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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas today at Te Wao Nui, with a very special Christmas visit and toy delivery from the New Zealand Police this morning! There were smiles all round as children were able to visit with specialised members of the police team, including dog handlers and members of the AOS and Dive Squads.

It was extra special to have A/Superintendent Penny Gifford and her son Carter there. The children’s hospital’s close association with the NZPolice goes back many years when popular policeman Senior Constable Dean Gifford first organised Christmas visits. Sadly Dean died from a brain tumour ten years ago. Interviewed shortly before his death he said, “When I was up at the hospital because of my tumour, I popped over to the children’s ward. That puts things in perspective. They were in the same boat as me but they were only five. Then I started thinking of ways I could help them.”

Dean’s desire to bring a little joy to sick kids was picked up several years ago by Senior Engagement Advisor Dan Ralph and also more recently Senior Sergeant Karl Dulver. Our huge thanks to them for their mahi, as well as the extended NZPolice whānau who so generously donated a Christmas gift this year! Thanks also to The Warehouse who kindly donated $500 worth of gifts. Gifts will be distributed to sick children spending time in hospital this Christmas as well as by our paediatric community nursing team throughout the holiday period.