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Five Toyota Kiwi Guardian sites – four in Auckland and one at Whangarei - have been added to the national network for Māori Language Week from September 10 to 16.
The four Auckland sites at Ambury Regional Park, Mangere; Te Henga/Bethells Beach; Clevedon Scenic Reserve and Kawau Island will have bilingual maps in Māori and English and are the forerunner to making more sites bilingual. The Whangarei site is at Pukenui Forest near Kamo.
Tamariki can complete a limited special edition Māori Language Week specific medal. “Our Māori Language Week medal is called Toa Tiaki Taiao,” said the Department of Conservation’s Anita Anderson.
“Toa means warrior or champion, tiaki means to guard or keep and taiao means our natural world or country. Kids are encouraged to use te reo and spread the word about great nature locations while learning about the Māori cultural significance of sites.”
Toyota Kiwi Guardians connects kids to nature with family-friendly, treasure hunt style adventures and conservation activities. The programme encourages them to engage with the outdoors and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal for their efforts.
Ambury Park is based around a farm on the edge of the Manukau Harbour but also has lava flows from nearby Māngere Mountain. Te Henga – Bethells Beach features sand dunes, native bush, a Māori pā site, the Waitakere River and great views over the west coast.
Clevedon Scenic Reserve, 15 kms east of Manurewa, has kauri forest, a stream, wetlands and confidence course, with bird life and great views from the summit of the walk. Kawau Island – a ferry ride out into the Hauraki Gulf to New Zealand’s first copper mine in 1844 and Mansion House, the home of Sir George Grey who was the Governor of New Zealand twice between 1845 and 1868.
Pukenui Forest west of Kamo has a farm and native forest walk featuring long tailed bats, brown Kiwi, forest Gecko and kukupa, totara and kauri trees. There is an easy, pram-friendly 50 minutes’ walk to the medal post, or up to 8 kms track for serious trampers. The forest covers nearly 600 hectares.
With the four new Auckland sites, there are now 12 Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites in the greater Auckland area, and two near Whangarei.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians is a joint initiative between the Department of Conservation and Toyota New Zealand.
The goal of the conservation programme is to turn Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.