Bud­dies teach an im­por­tant les­son

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By LIBBY KIS­SICK

With the help of some cor­ru­gated plas­tic cut- out friends, Pu­taruru Pri­mary pupils cre­ated aware­ness for child abuse last week.

The chil­dren of three Pu­taruru Pri­mary class­rooms dec­o­rated and cared for an im­i­ta­tion child as part of New Zealand’s first child abuse aware­ness event, last Fri­day’s Buddy Day.

Teacher and or­gan­iser for Pu­taruru’s role in the event Carma Webb said the idea be­hind the new ‘‘bud­dies’’ was to raise aware­ness of the high preva­lence of child abuse.

‘‘Our class, C1, named ours Tane. The stu­dents were re­ally gut­ted by the sta­tis­tics and be­came quite fond and pro­tec­tive of Tane,’’ said Ms Webb.

Last Thurs­day the chil­dren, along with their child- size friends, dis­cussed how im­por­tant it was to talk to some­one when abuse might be hap­pen­ing be­fore send­ing Tane and the other dolls to Hamil­ton

Among the spon­sors and sup­port­ers of the event this year were WEL En­ergy Trust, Bryant Trust, Lion Foun­da­tion, Waikato-tainui, Te Puni Kokiri, Longveld En­gi­neer­ing ( mak­ers of the dolls), PSP Plas­tics and Con­vex Plas­tics.

Bud­dies were spread through- out the Waikato com­mu­nity on the Fri­day, taken to meet­ings and var­i­ous work­places, even out for cof­fees and lunch.

Com­mu­nity lead­ers, re­tail­ers, busi­ness peo­ple, politi­cians and mem­bers of the pub­lic looked af­ter the life-like guys and girls to get peo­ple talk­ing and think­ing about how chil­dren should be treated, while pro­mot­ing the mes­sage that any sus­pected child abuse should not go un­no­ticed.

‘‘We had four Year 8 stu­dents from Pu­taruru Col­lege who came and gave a won­der­ful talk about their ex­pe­ri­ence adopt­ing their buddy too,’’ said Ms Webb.

Pu­taruru Pri­mary Prin­ci­pal Tr­ish Cown said the kids re­ally en­joyed mak­ing their bud­dies.

‘‘We are do­ing a Keep­ing Our­selves Safe pro­gramme at the mo­ment. Which in­volves a po­lice pro­gramme, road safety etc and the pro­gramme also in­cludes abuse. The kids know what is right and what is wrong, when to say no. The buddy day was great for the kids,’’ she said.

Around 180 bud­dies were cared for in Huntly, Ngaru­awahia, Hamil­ton and Cam­bridge with the in­tent to go na­tion­wide with Buddy Day next year.

Each buddy rep­re­sented 10 per­cent of the 1800 sub­stan­ti­ated child abuse cases in the Waikato last year.

Libby Kis­sick is a WIN­TEC jour­nal­ism stu­dent

BUDDY: Pu­taruru Pri­mary School pupils got be­hind the first New Zealand Child Abuse Aware­ness day last Fri­day.

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