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Tis the season to give says Pippa Wetzell

Tis the season to give says Pippa Wetzell

Pippa Wetzell officially launched the Wishing Tree Appeal at Kmart’s new store at Albany in Auckland.

Christmas Wishing Trees went up in Kmart stores across the country today, as television presenter Pippa Wetzell officially launched the 2007 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal – New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal for families in need.

Last year the Wishing Tree Appeal collected 21,588 gifts for people in need and over the past 12 years the appeal has helped more than 147,000 New Zealanders.

Ms Wetzell, co-presenter of TVNZ’s Breakfast show, says that as the silly season kicks off she wants to encourage New Zealanders to spare a thought for families less fortunate than themselves.

“Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for most people, but sadly not for everyone. For many Kiwi families, who are struggling financially, Christmas festivities add stress, not fun, to their lives.. Not being able to buy gifts for their loved ones serves as a sharp reminder of how difficult things are.

“As a new mum, I’m looking forward to spoiling my little girl Brodie on her very first Christmas Day. Knowing that there are families out there who will miss out on the fun of Christmas is all the incentive I need to get behind the Wishing Tree Appeal.

“By placing a gift under a Wishing Tree, you can really help make Christmas a little merrier for someone; it’s such a small thing, and it will make all the difference,” she said.

Gifts for the appeal can be donated at Wishing Trees, located at any Kmart store around New Zealand. The gifts are then distributed by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal.

Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal can bring great joy to a child who might otherwise have received no presents.

“The sad reality is that some children in New Zealand won’t have a single present to open on Christmas morning. Children hear that if they are good they’ll get a present – then nothing arrives on Christmas morning. It’s not a positive experience for those children.

“The Wishing Tree Appeal helps make Santa Claus a reality for families that would otherwise go without the joy of having gifts to open on Christmas morning. And our staff relish the role of distributing presents, although they don’t have a sleigh led by reindeer,” he says.

The Salvation Army’s Northern Director for Community Ministries, Gerry Walker, says there is always a strong demand for their services at Christmas time, and it can be a particularly stressful time of year.

“For families that have struggled financially all year, buying something extra at Christmas isn’t an option. They don’t have the luxury to make the day special, but the pressure to do so is immense. Unfortunately that means many people feel more depressed than jovial at this time of year,” Mr Walker says.

To participate in the appeal, simply place a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) underneath the Wishing Tree at any one of Kmart’s 15 stores across New Zealand. Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart – all gifts will be gratefully received and will go towards helping brighten someone’s Christmas.

As an alternative to donating a gift, people can make a cash contribution at any Kmart store register. One hundred percent of cash contributions are converted by Kmart into Kmart gift vouchers, which are then distributed to people in need by welfare groups, allowing appeal recipients to choose their own Christmas gift.

During the appeal, Pippa Wetzell will be asking Christmas questions of the New Zealand community on Yahoo!Xtra Answers. If you would like to join in the conversation with Pippa, visit

The Wishing Tree Appeal runs from Monday 12 November until Christmas Eve and is supported by Yahoo!Xtra.


For further information or images please contact:
Eddy Helm: DDI: 09 302 2788. Mobile: 027 661 6279. Email:

Note to Editors:

Kmart Store Locations:
Henderson, Auckland
St Lukes, Auckland
Papatoetoe, Auckland
Botany, Auckland
Manukau, Auckland
Albany, Auckland
Bayfair, Tauranga
Palmerston North
Porirua, Wellington
Riccarton, Christchurch
Shirley, Christchurch

About Yahoo!Xtra –
Yahoo!Xtra is a joint venture between Yahoo! and Telecom New Zealand and connects New Zealanders to their passions, communities and the world's knowledge online. New Zealanders are able to benefit from an enhanced range of online services in a localised way including news, sport, entertainment and global best in breed content, social networking and interactive tools from Yahoo!Xtra. Yahoo!Xtra is proud to support the 2007 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

About Yahoo!Xtra Answers -
A huge phenomenon worldwide, Answers allows people to ask straightforward questions and receive specific answers from others on the Internet. It’s a living repository for topical, relevant information made up of real life experience, advice and opinion that allows users to find answers they’re after, questions that they can offer advice on, or pose a questions of their own.

Worldwide, more than 100 million people use Yahoo! Answers every month and over 250 million questions have been posted. More than 129,000 New Zealanders use Yahoo!Xtra Answers.


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