By Hannah Hendriks, Marine Species Technical Assistant
Look out for a children’s book about the Māui dolphin hitting bookshelves around the country soon.
Meet the Māui dolphin is similar to the I see a Sea Lion! and Peeking at Penguins! books. The books use simple facts and illustrations to describe native and endemic New Zealand marine species.
They connect children with conservation in a fun and engaging way and help them learn about the different species and how they can help to save them.
DOC’s National Education Strategy focuses on educating young New Zealanders to bring conservation values into the future. Children are able to influence their parents, peers and wider families and influence the next generation.
The team behind the book
A team of students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the USA recently came to DOC to complete a social science project. They wanted to help recommend ways to raise awareness of the Māui dolphin in school children.
They thought by creating a book they could educate children about the Māui dolphin and raise awareness about its critically endangered state.
By using pictures, simple facts and creating emotional ties to the dolphins, they thought a book would be a great way to communicate with children about the Māui dolphin.
Producing the book
The team did interviews and held focus groups with community members and teachers in Raglan. Raglan is a town near the core of the Māui dolphin range which has a very close connection to the dolphin.
The teachers generally agreed that while it is best to get children out into the environment, books are still effective for teaching conservation and are a great addition to online resources.
The students discovered it is important to appeal to children’s emotion when talking about an endangered species, but also to give hope at the end by telling the children how they can help.
Putting the book together was a team effort. The students worked together with our Marine Species and Threats team and our Publishing Team. They also got a children’s editor to help get the wording right and to create illustrations to convey the themes of the book.
Where to find ‘Meet the Māui dolphin’
Over the next few months the Meet the Māui dolphin books will be distributed around DOC visitor centres. They can be purchased for a small price, with the money going directly back into conservation.
Copies of the book will also be distributed around New Zealand communities through schools and other organisations.
Make a sighting and get a free copy
Every person who submits a Māui dolphin sighting between October 2015 and April 2016 (supported with photographic evidence) will receive a copy of Meet the Māui dolphin for free!* For the photo, try to get a landmark in the background so we can see where you are.
*Limit of one book per person, while stocks last