Animal Sanctuary Logo


Shawn Bishop and Michael Dixon

As a couple we have always been involved in rescuing injured birds and abused animals. In 2002 we decided to take our passion a step further, and found the perfect site in the hills of Matakana. Our 32 acre property has grazing land to permanently home abused animals, and is bordered by 400 acres of protected bush where we can safely release rehabilitated native birds. When our family purchased the 60 acres next door, it meant we could expand even further.

We have two of our original donkeys, Solomon and Bartholomew, featured in our header because they were our first rescues. Even before we had officially opened The Animal Sanctuary, we heard from a local donkey rescue group that a home was desperately needed. Three donkeys moved in the same day that we did, and lived their full lives here. They were the first of a long long line of rescued animals that have taken refuge here.

In the very early days, we didn't plan on working with battery hens.. but when we learned that a group of rescued hens urgently needed somewhere safe where they could rehabilitate and start over, we took them in, too. We have now rescued literally tens of thousands of hens. And the native bird work that we had started in Auckland became a key focus now that we had the perfect release site.

We have between 100 - 300 animals at The Animal Sanctuary at any given time: two-legged and four-legged, native and exotic, warm and cold-blooded - all getting the care that they deserve. We work long hours, and we fund the ongoing costs of food and veterinary care ourselves. We are 100% volunteer run, with no wages or salaries paid. 100% of donations go directly toward the animals. On arrival, animals and birds require intensive care and lots of TLC. There are many rewarding returns for all our hard work: watching a native bird soar away back to its natural life in the wild; an abused animal coming to us eagerly for a cuddle; a sad animal find a new loving home with a wonderful family. Some of the most damaged animals stay here forever. It amazes us that once they've overcome their fear, they become gentle, friendly and caring. Animals can teach us a lot about forgiveness and being able to love and trust again.

Shawn and Michael Sign-off
Animal Sanctuary Banner

Privacy Policy | Sitemap

The Animal Sanctuary is an animal refuge run by Shawn Bishop and Michael Dixon in Matakana, New Zealand. We provide a safe haven for abused and neglected animals, and care for injured or orphaned native birds. A charitable trust has been established for this purpose.

2024 The Animal Sanctuary