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Communities Prioritise Children on Children’s Day

Media release
22 October 2003

Communities Prioritise Children on Children’s Day

“Children’s Day is a great opportunity to turn words about treasuring children into action,” says Children’s Day, National Steering Group Chairperson, Penny Gaylor.

Children’s Day is organised by a national steering group comprised of 10 government and non-government agencies, including Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs, The Office of the Commissioner for Children and Save the Children.

This is the fourth annual Children’s Day and this year it will be held on Sunday 26 October.

“All families and communities can participate by giving their time and creating positive memories for children. It’s about giving time, love and affection, praise and encouragement, and listening and talking to our children,” Penny says.

“Many community groups have already identified ways to celebrate the day and they have registered their activities on the website. They include going to the beach, family fun days, kids’ music shows, art exhibitions, walks, picnics and story time at local libraries.

“All families, community groups and schools can participate by doing something new or special with the children in their life. It’s not about buying them a gift it’s an opportunity to ask ourselves, how we can become involved in growing a healthy environment that will support children in their development,” Penny says.

Children’s Day is an entirely non-commercial tradition, celebrating New Zealand’s children. This year it aims to encourage families to give more time to each other and for adults to spend more time listening and talking to their children.

The Children’s Day website has a section for children to ‘Have your say’ each week on a topic relating to Children’s Day. Messages have mainly focused on the fun aspect of Children’s Day but more serious statements relate to ‘treating children fairly’, ‘parents getting to know their children better’ and a call that ‘parents should be kind to their children and realise that they need love and affection’.

Dr Cindy Kiro, the Commissioner for Children, said: “Adults need to think about what children hear and really listen to what they are saying without our adult perceptions. We need to understand they have views of their own which deserve respect and consideration.”

Many community leaders through the country are supporting Children’s Day events in their region.

Other facts about New Zealand children are:

- Almost one-quarter of New Zealanders - 847,740 people were under the age of 15 at the time of the 2001 census

- Gisborne has the highest proportion of children (27%); the Otago region has the lowest (18%).

- Overall, the North Island has a higher proportion of children (23%) than the South Island (21%).

- Children are more ethnically diverse than adults (18% identifying with more than one ethnic group, compared to 6% of adults).

- The number of multiple births is going up: 878 sets of twins were born in 2000 compared to 704 in 1990 and 26 sets of triplets were born in 2000 compared to 14 sets in 1990.

See the Children’s Day website www.childrensday.org.nz for activities in a community near you or email us at givingtime@childrensday.org.nz or phone 0800 103 322 to let us know what’s happening in your community.

-ends-

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