A nationwide teddy bear hunt is proving to be mostly popular in Te Awamutu, but a local woman compiling a list of the teddies whereabouts around town and posting it to a community Facebook page has been told she's not allowed to.

Margot Horner started compiling the list earlier this week and in less than 24 hours she had more than 80 people list their households.

It wasn't much longer after this that the Te Awamutu Community Grapevine and Surrounding Areas Facebook page messaged her saying she wasn't allowed to post about the bears anymore as the posts were garnering some negative comments.

Minnie Mouse spotted in the window of a Te Awamutu home. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Minnie Mouse spotted in the window of a Te Awamutu home. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

Margot says she simply wanted to do something to bring families a bit of ease and children a bit of happiness amidst the nationwide lockdown.

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The bear hunt is even endorsed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who has put a teddy bear, and two other animals, in the window at Premier House.

"I thought if I could just make a list it would make it easier for people so that they're not driving around forever or walking and seeing nothing, but some people took it the wrong way," said Margot.

An admin of the community Facebook page said in a post that the teddy bear hunt was encouraging children to enter people's properties and to roam the neighbourhood.

"No more teddy posts. These will be deleted and you will be muted for 24-hours," they wrote.

The owner of this giant dog teddy said its name is of course Snoopy. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
The owner of this giant dog teddy said its name is of course Snoopy. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

The Government has said that during the nationwide lockdown, as long as social-distancing rules are applied, people are able to go for walks and bike rides close to their homes either alone or with those in their bubble.

Despite some negativity regarding the bear hunt, it appears people in Te Awamutu are getting into the spirit of the initiative anyway.

And an additional community Facebook page, A Better Te Awamutu and Surrounding Areas Grapevine, was even started yesterday.

The page that already has nearly 700 members has even allowed Margot to post her list of the teddy bears whereabouts around town.

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Hundreds of households around the community have already put bears on display in their windows, driveways and gardens.

Some familiar (stuffed) faces are even popping up, locals joining the hunt may spot Winnie the Pooh, a couple of Smurfs, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and even Elmo.

"I am not suggesting that this is like Halloween night," says Margot.

"This is not so that people go out hooning around the streets looking for bears, it's done purely so that you can take your children for a walk around the neighbourhood, which we are allowed to do."

"People have got to be within their bubble. That goes without saying."

These Te Awamutu residents even did some drawings to display with their teddy bear. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
These Te Awamutu residents even did some drawings to display with their teddy bear. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

The teddy bears in Te Awamutu join thousands of others that have been displayed in windows across the country.

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The website bearhunt.co.nz was started and it allows people to pin their teddy bear location to an interactive map.

A map which is now covered in paw prints.

The website also provides links to free online resources providing activities for children. It also has a page dedicated to organisations that people can donate too such as Gumboot New Zealand, The Salvation Army and St John.

The Facebook group We Are Going on a Bear Hunt NZ was also set up and it is inspired by the popular children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

Creator of the Facebook group, Annelee Scott, wrote: "I have set up this group in a hope to help entertain our little ones (and not so little ones too) while we are all dealing with being self-isolated."

Te Awamutu residents are getting into the spirit of the teddy bear hunt. Photo / Dean Taylor.
Te Awamutu residents are getting into the spirit of the teddy bear hunt. Photo / Dean Taylor.

"I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story 'Going on a Bear Hunt'. Wouldn't it be fun-tastic if we could take our children on a real-life bear hunt?"

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The group has more than 17,000 members and each day it receives hundreds of posts from people sharing photos of teddy bears in windows.

To get involved in the teddy bear hunt all people need to do is place a teddy in their window and ensure it is visible from the street and the footpath.

For those getting out of their houses and joining the hunt it is important to remember to keep practicing social distancing rules, stay in your bubble and keep to the streets in your neighbourhood.