Ruby Christoffel Ruby Christoffel

  • Tauira / Student
    Ruby Christoffel
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Annette O'Sullivan
  • School
    Massey University College of Creative Arts

Takahē Activity Toolkit
Getting kids excited about conservation efforts through information design

The challenge:
The Takahē is a large, rare flightless New Zealand bird. It stands around half a meter tall and is known for its colourful blue and green feathers and very large red beak. It is vulnerable to predators in the wild and as a result there are only around 450 birds left. As children have a future role in protecting the native species of New Zealand, my challenge was to teach them about the Takahē. My aim was to communicate the value of the bird to local school children through an informative activity kit.

The solution:
Firstly, I designed a set of posters to establish the facts. Using that information, I then designed an activity kit for school children aged 7 to 10. The kit consists of an activity book, flashcards, and a set of stickers. The tone is friendly, exciting, playful, and fun. This encourages children to engage with the subject of conservation and understand key statistics and facts in an accessible way.
The colour palette is a vibrant blue, green, and red to reflect the colours of the bird. I painted watercolour illustrations for a more approachable aesthetic. To compliment the design, the story has been written in a conversational and friendly tone.

The flashcards are an interactive companion to the activity book to allow children to practise the facts they have learnt in the book.

I designed stickers in a similar style to use on the pages of the book or place on their personal belongings. My aim was to encourage children to explore physical, make-and-do activities such as colouring in pages, word finds and flash cards to learn about the Takahē’s history, habitat, predators, and local conservation efforts to protect and preserve them.

The effect:
The series of information posters tell the narrative of the Takahē – from near extinction to its re-discovery and the introduction of breeding and relocation programmes. This is a fascinating story of a bird that has been brought back to life from near extinction. The physical nature of the Takahē activity toolkit creates a bridge to the natural environment and encourage kids to go into the outside world and engage with native wildlife.