After the official COVID-19 announcement by the Prime Minister last Monday, before the official Level Four quarantine was put in place, a teddy bear hunt began.
For children who can’t take part in clubs, go to school, or see their friends, they are the ones completely isolated right now. Ardern’s message was to unite as a country, and provide teddy bears in street-facing windows for all the children who pass by, wanting to see a fluffy, friendly face while maintaining social distancing.
The teddy bear announcement, based on children’s book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen, has been incredibly popular across the country. Not only are teddy bears perched on windowsills, but also car dashboards, mailboxes, and shop windows.
Now the ‘Great New Zealand Teddy Bear Hunt’, endorsed by Jacinda Ardern herself (who has also put up two teddies in her Wellington window) has a national Facebook page, for those who want to find as many as possible (in their own suburb).
The official Facebook page creator Debby Hoffman says ““I just wanted to give children something to smile about. It’s an unsettling time for a lot of people and this can give young ones something to look forward to.” Hoffman has also added a pinpoint map for those who spot a teddy – making it easier for others to find all the teddies.
After proving popular overseas, many communities across the country have created their own Facebook ‘Teddy Bear Hunt’ pages, sharing photos of themselves and their children spotting new teddies across suburbs and towns, all while keeping to the COVID-19 rules.
On the Kapiti Coast, Graham Bird and his family have placed teddies in all front facing windows. “We live right beside a well-used playground, and there are always children playing on their bikes around here. The least we can do is offer some support by showing a few friendly, fluffy faces in the window at such a hard time.”