Auction items 

30 works of art auctioned to raise funds for Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

An original drawing by James Ormsby, cabbage moth in cast bronze by Elizabeth Thomson, mixed acrylic on wood by Hollie Tawhiao and a sculpture by distinguished artist Fred Graham ONZM are among the works that have been donated by 30 artists famous New Zealanders.

The nature and conservation-inspired pieces are part of a live, silent auction that aims to support Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari’s mission to create a safe place to transfer the critically endangered Kākāpō.

The works include a mix of artistic mediums including photography, paintings, illustrations, ceramics, sculpture and a contemporary tukutuku, a traditional Maori art form.

The pieces that have been donated are exceptional, with many artists having represented Aotearoa New Zealand nationally and internationally,” said Phil Lyons, Managing Director of Sanctuary Mountain Maungautari.

Hamilton-based artist and Ramp Gallery curator Hollie Tawhiao’s work, King of the Mountain, is loaded with symbolism and meaning. “I considered every aspect of the design to strengthen the precarious situation for kākāpō survival today,” says Tawhiao.

Tawhiao’s work depicts a star in the center with 18 points. A reference to when – at the lowest – only 18 kākāpō could be found.

“The Maunga silhouettes are those of Maungatautari, Whenua Hou, Te Hautoru o Toi and Anchor Island. The final three are the current predator-free sanctuaries for kākāpō with Maungatautari joining as a potential fourth”.

His work aptly depicts the perilous situation, showing that without help the kākāpō would most likely be extinct in our lifetime.

“By purchasing a work of art from our auction, you can bring home a work by a renowned artist from Aotearoa New Zealand and also support real on-the-ground conservation,” says Lyons.

Ten pieces have been selected to feature in a live auction at an event on Thursday, June 9 at Lake Karapiro. BiteLAB, a sub-brand of the Montana Group, provides food and drink for the occasion.

BiteLAB is a provider of the Ka Ora, Ka Ako Health School Lunches program and the partnership hopes to introduce schools and tamariki to the important conservation work of the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.

“The valuable work Sanctuary Mountain Maungautari has done and continues to do for conservation across Aotearoa is world class. BiteLAB is proud to support this great cause. We are excited for our tamariki to continue learning about conservation and environmental protection in a beautiful environment like Sanctuary Mountain Maungautari,” said Dallas Fisher, Montana Group Director.

Beyond the 2022 breeding season, there are very few, if any, safe sites with sufficient breeding habitat to expand the kākāpō population.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari provides the only safe continental habitat to expand the growing kākāpō population.

For more than two years, Ngāi Tahu and Te Papa Atawhai-Department of Conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery Team have been working with mana whenua Ngāti Korokī Kahukura and Sanctuary Mountain®

Maungatautari. The plan is to transfer up to ten kākāpō in the last quarter of 2022.

The Mauri of the Maunga event was also kindly sponsored by Vidcom, Waipa District Council, The Framing Workshop and Mighty River Domain. The event will feature all of the artwork on display and feature entertainment and conclude with the auction of all 10 items.

Auction items are available and bidding is open now. To show your support and bid on the auction, visit

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