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New DOC/Toyota programme gets families into nature

A new programme to help families explore New Zealand’s great outdoors and take action for nature was launched today by Toyota and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

‘Toyota Kiwi Guardians’ aims to increase Kiwi kids’ connection with the natural world across the nation.

“Research has demonstrated that children can establish lifelong connections to nature if they actively engage with it between the ages of 6-10,” says DOC’s National Outreach and Education Manager, Sarah Murray.

“The idea allows young people to have ownership over our conservation land—to feel part of it and want to care for it into the future. It’s also about getting outside and having lots of fun!” 

Toyota Kiwi Guardians has been developed by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Toyota and local land owners and managers. It highlights family-friendly activities at specific sites that support kids to engage their senses, take risks and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal in the outdoors.

“We are excited to be a part of a programme that decreases screen time and increases nature time for our kids, at the same time it will encourage young New Zealander’s to conserve our natural environment and have fun doing it,” says Toyota New Zealand CEO, Alistair Davis.       

“Like DOC, Toyota is passionate about making it easy for families to have great experiences in our national parks and reserves and realize they are worth protecting.” 

Sarah Murray says the goal of the conservation programme is to turn our Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.

“Thanks to the partnership with Toyota, DOC’s been able to draw on some of the latest thinking and approaches for achieving this,” she says.

The programme is designed to aid families in large urban centres to take advantage of their nearby opportunities.

There are currently 20 sites across New Zealand, providing opportunities to residents in Auckland, Napier, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin, and an estimated 50 more sites will be operational by the end of 2016.

Families can get started on their adventures today by visiting www.kiwiguardians.co.nz