Open daily, 10am–5pm, Free

419 Great King Street Dunedin, New Zealand

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Tis the season to be generous

In the spirit of Kris Kringle, the big cheerful man himself, Otago Museum is inviting the community to help make the holidays fun for all children.

Otago Museum’s newest Tūhura Annual Pass, the Child + Caregivers, gives 12 months’ entry for one child and one of two named caregivers per visit to Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre. It’s now on sale, and for every ten sold, one will be donated to Presbyterian Support Otago’s Family Works Buddy Programme.

The Buddy Programme contributes to the emotional and social well-being of children by matching them with carefully selected and trained adult volunteers in a well-supported mentoring relationship. Its aims include: increasing children's self-esteem and social skills, providing new social experiences and activities, friendship and guidance, and, of course, fun.

Young Buddies are aged 4 – 12 years and have circumstances meaning they could benefit from some additional adult support or help coping with home, school, or community life. They are referred from a range of sources, and the programme runs in six locations across Otago. Any adult over the age of 18 who has a spare couple of hours a week, and a good listening ear can apply to be a buddy.

Jude McCracken, Presbyterian Support Otago Supporter Development Manager, says, “Becoming a member of the Buddy programme can provide a mutual benefit for both the young Buddy and the Adult Buddy, many times we hear the Adult Buddy really looks forward to the time they spend with their young buddy. We recently heard from a young woman, now 21, who expressed her gratitude to her adult buddy of some 10 years ago, from when she was 9 years old. She still values the friendship and positive environment shown to her as a young child.”

The Child + Caregivers Annual Pass is attached to a child, with two named caregivers included, one of whom can come with the child at a time. The pass costs $100, the cost of a child pass and an adult pass combined, but giving the additional flexibility of having the option of two named adults.

Nina Rivett, Otago Museum Science Centre Manager says, “This pass was developed in response to feedback from Annual Pass holders wanting greater freedom in choosing who can come with their child. We’re trying out some new things to make sure we’re meeting our visitors’ expectations and that they can have the best experience possible at Tūhura. We are proud to be supporting The Buddy Programme, and want to ensure as many Dunedin children as possible can enjoy our amazing community resource.”

All Tūhura Annual Passes are on sale until 6 January with $10 off the regular price. The Buddy Programme donation includes all Child + Caregivers passes sold until the end of the summer school holidays. Otago Museum welcomes people to purchase additional vouchers for donation as well.=