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Celebrating a milestone for Kiwi kids in nature

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Toyota Kiwi Guardians is marking an historic milestone, with the claiming of the programme’s 50,000th medal.

Seven-year old Anya from Auckland was the lucky 50,000th medal winner with her visit to Auckland Botanic Gardens in October.

Since Toyota Kiwi Guardians’ launch in 2016, tens of thousands of young conservationists have criss-crossed New Zealand, visiting nature reserves and coastlines, and learning about the outdoors. Each Toyota Kiwi Guardians adventure site or home-based activity has a unique medal assigned to it – and with over 120 to collect, that’s a lot of fun to be had.

Anshu, Anya’s mum, said Toyota Kiwi Guardians is a great way for kids to explore the outdoors:

"We absolutely love Toyota Kiwi Guardians. Anything that keeps the kids away from screens and outdoors in nature is a true blessing!”

“The feeling of pride when they get their medals in the post is amazing. I would recommend all kids to sign up for this fantastic programme by DOC & Toyota. Lots of fun family adventures for everyone and amazing places to see."

Many Kiwi kids have earned more than one medal. To recognise this Toyota Kiwi Guardians has also awarded a special prize to the Kiwi Guardian with the most medals. This was won by nine-year-old Samson from Wellington, who has claimed an amazing 111 medals, a huge achievement!

Toyota Kiwi Guardian locations are spread from Northland to Stewart Island and the programme team were keen to acknowledge some families’ dedication to hunting out the more far-flung locations.

Anita Anderson, DOC’s Outreach and Education Manager, was surprised to discover that not one but four Kiwi kids have been to the furthest north and furthest south Toyota Kiwi Guardians locations. These are Pukenui Forest, near Whangarei, and Ulva Island, off Stewart Island.

“There could be only one winner, so we drew names out of a hat and six-year-old Linus from Wellington was declared the winner.”

Anya, Samson and Linus, were all awarded a special commemorative medal as well as a prize pack including an amazing Wellington nature experience and Toyota Kiwi Guardians hats, bags and sweatshirts.  

Andrew Davis, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing, said the Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme had been hugely successful in getting Kiwi kids and their families more involved in conservation activities from Northland to Stewart Island:

“Toyota Kiwi Guardians has been a way of embedding conservation and sustainability into the minds of children and families at a really important stage in kids’ development.”

Toyota Kiwi Guardians, a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Toyota New Zealand, inspires tomorrow’s leaders to protect our land and its birds and animals. The programme highlights family-friendly adventures and activities that support kids to get outdoes, take risks, and look after nature.