Department of Conservation (DoC) dog handlers have come from far and wide to help out this week with pest control and to further their skills on Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.
Dogs have outnumbered the handlers, with 27 four-legged friends making their way on to the mountain and 22 dog handlers.
Some have come from as far as Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands and Hokitika.
"This team is the pest detection dog unit apart of the wider Conservation Dog Programme and for years we have wanted the opportunity to do jobs together so that we can learn from each other," says DoC pest detection dogs senior adviser Fin Buchanan.
It was Kiwibank partnering with DoC that allowed the opportunity for the dog handlers to come together to work and train.
This is the fifth year they have run the Conservation Dog Programme and each year they go to a new location.
Past locations included the Bay of Islands, Great Mercury Island, Marlborough Sounds and the Hauraki Gulf.
The dogs on the mountain this week have different areas of expertise.
"We have rodent detection dogs – ones that will find rats and mice. Feral cat detection dogs, mustelids detection dogs which are dogs that find stoats, weasels and ferrets and we've also got a rabbit detection dog," says Fin.
While Maungatautari claims to be predator-free, an initiative like DoC's being carried out on the mountain is crucial.
"Our pest surveillance and prevention is intensive, but we don't know what we don't know. While we are confident that our systems in pest management are effective, we are always striving to do better and to know more," says Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari Operations team leader James Matthews.
At the start of the week the team attended a pōwhiri and safety meeting at the visitor centre before starting the sweep of the mountain.
The mountain is home to an abundance of native species including kaka, hihi, tieke, Western North Island brown kiwi, takahe, kakariki and kokako among many more which all live within the 47km predator-free Xcluder fence.