TODAY |

Good Sorts: Meet the men who've set up a retreat for humans and animals alike

Tonight's Good Sort is a pair of men who've created a retreat in the Waikato for humans and animals alike to unwind.

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Steve and Phillip Brown have a menagerie of animals where children with autism can come visit. Source: 1 NEWS

Phillip Brown works in community mental health, while his husband Steve just loves animals.

The pair joined forces to create the not-for-profit organisation Takiwatanga Sanctuary, in Otorohanga.

Nearly 500 animals - including dogs, rabbits, birds, llamas, horses, chickens and sheep - are among the residents at the sanctuary.

"Some we rehome, and some will come out here to live out whatever time they have left," Steve said.

The Browns also open up their home for up to two weeks at a time for children with autism so their parents can take a break - though they are welcome to join too.

"Our younger son's autistic and that was a prime motivation," Steve explained.

Steve and Phillip Brown. Source: 1 NEWS

"Acutely aware that for poeple on the spectrum or people with differing abilities, there aren't these opportunities around."

The community also volunteers to help with the animals. Toby's mum says the sanctuary has transformed her son. 

"I love what I'm doing. I look forward to it," Toby told 1 NEWS. 

"He comes out here being Toby who has autism, who has mood disorder, who has ADHD - turns him into Toby the person," his mum said. "No disabilities, just Toby."