Buddy Day is coming to the Ruapehu

After four years, Buddy Day is heading to the Ruapehu.

Established in 2011 as a positive way to drive change around the role adults play in the lives of children, Ngāti Rangi Pou Ārahi Andy Gowland-Douglas was quick to sign up the Trust to locally host the event designed to start conversations about how communities can ensure that all tamariki are safe and can thrive.

“As iwi we are kaitiaki of our region, this means we've the responsibility of not only looking after our environment but all whānau who live here as well,” she said.

 “In collaboration with the community, Ngāti Rangi has developed and leads the implementation of the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan – one core aspect of this is wellbeing, and caring for children/tamariki obviously plays a key part.

“The Plan is about the wider region taking ownership of issues and coming up with our own solutions, Buddy Day is also about communities taking ownership of this important issue to help tamariki so, it's a great fit.”

Above: Ngāti Rangi's event coordinator Chaana Morgan and Trust Pou Ārahi Andy Gowland-Douglas are encouraging 'creators' and 'carers' to register their interest in joining Ruapehu Buddy Day which has been is designed by Child Matters to help create positive environments so all tamariki are safe and can thrive.

Nationally, Buddy Day involves around 2000 adults and organisations adopting a life-size core-flute Buddy and taking them into their communities and workplaces during the day.

Around the Ruapehu region, children at seven local schools and a number of early childcare centres are currently giving their metre-high blank white buddies life as part of their role as 'creators'.

On 13 November the main street of Ohākune will be blocked off for a free community breakfast where 'carers' will adopt the 'creators' buddies for the day.

Child Matters general manager Jane Searle said the event was created as a way to help tackle New Zealand’s “horrendous” statistics around child abuse.

"Over the years, the day has grown to one that takes a proactive stance around helping all children to thrive by creating great environments for them to grow up in.

"New Zealand still has one of the worst child abuse rates in the developed world.

“However, the implications of child abuse do not start and end with the statistics.

“We want to encourage people to do what they can to positively impact all children’s lives every day, in different ways."

Mrs Searle said becoming part of the solution can be take as simple as taking a few proactive steps in starting the conversation.

“Educating the adult population about the daily things they can do to help children flourish is what Buddy Day is all about.

“It's about asking adults to step up and do whatever they can to help prevent child abuse in their circles of influence because every child deserves a great childhood.”

As part of the Ruapehu event, Ngāti Rangi are also hosting a short film festival on the evening of Buddy Day where local children are invited to create 60-second videos that include a buddy and highlights the event’s key messages around child safety.

More information on how to adopt a buddy or become a 'creator' can be found online at buddyday.org.nz or by calling the Ngāti Rangi office on 06 385 9500 or 0800 NRANGI.