A game of tag will turn into a battle for survival and a race against extinction this month.

The game is set to take place at Lake Rotokare during the school holidays, as part of their school holiday programme.

Ash Muralidhar, environmental educator at Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, says it is all about teaching the importance of the food chain in New Zealand's native bush.

The survival game is a game of tag which shows the kids how the food chain works and what the population dynamics in a forest are, Ash says.


"Participants are placed into groups. There are herbivores (plant eaters), carnivores (meat eaters), and omnivores (plant and meat eaters).

"The herbivores need to hunt for food and water and try to not get 'killed' or more accurately 'tagged' by the other animals.

"Natural disasters and humans occasionally also enter the game to 'tag' the animals.

"In the game, there are more herbivores then carnivores. The children often question the proportions so we ask them 'what if we put 10 carnivores in the game but just one herbivore. What would happen?'," Ash says.

"The importance of the food chain and the consequences of animal extinction dawn on them immediately. The game puts learning and fun together perfectly, and as a community event brings people together in a beautiful space."

She says the game is great reason to head out to Rotokare these school holidays, to enjoy a fun, family friendly day out.

"In the digital age, it's refreshing to go outside, get physically active, and get in sync with the natural environment. Personally, I wish I could play the game just once, instead of always hosting it."

■ The survival game will be held at Lake Rotokare Thursday, April 18, 10am to 1pm. Cost $5 per child with no cost for accompanying adults. Open to children between 8-16 years. Participants need to bring food, water, sensible outdoor footwear and clothes. For more information, or to register contact Ash at educator@rotokare.org.nz or call 06 764 8500. Limited spots available so book in advance.