Toyota staff and families become Kiwi Guardians

Department of Conservation —  12/07/2016

By Denise Goodman, Community Ranger in New Plymouth.

Toyota Kiwi Guardians is a new activity programme for kids to learn about nature, earn cool rewards and go on epic family adventures.

CaptureLast weekend, an eager bunch of children arrived at Ratapihipihi Reserve ready for an adventure here in Taranaki. The coastal forest reserve on the outskirts of New Plymouth is not well-known, and for many in the group of Toyota Taranaki staff and their families, it was their first visit.


Hunter counting the rings on the nikau palm before figuring out how old it is. From his maths this Nikau palm tree would be about 76 years old.

As soon as the children arrived they were running around playing between the trees. It was amazing to see them playing creatively in the bush.  One boy found a ‘selfie stick’ which was actually a stick with a leaf at the end – he was taking lots of ‘photos’.

Tasman Toyota gifted a rimu tree to DOC to acknowledge our national partnership, and to mark the 50 years Toyota have been operating. After much deliberation, a sheltered spot near the picnic area was chosen to plant the little tree.


Hunter, Cooper and Kacen Reid – admiring the tiny Rimu tree.

It wasn’t long before we started the adventure. After a glance at the map the children were off into the forest with the parents behind. The children stopped at each point of interest along the track to read the information panels and complete the Kiwi Guardian activities.


The Kiwi Guardians map for Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve complete with waterfalls, nikau palms and climbing rata!

Kiwi Guardians-4

Kiwi guardians medals to collect. Photo: Emma Boyd.

The afternoon was finished off with a delicious BBQ prepared by the CEO of Tasman Toyota James Crighton.  The Toyota team and their families plan to explore the other Kiwi Guardian sites in Taranaki later in the year but for now, it’s time to collect the medals for the kids!

Embarking on a Kiwi Guardian adventure is a great way to get kids outdoors. With an adventure map in hand, families can explore different environments, collect the special code words from Kiwi Guardian posts, and claim rewards- a certificate and medal for each activity.

A list of the Kiwi Guardians tracks can be found here. If there’s no track close by, kids can also build a wētā motel, track the cat, or become a pest detective too!