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.

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 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here