Hawke's Bay's critically endangered long-tailed bats now have three new, state of the art "houses" to sleep and hang out in.
Enliven Day Centre Men's Group member, environmentalist and woodworker Jeff Lynn's close encounter with a native bat that flew into his house at age 17 sparked an enduring interest in the species.
He had been doing some research and became keen to create bat houses.
With help from three other Enliven clients, he has created three Whare Pekapeka – houses for the bats to roost in during the day.
Faster than a new build in New Zealand, the bat houses only took a month to construct and paint.
They have been passed on to Kay Griffiths from The Conservation Company who is part of efforts to help long-tailed bats in the region.
The species has the highest ranking of "nationally critical" and Griffiths said some of the bats are in spots where their roosting trees are being cut down.
The bats are threatened by "the big four" - possums, cats, stoats and rats.
The Conservation Company is currently working with Hawke's Bay Regional Council to survey areas around the region where the bats live.
In Hawke's Bay, the bat populations are at relatively good levels, which Griffiths said is due to the regional council's effective possum population control.
In Central Hawke's Bay, they have found colonies in the Ashley Clinton and Tikokino area and other rural areas around the region.
The houses are designed to resemble their usual roosting spaces – holes inside live and dead native trees and more recently exotic trees.
They will be placed in trees for bats to roost in.
"It's kind of a new thing for the New Zealand bats to be using these artificial roosts."
Griffiths will report back to Enliven on the success of the Whare Pekapeka and the men's group will then adapt the design if necessary and make as many as needed.