Kmart introduces dolls with Down syndrome to New Zealand shelves

Publish Date
Sunday, 6 December 2020, 6:24PM

Kmart has grown its diverse doll collection, introducing two new dolls - a boy and girl with Down syndrome.

John Gualtieri, Kmart retail director Australia & New Zealand confirmed Kmarts across New Zealand will be selling the dolls.

The dolls will be introduced into stores in time for Christmas and will be sold for $15.

Kmart stores across New Zealand will soon be selling the "Baby Charlie with Down Syndrome". Photo / Kmart
Kmart stores across New Zealand will soon be selling the "Baby Charlie with Down Syndrome". Photo / Kmart

"We want all of our customers [especially our littlest ones] to be able to find products they can truly relate to; and we're committed to championing inclusion and diversity to make sure this happens.

"To evolving and expanding our representation of diversity in our toys and dolls, to more accurately reflect people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientations," Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri hopes these dolls will help normalise "conditions like Down syndrome, so that young sufferers don't feel different from their friends".

"We want children to see themselves represented in our doll ranges and we want to help children learn more about people who are different from themselves."

Zandra Vaccarino, national executive officer at the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association, told the Herald they are pleased "to see Kmart's commitment to embracing diversity".

"The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association is welcoming any initiative that promotes diversity, encourages inclusivity and raises awareness around Down syndrome.

"Kmart selling dolls with Down syndrome is a wonderful way to promote inclusivity and to give children dolls they can relate to."

However, Vaccarino acknowledges some parents in the community have questioned if differences should be highlighted.

"Some parents in our community have questioned whether differences should be highlighted and have noted that age groups who play with dolls are often not aware yet that they may look slightly different from other children."

Kmart also sells an amputee doll, a visually-impaired doll with glasses and a cane, a doll with crutches, and one wearing a cochlear implant.

These can be purchased for $6.

A doll with a wheelchair is also being sold for $12.00

Kmart's new line of fashion dolls with disabilities has now grown. Photo / Kmart
A doll of a girl in a wheelchair can also be purchased in Kmart stores across New Zealand. Photo / Kmart

According to Gualtieri Kmart is on a "mission to make everyday living brighter for Australian and New Zealander families".

Kmart customers have praised the company.

"May make children feel safer and more confident. Thank you for selling these Kmart," one person wrote.

"This is absolutely fantastic that Kmart have finally bought these dolls out, they are adorable," another commented.

"This is amazing. Well done for promoting diversity."

"Yay for inclusion," another wrote.

This article was originally published by NZ Herald and reproduced here with permission.