For the family of a young girl who was brutally attacked in a Turangi camping ground this time last year, Christmas is a time of remembering - even if it hurts.
The family, who have permanent name suppression, made a public statement at the weekend to thank Kiwis for their support after their then 5-year-old daughter was attacked while she slept in a caravan at Turangi's Club Habitat motor camp on December 21, 2011.
"Christmas time is approaching. It is a time of joyful family gatherings . . . however, for us - and some Kiwis - it will also be a time of dreadful memories," they said.
"One year after the drama, our daughter is fine. She recovered quickly and enjoys her first year at school, playing happily with her friends."
They said time was passing quickly and with small milestones like having two new teeth come in, "it will be even easier not to remember".
After teenager Raurangi Marino was convicted of raping the girl, New Zealanders rallied to raise more than $60,000 for the family, who then donated $20,000 back to those who helped and supported them.
Donations went to Victim Support in Hamilton, ECPAT (Ending Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Child Trafficking) and Child Alert New Zealand.
The Turangi community were also given $5000 for new playground equipment in the town, and the Waikato Health Trust for Waikids paediatric received $9000.
"The memories fade, but we will never forget the incredible support . . . warmth and hospitality of the families who hosted us through the weeks after," said the family.
"In these conditions, trust in people returns quickly. You Kiwis are just special. Keep it and cherish your uniqueness. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and relaxing summer holidays."
- Waikato Times