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Grin and bear it

Grin and bear it

The positive side of globalisation came to the fore when New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern picked up on an international trend that was just emerging. 

After the official COVID-19 announcement, before the official Level Four quarantine was put in place, a teddy bear hunt began.

Her focus was particularly on children dealing, perhaps for the first time, with isolation combined with fear of the unknown. The message was one of unity for the country. The medium was teddy bears in street-facing windows for all the children who pass by, wanting to see a fluffy, friendly face while maintaining social distancing.

The source of the movement, inspired by the children’s story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” (and we’re not scared), provides an appropriate metaphor for the journey everyone in the world is taking to stay strong, heal and accept the massive changes the pandemic is causing. 

Before the Teddy’s took centre stage, bears have been a symbol of strength, courage, tenacity and protection. Literally standing tall against adversity but still showing a gentle and even sweet side. Bears’ love of honey helps to reinforce this perception. 

Those who are most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 might well remember their own Teddy Bear, or ‘stuffed but living friend’ who helped to provide comfort when the night proved particularly dark and daunting. Waking up in the morning would see Teddy still in place and still standing guard. 

One reason why a group of Teddy Bears united in support is simply called…a HUG.