Click here for a te reo Māori translation of this story, below.
A gift doesn’t get much more heartfelt than a felt heart.
During the long weeks of the New South Wales COVID-19 lockdown, New Zealand Police’s Sydney Liaison Officer Detective Inspector Annie Ryan has been stitching felt hearts to send as gifts to friends and acquaintances on both sides of the Tasman.
It started with an Australian Project called 1000 Hearts, launched by a Tasmanian woman to share a bit of kindness, long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Annie became involved through a colleague at the High Commission in Canberra, who started making them after being given one by her sister while undergoing treatment for breast cancer earlier in the year.
Since July, Annie has made around 900 of the hearts, which she has been sending to Police friends and colleagues in Australia and up and down New Zealand, and many others.
“We’re on day 81 of what will probably be at least 115 – but who’s counting?" she says. "Touch wood, soon NSW will be able to safely loosen up restrictions as more and more people get fully vaccinated.
“I’m the sort of person who always tries to see a positive.
"These hearts are a silver lining – for me they came out of the cloud of my colleague’s illness, they’re keeping me busy and bringing smiles to others.”
Annie is also sending hearts to Ozanam House in Palmerston North, which provides accommodation for cancer patients and their families. There’s a family connection, as one wing is named after her father, who was involved for many years.
Annie sent 50 back to the 1000 Hearts project to distribute, and one to Trina, a Kiwi worker at her local café. “She was so pleased – she said to me ‘When I’m studying I squeeze it and it helps me concentrate,” she says.
“I gave her quite a few to give to customers – she says she’s had people in tears because of the thought behind it.”
Hearts are also making their way to the Big Apple - the wife and seven-year-old daughter of the New York Police Department’s liaison officer in Sydney started making them after Annie sent them some.
Hearts which turned up in Counties Manukau recently.
Annie’s craft skills are well-known among friends and colleagues – before hearts it was baby bootees.
“In the first couple of weeks of lockdown I knitted 14 pairs of baby bootees but there are only so many pairs of baby bootees you can give away – so hearts came at a timely moment.”
She says she can make around 100 hearts in a weekend, using felt because it’s not damaged by stitching as other fabrics can be. But she’s experimenting with some Kiwi-themed fabric – Buzzy Bees and Māori motifs – provided by a friend in Victoria Police.
“It’s my lockdown sanity project,” she says. “The jury is out on whether it has worked.”
Among New Zealand Police recipients is Superintendent Jill Rogers, Counties Manukau District Commander. “What an awesome surprise to open the envelope and to see the smiles on people’s faces when I shared them out,” she says.
Directions on making hearts and other info can be found on the 1000 hearts website.
Annie is experimenting with hearts in Kiwi-themed fabric.
Kei te tarai a Annie me ētahi manawa, he papanga kaupapa ā-Kiwi nei.
He Koha Pārekareka
Ka tohaina e tō mātou āpiha takawaenga ki Poihākena te aroha e whakangāwari ai te rāhui.
Kāore pea e nui ake i te manawanui, ki te manawa whītau...
I waenganui i ngā wiki roa o te rāhui KOWHEORI-19 ki Niu Haute Wēra, kua tuitui te āpiha takawaenga o Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa ki Poihākena, Titeketiwhi Kaitiro Annie Ryan, kia tuku hei koha ki ngā hoa me ērā atu ki ngā taha e rua o Te Tai-o-Rehua.
I tīmata mai tēnei me tētahi kaupapa nō Ahitereiria kua tapaina ko 1000 Manawa, i whakatere e tētahi wahine Tāhimana kia tuku i te ngākau aroha, nō mua rawa i te mate urutā KOWHEORI-19.
I whakawhāiti nei a Annie nā tētahi o ōna hoa mahi kei te Komihana Teitei ki Canberra, nōnā i tīmata ki te waihanga i ēnei i muri mai i te whiwhinga o tētahi manawa nā tōna tuahine i a ia e pakanga ana mō te mate ūtaetae i te tīmatanga o te tau.
Nō te Hūrae, kua waihanga a Annie i tōna 900 o ngā manawa, nāna nei i tuku ki ngā hoa Pirihimana me ngā hoa kaimahi ki Ahitereiria, ā, kei te motu whānui nei o Aotearoa, kei wāhi kē atu anō hoki.
Nāna i kī atu, “Kei te rā 81 mātou o ngā rā e 115 pea - heoi anō, ko wai e kautē ana?” “Ko te tūmanko ia, ka taea e NHW te whakangāwari ake i ngā aukatinga nā te maha o ngā tāngata e werohia ana.
“Ko ahau te momo tangata e whāinga nuitia ana.
"Ko ēnei manawa te tūmanako - mōku nei, he utu pai ēnei i puta i te māuiuitanga o tōku hoa kaimahi, kei te pokea au i te mahi nā ēnei me te tuku i te harikoa ki tāngata kē.”
Kei te tuku hoki a Annie i ēnei manawa ki Te Whare o Ozanam ki Pāmutana, te wāhi i whāngai i ngā wāhi taupua ki ngā tāngata mate pukupuku me ō rātou whānau.
He hononga whānau ki reira, ko tētahi parirau kua tapaina me te ingoa o tōna pāpā, nāna i whakawhāiti me tēnei whare mō ngā hia tau nei.
I whakahoki atu a Annie e 50 ki te kaupapa o 1000 Manawa hei tohatoha, kotahi ki a Trina, he kaimahi Kiwi kei te wharekai o tōna iwi kāinga. Nāna i kī atu, “I tino manawa reka ia - nāna i kī mai ki ahau ‘I ahau e ako ana, ka kōpē au, ā, ka āwhinatia ahau kia aro ki ngā mahi.”
“I hoatu ahau ki a ia ētahi kia tohatoha ki ngā kiritaki - nāna i kī atu kua pokea e ētahi i te roimata nō ngā whakaaro i muri mai.”
E haere tonu ana ngā manawa ki te Āporo Nui - i tīmata te makau me te tamāhine, e whitu ōna tau, o te āpiha takawaenga o te Tari o Niu Ioka ki te waihanga i ēnei nō muri mai o te tuku a Annie ki a rātou.
E mōhiotia whānuitia ngā pūkenga toi o Annie e ōna hoa me ōna hoa kaimahi - I mua rā anō i ngā manawa, ko ngā hū pūnotinoti ō ngā pēpi.
Ko ngā manawa i tū mai ki Counties Manukau inātata nei.
I ngā wiki tuatahi o te rāhui, i pūnotinoti ahau kia 14 ngā hū pēpi, heoi anō, arā kē te nui o ngā hū e taea ana te toha atu - i tau pai ngā manawa i te rangaihi tika.
E ai ki a ia, e taea ana e ia te waihanga i tōna 100 manawa i te wīkene kotahi, mā te whakamahi i te rongo nā te kore pakaru mau i te pūnotinoti pērā rānei ki papanga kē atu.
Heoi e tarai ana ia me ngā papanga kaupapa ā-Kiwi nei - rango pī me ngā tohu Māori - i whāngaitia e tētahi hoa nō Ngā Pirihimana o Victoria.
Nāna i kī atu, “He whakatānga kaupapa tēnei mōku i te rāhui. Kua whakatauhia mēnā kua tutuki, kāore anō kia tutuki rānei.”
I waengarahi i ngā kaiwhiwhi o Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa, ko Hūpiritene Jill Rogers, Toihau o te rohe o Counties Manukau. Nāna i kī atu. “Inā te whakaohomauri kia huakina i tētahi pōhi me te kite i te harikoa ki ngā mata o ngā tāngata i a ahau e tohatoha atu ana.”