Lead the Way

Protecting native wildlife and dogs on the NZ coastline, in partnership with the Department of Conservation.

PD Insurance New Zealand

The Lead the Way Programme

Become wildlife wise

PD Insurance is the exclusive Auckland partner for the Department of Conservation’s Lead the Way programme that’s helping protect native coastal wildlife and keep dogs and people safe. As a passionate animal welfare advocate, we proudly support its crucial wildlife protection work.

Through Lead the Way, we’ve committed to educating pet parents on how to keep their dogs and wildlife safe while enjoying Aotearoa’s coastline. We’re raising awareness of the risks off-lead dogs present to native wildlife and other dogs, plus what pet parents can do to safeguard their dogs, other animals and people. The importance of keeping your dog on a lead where appropriate is just one part of this, albeit a key one.

Get involved and help keep our coast safe for those who call it home! First, watch our launch event video here.

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How to Get Involved

Do the quiz + grab an exclusive lead

Did you know many native coastal species are in decline? The kororā/little penguins and the tūturiwhatu/NZ dotterel are just two of these.

Pet parents are often unaware of the risks their fur kids present to coastal wildlife and other dogs. Many dogs have an innate tendency to stalk and injure wildlife, even when they’re only playing. They can also unintentionally cause significant distress or worse to other dogs enjoying the outdoors. 

In addition, there are plenty of seemingly safe things along the coast that can actually cause harm to your pup when they’re out and about.

That’s why PD Insurance and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have joined forces to share how you and your dog can help Auckland’s native wildlife and other dog families. A key component of our Lead the Way education programme is a simple ‘Wildlife Wise’ quiz that tests your knowledge on the dangers wildlife and dogs face on the coast. Visit the DOC ‘Dogs on Beaches’ webpage to study up before taking our Lead the Way quiz.

Once completed you’ll not only have a much better understanding of how to keep your dog, other people and native wildlife safe, you’ll be able to purchase an exclusive Lead the Way lead. This comes in four colours…

Locally made and of superior quality, the Lead the Way lead colours are like a traffic light system:

  • Green – means your dog is happy to be around other dogs and people.
  • Orange – means your dog isn’t always comfortable around other dogs and people.
  • Red – means your dog does not like socialising with unfamiliar dogs or people.
  • Yellow – means your dog is disabled in some way, so is vulnerable to some interactions.

With your pup sporting one of these leads you’ll provide others enjoying the Auckland coastline a clear visual clue on its temperament.

Lead the Way Media

Our media releases and blog posts

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World Wildlife Day a reminder to help protect native species

While pets hold our attention as family and friends, they’re full of animal instinct. We don’t often dwell on it, but dogs and cats have an innate ability to stalk and injure wildlife. For responsible pet parents, that means keeping them well managed, especially outdoors… READ MORE HERE


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Should your dog be on a lead in public spaces: yes or no?

Should your dog be on a lead in public spaces? It’s a simple question and it’s covered by the Dog Control Act, but not every dog owner knows the answer. That’s why PD Insurance and the Department of Conservation are running the Lead the Way programme to help improve dog leash knowledge and to share the potential dangers of off-leash dogs… READ MORE HERE


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Survey reveals Kiwi pet owners prefer dogs on-lead

It’s not just our country’s flightless birds benefiting from tethered pups. Recent research shows New Zealand’s people also generally prefer seeing dogs on a lead. It’s not difficult to see why; even the friendliest of pooches can be a problem, even for those of us whose adventures in the great outdoors are canine oriented… READ MORE HERE


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How to stop your dog chasing birds and other wildlife 

We all know the importance of protecting our indigenous wildlife. It’s one thing to practice this ourselves, but how do we get our pups to follow suit? Obedience training a dog to stop chasing birds and other animals (small or large!) can seem like an impossible task… READ MORE HERE


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Ways you can volunteer as a Wildlife Wise Warrior 

The month of June is filled with commemoration days dedicated to saving our beautiful planet. This makes it the perfect month to be a “Wildlife Warrior” and find out the best wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities in NZ… READ MORE HERE


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World Oceans Day: Dogs meet sea life to Lead the Way 

With tomorrow marking World Oceans Day, the Department of Conservation and PD Insurance joined the renowned SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium to show dogs and sea creatures can live in harmony, even when they meet unexpectedly… READ MORE HERE


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How to play your part for our pinnipeds

June 8 is World Oceans Day, a time to raise awareness on the vital role the oceans and its creatures play to our planet’s continued existence. From now through winter, it’s also what biologists call “Seal Silly Season” in New Zealand… READ MORE HERE


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Lead the Way on World Migratory Bird Day and save lives

Saturday 13 May 2023 marks ‘World Migratory Bird Day’, a time to stop and think about how we protect our important native and migratory birds. This is especially important for Aotearoa New Zealand, as the southernmost point of the East-Asian Australasian Flyway… READ MORE HERE


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How to keep cats and dogs from wandering


With two important holidays coming up, World Migratory Bird Day on 13 May and International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May, it’s as good a time as any to consider how our pets affect New Zealand’s wildlife… READ MORE HERE


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Seaweek: Lead the Way with responsible dog parenting

The ocean that surrounds our island country with 15,000km of coastline plays a special role in our lives. It provides recreation, employment and food, and supports a wide diversity of plants and animals. That’s why we celebrate Seaweek from March 4-12…READ MORE HERE


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World Wildlife Day is a reminder for pet owners to…

While pets are the centre of our attention and members of our families, they’re full of animal instinct. It’s not something most of us like thinking about, but dogs and cats have an innate ability to stalk and injure wildlife. Here are tips for keeping them well managed…READ MORE HERE


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How to celebrate World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day in the first week of March is not only an opportunity to celebrate and conserve our natural resources. It’s also an opportunity to explore the many natural disasters we as a nation have weathered. Our people, pets, endangered species and other wildlife have known cyclones, tsunamis, landslides, flooding and earthquakes… READ MORE HERE


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Test your marine wildlife knowledge this Seaweek

Did you know that Seaweek in New Zealand is almost upon us? Held this year from March 5 to 13, it’s all about raising awareness and promoting understanding of the marine environment and its importance to the country. As pet parents, we play a very important part in marine wildlife conservation. But do you really know what’s what on NZ beaches?… READ MORE HERE


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Dos and don’ts of boating with your dog

There’s nothing like exploring New Zealand’s beautiful lakes, rivers and coasts. Even better when you can take your pup along! But do you know all the boat dog safety rules? How about which areas you can and can’t take Fido? There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to boating with your pup, so make sure you’ve read up on them before you set sail… READ MORE HERE


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PD at pet events, including Dog Day Out with DOC

PD recently enjoyed attending and showcasing our products and partnerships at the Dog Day Out in Auckland and Christchurch Pet Expo as well as the Healthy Pets New Zealand Dogs Day Out in Invercargill before that. These pet events are an incredible way to strengthen the message of responsible pet ownership and meet all kinds of people.… READ MORE HERE


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Why you can’t take your dog or cat into NZ national parks

The summer holidays are upon us, and many pet parents and their fur balls are raring (and barking and meowing) to get out of the house. Excitement and enthusiasm is great, but being a responsible pet parent is being conscious of ‘no pets allowed’ spaces. You don’t want to end up getting a fine for your dog (or your cat) in a national park… READ MORE HERE


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Lead the way by protecting the lives of native birds

It’s hard to imagine your delightful pup being anything other than a loveable furball. But on the frontlines of New Zealand’s conservation efforts, the devastation of free-roaming pets is seen every day in the hundreds of native birds injured, maimed or worse… READ MORE HERE


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How to be a responsible dog parent this December

Summer is on our doorstep and if you’re anything like us you’re just jumping for joy at the idea of taking your dog on holiday with you. Outdoors and pups go together like peanut butter and jelly, and travelling with pets has become more popular than ever before. But do you know what responsible dog ownership on holiday entails… READ MORE HERE


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Keeping boating dogs and protected islands safe

As a country blessed with an abundant coastline and a boat-crazy population that also loves its pets, NZ is a marine leisure paradise for people and pups alike. While many of us take our dogs (and sometimes even cats!) on such jaunts, it’s essential that wildlife protection rules are followed, particularly around bringing pets to protected islands… READ MORE HERE


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Become wildlife wise: top tips and a quiz

It’s New Zealand’s Save the Kiwi Week from 10-16 October, and we’re taking the opportunity to teach dog owners about wildlife conservation – especially on our beaches. PD Insurance recently partnered with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to launch the Lead the Way Auckland programme, which aims to reduce the impact of dogs on our beautiful, fragile wildlife and coastline….. READ MORE HERE


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How dog parents can help wildlife this Conservation Week

Conservation Week 2022 is taking place in NZ from 5-11 September and is all about protecting our precious NZ wildlife. As a dog parent, you play a big role in this. Many pet parents don’t know the effect their dogs can have on wild animals even when they’re innocently playing, especially with the species that inhabit our beaches and coastline…. READ MORE HERE


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Lead the way with 7 steps this Conservation Week

With Conservation Week upon us, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and its newly-announced Lead the Way Auckland programme partner, PD Insurance, are encouraging a Wildlife Wise approach from all dog owners… READ MORE HERE


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New partnership to educate on protecting NZ’s native species

Ahead of tomorrow’s International Dog Day, the Department of Conservation today launched its Auckland ‘Lead the Way’ programme to help protect native wildlife, dogs and people on our beaches. Supporting this work as programme partner is PD Insurance, a passionate advocate for animal welfare and responsible pet ownership… READ MORE HERE


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How to lead the way on International Dog Day and beyond

The beach and surrounding areas are wonderful spots for dogs and their humans to get some fresh air-fuelled exercise. But did you know dogs can endanger Auckland’s sensitive coastal wildlife while doing so? That’s why we’ve partnered with the Department of Conservation to launch the Lead the Way Auckland programme for International Dog Day… READ MORE HERE


Visit our Media section for other PD Insurance media releases here
Visit our Blog section for other PD Insurance blog articles here.

Our Lead the Way


World Oceans Day Event

To mark World Oceans Day in June, DOC and PD Insurance joined the renowned SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium to demonstrate how dogs and sea creatures can live in harmony, even when they meet unexpectedly. The event explored the relationship between the marine and canine species, environmental impacts of the mismanagement of pets at and near the beach, and the dangers dogs can face along the coastline too. Several media attended, including the AM TV show for live crosses, Radio New Zealand and 95bFM.

Event photos

Auckland Pet Expo

At 10 months into our partnership, PD Insurance and DOC joined forces on a double stand at the huge Auckland Pet Expo on 29 and 30 April 2023. Attendees heard all about our Lead the Way programme and various at-risk species plus our special product offers, event competition and more. The wider event showcased anything and everything for pet enthusiasts, including a wide variety of animals including dogs, cats, birds, chins, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats and reptiles. 

Event photos

Dog Day Out

PD Insurance and DOC collaborated once again to raise awareness for Lead the Way, this time on a big stand at the Dog Day Out in Snells Beach on Saturday 10 December 2022. Plenty of dog owners joined us at Googall Reserve for the charity day, which featured a dog show competition, doggy market stalls and dress-ups activities, hot dogs galore and more. Visit here for more info.

Event photos

Christchurch Pet and Animal Expo

There wasn’t any stopping this Pet Expo from going ahead! Despite our partnership of Lead the Way being Auckland-only, both PD and DOC see great benefit in spreading word of the national programme however possible. So we shared a stand at the Christchurch Pet and Animal Expo on 3 and 4 December 2022 to educate locals about the importance of Lead the Way, being wildlife wise and safeguarding pet health.

Event photos

Cancelled: Auckland Pet and Animal Expo

PD Insurance and DOC were going to join forces at the Auckland Pet and Animal Expo on 15 and 16 October, to educate visitors about all things Lead the Way and the importance of safeguarding animal health. However, the Pet Expo has been cancelled until further notice. So, watch this space…

Launch Event - Lead the Way Auckland

Held on 25 August 2022, aligned with International Dog Day on 26 August, our Lead the Way Auckland launch explored the relationship between wildlife and dogs, the environmental impact of uncontrolled dogs, and the dangers dogs can also encounter along the coast. Media, industry influencers and other attendees experienced a thought-provoking discussion featuring Auckland Zoo, BirdCare Aotearoa, Healthy Pets New Zealand and Canine by Nature, as well as a dog behaviour training session plus speeches from PD Insurance, DOC and Auckland Council. Watch the launch event video here.

Event photos and handy images

Other Photos

Media Assets

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Leandri Smith

The Mailroom Communications