For thousands of Kiwi kids, a sunny day at school doesn’t mean a lunchtime of fun in the sun. ‘No hat, no play’ policies keep kids protected from the sun, but can mean some are cooped up inside while watching their friends play.

This month, KidsCan and Principal Partner Meridian Energy, are launching a pilot programme to empower play by providing 20,000 hats to over 200 decile 1 KidsCan partner schools and over 50 early childhood centres throughout New Zealand.

As a 100% renewable energy generator, we see the power of the sun every day.” Says Meridian Marketing Head Michael Healy. “Every kid should be able to play outside in the fresh air, it’s a basic necessity, so by providing hats to those in need we’re unlocking the ability for kids to play outside.”

But getting quality hats is one thing, reminding excited students to put them on before they dash off to the playground can prove a challenge for teachers. Working in partnership with KidsCan schools, the two organisations have printed classroom and playground posters, and also developed a set of playground games using photochromic paint that only appear as the sun comes out.

When sunshine hits the luminous paint, games like hopscotch and foursquare emerge like magic on the floor, capturing children’s imagination alongside little reminders - ‘Sun’s out? Hats on!’.

KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman says. “We’d like to make sure every child can make the most of their time at school. Having Meridian’s constant support, coupled with creative initiatives like this, makes a huge impact on their lives.”

Since 2013, Meridian Energy has been working with KidsCan, helping ensure every child the opportunity to make the most of their education. Thanks to their support and from a growing number of businesses, families and supporters; this year KidsCan will be able to support another 47 schools and 37 early childhood centres.

“We’re proud of the work KidsCan do to identify and send resources where they’re needed most.” Healy says on the partnership, “From food and hygiene, to health and now hats, their hard work helps to remove the barriers to education and support tens of thousands of Kiwi kids in need.”

KidsCan statistics:

The KidsCan Charitable Trust was founded in 2005 and now provides food, raincoats, shoes, socks, and basic health and hygiene items in 787 schools and 62 early childhood centers nationwide.

The charity feeds over 30,000 children a week, most of whom need KidsCan food daily. Since it’s inception, KidsCan New Zealand has provided over 31 million food items to kids that would otherwise go without.

Over 3931,000 pairs of socks, 196,000 pairs of shoes and 386,000 fleece-lined rain coats have kept kids warm and protected from the weather, enabling children across the country to attend school no matter the weather. 913,000 health and hygiene products have been given out to kids in need, helping break down barriers to education.


For more information:

Meridian Energy Media Team
0800 948 843 or

Leigh Jeffs: Brand Manager
021 166 9293 or