We had 112 entries in our 20th anniversary photo competition with some wonderful photos celebrating Mana Island, its wildlife and people. 

Congratulations to all our winners and our thanks to everyone who entered. Thanks also to our judges Destina Munro and Linda Kerkmeester.

Here are the winners, runners-up and highly commended in each category. Enjoy!



WinnerDancing Red Bill. Photographer: Allan Sheppard

Judges’ comments: Fantastic capture of a moment in time and movement with the fitting name of ‘Dancing Red Bill’. The head and eyes are sharply in focus with the contrast of motion blur in the wings creating movement and action. In particular, its capture within its coastal environment with glassy seawater and seaweed, along with the colour tonings, makes for a stunning shot.

Runner-up – Yellow-Crowned Kakariki. Photographer: Emma Rowell







Judges’ comments: Close-up angle of the head of this bird showing the intense colour of individual feathers in perfect detail.  The bird appears to ‘proffer’ its yellow-crown for the camera which highlights the unique feature of this bird. The yellow-crowned sub-species of kakariki was specifically introduced to Mana Island to prevent hybridisation with the red-crowned kakariki on nearby Kapiti Island. Beautiful depth of field with point of interest – crown, beak and eyes sharp.

Highly commended (four images)

Ducklings All in a Row. Photographer: Leon Berard

Judges’ comments: Beautifully captured, a rare moment of the three ducklings in a row.  The selective focus works beautifully on the middle chick (when this ‘one is not like the other’).  Beautifully positioned horizontally in the frame. May well benefit from a bit of cropping on the vertical edges. Very difficult exposure with an image like this and some blown out highlights and shadows could do with a small adjustment.  Stunning backlight adds lovely mood and feeling to the image.

Tui Feeding. Photographer:  Brendan Doran

Judges’ comments: Well-captured shot of this tui with an orange fruit in its mouth. The bird, complete with nice light in its eye, berry in its beak and good detail in its features, is fully in focus. The depth of field adds to ensuring the subject stands, while still showcasing its habitat.  An excellent image.

Takahe Encounter.  Photographer: Leon Berard

Judges’ comments: Lovely and quirky capture of a takahe in its grassland habitat.  Soft backdrop achieved with depth of field to provide a perfectly balanced, head-on image of the bird.

Kakariki Portrait. Photographer: Leon Berard

Judges’ comments: Stunning portrait, love the placement in the frame with the kakariki looking into the space. Beautiful depth of field with lovely clarity around the eyes and face showcasing the beautiful colour.


Winner – Golden Hair Lichen. Photographer: Allan Sheppard

Judges’ comments: Keen eye for detail – taken from the upper edge of the clifftop – a rare species of lichen. Depth of field is well controlled and a clear contrast in colours and textures.

Runner-up – Kanuka Grove.  Photographer: Brendan Doran   

Judges’ comments: Captures the kanuka remnant – the windswept nature of the grove. By cutting off the top of the canopy, the windswept element is truncated with some loss of overall context. Good tonal representation and textures. 


Winner – Tea Break. Photographer: Helen Gray

Judges’ comments: The spades lined up by volunteers resting from their labours, is a nice indirect acknowledgement of the work being undertaken at this part of the island – as defined by the gannet colony with stunning views to Kapiti Island. Good inclusion of a volunteer contemplating the stunning view, completes the visual story well.

Runner-upStories in the Woolshed. Photographer: Robert McClean

Judges’ comments: Lighting depicts the woolshed setting with a range of natural light and shadow which adds to the story of people listening to the tale being recounted.  All the more significant given that this was a family gathering of the historic Vella farming family, some of whom were meeting for the first time in 70 years (two generations).  For many on that trip, this was their first to the island and meeting their relatives.

Highly commended (two images)

Inspecting Shells. Photographer: Brendan Doran

A beautiful compositionally balanced image. Strong clarity in the foreground highlighting the rugged Mana coastal edge, with leading lines up to focal interest point of the child. Lovely capture of a child in the seclusion of their driftwood sanctuary.

We Made It.  Photographer: Hayleigh Baker

Judges’ comments: A scene of family enjoyment and reward for reaching the summit of Mana Island.  Children nicely silhouetted against the stunning sea backdrop with the rays of light over Kapiti Island in the distance.  A joyful shot of a happy day on Mana Island.


Winner Sunset from Hole in the Rock Track. Photographer: Leon Berard

Judges’ comments: Beautifully executed image taken at the golden hour! Excellent camera control, with just the right camera speed set showing gentle movement of the waves on the beach and visually emphasising the dramatic sweeping of cloud in the sky.  The vertical format strengthens the composition of the image creating strong interest in the foreground of the frame, with colour and texture with leading lines to the end of the island sweeping up to the sky and back to the foreground. 

Runner-up – Nice Place for a Meeting. Photographer: Fairlie Atkinson

Judges’ comments: Lovely juxtaposition of the people gathered on the old wharf site. This view of the windfarm looking towards the mainland can only be seen in its entirety from this location on Mana Island.  Nice definition of the rocky foreshore and soft background colour palette creates a sense of peacefulness in the moment. 

Highly commended – Milky Way over Mana Wetland. Photographer: Leon Berard

Judges’ comments: Stunning night photography of the Milky Way. Beautifully balanced composition making use of the wetland for reflections and lovely tonal representation through the starry sky.