Community and national leaders lined up to attend Buddy Day
Run by Hamilton-based child advocacy agency Child Matters, Buddy Day is New Zealand's only child abuse prevention awareness day. It is in its fourth year and focuses on promoting the message that every adult in New Zealand has a role to play in keeping children safe from abuse.
Buddy Day revolves around life-sized cardboard cutouts of children (Buddies) that are adopted by adults (carers), taken into communities and workplaces, and used as a tool to generate conversations about the wellbeing of our children.
Buddy Day starts with 7.30am breakfasts in the four centres where a number of high profile people will be speaking including Minister of Justice Amy Adams, Human Rights commissioner David Rutherford and Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley.
They will be speaking to about 500 carers in Auckland, close to 400 in Hamilton, 150 in Tauranga and about 120 in Wellington.
"The breakfast events are where carers pick up their Buddies and then take them with them everywhere they go during the day," explains Child Matters Buddy Day manager Janine Evans.
"We have great support this year from a number of influential people in central and local government, as well as the business sector and entertainment and sporting industries, which we are so appreciative of.
"It's fantastic and very encouraging to see so many people get involved and take note of one of the very important key messages of Buddy Day, which is that it is up to all adults to keep Kiwi kids safe."
Following the Buddy Day breakfasts, there are a host of activities happening throughout the day in each of the participating cities.
Approximately 15 eateries in the four city centres are also supporting the cause with special deals for those dining out with their Buddies on the day.