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”, which they see as a place of diversity and acceptance.

“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 on a paper doll chain, creating a line of 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 and Emily with just some of the dolls they have been sent!

In just one week, the chain has grown to over 2000 paper dolls thanks to the outpouring of support for the initiative from schools and families around New Zealand.

Daniel, aged 10, thinks rest homes might be keen to join in as well, to help show their support for New Zealand as a place of acceptance and diversity.

“Lots of schools have sent in their paper dolls and it would be cool if people in rest homes could make some paper dolls too to join the chain,” he says.

The siblings are keen to create “the longest paper doll chain ever”.

With the world record paper doll chain standing at over 8.5km long, that could be a challenge, but the siblings are optimistic.

Beautiful messages on the back

“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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