Next time shoppers visit their local Countdown supermarket, don’t be surprised to see a giant wētā named Āwhina popping out to say “kia ora” as part of Countdown’s new Super Insects programme.
Over the next six weeks, Countdown customers can learn about 72 different types of insects. Sally Copland, Countdown’s General Manager Brand and CountdownX, said as a food business, Countdown is acutely aware of the role insects play in Aotearoa’s unique biodiversity.
“If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that our planet is unpredictable and ever-changing, and we have to look after what we’ve got. For the long-term survival of our environment, and for food-focussed businesses like Countdown, insects play a critical role. Right now, the nation’s focus is rightly on safety and looking after our people, but protecting the environment remains an issue of great concern for Kiwis, and particularly for our younger generations," said Copland.
Ruud Kleinpaste, New Zealand’s very own Bug Man, is teaming up with Countdown to help share his passion for insects with families throughout the country
“This is a really fun and interactive way for Kiwis to learn about the insects that roam throughout Aotearoa. I want to help people appreciate our creepy, crawly friends instead of wanting to reach for the bug spray if they come anywhere near them," said Kleinpaste.
“We’ll be learning about the different roles insects play, known as ecosystem services, where they live and why, and what is special or unusual about them,” says Ruud Kleinpaste. “Take the New Zealand giraffe weevil for example; did you know that it is the longest species of weevil in the world? Adult males can be up to 80 mm long! Or our humble native ants, huhu grubs, weta, hoverflies and ground beetles; they actually play a crucial role in keeping our beautiful country and humans alive.”
“Ideally, this programme will help encourage kids and families to learn more about and value our insects, and of course, care for them so that the next time you discover one inside the house you’ll know how to release these lovelies back into the garden."
Countdown has worked closely with an entomologist and education specialist to create Super Insects. Together with collector cards and puzzle pieces, there is also a free interactive app to bring the insect collection to life with augmented reality, bug facts and insect filters. To support physical distancing for their team and customers, for the first time, collector cards can be shared and swapped online rather than in person.
Super Insects runs from Monday 31 August to Sunday 11 October. Customers receive a card pack which includes two insect cards and a jigsaw puzzle piece with every $30 they spend in store or online. There are 72 cards in the set and 36 jigsaw puzzle pieces that make up four insect pictures. There is also a supporting album which can store the cards and includes lots of games, puzzles and facts about insects.
Customers can also win a chance for the Bug Man, Ruud Kleinpaste, to visit their school. He’ll also be popping up on Facebook and Instagram sharing fun facts and tips for finding bugs. Check out the Countdown website for more details www.countdown.co.nz/superinsects
Countdown has also gifted education packs about insects to 200 lower decile primary schools across the country with specially-designed lesson guides in line with the set curriculum. At the end of the promotion, any leftover merchandise and cards will be donated to KidsCan, a Countdown charity partner.