Education centre work starts, stops

The build site of the future education centre.

The Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari education centre can be “game changing,” says lead educator Tali Jellyman.

Jellyman gave The News an update on the sanctuary’s new education centre, about a month into the construction.

The site was blessed by mana whenua in February before the first spade went into the ground. The base for the centre has since been levelled and perimeter posts have been installed.

But progress on the site has been halted due to the country’s rampant rise in Covid cases.

Jellyman hopes the centre will be completed in six months but says nothing can be certain. The project has been in planning for five years and there is much anticipation for its completion.

“It has been a number of years in the making, so it is very exciting,” Jellyman said. “It’s probably going to be game changing for us.”

When completed, the centre will act as a base for the different education groups who visit the maunga.

“It is really important for school and education groups, to have a space that is their base for the day. It helps to settle everyone down and get comfortable, so they can get more out of their day.”

The centre would also allow school groups to do activities that typically would be weather dependent, “but that’s on a basic needs level,” Jellyman said. She says the potential of the education centre is both vast and unknown.

The centre will be used to teach visitors natural history and the conservation work on the maunga. Jellyman says community groups and figures might also use the facility to provide their own teachings.

“It’s not just for me, it is for the whole community, (for example) we imagine one day there will be an incredible local scientist sharing their knowledge and their skills with the community, using that space to do so.”

The $846,000 education centre is one of several projects on Maungatautari. Preparations are also being made by the conservation team to introduce kākāpō.

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