Christmas in the Nui is an annual Christmas event held in Wainuiomata. From 10am there was a Santa parade. Throughout the day there were food stalls, live performances from young people and community members. VOYCE was approached to run a stall this year.

Erin organised two activities

  1. Feed Rudolf the reindeer – where children and young people threw three tennis balls into the puku of the reindeer and for every ball they got into the tummy they got a lolly or a sticker.
  2. Christmas wishes – children wrote their Christmas wishes and their parents wrote one wish they wanted for children and young people in care.

This was a public/community event for families in the Wainuiomata community and what a turn out it was! With spot prizes given out such as iPad’s, the latest Samsung mobile phones, Christmas ham and much much more.

There were a diverse range of children and young people from 0 – 25 plus whānau. We had family members ask about how we can support their loved ones and they left chuffed that were there raising awareness. There were adults who had been in care so happy to know that VOYCE existed now, and we met new caregivers and young people in care. A couple of young people and their caregiver that knew VOYCE and work with our Kaiwhakamana came and visited our stall and were very proud to stay and play our games!

The children that came to our stall loved having us there! And many of the children would keep returning to play our reindeer game and make a Christmas wish. There were requests from young people for us to come back next year and to be in the same spot.

Some quotes that stood out from the young people that made a Christmas wish were:

  1. “I wish for people to be happy”
  2. “I wish for a real sister”
  3. “I wish for my studies to go well at high school and for my future”.

While we were not able to identify if the young people were in care or not, the quotes they gave reflect hopes and dreams that would be the same for any young person, whether in care or not.

The Wainuiomata/Greater Wellington region was warm and receptive to us! Community groups giving us their contact information to see if any future collaborations could happen. All were very welcoming and happy to give us two minutes of their time to let us introduce VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai and the work we do.