Source: Department of Conservation
Date: 21 October 2021
Toyota Kiwi Guardians was launched in 2016, as a partnership programme between DOC and Toyota New Zealand.
Since then, tens of thousands of young conservationists have explored epic Toyota Kiwi Guardians
Adventure sites dotted throughout Aotearoa. They have visited nature reserves and coastlines and found the Guardian Post, earning them a unique Toyota Kiwi Guardians medal.
Families have also enjoyed completing fun activities in their own backyards, allowing them to claim the Toyota Kiwi Guardian Action medals as their reward.
The milestone medal was claimed by a seven-year-old girl from Te Awamutu in the Waikato, an active participant in the programme, this was her 7th Toyota Kiwi Guardians medal.
With the 100,000th medal now claimed, the huge participation from Kiwi kids around the country speaks to the programme’s success, says Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing, Andrew Davis.
“A dedicated team from DOC and Toyota New Zealand have put in an enormous effort to create 112 Toyota Kiwi Guardians Adventures and 16 Actions for all New Zealanders to enjoy, allowing almost 50,000 kids and their families to experience what it’s like to be a Kiwi Guardian.
“Each Toyota Kiwi Guardians site has a unique medal to earn, all being thoughtfully created by the team. We are thrilled to see the 100,000th medal claimed and feel proud of the passion the Toyota Kiwi Guardians team has contributed over the past five years. The programme is creating a legacy of kaitiakitanga – and it is just the start,” he says.
It took three and a half years for the first 50,000 medals to be claimed from the beginning of the program, and just over one and half years to claim a further 50,000 medals. Demonstrating the enjoyment families are experiencing from the programme and the growth in awareness of Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites.
Geoff Ensor, DOC Director, Business and International, says that reaching 100,000 medals is a humbling milestone for the initiative.
“It’s encouraging that so many Kiwi kids are getting into nature and learning how they can take care of our environment, whether at a local track or in their own backyard.”
Toyota Kiwi Guardians encourages children to notice and care for the natural world around them. Studies have shown there are strong positive links between direct experience in nature and children’s mental, emotional and physical well-being,” he says.
Since the programme’s launch, the most popular Toyota Kiwi Guardians Adventure has been Riccarton Bush, a native forest walk in the heart of Christchurch, with over three thousand medal claims for the site.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians inspires tomorrow’s leaders to protect our land and its wildlife. The programme highlights family-friendly adventures and at home activities that support kids to get outdoors, take risks, and look after nature. To claim their medal, children complete the form on the Toyota Kiwi Guardians website recounting their experiences. The medal arrives in the post two weeks later, rewarding children for their efforts.
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