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Summer of adventure for Kiwi kids as Toyota Kiwi Guardians participation soars

IMAGE - Earn a Toyota Kiwi Guardian medal unique to your site - North Head Historic Reserve example shown (11 March 2016)

Participation in Toyota Kiwi Guardians is reaching new heights with more kids than ever earning their Toyota Kiwi Guardian medals.  

In the first quarter of 2021, 9,851 Toyota Kiwi Guardian medals were claimed, the highest number of medals in a three-month period since the initiative was launched through Toyota New Zealand’s partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC) more than five years ago.  The total number of medals claimed is now more than 90,000. 

Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing Andrew Davis says he’s delighted to see the increase in kids earning Toyota Kiwi Guardian medals, proving after 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown measures, children around the country are excited to get out and experience the unique nature on offer in New Zealand.

“Almost 45,000 Kiwi kids have now taken part in Toyota Kiwi Guardians since we partnered with DOC to launch the program more than five years ago,” says Davis. “We’re thrilled to see the latest numbers showing nearly twice as many kids are redeeming their medals compared to the same period last year.

“There’s no denying 2020 was a difficult one for New Zealand children, with disrupted school and home life, and access to nature reserves and National Parks limited. We’re delighted to see so many kids rewarded for taking outdoor adventures in their backyard and beyond with whānau in 2021.” 

The top medals claimed this year have been for adventure activities, with more Kiwi kids than ever leaving screens and devices at home and getting out and about across New Zealand during the summer.

Top performing adventures included the Karangahake Windows Walk, Paparoa National Park, Riccarton Bush Reserve, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Blue pools and Waireinga Bridal View Falls. Toyota Kiwi Guardian locations are spread from Northland to Stewart Island.

DOC’s Director Business and International Geoff Ensor welcomed the news of the growing success of the Toyota Kiwi Guardians initiative.

“Kiwi Guardians is unique. Not only does it connect children and their families to nature, it also sets them on the journey to being active guardians - taking action for nature while also enjoying the adventure!” Ensor says.

“To successfully restore our country’s amazing nature requires action from every New Zealander; the Department’s partnership with Toyota is nationally significant and is a great example of what happens when organisations work together towards a shared goal. We both see a day when every child aspires to be a guardian; it becomes a rite of passage. Bring it on!

The rise in participation comes off the back of a successful summer campaign featuring Olympic canoeist and Toyota Ambassador Lisa Carrington, which helped to drive more than 8,600 of the medal claims.

Davis says although participation in summer was impressive, the winter months may see less outdoor activity, so he is reminding parents and children there are still a number of action medals that can be achieved by using basic household items in their backyards.

To claim their medals, children complete a form on the Toyota Kiwi Guardians website recounting their fun adventures or activities. Two weeks later, a medal will arrive in the post, rewarding children for their efforts.