Plans are being put in place for Rotorua residents to receive a Conservation Week experience very different to previous years according to Partnerships Ranger Caraline Abbott.
Conservation Week is an annual campaign run by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Starting this coming weekend, this year's theme encourages people to discover local treasures such as Okere Falls, Mount Ngongotaha and the beautiful kōkako, an endangered native bird that can still be found in pockets of Bay of Plenty forests.
"Some of New Zealand's best experiences are here in Rotorua. Conservation Week is a great opportunity to get outdoors and rediscover some of the areas we haven’t visited for a while," Caraline explains.
"The campaign aims to provide experiences for the week" says Caraline. "In previous years, people had to be available at set times to participate in activities but this year it's a lot more flexible."
Key events include a geocaching at Okere Falls, Ngongotaha Nature Loop and Kaharoa Kōkako Track.
"Geocaching is a modern day version of hide and seek" says Caraline."GPS enabled devices are used to find containers known as caches which have a logbook to record your visit. All you need is a smart phone to download a free geocaching app."
As an incentive, local businesses such as Kaituna Kayaks, Paradise Valley Springs, Kiwi Encounter and Rotorua Rafting have provided discounted or free admission passes which will be some of the caches to encourage participation.
Two admission passes to Rotorua Canopy Tours are up for grabs with a photography competition. Photographs entered must contain people, plants or animals on land administered by DOC. This includes campsites, walking tracks and mountain biking trails.
In addition, Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre and Kiwi Encounter are running two for one entry deals throughout Conservation Week
Rotorua Residents are being asked to complete the Jubilee Track on Mount Ngongotaha from the bottom to the Mountain Road intersection. Those who post a photo of themselves completing the challenge on the MORE FM Rotorua Facebook page are eligible to win spot prizes. Participants are then asked to nominate three others to complete the challenge.
"I'm looking forward to the DOC Jubilee Challenge. The idea came from the success of the Ice Challenge in raising awareness of cancer using social media."
Other campaign events include a walk on the Tarawera Trail led by the Rotorua Tramping and Skiing Club, kiwi aversion training for dogs, and a conservation themed pub quiz at the Pig and Whistle. Mount Ngongotaha Bush Restoration Trust will be present at the Violet Bonnington reserve to provide information and run a family quiz based on the interpretation along the Ngongotaha Nature Walk.
The 95.9 MORE FM breakfast show with Andy George will host a 'Meet the keeper' segment with guest speakers from Kiwi encounter, Wingspan, Kaharoa Kōkako Trust and Paradise Valley Springs. Event details will be broadcast throughout the week.
In the CBD, corflute kōkako will be making an appearance in shop windows and flower beds. The first 10 people who can identify 5 shops displaying kōkako can go to Capers Epicurean to be given a $10 voucher – sufficient for coffee and cake.