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!