Rotorua's playcentres are doing their bit for quake-stricken Kaikoura, creating Christmas gift boxes for families who have had their homes destroyed.

Lake Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre secretary Bianca van Emmerik decided to put something together a few days after the earthquake.

"We knew the essential supplies would be getting through, but for those families who had their houses destroyed, having a Christmas would be the last thing on their mind.

"We put our heads together and decided to create some gift boxes to send down to the families of the three playcentres in the Marlborough and Canterbury regions that were severely affected."


Ms van Emmerik said they had 41 families on the list but anticipated more would be added.

"We have the number of children in each family and their ages so we can make each box specifically for them. They will be filled with toys, chocolates, Christmas crackers - it's Christmas in a box."

She said the children loved the idea and parents were quick to get on board.

"So far the response has been fabulous with Rotorua Playcentre Association asking all playcentres in Rotorua to donate gifts. Canterbury Playcentre Association will distribute the gift boxes to each family with help from Air New Zealand.

"Now we are hoping local businesses will come on board and donate some toys, chocolates or Christmas food. Anything would be so appreciated by the families down there.

"We hope it will be a surprise for the families. Something to give them a little bit of cheer at this difficult time."

If you would like to donate, call Bianca van Emmerik on 027 480 0044, or drop off donations to Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre or Farm Source Rotorua by 5pm, December 9.

Gifts need to be wrapped and labelled with gender and age eg, boy 3 years, girl 8 years, or if it's a present for everyone, a label saying "family". Foodstuffs don't need to be wrapped.