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NZ's best storytellers knit up a special Christmas yarn

Monday 13 December

NZ's best storytellers knit up a special Christmas yarn

Well-known "storytellers" from New Zealand's newsgathering and acting fraternity have found a book lies within each of them.

Carol Hirschfeld, Alison Quigan, Miriama Kamo, Jim Mora, Jude Dobson, Janet Wilson, Jeremy Corbett, Jaquie Brown, Danielle Cormack and Hilary Barry have each let their childhood imagination run wild to contribute a chapter to Mary's Christmas Yarn - a story for the children ChildFund New Zealand helps each Christmas by gifting 'Gifts that Grow' from Kiwis nationwide.

The full text of Mary's Christmas Yarn, and audio of each author reading their chapter, is now available online at www.childfund.org.nz .

ChildFund CEO Paul Brown says the story is a fun and engaging way to explain to adults and kids alike how the organisation's Christmas Gifts that Grow work to help children and communities in need in the developing world.

"This clever story explains how our 'hero' gift for this year, the humble sheep, can have an incredible impact on improving the lives of some of the world's poorest children.

"We're thrilled such an array of talented storytellers have found time to put pen to paper and help tell this humorous tale.

"It's an inspiring holiday story that gives a refreshing perspective on Christmas and what is really important at this time of year, and a great way to bring families together through the tradition of storytelling."

Mary's Christmas Yarn tells the tale of a little Kiwi girl who goes on a mission around her family farm, with her pet lamb Rosemary in tow, trying to work out why children on the other side of the world would ever want sheep as a Christmas present.

"With a host of interesting friends and family to help, Mary discovers something new about sheep and how beneficial they can be in every quirky chapter," says Paul Brown.

"Through the use of their wool, milk, dung and other benefits, she finally finds out how the gift of sheep grows, and how she can help children and their families in the developing world."

With the ChildFund Gifts that Grow theme in mind, each of the ten authors grew Mary's Christmas Yarn by crafting one chapter, building off the previous authors' work.

"As the story went from person to person, each of our storytellers added something new and different, demonstrating their personality and own unique sense of humour and fun."

The ChildFund Christmas Gifts that Grow range offers Kiwis a stress-free and heart-warming alternative to traditional store-bought presents, with a variety of practical gifts that can be given to children and families living in poverty.

In the past five years of the catalogue, more than 50,000 animals, including thousands of chickens and goats, have been bought for impoverished families in developing countries by generous Kiwis.

"Sheep are at the top of our gift list this year as ChildFund works to increase the flocks in impoverished African communities to enable them to sustainably fund their local schools through animal husbandry," says Paul Brown.

Mary's Christmas Yarn will also be supplied to ChildFund education workers in Africa to read to children in communities receiving Gifts that Grow, so they too can share a Kiwi Christmas.

ChildFund's Gifts that Grow catalogue has options to suit every person and budget; gifts start from as little as $11 and range from baby food to vegetable and animal farming packages, to toilets and water tanks.

Purchasers receive a special gift card explaining the gift and how it will benefit the recipient, as well as a 'gift back' via a full tax credit.

To order ChildFund Gifts That Grow visit www.childfund.org.nz or call 0800 223 111.

ENDS

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