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After seven years, the Department of Conservation, in consultation with Toyota New Zealand, has made the difficult decision to wind down the Toyota Kiwi Guardians (TKG) programme from 1 August 2023.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians provided online resources, signage, maps, and a medal redemption programme for adventures completed at a TKG site or actions at home. The goal of the programme was to connect kids with nature and encourage more care and consideration for Aotearoa New Zealand’s great outdoors.
Toyota New Zealand Vice President of Marketing, Andrew Davis, says, “with the whole family often joining on these adventures, we estimate more than 400,000 people have been inspired to interact with nature as a result of the programme. This is something we have been extremely proud of!”
“It is the enthusiasm of these families that made the programme succeed and DOC and Toyota continue to encourage all Kiwi kids to keep exploring, connecting with and caring for nature,” he says.
Funding from Toyota New Zealand over the past seven years contributed towards the cost of development and delivery of the programme, such as manufacturing and mailing out medals to more than 100,000 kiwi kids.
DOC’s Director-General Penny Nelson acknowledges some families will be disappointed with the decision to conclude the programme from 1 August.
“After careful examination, it became clear the way the programme and its associated medal reward system was structured was not sustainable in the future,” she says.
“It’s important for DOC to target its efforts towards addressing the big conservation challenges New Zealand is grappling with.”
“I would like to acknowledge Toyota’s dedication to our partnership and the passion their people have shown for the environment,” Penny Nelson says. “Together we have increased New Zealand children’s connection to nature.”
Kids will be able to complete TKG adventures and activities and redeem TKG medals until Monday 31 July 2023 (while stocks last). With TKG adventure sites dotted throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, there may be a delay in removing the signage posts.
Toyota New Zealand would like to thank all who have participated in the TKG programme over the years, including a big thank you to all DOC rangers and staff that have been involved in bringing the programme to life. A special thank you to our passionate Kiwi Guardians who have achieved over 100 medals, and to everyone for getting into nature and learning how to take care of our environment, showing true kaitiakitanga/guardianship!