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Toyota Kiwi Guardians, the programme set up to help children ditch screen time in favour of exploring the great outdoors with their families, has seen more than 7,000 participants gain medals in its first year.
Launched in March 2016 by Toyota and the Department of Conservation (DOC), Toyota Kiwi Guardians aims to increase Kiwi kids’ connection with the natural world across the nation.
“We are excited to be working with DOC on a project that encourages Kiwi kids to conserve our natural environment and have fun doing it,” said Toyota New Zealand CEO, Alistair Davis.
“Like DOC, Toyota is passionate about making it easy for families to have great experiences in our national parks and reserves and we want the next generation to grow up with good conservation habits.”
“Toyota Kiwi Guardians is about inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to protect our flora and fauna,” said Mr Davis.
Not surprisingly there have been big spikes in participation during school holidays, the most recent being in January when nearly 1,500 children took part in “treasure hunt” like activities at one of the 52 sites nationwide and then confirmed their participation by claiming a medal on www.kiwiguardians.co.nz.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians highlights family-friendly activities at specific sites that support kids to engage their senses, take risks and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal in the outdoors.
The most popular sites are those close to large urban areas including: North Head, Auckland; Ahuriri Estuary, Napier; North Egmont, Taranaki; Manawatu Gorge, Palmerston North; Wilton’s Bush, Wellington; Godley Head, Riccarton Bush and Travis Wetland all at Christchurch and Lawyer’s Head and Woodhaugh Gardens at Dunedin.
The single most popular site has been Riccarton Bush with 421 medal redemptions to the end of February.
More than 1,750 children took part in conservation activities in their own backyard or attended specific activities events like Conservation Week.
Ten more sites, including the first in the Waikato, are scheduled to open in time for the April school holidays, bringing the total to 62 sites between Goat Island near Warkworth in the north and the Kepler Track in Fiordland in the Deep South.
Families can get started on their adventures today by visiting: www.kiwiguardians.co.nz