. Please email for more information.


Cost for international and tertiary groups: $15.00 (plus GST) per person

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