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New World Vision Smiles data reveals most generous Kiwis

New World Vision Smiles data reveals most generous Kiwis

We all know that according to the World Giving Index 2010 New Zealanders are the most generous givers in the world, but ever wondered who the most generous Kiwis are?

As it heads swiftly to Christmas World Vision has released some of its Smiles gifts data which answers this question.

The citizens of our capital Wellington are the most generous, amazingly followed by quake-hit Cantabrians, with the people of the Nelson and Tasman regions counted together coming in as the third most generous of the country’s regions over the last 12 months.

These rankings are compiled from the number of people that bought World Vision Smiles gifts in each region over the last 12 months as a percentage of population. In total 10,864 New Zealanders bought over 43,000 Smiles gifts.

RegionGenerosity Rank
Nelson and Tasman Regions3
Bay of Plenty7
Hawkes Bay9
West Coast13

The question now is who will be the most generous this year?

There is still time for Kiwis to buy Smiles gifts in time for Christmas this year, and as it heads towards gift-giving time World Vision is encouraging Kiwis to remember those living in poverty around the world and the true spirit of Christmas.

“It’s been a tough year for many New Zealanders. It’s given us an insight into those whose lives are continually blighted by disasters and poverty. So this Christmas let’s celebrate joyfully, but also remember and give to those whose daily lives remain a struggle,” says World Vision New Zealand CEO Chris Clarke.

World Vision Smiles gifts are one way to embrace modern gift giving and at the same time benefit those less fortunate than ourselves.

Smiles gifts

Smiles gifts are donations of items like livestock – goats, ducks and chickens being the most common – or essentials such as water and education which can be given on behalf of your friends and family*.

The Smiles ‘Goat’ gift at $40 has traditionally been the most popular, followed by a ‘Duck’.

Great Kiwi Smiles stories

There are many great stories of how World Vision supporters use Smiles gifts to celebrate Christmas or to educate young people about the true spirit of Christmas.

Ashburton school bus driver Karen Armstrong from Fairton School, near Christchurch – part of the third most generous region – bought the Smiles gift ‘pencils’ for each of her 23 primary school passengers. “The kids on the bus are awesome,” says Karen, “we have a lot fun and I can do things like buy gifts for them, and through the [Smiles gifts] do something small for somebody else as well. The kids were wrapped, they thought it was really cool!”

Dunedin’s Balaclava School, also uses Smiles gifts to educate their students about poverty. According to Trish Palmer, one of the teachers, they asked students to bring in a gold coin donation that would be put towards Smiles gifts as a way to change lives around Christmas.

The school was hoping to raise $45 for a market garden starter pack or $50 for a piglet, but through the generosity of their community they ended up raising a total of $225 which went towards purchasing a piglet, bag of seeds, some pencils for schools, sports equipment, and to train a teacher. Two Year Two students even went busking one Saturday morning to raise extra funds.

These add to the many stories of parents encouraging their children to put aside some money in the Smiles money boxes in the months leading up to Christmas before deciding together which Smiles gift to give to someone worse off to brighten their Christmas.

Smiles gifts change lives

The best thing about Smiles gifts is that while getting a gift for friends or family members New Zealanders are also changing the lives of families in the field.

The joy of kiwi’s receiving these gifts in 2011 is shared by more than 8,800 people in Magugu, Tanzania who will benefit from money raised through Smiles water-related gifts as a new 15km pipeline is built bringing fresh, clean water to their community.

In Bangladesh around 4,700 parents and children who have previously had little or no access to literacy resources will directly benefit from new books with localised content, thanks to funds raised through Smiles education gifts.

To give a Smile this Christmas go to

*Don’t worry, we don’t put goats into boxes and ship them off overseas! Each Smiles gift symbolically represents an area of need.


For more information on Smiles see:

The rankings were worked out using World Vision data on how many people bought World Vision Smiles gifts in each region compared to the population of the region according to 2010 Statistics New Zealand data.

For more information on the World Giving Index please see:

This data is not scientific and disregards issues like advertising placement which would affect the results. It should be used in a light-hearted way.


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