Police pass on chain letters
Chain letters are often a source of misery to readers fed up hearing silly messages.
The empty threats they use to coerce people into passing the message on can also be upsetting.
But the Counties Manukau police are using the practice to send a positive message this festive season.
They have created their own Christmas chain letter in the form of a yuletide card.
The card delivers a safety message to the families, their relatives and friends to ensure they know what services are available to them and how they can help.
Artwork on the cards was drawn by children from schools in the district who were challenged to enter their designs by the police.
"The artwork on the cards is superb," District Commander Superintendent John Tims says.
Four were selected and the winners were Irrainious Soo Choon from Wiri Central School, Tavana Toniu of Mayfield Primary School, Kaila Chase of Kelvin Road School and Otahuhu Primary School's Junior Savea.
More than 800 Christmas cards have been distributed in the Counties Manukau district. Alongside them were a further three Christmas cards, three prepaid envelopes and a set of instructions.
The instructions encourage the recipient to send their extra cards to three of their family members and friends.
"It is important to us that throughout this busy and sometimes stressful time that you all look after each other," Mr Tims says.
"By sending these Christmas cards it increases our capability of raising awareness and helps us to inform people about where they can go for help and support if they need it."
It also provides an opportunity for people to pass on the message by sending on the cards.
"We're hopeful that our safe Christmas message will travel around the district, region and maybe even the country."
Inside the cards is the message ‘Counties Manukau police wish you and your family a safe festive season' translated into Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Chinese, Punjabi and Hindi.
"Within our police district we have over 165 different cultures and are constantly engaging with our community.
"It was important to us that the majority of people receiving these cards would be able to understand the message and keep the chain going."