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Designing a better place for our children


Media Release
16 November 2012

Designing a better place for our children

Hamilton, New Zealand – An award winning architecture firm is taking the design of child safe environments to heart by supporting a New Zealand initiative that aims to raise awareness about child abuse and create conversations about what every adult can do protect children.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of death by child abuse out of 31 OECD countries. For every child death, thousands more are neglected and abused physically, sexually and emotionally.

Chow Hill chief executive David Moore said supporting Buddy Day, New Zealand’s second annual child abuse awareness day, made perfect sense to his team of Waikato and Auckland-based architects.

“We have a responsibility to design with child safety in mind and to create child safe environments. As parents and adults we have more responsibility when it comes to looking out and speaking up for children.”

Buddy Day is being held across the greater Waikato region and in pockets around New Zealand today (Friday, 16 November).

Buddy Day involves adults adopting a life-size cardboard child for the day – a ‘Buddy’ – and then taking their Buddy everywhere they go whether it’s to work, meetings, lunch, shopping or sports games. The idea is that by having the Buddy, thousands of conversations about protecting children and preventing child abuse in New Zealand will occur, that otherwise wouldn’t.

Chow-Hill’s Buddy Fred spent time with the team in Hamilton, including travelling to Mystery Creek Events Centre where architect Brain Rastrick is working on designing a new headquarters building. Fred accompanied associate Jane Hill and chief executive Brian Moore to a client, visited the hospital, and went on coffee and lunch dates.

Buddy Day is organised by national child advocacy organisation Child Matters, which is based in Hamilton, where Buddy Day originated in 2011.

Mr Moore said Chow Hill is a proud supporter of Child Matters and its work because there were many synergies between the two organisations, including the desire to grow and do more work in more communities across New Zealand.

Chow Hill staff are given a day of paid leave each year to participate in community initiatives. Mr Moore said Chow Hill would continue to support Buddy Day, and would like to help the initiative grow into a national event. He is particularly interested in helping Child Matters bring the event into the Auckland region.

This year there were 335 cardboard ‘Buddies’ that were adopted by people in Hamilton, Auckland, Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Tokoroa, Putaruru and Tauranga by people from all walks of life, including prison guards, chefs, bankers, politicians and business and community leaders.

“Each Buddy Carer is tasked with having a conversation about Buddy Day with at least 25 people – today Buddy Day created more than 10,000 conversations about protecting our children,” said Mr Moore.

Buddy Day can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buddydaynz or its website www.buddyday.org.nz

Click for big version.

Chow Hill architect Brain Rastrick (Left) with Buddy Fred and Fletcher Construction site manager Alan Hough (Right) at Mystery Creek



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