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Toy temptations on track

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Three young cousins have taken it upon themselves to encourage other children to get out and enjoy nature.

Mali Inder, 3, and her cousins Keegan, 10, and Kaya, 8, spent Boxing Day hiding toys along the 1km Kiriwhakapapa Loop Track, about 16km north of Masterton.

They left notes at both ends of the track asking children to not take the toys, but to see how many they can find.

Mali’s mother, Hayley Inder, said the idea had come from a walk they did in Hawke’s Bay.

“My niece and nephew live up there and we did a remote little walk up there, and this family had put out a little gnome each time they did this walk for the kids to find.

“We did that walk about a year ago with the three cousins and they’ve wanted to do something like that since.”

Initial concerns with replicating the idea in Masterton were based around the potential stealing of the toys, but they had worked around that issue.

“I went to The Warehouse to buy them and I thought what if I put them all out and someone steals them?” she said.

“I run a community project called Little Bundles where we pass on second-hand clothes and toys to families, and I had a whole lot of McDonald’s happy meal-type things and they weren’t going to be any good to me so we didn’t pass them on.

“I thought we’d use those instead and try to encourage kids to get out and walk in the bush.”

It was hoped that the initiative would encourage children to get outdoors and provide motivation to complete the walk, she said.

“With my three-year-old, if there’s something to keep looking for, it encourages her to keep climbing the hill.

“We started putting them out and didn’t count them but I think there’s a couple of dozen toys out there to look for – the kids loved placing them around.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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