Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society is holding a photographic competition to celebrate New Zealand's natural world now that the COVID-19 restrictions have been eased.

The volunteer-led conservation group will be inviting entries from anyone in the local community who has been having fun in the great outdoors during lockdown and has captured one of these moments on camera.

The society has over 350 community volunteers who regularly get out in the field to protect Mt Pirongia's native biodiversity.

They have a 13 year track record of sustained, intensive pest control that now totals over 2000ha.

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This has allowed endangered birds such as the endemic kĊkako to be returned to the maunga.

With such an active volunteer base, they understand the frustrations of restricted movement during lockdown.

It has, however, provided an opportunity for people to notice the incredible native plants and animals that are on their back doorstep.

A kokako fledgling on Mt Pirongia.
A kokako fledgling on Mt Pirongia.

Chairperson Clare St Pierre says, "We know it was very hard for everyone during lockdown and we want to give people a chance to share and celebrate the special moments they had enjoying nature in their local area during that time."

The competition has four categories:
1. "Vibrant Views" for scenic and landscape photographs
2. "Fantastic Flora" for the best native plant/tree/bush photographs
3. "Fabulous Fauna" for native birds, insects etc.
4. "Catching the Action Outdoors" for the best people and action shots

All photographs must have been taken since March 20 this year, with a minimum file size of 1MB and maximum of 10MB.

Photographs with watermarks or signatures, or that have been digitally altered, will not be accepted. Photos must be submitted as JPEG files.

They can be portrait or landscape orientation.

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Maximum number of entries per person is two per category.

Alison Sellars checking for dactylanthus flowers.
Alison Sellars checking for dactylanthus flowers.

A condition of entry is that Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society is granted perpetual, non-exclusive permission to use submitted images for their promotional and editorial use.

Entrants will be credited in all possible circumstances.

Anyone can enter by sending their photographs to info.MtPirongiaRestoration@gmail.com with a sentence or two explaining where and what is featured in the photograph.

Be sure to include your age if you are under 18 as there will be a special prize for the best junior entry. Entries close on 10th June 2020. More details can be found on the society's facebook group and a wildcard winner for the best runner up will be determined by facebook likes (the virtual peoples' choice). Log onto the group to get your vote in after June 10.