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'Kiwi Ranger' is coming to Tiritiri Matangi Island, with the help of Lucy Lawless.

Eco-warrior Lucy Lawless and her family will be heading for Tiritiri Matangi Island on Saturday June 1 to help launch the Island's Kiwi Ranger programme.

The programme, developed through the Department of Conservation, is designed to give youngsters - and the young at heart - a better appreciation of conservation issues.

Lawless, who is famous for her role as Xena Warrior Princess and her participation in Greenpeace protests against oil drilling, will have to complete a series of activities such as coming face-to-face with an extinct bird, working out what could be tough enough to make holes in iron-hard puriri timber and hearing a masked bird sing like an organ.

If she and her family complete their tasks they could each earn a Tiritiri Matangi Kiwi Ranger badge.

Until recently, the Kiwi Ranger programme has only been available at ten conservation sites in the South Island. But now it is being made available on Tiritiri Matangi and other North Island sites will soon follow, including Footsteps of Toi near Whakatane, Te Uruwera National Park, Ahuriri Wetland at Napier, the Manawatu Gorge and Rimutaka Forest Park.

Anyone who wants to get a Kiwi Ranger certificate and badge from Tiritiri Matangi has to collect a booklet on arrival on the Island and choose some activities to carry out.

These could include finding out that the bird with the mask and the glorious voice is a kokako. Or discovering the remarkable story of the takahe which for 50 years was thought to be extinct but now wanders freely around the Island. Or looking for the puriri moth, New Zealand's largest moth, whose grubs bore holes in puriri trees.

Every participant who hands in the completed activities at the end of the visit to the Island will get a signed certificate and a Tiritiri Matangi badge (see illustration below) making them a Kiwi Ranger.

Any media wanting to cover the launch of the programme, bring a child to Tiri to become a Kiwi Ranger, or get further information or photos, should contact the guiding and shop manager, Mary-Ann Rowland at or ring (09) 476 0010 to organise ferry bookings and assistance.

Ferry company 360 Discovery are making it easy for families to travel to Tiri during Queen's Birthday Weekend - one child may travel free with each fare-paying adult. This special deal is on their website at

Kiwi Ranger will add a whole new dimension to the Tiritiri experience for families and schools. A small charge will be made for the booklet, which will be readily available to visitors from the beginning of June. You can find out more about the Kiwi Ranger scheme on their website - here.