Courage and initiative Creativity Global People

School kids fold paper cranes to make wishes come true

11-year-old Jackson Hartley and Elijah Sue folding cranes

A story of hope and courage has made its way from Japan to New Zealand. Year six and seven students at Pegasus Bay School have been inspired to participate in a world peace project, that will raise funds to help grant wishes to critically ill New Zealand children.

Mazda New Zealand and the Make A Wish Foundation have teamed up to grant wishes to Kiwi children and promote world peace by honouring the legacy of Sadako Sasaki.

Mazda has pledged to donate $1000 for every thousand paper cranes folded. Mazda New Zealand managing director David Hodge says;

It has been a really tough 12 months and something like the paper crane project, which symbolises a bright future and hope for children, is really important right now.”


The cranes will be collected and flown over to Hiroshima to be placed on the statue of Sasaki at the Hiroshima Peace Monument Park.

This site has become a symbol to remember all child victims of world conflicts.

Due to COVID-19 the number of visitors and cranes left at the site has dramatically reduced.

A thousand paper cranes

An ancient Japanese tradition promises that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods.

This legend was immortalised after two-year-old Sadako Sasaki survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, only to die of irradiation related leukaemia at age twelve.

While in hospital Sasaki learned of the thousand crane legend and folded 1400 before her passing.

Her friends successfully lobbied to have a monument made to remember her and all child victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sasaki’s story of hope and courage continues to be told around the world 66 years on.

The next generation

Pegasus Bay students have been inspired by the story and the opportunity to contribute to the Make A Wish Foundation.

Some students have even been folding extra cranes at home and bringing them into school.

Teacher Sonya Faisst who first heard about the story while teaching in Hong Kong said

“All we have to do is contribute time and paper to help make someone’s wish come true.”

When asked about the initiative, year six student Estelle Hunt said, “It’s a good idea for us to be doing it because it helps people who aren’t as lucky as us make their wishes come true.”

Estelle Hunt and Amelia-Grace Cox

Ten-year-old Ace Reilly said, “it’s a cool story because she folded over 1000 paper cranes and it’s taken us ten days to fold 500.”

Cooper Ireland, who spends time in class fixing up the old and damaged cranes so they can be counted says, “I fix these up because it helps a kid to have a wish come true which is really good.”

Year six student Dylan Van de Geest says,

I think the paper cranes is a great idea because it teaches us to put hard work into things that are more important than ourselves. To be unselfish.”


Pegasus Bay School students managed to reach their goal and more, just as Sasaki did in 1955.

They handed in a total of 1167 completed cranes.

This is a significant contribution to the overall Christchurch area, who raised $16, 274 for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Sasaki’s wish may not have come true, but her legend is now granting wishes to children just like her, ten thousand kilometres away.

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