By Steve Brightwell, Community Outreach Coordinator
When a bunch of seven and eight year olds come up with $1000 for kiwi work, it’s a spectacular and humbling example of what happens when people switch on to conservation. When it’s money from kids at a low decile school that they could have spent on themselves it’s all the more impressive.
Te Urewera Whirinaki ranger Aniwaniwa Tawa and others from her office have been visiting the class this year to talk about ecosystems and conservation with a focus on kiwi protection work.
They recently ended the study with a trip to Whirinaki Forest where they experienced the forest first-hand. Following the trip, the class presented the Area Office with a cheque for $1000 to be used to raise a kiwi chick at Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua.
A stunned Aniwaniwa explained: “The class (7 & 8 year olds) have been working with me and [former DOC ranger] Graeme Weavers for most of this year learning about kiwi and the natural environment and were so affected by what they had learnt they asked their teacher what they could they do to help. Between them and their teacher (I knew nothing about this until they presented me with the cheque), they thought they would do some fundraising however as Murupara School is officially “closing” the Board of Trustees allocated each class funding to go on a class trip to wherever they wanted. These kids chose to give up their allocation and put toward sponsorship of a kiwi and wrote a letter to the school Board to ask for approval to do this. Cool huh!”
It’s totally cool – and an awesome example of how giving people a personal experience with conservation can make a real difference to the way they think and move them to action for a cause.
The money donated by Room 12 will now go on stand-by ready to pay for a kiwi egg to be whisked away from Whirinaki and hatched if there’s any sign of it needing help. Once the egg is hatched and the chick is raised to a safe weight to return to the forest, the students will be asked to give it a name. After that it will be set free in Whirinaki -Te Pua o Tane – one little kiwi enjoying a bright future thanks to a bunch of other little kiwis who can see conservation as a path to a bright future of their own.
Well done to everyone involved.