Shakespear sanctuary’s workshop something to celebrate

Rangers, volunteers, construction workers and guests celebrate the opening of the workshop. It was gifted the name Hau Taiao – the breath of the environment.

After years of making do with cobbled together structures and portacoms, it was exciting for the rangers and Shakespear Open Sanctuary (SOSSI) volunteers to see the purpose-built workshop open in the regional park last week.

Rangers and volunteers have operated out of temporary buildings on the hilltop, where the new workshop is located, since 2017 after the old one at Te Haruhi Bay, became unusable due to flooding.

Auckland Council open sanctuary senior ranger, Matt Maitland, says staff and volunteers coped admirably with that set-up for 6-7 years, but the new 336sqm workshop will be much appreciated by all.

Planning and consenting began around two years ago, and the build took around six months and cost $1.6m in total.

Matt says it is a hub for all the park operations, with space for woodworking including trap box building, storage of traps, baits and lures and a hygenic conservation room for supplementary feed for wildlife. There is also a toilet and kitchenette, with a spectacular view across the bay, where workers can have a break. A separate office is alongside.

The building allows rainwater to be harvested, which will be used in the nearby nursery, and solar panels on the roof provide for the daytime needs of the workshop. Excess power is fed back into the grid to offset costs.

The workshop was officially blessed by Ngati Manuhiri on Thursday, November 9 and rangers and volunteers wasted no time moving in.