#30 New Zealand Nature Warrior!

15 Points

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.

Read the instructions

Categories:

See also

Check out backyard obstacle courses on YouTube for construction inspiration.

What to do

Your mission is:

Draw from the awesomeness of Aotearoa's wildlife and make an obstacle course worthy of the title: 'New Zealand Nature Warrior!' Backyard DIY meets biodiversity! Mean!

1. WATCH THIS!

American Ninja Warrior? Yeah nah. Watch Christian and Nova and their lockdown buddies Poppy and Ruby become NZ nature backyard CHAMPIONS!

26 Don Jellyman handling Eel 07 024 credit NIWA

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)

Longfin eel Alton Perrie 730x410

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!

 

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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?)?

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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!

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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!

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We started in the fern ocean, climbed waterfalls, ate tuna food (chocolate!) eddied in currents (swings) and evaded dangerous nets, before returning to the safety of the ocean via a muddy waterslide!