National | Government

Six-year-old seeks answers for NZ hamster ban

A six-year-old girl has penned a bilingual letter to Government asking why hamsters are banned from NZ because she wants one for her birthday. Two days later the Ministry for Primary Industries sent Taumaihiroa Tawhai-Porter a bilingual reply.

Doc McStuffins' pet hamster Coleslaw was the inspiration behind Taumaihiroa Tawhai-Porter's letter to Government.

Taumaihiroa Tawhai Porter says, "I asked the government because I wanted a hamster. They're not heavy and they're cute and quiet, but my mum says there are no hamsters in NZ."

Her mother says it was a great learning curve for her daughter and she was pleased with the Ministry for Primary Industries' bilingual response.

Mother, Veronica Tawhai says, "This is a good time for her to learn how to engage with the government if she wants to do that. Voting every three years is not the only way to have discourse with Government."

MPI explained it had not investigated the risks around hamsters unlike other pests and that this could be a lengthy process with no guarantees hamsters could live in NZ given the threat to native species.

Taumaihiroa says, "Hamsters eat bugs and plants and seeds so they said don't bring them here. I'm okay with that."

Taumaihiroa's birthday will be in July and she now hopes to get a pet rabbit instead.

Taumaihiroa's letter:

Te Kāea reporter Talisa Kupenga will have more tonight.