Like so many New Zealanders, Daniel and Emily Barback are struggling to understand why someone would attack a group of people because of their race and religious beliefs.

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, the Bay of Plenty siblings want Kiwi kids to show the world that the shooter’s actions don’t define “their New Zealand”.

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

The siblings, who attend Tahatai Coast School in Papamoa, got to work immediately this weekend on the paper doll chain.

At present it is a string of 10 colourful paper dolls symbolising the rich diversity of New Zealand culture with Māori, Pākehā, Indian, Samoan and Korean dolls among the ethnicities represented.

On the reverse side are messages of hope and support for those affected by the shootings. ‘It’s okay to be different’, reads one. ‘Kia kaha Christchurch’, reads another.

Daniel, aged 10, hopes schools, pre-schools and families around New Zealand ̶ and maybe even other countries ̶ will join in The Paper Doll Project as a way of demonstrating inclusion and acceptance of all cultures.

“It would be cool if we could make the longest paper doll chain ever,” he says.

With the world record paper doll chain standing at over 4km long, that could be a challenge, but the siblings are optimistic.

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

Paper dolls should be 14cm high and 9.5cm wide. You can download Daniel and Emily’s template here, or Julia Donaldson’s paper doll template here or create your own. Please send as many paper dolls  as you like to: The Paper Doll Project, N Barback, PO Box 210, Te Puke 3119, New Zealand.

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Here are just some of the submissions we’ve had so far!


  1. Hello,

    We are Room 21 at Birkenhead Primary school in Auckland. We would like to help you win the world record for the longest Paper Doll Chain but more importantly to show the world that New Zealanders are tolerant and accepting of others. We are singing the song individuality today and standing as one.

    We will post them soon.

  2. Mount Albert Primary School want to support the community and be a part of the Paper Doll Project. Just wondering do you have any cut off date within which you want to receive the paper dolls.

    • Great thanks Deblina!
      There is no cut off date. Happy to keep the project running for a few weeks to give schools a good chance to enjoy their paper dolls before sending to us.
      Thank you to the whole school for taking part.

  3. What a fabulous idea Daniel and Emily! Team 23 from Cotswold School, Christchurch have been busy today making lots of Paper Dolls for this project. We would love to be able to help with making a new world record too. My students were wondering if there was anyway this awesome project could get more publicity as it’s such a cool idea!

    • Hey Bex! Share, share share! Word of mouth is our best tool, the more we talk about it the more likely it is to be picked up! Thank you so much to Cotswold School for helping us try break this record!

  4. We, Devonshire Street Children’s centre were planning to do something as we were discussing at the leadership meeting today. One of my Room Supervisors found this. Is it ok for us to send from AUS?

    • Wow! Of course it is! We are so blown away with the response already but for it to reach all the way to Australia is huge. Thank you so much! Be sure to write your messages on the back so we know how far your dolls have travelled.

    • Hi Hannah, no that’s perfectly fine. There’s no time limit so no worries at all. Thank you for contributing, we’re excited to see what Brooklyn Primary send in!

  5. I am a Kiwi teacher, living and working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Today our Brownie Pack made these paper dolls to send to you to add to your record attempt. Hope they don’t take too long, and hope it’s ok to add ‘international’ dolls too. Kia Kaha from the 5th KL Brownie Pack.

    • Hi Fiona! Thank you so much, we have been getting quite a lot of international dolls and we welcome them with open arms! Thank you for all your efforts, we look forward to getting them soon! Nga mihi

  6. Kia Ora koutou anei mātou o Te Wharekura o Arowhenua. Ka whai waahi hoki mātou ki tēnei kaupapa ataahua, ngā mihi!

    Kia Ora! Te Wharekura o Arowhenua in Invercargill will be participating. Kia kaha ra Otautahi!

  7. Kia Ora Koutou! I lived in Christchurch for over 20 years. My students in the UK are making paper dolls to send to show their support for NZ. Kia kaha x

  8. Pohutukawa Tahi class at Te Papapa School in Auckland is excited to join this awesome movement! We will post them soon 🙂

  9. Daniel and Emily,
    Hello! Diamond Harbour Cubs, in Banks Peninsula will send you some, and because we are a small group of only 10 kids, we have asked the Diamond Harbour Primary School to do some too!
    Good luck! Its a beautiful idea.
    Annabelle and Vicky (Cub Leaders)

    • Thank you so much Annabelle and Vicky and the Diamond Harbour Cubs! We’ll pass the message on to Dan and Emily. Thank you so much for spreading the love.

  10. Please let Dan and Emily know that the international student body at Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong Kong, will be lending their support to their superb idea. We have a number of Kiwi teachers and families here at school and sometimes when we feel a million miles away, movements like this help us all stay connected.
    I’ll collect the paper dolls and post them to NZ.

    We wish Dan and Emily all the best with their efforts, and send love to all back home.

    • Wow! Thanks for getting in touch Craig. We will let Dan and Emily know for sure and thank you so much for all your support. If nothing else this project has definitely shown us how strong the love and connectedness is around the world. Can not wait to see what arrives in your parcel! Kia kaha.

  11. Class 2HC at Annandale North public school in Sydney have shipped off their dolls. Please keep us posted as to how you go with the record !!

  12. Thanks so much for organising this! Many of our classes used this activity on the Monday after the attack and it was an excellent way to bring forward discussion and sharing around how students, and staff, were feeling. Having this based around an art activity where students could draw’n’talk made that process easier. A big box of paper people on the way to you from Kowhai Intermediate School!

  13. We have sent off our paper dolls from St Pius X Catholic School in Glen Innes, Auckland. We do hope it is still time.

  14. Hello,

    We are a school in Auckland and we have many paper dolls to send you! We are posting these by courier. Would it be possible to have a physical address to send to, not a PO box if possible? Thank you!!

    • Certainly – please send to The Paper Doll Project, Tahatai Coast School, 45 Evans Road, Papamoa, 3118. We look forward to receiving these from your school! Thank you!!

  15. Hello,

    Rooms 29, 15 and 31 from Point View Primary in Auckland have worked very hard on making paper dolls chains to show our support for Christchurch and are in the process of posting it out to the physical address. Hope we make it in time. Kia kaha 🙂

    • Thank you so much Roshni and Point View Primary!! We haven’t put a cut off date yet so you are definitely still on time! Thank room 29, 15 and 31 for us, we appreciate all your efforts and we can’t wait to see your lovely dolls!


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