Unhoppy kindy comforted by community

Ruby Sherratt gets to hold one of the bunnies. Photo: John Borren

It is a case of bad boys and a missing bunny.
Staff at Otumoetai Kindergarten were shocked to discover that one of its newborn rabbits was missing and their outdoor area trashed.

“Two young boys came into the kindergarten and destroyed our outdoor environment,” says kindergarten head teacher Summer Ioelu.
A neighbour rescued the adult rabbits but the babies took longer to find.
“We found three of the baby bunnies but haven’t been able to find the other one. We’ve had staff and neighbours door knocking.”

Summer hopes they find their missing bunny before the cats do.

It is not the first upsetting incident involving pets this year. Earlier in the year someone came in and killed ‘Debra the Zebra’ - a hen with black and white stripes.

Debra the Zebra was killed earlier this year.

This time, the perpetrators have jumped the main fence, then another fence, then took all the covers and bricks off the rabbits’ enclosure.

They got all the rabbits out, including our four baby bunnies which were only three weeks old.

Summer posted to the Otumoetai Community Facebook group asking for information and help.

“The boys were wearing black hoodies and were about six or seven years old. They let out our bunnies but luckily the adult bunnies were captured by a neighbour and put back.”

Summer says the neighbour told the boys to leave before realising they had let the rabbits out.

The staff at Otumoetai Kindergarten in Karaka Rd value building relationships that support a child’s sense of security and growth, providing an established outdoor play area with additional access to a park area next door.

Part of a friendly community, neighbours are encouraged to visit. Kindergarten pets including chickens are well-loved by the children at the kindergarten which also features a rock climbing wall and a tyre swing. The kindergarten values include a focus on whanaungatanga, respect and friendliness towards others.

“We found three of the baby bunnies but haven’t been able to find the other one. Hopefully we find it before the cats do.

“We’ve had staff and neighbours door knocking.”

The four baby bunnies were due to be rehomed once old enough and the children had been enjoying watching the babies grow over the first three weeks of their lives. Two of the young were going to go to one family, and the other two to another, but now one bunny will be going alone without its sibling.

Ruby Sherratt (4) and Edward Sinclair (4) play with the bunnies that have been rescued. Photo: John Borren

“Pillans Point School brought us over morning tea which was really lovely,” says Summer.

“The mother rabbit is so traumatised now. She was found about three properties away from the kindergarten. Before she used to let everyone hold her, but now she won’t let anyone touch her and she’s been gnawing on the fence and trying to get out of the enclosure. We think she is wanting to get out and find the other baby.

“This is just so sad for a community kindergarten. Our children were devastated.”

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