March was Whio Awareness Month, a time we promote awareness for this unique and iconic duck. Despite the whio being on our $10 note, very few people know about it, or how important they are to our high country river systems. In March 2017 we had a range of activities to get people involved and help boost awareness for the whio.
The Great Whio Adventure Competition
The winner of the Great Whio Adventure competition will go on an epic family trip (two adults/two kids) to go and see the whio in the wild with the Department of Conservation. Over 200 entrants pulled their best duckfaces, snapped a selfie and uploaded it right to the Whio Forever website. Then they let us know why they wanted to save the whio.
Whio Awareness Month Colouring Competition
During Whio Awareness Month budding young artists sent in their complete whio-themed colouring competition entries. We have selected winners junior (2-6 years) and senior (7-13 years) colouring competition categories. The winners in each category were sent out an awesome Whio Forever prize pack.
Turangi Whio Family Fun Day
Whio Awareness Month came to Turangi with a Whio Family Fun Day held on Sunday 19 March at the Tongariro National Trout Centre on State Highway 1.
The centre is just 5min south of Turangi and the day ran from 10am to 3pm. There was some awesome activities for the kids with real whio on site in the whio crèche and meetings with Neo & Beau the whio dogs a whio ranger obstacle course, nature scavenger hunt, stories, singing, and spot prizes.
There was also a whio duck face “photo booth” with prints to take home.
Te Anau Whio Family Fun Day
As part of Whio Awareness Month activities, Upukerora Park in Te Anau hosted a Whio Family Fun Day. Like previous years it included the Great Fiordland Whio Race. The rubber ducks floated a course from the gravel pits through to a finshing line net at Upukerora Bridge.
Other activities on the day included a BBQ, face painting, craft activities, a scavenger hunt, spot prizes and a raffle. If you’re a local, or holidaying in the area, be sure to check it out.
Whio Awareness Month Event Palmerston North
A special Whio-themed day was held at the Victoria Esplanade Bird Aviaries in Palmerston North on Sunday 19th March. More than 200 visitors attended the event and learned about the whio, joined in fun activities and met a real conservation dog – Fern.
It’s was a great way for Palmerston North locals to learn about our blue duck and what is being done to protect it.
Auckland Zoo Whio Family Fun Days
The Whio Family Fun days ran once again at Auckland Zoo on the 4th and 5th of March. Besides face painting and fun whio activities there was the daily running of the ‘Blue Duck Race’ in which 500 blue rubber ducks raced down the Zoo stream.
Over the weekend, 6,444 visitors came through the gates of the Auckland Zoo and we had loads of colouring competition entries. Many visitors also stopped and pulled a duck face in front of the photo booth so they could enter The Great Whio Adventure Competition.