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Children's Day A Call To Action For New Zealand

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-CHILD-YOUTH-AND-FAMILY

CHILDREN'S DAY A CALL TO ACTION FOR NEW ZEALAND

Children's Day is a great opportunity to do something positive for our children at a time when the community has its hands up for action.

That's the view of the three agencies organising and promoting the Day - Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos and the Office of the Commissioner for Children.

Children's Day is a new milestone in New Zealand's calendar of events and will be celebrated on Sunday 29 October this year and on the last Sunday of October in future years.

Few countries in the world offer a nationally recognised day for children and Chief Executive of Child, Youth and Family Jackie Brown, says having a day of this kind in New Zealand is a wonderful opportunity to put children first and show how much we value them.

"All around New Zealand communities are shouting out that they are ready to do something positive to improve our track record with our children. Children's Day is a positive and meaningful vehicle for doing that," Jackie Brown said.

Planning is well advanced with more than ten main events to mark Children's Day having already been announced throughout New Zealand. These range from a large civic event in Wellington to a kohanga reo marae based children's party in Taupo and a Citizens Advice Bureau/school partnership event and fun day in Auckland.

A special Children's Day Kit, with suggested activities for community, school and family groups, posters and stickers, has been mailed out to thousands of organisations around New Zealand and the free phone Children's Day line (0508 222 000) is receiving a steady stream of calls.

Jackie Brown says there are very few national days in New Zealand that are celebratory and focus on something that is here and now, like our children.

"We believe Children's Day is a timely and very important chance for fresh beginnings, new traditions and a determination to feel proud of what we are doing for our children," she said.

Barnardos Chief Executive Ian Calder says Children's Day is for all New Zealanders and he's urging people to start making plans now to spend some special time with their children on the Day.

"We hope that everyone will see Children's Day as a chance to take time out and do something a bit different to make this a really special day with their children" says Ian Calder.

The three agencies behind Children's Day are sending a strong message to the community that the event is about spending time and not money.

They want the focus to be on activities that involve interaction with children, finding out more about children's lives and getting involved in what children are interested in, rather than buying presents or going shopping.

"For example, we want to encourage families to think about fun things to do with children on 29 October. This may be as simple as a walk along the beach right through to asking the child to choose an outing, special meal or a family activity," says Roger McClay, Commissioner for Children.

Mr McClay says Children's Day is a great opportunity to hand on to children the best that each of us received as a child.

"Often we can fall into the trap of relating to children as though they are a nuisance or an inconvenience in our busy lives," he said. "Sunday the 29th is a good chance to tell children about all the positive effects they have on us."

Four other key themes have been identified as a focus for Children's Day. They are love and affection, praise and encouragement, listening and talking and offering new experiences.

Groups and organisations throughout New Zealand organising events to mark Children's Day are registering their event on a web site at www.childrensday.org.nz.

A number of high profile New Zealanders have already shown their support for Children's Day including the Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey. Others will be making public statements in support of the Day over the next few months.

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