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Holding hands to celebrate diversity

Mangapapa School has joined others around the country to make colourful paper dolls holding hands as part of the Christchurch-inspired Paper Doll Project.

The idea was created by Bay of Plenty siblings Daniel and Emily Barback.

“We want to create a long, long line of paper dolls that show kids of all different cultures together holding hands,” said Emily, 8.

They want Kiwi kids to show the world “their New Zealand”.

The idea made it on to the Education Central website, where it has been picked up around the country.

Mangapapa School principal Paul Sadler said their school held a special assembly yesterday morning to speak to their learners about what happened in Christchurch.

“It’s important that they know what’s going on but also that we protect their childhood innocence. We talked briefly, yet respectfully, around the loss of life, however, we talked more about and focused more on celebrating differences and diversity,” said Mr Sadler.

“I talked about how this incident came about because of one person’s limited understanding and appreciation of ‘difference’.

“We talked about celebrating difference, not being scared of it.”

The paper dolls created by learners at Mangapapa School will be sent to Te Puke, where they will be joined up with others from around New Zealand.

“It would be cool if we could make the longest paper doll chain ever,” said Daniel, 10.

The siblings attend Tahatai Coast School in Papamoa.

Daniel said he hoped schools, pre-schools and families around New Zealand, and maybe even other countries, would join in The Paper Doll Project as a way of demonstrating inclusion and acceptance of all cultures.

The world record paper doll chain stands at over four kilometres long but the siblings are optimistic.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” said Emily.

ACT AS ONE: Monday morning at Mangapapa School and learners were busy colouring in paper dolls as part of a project picked up by schools around the country to show unity and celebrate difference. The Paper Doll Project was started in the Bay of Plenty to show that Kiwi Kids of all races and beliefs stand together in the wake of what happened in Christchurch on Friday. On the wall of the art room led by art teacher Toni Griffin is a poster that says, “Be an original, they’re worth more”. Front row, from left, are Lucia Boyce, Kaia Mill, Arna Ensor and Tyson Ingoe. MIddle: Sage Alexander, Cruz Scott and Thomas Lina. Back: Zak Johnson-Creach, Zepria Johnson-Rangihuna, Evie Starck, Duke Candy, Noah Whitley, Kohe Poole, Toby Adams, Hunter Cumming, Aubrey Rewi-Wetini, Conrad Gooch, Leeroy Julies-Tuhi, Harvey Retter, Constance Takoko, Zeidyn Akuhata-Brown and Jayden Rosieur. Picture by Liam Clayton