Just under an hour's drive north from Wellington City is Nga Manu Nature Reserve. The 13 hectare site is the largest single remaining remanent of original coastal lowland swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast. Inhabitants are Kiwi, Tuatara, Gecko, Skinks, Wetas, Morepork, Tui, Kereru and many other scaly, furry or feathered friends. The grounds are covered with over 700 different species of native trees and plants.
A clear draw card for Nga Manu is the opportunity to learn about natural history. There are researchers, staff, and a Conservation Education Center dedicated to sharing information with the public. Nga Manu Trust co-founders Peter McKenzie and David Mudge have taken thousands of wildlife photos from within the reserve and around New Zealand. Many of the images are part of a long running project to develop a pictorial record of the ecology of Nga Manu Nature Reserve, recording the plants and wildlife and the way they interact. There are several scientifically significant image collections, including the first image capture of a Puriri moth hatching from a burrow.
The Nga Manu Trustees came to DigitalNZ for advice on how to make their image collection more searchable and widely available. We, of course, jumped at the chance to work with the Trustees to help make these significant images easier to find, share, and use. The Trust believes that making their images freely available will be of huge benefit to the education of New Zealanders and will support the ongoing preservation and conservation of our native flora and fauna. It was particularly Peter McKenzie's wish to see this happen. Sadly Peter died in April of this year, but we think he would have been pleased with the outcome.
The Trust is now using Dropbox to host their images. DigitalNZ harvests the metadata straight from their Dropbox account, and together we've come up with a straightforward workflow for updating the images and metadata using Google Spreadsheets. It is a simple solution and it works.
The result is an ever-growing collection of stunning images discoverable through DigitalNZ. Even better, they are available for high resolution download and all of the photos are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial licence. If you'd like to use the images commercially you can drop the Trust a line.
There are 151 images available for you to discover right now and we're looking forward to working with the Nga Manu Trust to keep adding more of these amazing and important conservation items.