Many of our native creatures go on incredible adventures – like the Pacific Ocean-voyaging tuna (longfin eel)! Make an epic home obstacle course inspired by an NZ animal's life cycle.
What to do
Your mission is:
1. WATCH THIS!
American Ninja Warrior? Yeah nah. Watch Christian and Nova and their lockdown buddies Poppy and Ruby become NZ nature backyard CHAMPIONS!
2. TANIWHA OF THE AWA?
Tuna (te reo Māori for eel) are one of Aotearoa's most awesome creatures. They can grow to over 2m in length and live up to 100 years.
Longfin eels are born in ocean depths off Tonga. They then make an salty sea voyage back to NZ, where they they have to swim against the flow and up waterfalls to get home, sweet freshwater home in one of our awa (rivers/streams). There they spend up to 100 years, feeding mainly on fish and koura (watch your toes ducklings!), before heading back near Tonga to spawn ... find out more here, or here.
Photo: Don Jellyman holding a big tuna (NIWA)
3. TUNA DO IT TOUGH
Tuna have been making this incredible journey for millions of years.
Recently they've also had to face fishing spears and whitebait nets, and their waterways home have been drained, polluted, pooped in, and blocked by dams and culverts. That's some tough luck for these slippery giant nighttime awa ninjas. But tuna are survivors!
4. HUNTING FOR HURD-EELS
To honour the tremendous job the tuna does to get home you need to come up with some eely ggod ideas for your obstacle course.
The first obstacle is a location. What's an e-fish-ent use of space? Backyards are great, also garages, or even your lounge or bedroom. Then tune in to your inner tuna. What's going to be your Pacific Ocean (a soapy tarp?), how're you going to get up the waterfall (a hose? a slippery plank? a rope?) or through the fishing net (sheets? ladder?)?
5. RACE TO THE LONG-FIN-ISH LINE
Once you’ve set up your obstacle course (and it’s been given the parent Seal of Approval), you can time how fast you and your bubble buddies can conquer it!
Too easy? Try it blindfolded! Still too easy? Give your brother or sister a hose to shoot water at you as you go! And when you’re done, don’t forget to upload a photo of your exc-eel-lent course to Wild Eyes!
6. RECYCLE THE LIFE CYCLE
Aotearoa has animals found nowhere else on Planet Earth. Find an animal or critter that opens your wild eyes, research the challenges they face in their lives, and come up with a creative way to build it into your obstacle course!
They call the kōkako the squirrel of the NZ forest bounding between trees looking for kai, make a swing to grab the juiciest pūriri berries ... Go wild and have fun!