The organiser of an anti child-abuse group is hailing a memorial event that resulted in hundreds of toys being donated to its cause as a success despite it being barred from Cambridge.
Hundreds of soft toys and stuffed animals adorned war memorials around the country on Saturday as the group known as Nark (Nation of Advocates for the Rights of Kids) held an event to highlight child abuse.
The group was created by Cherie Kurarangi-Sweeney after the death of her neighbour, Ngaruawahia toddler Serenity Scott, in April.
People were asked to place a toy for a child at the nearest memorial by noon but the event was called off in Cambridge at the last minute on Saturday for unknown reasons.
A Facebook post by Cambridge Nark organiser Mandy Robinson said the Waipa District Council had called her back with a "definite no" to the event.
She later showed up to the event with toys to donate but was the only person there.
A woman who asked to remain anonymous said the council's decision was disappointing.
She said the council needed two months' notice in writing before it went to a review meeting.
"We have had most councils approve us with a quick phone call or visit ... this is just a shame," she said.
Waipa District Mayor Alan Livingston could not be reached for comment.
But Ms Kurarangi-Sweeney said despite the snub at least 5000 soft toys and stuffed animals had been donated throughout New Zealand.
The toys will be given to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and women's refuges and other charities for under-privileged children.
"It's nice to know that these in turn will be some children's Christmas presents this year," she said.
"We have planted a seed and we all know that you have to plant at least a seed to eventually grow a forest."
A 2003 Unicef league table showed New Zealand's child-abuse death rate was the third highest in the developed world at 1.2 for every 100,000 children under 15, behind only Mexico and the United States.
Between five and 13 children aged between 28 days and 15 years have died from intentional injury in every year since then, or between 0.6 and 1.5 deaths for every 100,000 children.
Ms Kurarangi-Sweeney established a Facebook group called Stop Death by Abuse of our Children which has gathered more than 17,500 followers since her house was tagged after she was seen speaking to police after baby Serenity's death.
Police said the death of Serenity, who died on April 28 when her life support system was switched off, was non-accidental.
They are investigating but are yet to make an arrest.