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Children’s Commissioner Champions Children’s Day

Media Release
13 October 2004

Children’s Commissioner Champions Children’s Day

The Children’s Commissioner is calling for all New Zealanders to celebrate Children’s Day on Sunday 31 October. Thousand of events are being planned throughout the country to recognise this important day.

“Children’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our nation’s children. I encourage everyone to get involved this year by attending the Children’s Day events and activities happening all over New Zealand," says Dr Cindy Kiro.

Dr Cindy Kiro also says Children’s Day serves as a special reminder to give children praise and encouragement, which is the key theme for this year’s Children’s Day.

“Like all people, children and young people respond best to praise and encouragement. Praise encourages children to keep trying and helps build their confidence. Let’s take the opportunity on Children’s Day to remind ourselves to treat all children the way we would like to be treated ourselves.”

In support of Children’s Day Dr Kiro has written a story about 2004’s indigenous animal — the tuna, our native eel. In her story, Outsmarted by the tuna, she devises “a cunning plan to capture tuna” but soon becomes “wiser about the wiles and ways” of this clever creature.

Children’s Day was established in 2000 by a group of supporters from government and non-government organisations. Their vision is to see children celebrated, nurtured and treasured by all. Their commitment is to see Children's Day set up as a non-commercial annual tradition in all communities in New Zealand.


Outsmarted by the tuna
By Cindy Kiro, Children’s Commissioner

When I was about nine years old, my family lived by the bush in Waitakere near Auckland. We had a creek at the back of the house and spent a lot of time building fern tree huts and running around the bush.

One day we decided to be bush rangers and devised a cunning plan to capture tuna. Our creek was swarming with tuna and we would watch them sliding over the rocks where the water was shallow.

It seemed simple to catch the tuna as they squirmed over the exposed rocks. We made a dam to lock off the tuna’s escape and spent the morning making hinaki, which are a type of flax kete used to catch eels.

My friend thrashed the water to force the eels over the rocks. I stood by the rocks waiting to pounce on the exposed and defenceless tuna with my kete in the narrow opening of the dam.

Strangely, the tuna seemed to know about this trick. We became colder and shivered as we stood in the stream waiting for the tuna to swarm over the rocks.

At last one lone tuna appeared. It took one look at our trap and swam to the far side of the creek where it slid over the rocks and evaded the dam. We went home cold and hungry to eat a marmite sandwich but wiser about the wiles and ways of the tuna.


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