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A Magic show for Waikids patients

Kia Magic goal shooter Jo Harten playing netball with two patients in the new play specialist area at Waikato Hospital.

There were some tall guests for our little patients at Waikato Hospital as six Kia Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball players came to visit.

Courtney Tairi and her fellow Magic team members caused quite a stir recently when they dropped by the new children’s play specialist area on Ward E7 to promote oral health.

They spent two hours painting and playing games with some of the children, before Courtney and Magic captain Casey Kopua visited children on the wards.

Waikato Hospital play specialist Meenu Wadhwa said the children absolutely loved the opportunity to meet the netball stars, but the visit also had great therapeutic value.

Midcourter Sam Sinclair with Culliana Taukiri, 10, at Waikato Hopsital's playrooms

Midcourter Sam Sinclair with Culliana Taukiri, 10, at Waikato Hospital’s play specialist area.

“Visits like this not only establish and strengthen links to the wider community, which is something these children miss a lot while in hospital, but it also helps lift their mood and morale.”

Meenu said the children were really responsive to the visit with one of them commenting they “didn’t have a good morning, it was an excellent morning”.

Magic players were also touched by the visit, with one saying it was a humbling experience.

“It was a very special morning for us getting to spend time with the kids and their families at the hospital. They brought a smile to our faces and hopefully we did the same for them,” said Courtney.

Waikato DHB Community Oral Health has engaged Courtney as a high profile ambassador of oral health. This has included visits to schools and early childhood centres, and most recently members of the team visiting the play specialist area.

The service coordinators, Turuhira Wirihana and Huia Te Kapa are excited for more events that promote messages like healthy eating and the importance of brushing your teeth twice daily.

Since the campaign launched in early May, Courtney has helped get oral health messages heard and children and adults alike excited about bright smiles, said Turuhira.

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