John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for APNZ.

Photo recall: Run, rabbit, run, eating you would be such great fun

A child's Easter fantasy comes true - buddying up with a big chocolate bunny

The bunny just needed a cute kid to give the chocolate-mad public an idea of how big it was. Photo: Mark Smith. Picture Research: Emma Land.
The bunny just needed a cute kid to give the chocolate-mad public an idea of how big it was. Photo: Mark Smith. Picture Research: Emma Land.

Children and animals can be tough to work with. Yet when 2-year-old Kerie Land met a giant silver Easter bunny, the normally uncontrollable tot somehow turned into a placid picture of Easter happiness.

The old Van Camp chocolate factory in Auckland made the giant bunny in the run-up to Easter 1987.

The silver bunny just needed a cute kid to give the chocolate-mad public an idea of how big it was. Herald photographer Mark Smith rang his friend, Kerie's dad, and asked if the little girl could pose with the bunny.

Only 2 years and 3 months old then, Kerie can't recall the photo. She's heard enough about it ever since.

"Dad said, 'I don't like your chances. She's always a clown in photos'."

Maybe the dazzling silver wrapping or the bunny's stature calmed her down.

Either way, Smith got his photo and Kerie kept a reminder of sorts on her bedroom wall until she was 25.

Like the bunny, her framed photograph made a big impression, with a huge A3 printout taking centre stage among a galaxy of pictures on her wall.

"Up until 2010, when I moved overseas, it was up on my wall in my bedroom. I was quite proud of it."

Land later trained as an early childhood teacher, instructing children aged not much older than she was in the photo.

She went on to become a chef, working on superyachts.

She plans to spend this Easter with her family before heading off to look for work on yachts over the northern summer.

Another photo was taken later that day - with Kerie's older and very displeased sister, Emma, visible in the background.

"I remember looking over the photo again when I was a few years older and Mum and Dad telling me how envious Emma was of me.

"She was always the one who saved her lollies and I was always the one who scoffed them."

On this occasion, Kerie showed restraint - and she also made amends with her sister.

"I did get to eat it. Did I share it with Emma? I did."

And Emma has since had her own chance to get into the newspapers: she is now deputy picture editor at the Herald on Sunday.

- Herald on Sunday

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