Forest users are being encouraged to ‘scrub, spray and stay’ as part of the new kauri dieback digital campaign.
Using mobile technology to target forest visitors and encourage positive behaviour change is the next evolution in the campaign to strengthen protection of kauri from dieback disease.
Developing these and other new tools to fight the spread of the disease is a key focus for the Kauri Dieback Programme, a collaborative partnership involving the Department of Conservation, regional councils, iwi and tangata whenua, coordinated by Biosecurity New Zealand.
But with human activity the biggest factor in spreading dieback disease, usually though infected soil being carried on footwear and equipment, a significant focus for the programme is on driving behavioural change among those visiting kauri forests, says John Sanson, Biosecurity NZ’s Manager of Recovery and Pest Management.
“While social research has found strong awareness among most visitors of the need for good hygiene practices when visiting forests to protect kauri, the challenge is getting people to turn that awareness into action. This includes getting people to scrub their footwear clean of soil, spray with disinfectant, and stick to marked tracks every time they visit.”
The ‘scrub, spray and stay’ message is being reinforced this summer with a new digital and social media campaign, which uses mobile technology to directly appeal to those visiting kauri lands.
The campaign focuses on further boosting awareness and advocacy among the younger demographic with targeted messaging and creative content on channels such as Instagram and Facebook. An example is through the creation of ‘virtual bumper stickers’, that are compatible with mobile devices and advocate for people to not only follow the steps they can take personally to protect kauri – but to also ‘like’ and share these with others.
“Another innovation in the campaign is the use of ‘geo-fencing’, a system that allows for a ‘digital reminder’ containing kauri protection messages to automatically be sent to people’s mobile phones when they enter kauri lands,” John says. The message will again use different types of messaging and creative content to instil the behaviours needed to help protect kauri.
The same technology was recently used in a campaign by the New Zealand Coastguard to target and encourage boaties to wear their lifejackets, in response to a rising number of fatalities. This created a lifejacket reminder alert for those carrying their phones as they headed out on the water around the entire 15,000km coastline of New Zealand.
“Through this multi-layered approach, the campaign will enable the Kauri Dieback Programme to understand what types of message and creative content works best across different kauri regions and forest user groups. These rich analytics will also help inform the Programme and tailor future behaviour change initiatives in the social media and digital space.”