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Education kit to raise kiwi conservation awareness

Friday November 25, 2005

Education kit to raise kiwi conservation awareness

A national education resource kit was launched in Auckland today to help schoolchildren develop a stronger sense of connection to the kiwi and responsibility for its survival.

The ‘Kiwi Forever – Kiwi Mo Ake Tonu Atu’ kit is bi-lingual, with text in English and Te Reo, and explains the cultural significance of the iconic species to people, particularly Maori.

Launching the project at Auckland Zoo, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the resource marked a milestone for kiwi conservation and for the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust, which produced the kit.

“This education kit builds on a kit for Northland communities last produced 10 years ago. It contains a unique blend of western science, environmental education and traditional Maori knowledge,” Mr Carter said.

“The kit will make an invaluable tool for teachers to empower young people to enjoy and care for their unique environment – and save the kiwi. It is not before time. The kiwi is facing a crisis of survival in the wild, and could disappear from the wild in some regions of New Zealand in 15 years."

Mr Carter said the North Island Brown Kiwi – which most New Zealanders thought of when they identify a kiwi –was declining by about 4% a year where predators were not being controlled.

“This makes the great work of the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust – which is a partnership between the Bank of New Zealand and the Department of Conservation – all the more critical.”

“There are already encouraging results from the Trust’s Operation Nest Egg programme which sees young kiwi chicks hatched and raised for release into the wild.”

The kit has 12 appendix cards with study concepts and background information, including eight stories in English and Te Reo about the relationships between Maori and the kiwi.

It also includes a poster showing kiwi species and locations and a ‘Kiwi Survivor Guide’ booklet.

Meryl Carter, one of the authors of Kiwi Forever, says the inclusion of Tikanga Maori paints the picture of the importance of kiwi to the past, present and future in order to encourage children and teachers to be active in the preservation of this taonga (treasure).

"Kiwi are part of our history, our daily lives, and like all birds according to whakapapa (genealogy), are our brothers and sisters,” says Ms Carter.

Ange Compton, of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and one of the authors of Kiwi Forever, explains the format of the kit.

“We wanted to develop a flexible resource that teachers and students could use to suit their own learning communities. The aim is to provide a skeleton or possible structure for teachers, rather than a step-by-step, ‘one size fits all’ programme.

“'Kiwi Forever' allows students to explore and develop understandings about
the kiwi, the environment and the importance of both to the people of this
land,” says Ms Compton.

Bank of New Zealand Acting General Manager Marketing, Distribution & Strategy, Chris Black, who is also deputy chairman of the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust, says the Bank recently conducted a survey, which revealed that 87% of New Zealanders thought preservation of the kiwi should be a national priority.

“It is appropriate to be launching the Kiwi Forever – Kiwi Moke Ake Tonu Atu educational resource kit at Auckland Zoo, which is one of the places where kiwi chicks are reared before being returned to sanctuaries where they can survive in the wild.”

The Maori input into the kit is significant, said Mr Black. “Above all, the kit is an educational resource, as education is at the heart of all conservation.”

“From a corporate sponsorship point of view there can be no greater, or more rewarding cause to support than that of helping save your country’s national symbol through education of our young people,” said Mr Black.


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