TJ shares the love in her community

A little love can go a long way it seems – all around Waimuku for starters!

Westlake Girls High School student Tahara-Jayne (TJ) Rusden Rowley (Year 11) has brightened the lives of people in her neighbourhood after she hand-made 300 origami hearts, wrote messages on them, and delivered them around her community. So what inspired her to perform this act of kindness?

“We had a power outage at my house after a car went into a power pole right at the start of lockdown – and since I had no power to do anything I decided to learn how to make origami hearts,” she says. “On the first night, I stayed up with a candle and made about 30 – so then I decided to make it into a project and give them to all my neighbours around where I live.”

It took TJ around three weeks to make the hearts and write an encouraging message on each of them.  “The hardest part was having to glue all the flaps down and getting glue all over my hands,” she says.

Delivering the hearts into letterboxes turned into a two-hour daily dose of exercise. “All the houses are very far apart because I live in the middle of nowhere – as I call it. It took me three days to deliver them all, but I did it on my new bike I got for Xmas, so it was fun.”

Because the hearts were delivered to letterboxes, TJ didn’t get to see people’s reactions. It wasn’t until someone posted on the local Facebook page, that TJ knew she’d brightened people’s day.  “I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing so when I saw that someone had posted about how much they loved the heart, I felt really happy. Lots of people were commenting on how happy it had made them,” she says.

TJ has previously written kindness quotes on cards and dropped them into letterboxes of immediate neighbours. “I’ve been researching new things to do, around the school work I’ve been set, so there are more kindness acts coming,” she says.

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