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Become a kiwi guardian and protect nature this summer

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With more than one hundred free Toyota Kiwi Guardian sites now available nationwide, kids can get outdoors and earn tangible rewards for experiencing and looking after nature.

“The Toyota Kiwi Guardians program encourages kids to have fun on an adventure while understanding the need to protect the natural environment for their children and future generations to enjoy as well,” says Andrew Davis, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing.

Anybody completing an adventure at any of the 108 sites can claim a medal from the Toyota Kiwi Guardians website.                    

Alternatively, kids can undertake specific projects designed to protect and enhance the environment, again with a reward for completing the task.

“We want kids to enjoy the adventures available at all the sites between Whangarei and Stewart Island; Gisborne and the West Coast,” says Mr. Davis.

Apart from the individual adventures at each Toyota Kiwi Guardians site, there are twelve ‘action medals’ that Kiwi kids can do in their own backyards.

Kids can achieve their action medals by undertaking a range of conservation activities. Three of the medals, for example, can be collected by looking after the natural environment this summer.

They can become a ‘Water Champion’ for cleaning up a section of a stream, river, beach or lake, including finding a member of the community who can say why the water source is important.

Another possibility is becoming a ‘Wildlife Protector’ and helping to raise awareness of good biosecurity practises. Kauri dieback; myrtle rust; and didymo are three biosecurity issues currently having a profound impact on New Zealand’s natural environment.

After choosing a topic the budding wildlife protector creates a poster for display in their school or community area which outlines the issue’s risk and what people can do to help prevent its spread and increase their biosecurity awareness.

The third option is to become a ‘Toa kaiwhakataka’ – expedition leader, by planning a trip to a Department of Conservation reserve or similar natural area using the outdoor safety code.

Once the expedition is completed, participants can claim a Toyota Kiwi Guardians medal by going to the website, outlining the preparation they undertook and what they might do differently next time.

The partnership between the Department of Conservation and Toyota New Zealand was set up two and a half years ago to encourage primary school age children to interact with New Zealand’s natural environment and conserve it for the future.

“This project has been gathering momentum each year,” says Anita Anderson, DOC’s Outreach and Education Manager.

“Over 20,000 Kiwi kids have earned medals for participating in the adventures at Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites and completing action medals.

“It would be great to see that boosted this summer and for kids to help look after our precious conservation land.”