Community Contributed

Focus On Volunteers- Feeding and Finding Our Forgotten Fauna

Kete Horowhenua2023-08-30T08:31:32+00:00
Foxton photographer and MAVtech volunteer Jacob Brookie uses vintage cameras from the museum's collection to take photographs of local volunteers in the community. The results are published in the Horowhenua Chronicle. This article, the first in the series, looks at the work of the Wildlife Foxton Trust. It was published in the Horowhenua Chronicle on the 23rd of June, 2023. Some of the photos here differ to those in the print article- but all were taken on the same day and with the same cameras.

There are many commercial kitchens in Foxton’s Main Street, but none have the variety of diners like the Wildlife Foxton Trust! There’s pureed pear for reptiles, seeds for parrots and a refreshing drink for the passing Tui. MAVtech’s vintage cameras were on hand to record room service like no other. The Wildlife Foxton Trust is a registered charity established to raise awareness of New Zealand’s ‘Forgotten Fauna’. These animals aren’t as well known as the cheeky kea or the ancient Tuatara- but they are every bit as fascinating.

A team of volunteers look after the animals and host tours with the Trust. They come from a range of backgrounds including a wildlife park in England and Massey University’s veterinary school- but the one qualification you really need is a passion for nature. This feeding time was in the care of Peta Larsen, one of the Trust’s newest volunteers. Feeding the animals is about more than just changing food and water- Peta also checks to make sure each animal is healthy and behaving normally. But first you must find them! The forest geckos can subtly change their skin shade to blend in and others, like the Northland green geckos, are almost impossible to see when camouflaged on a leaf. The baby Duvaucel's gecko is so good at hiding that even the volunteers need to search for them. But Nel the cockatoo doesn’t need to be found- one look at the food and she will fly to you! 

With a degree in biology and a background in teaching, Peta wants to raise awareness of these amazing animals ‘otherwise we’ll lose our planet’ she says, adding ‘every little bit helps!’ You can meet the Trust’s animals on one of their tours- visit for details. To see other photographs of the Wildlife Foxton Trust taken with MAVtech’s cameras visit

Many of the photos in this article were taken with a 1950 Reflekta 11 camera from MAVtech. Made in East Germany, this camera was aimed at the amateur. It has two lenses, the top one for the viewfinder and the lower one which takes the photograph. They focus together so you can see what is in focus and what isn’t. Jacob also used another of these ‘twin lens reflexes’ from his own collection for these photographs.