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True Guardians

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Two years on from the launch of the Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme, more than 29,800 Kiwi kids have connected with nature and become guardians of the land and sea.

Toyota Kiwi Guardians is an activity programme that helps kids to connect with nature by encouraging them to go on epic self-guided adventures, undertake conservation actions and earn rewards.

There are now 107 sites located from Whāngārei to Stewart Island, providing Kiwi kids with numerous opportunities to explore their natural surroundings.

More sites and action medal opportunities to reach Kiwi kids across the country are being developed to keep the challenges exciting.

Sites have a mixture of adventures, scenery and activities, encouraging Kiwi Guardians to enjoy the outdoors and gain a better understanding of their natural environment.

The Auckland region recently saw the opening of five new Toyota Kiwi Guardian sites – four in Auckland and one in Whāngārei – coinciding with Māori Language Week from September 10 to 16.

The four Auckland sites, at Ambury Regional Park (Māngere), Te Henga/Bethells Beach, Clevedon Scenic Reserve and Kawau Island, have bilingual maps in Māori and English, which are the forerunners to making more sites bilingual. The Whāngārei site is at Pukenui Forest near Kamo.

Children could also earn limited-edition medals, specific to Māori Language Week; 208 Kiwi Guardians took up the challenge and earned these medals.
In July, 102 Kiwi Guardians achieved the new Toa Manu/Bird action medal, launched to encourage Kiwi Guardians to participate in the annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey.
There’s also been the introduction of a tree planter medal – called Toa Tiaki Rākau – to help New Zealand with its goal to plant one billion trees by 2027. So far, 85 young Kiwi guardians of the land have participated in this action medal initiative.

To earn their medals, the young guardians also had to tell us about the trees they’d planted, where they’d chosen to put them, and how the planting had gone. “We are encouraged that the Kiwi Guardians programme has gained such momentum, with a great increase in participation since its introduction,” says Alistair Davis, CEO of Toyota New Zealand.

Alistair says it’s fantastic to be working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) on a project that encourages Kiwi kids to conserve our natural environment while having fun doing it.

“Like DOC, Toyota is passionate about making it easy for families to have great outdoor experiences and realise the environment is worth protecting.”

The programme allows young people to engage with the natural environment and want to care for it now and into the future.

Toyota Kiwi Guardians is about inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to protect our land and its birds and animals, says Alistair. It highlights family-friendly activities at specific sites that support kids to engage their senses, take risks and, ultimately, earn themselves medals in the outdoors.

The most popular sites, in no particular order, are:
Maungauika/North Head, Auckland
Bruce Park and Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge in the Manawatu
Wellington Zoo
Riccarton Bush, Godley Head, and Travis Wetland all in Christchurch
Lawyers Head and Woodhaugh Gardens at Dunedin
Mt Maungatautari and Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls in the Waikato
White Pine Bush near Napier
Ratapihipihi Reserve close to New Plymouth
Paparoa National Park on the West Coast.

With summer fast approaching, families can get started on their adventures today by visiting www.kiwiguardians.co.nz