Kids trade tech for treasure hunt at Kaitoke Regional Park

By Talisa Kupenga

More than 400 people traded technology for a treasure hunt in Wellington's Kaitoke Regional Park at the weekend where they learned about the environment and water conservation.

One mother told Te Kāea "I think they're just excited to find stuff, they've been excited all day telling me 'hurry up! Are we there yet?' It's great."

Kaitoke Ranger Steve Edwards says the treasure hunt is to teach kids about taking only photographs and leaving only footprints.

"It's about them realising that we need to look after this environment and that their drinking water relies on us having a healthy forest, so if we don't look after the place then basically water is our life and if we don't look after the water we'll have no life."

The clues help kids hunt for the treasure and also teach them fun facts about the environment and conservation.

Kaitoke Ranger Dion Ngaroto says "It's all in the clues, you'd have something like how many litres of water we drink a day, another clue might be what bird eats this seed, and there will be only one bird that can eat that seed because it is so big. It's about getting the kids involved."

Treasure hunter Amelia Huirama says "the great thing about today is seeing all the people and finding the prize."

Another young treasure hunter told Te Kaea "you can find some things that other people haven't found."

One young boy says "I'm just going for the exercise."

Jared Garland (Tuhoe, Ngāpuhi) says it’s a good learning for families "It’s about knowledge, you get to know about the area and all that."

A lot of clues were hidden around the river to teach children about water conservation because most Wellingtonians get about 50-percent of their water supply from the rivers at Kaitoke.

Treasure hunter Madelyn Alheit told Te Kāea she enjoyed being in the outdoors despite her mum taking away their sky cards.

"I never knew that Kaitoke produced like 7-million litres of water or I forgot the real number, but that's cool as and it's really cool the walks they have here."

Prizes were eco-friendly with the goal of bringing people back to explore Kaitoke, but the real prize participants say was learning to look after nature for the generations to come.