Travelling teddy - call home

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 16:43 19/06/2013
Whitu the bear
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BEARLY THERE: Whitu, the missing school mascot.

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Children at Hokowhitu School are scratching their heads over the whereabouts of their mascot - a travelling teddy who has taken his biggest adventure yet.

"Whitu" the teddy bear has been taken hiking, skiing and flying by his junior caregivers, who have taken turns at looking after him each week for the past five years.

But now they are seeking help from the public in finding the classroom mascot, who has gone astray.

Year 1 and 2 class "totally twos" is responsible for his care and the children are considering putting up "lost" posters around Hokowhitu in the hope that someone will recognise their furry friend and return him.

Whitu has been lost before - once returned to the school by an airline after being abandoned on a plane - but the teddy has yet to return from his latest outing, missing and believed stolen after one little girl left him at the park last Wednesday.

The teddy had been a popular member of the classroom, principal Lin Dixon said.

"The teacher in charge of that classroom says the children have been really funny because they were wanting to know if they could make some ‘lost' posters because he's ‘very valuable,' they said.

He's been everywhere so I don't know what we're going to do. We're just hoping that someone might find him."

Whitu comes complete with a carry-bag and a journal that each child must fill out when they babysit him - including a photo and a story about Whitu's week.

He was left behind at the park adjoining Hokowhitu School last week by one of the children and hasn't been seen since.

It was assumed that someone had spotted him in the park and taken him, the child's mum said.

Whitu has been lost several times before, but people had always returned the soft toy to the school as the journal and bag he was packaged with made it obvious who he belonged to, she said. "It's not rare for the kids to leave him somewhere given their age but he always makes it back to the school.

"Whoever has taken the bag will see all the photos and know it was the school's teddy bear because of all the stories that have been written," she said. "He's not just another teddy bear, he's a learning tool for the class and they use him to learn to grow their attachment and responsibility skills. The kids just loved him, they were really engaged."

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- Manawatu Standard

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