This term more than 10,000 school children have become Wingspan Warriors, including children at Ngakuru Primary School.

They have been taught to learn, care and lead new efforts within their classrooms, families and communities to support New Zealand's fastest flyer - karearea (New Zealand Falcon).

Fifteen children and parents from Ngakuru Primary School visited Wingspan today as part of the new Wingspan Warriors education effort.

The initiative comes with the help of a new lesson plan developed for primary schools by Kleenex Tissues and Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre.


Teachers around the country are being invited to download the new lesson plan, at no cost to schools, at

Debbie Stewart, founder and executive director of Wingspan since its inception 25 years ago, said the highest population density of karearea occurred in commercial pine plantations - in particular the Kaingaroa Forest.

She said conservation support from Kaingaroa Timberlands and from Kleenex Tissues, led by Kimberly-Clark New Zealand, was hugely appreciated.

She said it stemmed from their commitment to Forest Stewardship Council certification and also, "to doing what's right".

Stewart said only 25 per cent of karearea chicks survived past one year.

Schools around the country are getting on board early.

Fittingly, Kaingaroa Forest School was the first to begin its Healthy Forests teaching and learning using the new lesson plan during a visit to the Wingspan Centre last week.

Local schools engaged with 2017 Healthy Forests are Mokoia Intermediate School, Ngakuru School, Kaingaroa Forest School and Malfroy School.