Oat the Goat, or Oti te Nanekoti, is the title character of a new digital resource released to mark Bullying-Free NZ Week, which runs from May 14 to 18.
The story tells the tale of Oat, who goes on a journey up a mountain and makes new friends along the way.
It was launched by Associate Education Minister, Tracey Martin, at Thorndon School in Wellington on Monday.
The animated, interactive online tale is available in English or Te Reo.
“The Government is working towards a New Zealand where all Kiwis feel safe and respected – regardless of their age, sex, gender identity, ability, or cultural background,” Martin said.
Oat the Goat will be available in early childhood education centres, primary schools and to parents, caregivers and teachers.
Martin said teachers and schools would be able to incorporate the resource into their learning in ways that they see fit.
“I trust their judgement,” she explained.
“I saw teachers take children through the story on Monday and there was a great response from the kids.”
Oat the Goat is just one of a range of materials that have been created for Bullying-Free NZ Week, with other resources available including a free downloadable 68-page school activity pack filled with class activities and information, according to the Associate Minister.
She hoped the week would help to raise awareness of bullying, in both homes and schools.
“If people are aware of the issue, they’re more likely to do something about it,” Martin said.
“Oat the Goat has been designed to help parents to have conversations with their children about the power of kindness.
“Research shows that a more supportive home environment leads to more resilient kids who are less affected by others’ actions, so firstly we want to create positive parent-child interactions.”
Martin added that bullying was known to have a negative impact on children’s health, wellbeing and education outcomes – but that its impact could be limited.
“Tackling it as early as possible is the most effective way to limit its damaging impacts.”
Oat the Goat, and other Bullying-Free Week NZ resources, can be found at bullyingfree.nz.