Joining paper hands in a movement against hate, four Rotorua schools have joined the national movement to show it is okay to be different in light of horrors around the world.
The project was started by Pāpāmoa's Tahatai Coast School pupils Daniel Barback, 10, and his sister Emily, 8, after the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15.
After brainstorming what they could do to show it was okay to be different, the pair decided on a long line of dolls of different cultures holding hands was the way to help.
About 2km long, there are still thousands more dolls waiting to join the chain from around New Zealand.
"They are starting to come from overseas now too... England, Australia, Hong Kong and Alaska," Emily said.
Otonga Road Primary School made and added more than 500 dolls to the chain.
Teacher Charity Bollard said it created a space to safely talk about the attacks and reassure pupils they were safe.
"It was a practical way for children to show their empathy and our school value whanaungatanga [belonging].
"Instead of discussing the attack in detail we discussed how we are all different, yet that is what makes us special and unique."
Pupils delved into the topic of "we are global citizens" and ended with a taste around the world day where children sampled food from different countries.
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"The Paper Dolls Project is now completed, but our school is continually teaching children about aroha, empathy and respect for each other," Bollard said.
Ngakuru School teacher Emma Tyler had been honest and open with pupils about the attacks who had concerns of their own safety.
"I never thought that as a teacher within New Zealand I would have to explain to [children] that we had a terrorist attack in our country."
Tyler said while it was hard to talk about, it was what her class needed.
"The children needed to know they are safe, they needed a hug or time by themselves to process it all, and that was okay.
"It was great to see not only my class but a huge majority of classes all across New Zealand come together and produce these amazing symbols of hope."
The school's focus for this term is global communities as staff thought it would be fitting given the hate attacks around the world.
They will reinforce an understanding of how people are connected through their diverse communities and how to interact with one another despite differing beliefs.
The other two Rotorua schools which took part were Western Heights Primary School and Ngongotaha Primary School.