By Helen Martin 

Initially inspired by the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, people around the world have been putting teddy bears in windows and on fences and letter boxes to entertain children going on family walks during the Covid-19 lockdown. Creative approaches have been interesting and varied, and Helensville is no exception.

In just one example, William Robert Boyd, who lives in the old BNZ bank in Commercial Road, has taken to the teddy-in-the- window idea with enthusiasm. “When I first heard about it, I thought it was a cute idea. Then I realised it might be an opportunity to do something more - TED TALKS would resonate with adults and possibly start conversations other than “there’s another bear”. Humour and learning are good companions and children are sponges, so we need to ensure they absorb positive and accurate information. After we had our first Covid-19 death in New Zealand I heard a child in the street say to his mum ‘What does R.I.P. mean and why has the teddy got a black stripe on his arm today?’”

William’s TED TALKS captions change each day, for example explaining why TED was given a bath (blaming the bear’s first less-than-clean appearance on the resident schnauzers, Turner and Greta), asking people not to forget the elderly and those in lockdown on their own and reminding people to be kind and to respect the lockdown on behalf of all of us. He says the response has been amazing. “There have been many very positive comments and much feedback. I really hope this helps.”

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