Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Shots of gadget-free life go global

Photographs are to remind my kids of the freedom they enjoy, says mum.
The images have had an amazing response which Boon says is perhaps down to the sense of freedom and innocence they convey. Photo / Niki Boon
The images have had an amazing response which Boon says is perhaps down to the sense of freedom and innocence they convey. Photo / Niki Boon

The world has been won over by Niki Boon's beautiful photos of her children growing up away from the many electronic gadgets that dominate modern life.

But that's not why the Marlborough mum is documenting her children's unconventional upbringing.

It is just one of her gifts to them.

"The photos are for them. Hopefully, they will look back on the freedom and the joy and the innocence."

Ms Boon, her partner and their children - Kurt, 12, Rebecca, 11, Anton, 8, and Arwen, 6 - live on a 4ha lifestyle block near Rarangi, 20km north of Blenheim. They have no TV, and her older children have access to the family computer only for help with music lessons.

All four children, who are home-schooled, feature in Ms Boon's ongoing photo series "Children in Raw", in which she shares photos of the kids growing up technology-free. The black-and-white photos, which feature the kids playing with tyres, bathing in mud and interacting with the many animals that share their property, went global after being spotted by American website My Modern Met.

Media around the world followed suit, publishing photos of the kids and telling their story.

The response had been amazing, although Ms Boon believed her children were enjoying the same kind of childhood as many Kiwi kids.

"They are just Kiwi kids, it's how people grow up here. Mudslides, making huts, playing with the hose. I know other kids who do the same."

The photos resonated because they reminded people of their own childhoods, she said.

"There's probably an element of freedom and the innocence of playing with simple things. And I guess as adults we like to go back to that place."

Her kids were aware of the interest, but not focused on it, Ms Boon said.

"They are too busy living in the moment to worry about what someone said yesterday. We've got a lot to learn from them."

- NZ Herald

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