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Black Caps visit Hamilton holiday programme to meet Buddies

Black Caps visit Hamilton holiday programme to meet Buddies

Black Caps' Tom Latham and Kane Williamson visited the Artmakers Holiday Programme in Hamilton yesterday to pick up their Buddies in the lead up to national awareness event Buddy Day on 13 November.

Buddy Day, established in Hamilton in November 2011 by national child advocacy agency Child Matters, aims to start conversations and drive change about the role adults play in the lives of children – from preventing child abuse to providing great environments for children to flourish.

In its fifth year, Buddy Day is formally being held in Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Ruapehu and Wellington next month, however all Kiwis are encouraged to get involved on Facebook and the Buddy Day website.

Williamson (25) and Latham (23) say they are passionate about the cause having been privileged to experience positive childhoods where they were well nurtured, supported and given every opportunity to succeed.

"And every kid deserves that," said middle-order batsman Williamson, who grew up in Tauranga with his parents, twin brother and three older sisters.

"Every kid deserves to grow up in a safe, positive and healthy environment where they can thrive. Making that happen is something that every adult can play a part in, and the benefits of doing that affect everyone, so it's an honour to be involved."

Latham says his childhood was a happy one where his parents and other adults in his life provided him with the opportunities that have held him in good stead to get to where he is today – a top-order batsman for the Black Caps.

"We should all do our best for children to give them the chance to reach their full potential," he said.

"I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I might be able to influence other people to take notice of Buddy Day and encourage them to find out more about what they can do to make the lives of children around them better.

"If we all did that, this country and the world would be a better place."

In Hamilton for training, the pair visited the Artmakers Holiday Programme to play cricket with the participants who have been decorating Buddies ready for adoption before Buddy Day next month.

"It's invaluable to Child Matters and the Buddy Day cause to have the likes of Tom and Kane come on board as Buddy champions due to the profile they bring as role models to Kiwi children and adults alike," said Child Matters general manager Jane Searle.

"They are great role models in what they are achieving professionally, but also in the way they inspire young people in this country to work hard, dream big and achieve. Tom and Kane have a lot to offer to Buddy Day and we're thrilled to have them on board."

Buddy Day will see 1800 adults in the five nominated locations adopt life-size cardboard 'Buddies' and take them into their communities and workplaces.

Through the adults who adopt them, the Buddies will ask people throughout the day: "What one thing will you do better for kids in your field of view – today, this week or this year?"

To find out more, visit www.buddyday.org.nz

CAPTION: Amanda Bartup (right) and Hera Brooking (left), both aged 5, with Black Caps Tom Latham and Kane Williamson.