World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Clown Goes To Help Tsunami Victims Smile Again

Kiwi clown goes to help tsunami victims smile again

The adage 'laughter is the best medicine' is something of an article of faith for New Zealand actor Aaron Ward.

This week (9 February) he takes his Elvo the Clown act to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, to put a smile on the faces of children severely battered by the Asian tsunami.

He will perform at World Vision child activity centres - designed to assist children who are grieving the loss of their homes and friends and help prevent them from being abandoned or trafficked.

It will be a big change of role for Aaron, who normally finds work in television drama, live theatre and pantomime.

He most recently appeared as a marathon runner in a Mizone drinks commercial and as the groom at a wedding in an ad for AMI insurance.

But he says helping truamatised children find some joy in life is the most satisfying work he has done.

"Kids have forgotten how to be kids in these situations. They need to see the light at the end of the tunnel, they need to be able to gain some normality, they need to laugh again," he says.

It will be the second time he has used his talents to assist children in dire need. In 1999 he went to the Balkans to entertain Albanian children living in refugee camps, after fleeing atrocities perpetrated in Kosovo.

He admits, at first, he was unsure how children who had witnessed the burning of their homes and villages, and violent deaths of those close to them would respond to his clown act.

"I had a lot of doubt before the first show but about 10 seconds into it I knew it was right. First somebody would smile, then you would get a giggle and then everybody would burst into full-blown laughter."

But Aaron acknowledges it will not all be fun and games in Banda Aceh. He will be forced to live amongst the unsanitary and primitive conditions faced by the local population.

"The whole area has been completely devastated but I will survive, I can put up with roughing it," he says.

Aaron says besides helping children laugh again, he will be responsible to help them through their grieving.

"It's about getting kids to realise the different stages in the grieving process - longing, anger, despair - are all okay. There's nothing wrong or strange about having those feelings."


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news