Bay of Plenty students are in for a treat with the new Whakatane Kiwi Trust education resource set to launch.

Initiated by volunteers, the comprehensive "Kiwi Whakatane" guide is designed to help school children learn about their environment, the unique features of New Zealand and how all Kiwis have a responsibility to protect their special place in the world.

With the guide comes a DVD fronted by Olympian and Whakatane local Karen Hanlen. It is also designed to be used with the new "Kiwi Tracker" programme made possible by a grant from Whakatane West Rotary Club.

Department of Conservation partnership ranger Bridget Palmer said nowhere else in New Zealand would kids get the opportunity to learn and have a wild, easily accessible experience. "Following theory-based learning about getting to know kiwi, their habitat and protecting the endangered bird, students are able to experience the reality of bush life.


"Seeing dead stoats caught in traps, touching kiwi egg shells, feathers and burrows and walking the tracks used by Whakatane Kiwi Project volunteers are all part of the deal," she said.

The education resource is designed for students aged between 9 and 12 years but can be adapted to suit most ages.

The official launch of the programme is being held at Eastbay REAP, 21 Pyne St, Whakatane, from 3.30pm today. For more information, contact the Whakatane Kiwi Trust at