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We're not trying to change the world, we're just reaching out to the kids who will

Wellington Shoebox Christmas is about people like you helping make Christmas Day special for a little boy or girl that deserves to smile just as much as the next kid. It's also a great way to get your own family involved in the act of giving to someone local, and experience seeing that gift being received.


We work with local, low decile schools because while kids don't get to choose their surroundings, they are affected by them, and for a lot of the kids in these schools, those effects are more real than we sometimes acknowledge.

1 in 4 children in New Zealand are growing up in poverty and while we're a pretty helpful bunch in NZ giving a LOT to overseas causes, sometimes we forget these little boys and girls we see in the mall or walking home from school on their own who have it worse than they should.

All you need is a shoebox and some love. We'll sort the rest.

We hope the act of a stranger giving a gift will make some of these cool little kids think outside what they see every day in those surroundings, and spark the realisation that there's a much bigger world out there than what some of them are growing up amongst. Even for the boys and girls at these schools with loving parents that make sure they don't go without, the world can still seem like a small, scary place sometimes. But it doesn't need to be, we can help give some great local kids a Christmas that makes a difference and lasts more than one sheet of wrapping paper.



How it works


  1. You sign up (awesome!)
  2. Closer to Christmas we send you the first name and age of a kid from a low decile school in Wellington
  3. You take a shoebox and turn it into a present you think that kid will love
  4. You wrap the shoebox up and label it so we know where it's going
  5. We take the presents out and drop them off at the school to hand out to the kids
  6. Smiles!

How we got here

We started off in 2014 working with a very cool school in Canons Creek, Porirua called Glenview. This school works with what it has, helping kids in an area of New Zealand where the days can be rougher than most. The real smiles behind those masks were just as big - seeing the difference one little action made to their day is what made us do it again in 2015.

The next year, we put the word out and expanded our reach. We asked Glenview to point us in the direction of another worthy school that could do with a hand, they suggested Corinna School in Porirua. We also talked to Women's Refuge and donated to kids in Wellington safehouses and throughout the community that they knew could do with an extra smile on what's meant to be the happiest day of the year, but for some just isn't.

In 2016 we grew again as a team, now numbering around 2400 volunteers across Wellington, and similar projects now running in Taranaki and Christchurch. Fellow BNZer Sam Poananga started working on the Auckland project to deliver the same grins to our friends at the top of the country. In Wellington we delivered presents to 20 schools, dropping off 3600 hand-wrapped, Christmas smiles where they will make the biggest impact.






In 2017 we've grown again and had to develop the system alongside us. We're getting a bit flash now, with a centralised web system for Auckland, Wellington, and Taranaki meaning we spend less time stuck in spreadsheets, and more time out in the community helping. Thank you for lending a hand with us.