Teddies for tamariki

Children in Manawatū experiencing anxiety will be comforted by weighted teddy bears after a generous donation from a local charitable trust.

Published on
24 Oct 2018
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Dedication to children’s wellbeing

Weighted teddies are filled with sand and have a calming effect on children who hold them.

They've been used in schools to help children with autism or anxiety to settle.

Eight of the teddy bears were donated to Oranga Tamariki by Social Socks, a charitable trust based in Palmerston North.

The Trust was set up by a husband and wife team who are passionate about the wellbeing of tamariki.

Lesley Bates is a child counsellor and Giles Bates a paediatrician, and they learnt about the benefit of weighted teddies from an Occupational Therapist at Palmerston North Hospital.  


“Children need to know they are loved. We’re not going to give up, and you never give up.”

Lesley Bates

Teddy making provides social glue

Lesley and Giles decided to begin running teddy making workshops earlier this year with Social Socks colleagues, Paddy and Carol Henderson, so that more children needing comfort could be given the toys.  

The workshops bring volunteers together from the Palmerston North community and act as a ‘social glue’, Paddy says. 

“There’s a huge need for people to come together. Some of the volunteers experience isolation but when they come to make the toys they are all chatting away.”  

“It just wraps people up in love,” Lesley says.

There have been two workshops so far and teddies from the latest workshop were donated to Oranga Tamariki.

Lesley’s vision is that one day all children in care will get one.

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(L-R) Monica, Carol, Lesley and Paddy

“We’re not going to give up”

When she came to hand them over to Oranga Tamariki staff in Palmerston North, Lesley shared a message of encouragement to staff.

“I was incredibly shy as a child,” she said. “Children need to know they are loved. We’re not going to give up, and you never give up.”

Manawatū Site Manager Monica Miranda thanked Social Socks for the heartwarming donation and commitment to help tamariki.

“There are no words to explain what this means to us and the children.”