Māui Dolphin Challenge Launches

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What would you do to save the last 63 Māui dolphins?

Today, WWF-New Zealand officially launched the Māui Dolphin Challenge, a fundraising campaign to save one of New Zealand’s most endangered and beloved animals. The campaign challenges New Zealanders to fundraise by pledging to do something involving the number 63. Whether it’s walking 63 kilometres or picking up 63 kilograms of rubbish, people across the country are already signing up to take part in creative fundraising challenges.

WWF-New Zealand Campaigner David Tong said the focus of the campaign was saving the last 63 Māui dolphins, the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world.

“Māui dolphins are found only off the west coast of the North Island – nowhere else in the world, and they’re right on the brink of extinction,” Mr Tong said. “The Māui Dolphin Challenge is about getting as many New Zealanders as possible involved to support these wonderful animals.”

This is the second year the campaign has run. In 2016, hundreds of New Zealanders took up the Challenge including yoga workouts, going 55 days without producing any rubbish, and swimming in the sea every day.

“We were incredibly inspired by everyone’s creative ideas last year, and it was amazing that together we raised $25,000. And this year we want to go even bigger!” Mr Tong said.

The 2017 campaign was launched with a video featuring Kiwi singer-songwriter Jamie McDell. Last year Ms McDell was among those who took up a Challenge, writing a song “Son of the Ocean” inspired by Māui dolphins and recording it with 55 singers who entered online auditions.

“This year it’s your turn to take up a challenge! All of your challenges will raise awareness for these awesome dolphins,” she said.

This year’s Challenge is off to a great start, having already raised nearly $5000. It’s attracted the support of a diverse range of New Zealanders including students from Victoria University of Wellington, iconic New Zealand brands like Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, and businesses like café Dear Jervois.

“Donations, big and small, will be put to good use to help keep fun, playful, intelligent Māui dolphins thriving in our waters,” said Tesh Randall, from Raglan Coconut Yoghurt.

Other people already signed up to take a Challenge include three-year-old Scarlett, who is not only baking and picking up rubbish, but spreading the word about these animals with presentations to her kindergarten friends.

“I’ll be cycling 63km every day for a week to raise money for our campaign,” Mr Tong said. “These unique dolphins are priceless, and they need all the help they can get.”

How to get involved in the Māui Dolphin Challenge:

  1. Choose a challenge – no matter how big or small.
  2. Create a fundraising page at mauidolphin.org.nz
  3. Get your friends and family to sponsor you – spread the word far and wide!

Join the Māui dolphin Challenge Video

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

Learn more at: http://www.wwf.org.nz

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Louisa is the Communications Manager for WWF-New Zealand (World Wide Fund for Nature). She has extensive experience in the areas of media, communications and public relations. Her pen, camera and sense of humour have led her to wonderful work locations throughout Australia, Canada, USA, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and Peru. She was raised on a sheep and cattle farm in Outback Australia. Her specialty sectors are the environment (forest/marine/species conservation and climate change), crisis communications (biosecurity, floods and cyclones), and agriculture (livestock and broad-acre farming). She is an Open Water-accredited diver and has explored underwater ecosystems in the Solomon Islands and Cambodia.

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