Turtle lady 'everyday hero'

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 11:18 01/12/2012
Donna Moot

EVERYDAY HERO: Donna Moot, who takes in stray turtles, meets pupils from Mairehau Primary School

Turtle kids
NEW FRIEND: Ali Jan Sarwari (L) and Tiger Gibson meet Kii-Foonu, a red-eared slider turtle. Photos: DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

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A Christchurch woman who takes in abandoned turtles has been labelled a hero by a group of children who know what it is like to lose a home.

Donna Moot, who runs Turtles Rescue and Rehoming, has dealt with 250 turtles at her Somerfield home since the February 2011 earthquake, with more still arriving. This week, seven turtles arrived on Moot's doorstep.

Most had been abandoned or come from families forced to move and unable to look after their pet.

"People are still dealing with insurance and housing issues. They can't keep them any more," she said.

Yesterday, a group of Mairehau Primary School pupils who have been following Moot's work since the quake presented her with a "hero award".

The children included refugees from other countries.

"The earthquakes have been traumatic for many of them and brought back feelings of pre-exile times. Some had never even seen a turtle, as they come from land-locked countries [like] Afghanistan," teacher Judi Bastin said.

"They've been really captivated by Donna helping the displaced turtles."

The children had followed stories on Moot in The Press and believed she was an "everyday hero".

"The children think she's great and it's nice to highlight some good work."

Moot cried when she heard the news.

"I found out a few months ago that the children had been following my turtles' journeys but I didn't realise how much. When Judi rang and said she wanted to give me a hero award, I was very touched."

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- The Press

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