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10,000 Tiny Thankyous

Thank you! was my third thought as I was tossed to the floor, the Christchurch Cathedral crashing down outside my window. The old brick post office-come-café was barely holding together as the years were shaken out of her. Cold water trickled down my neck from knocked-over glasses. The dust-filled air was hard to breathe. But I was alive and uninjured, it seemed like a miracle. Maybe it was a mixture of survivor's euphoria + adrenaline + cup-half-full-optimism, but I knew in that moment that gratitude was to be a central theme in my life.

Over 12,000 earthquakes have rocked my world since February 22, 2011. I learned that things can be snatched away in an instant. Most of the basic things we took for granted were gone or broken; hot showers, clean drinking water, flushing toilets, safe roads.

I discovered that even on the hardest days where time could be measured by the lengthening of a crack along the kitchen floor, that the smallest act of kindness could fill a dark world with sunshine. During the rebuild these small moments of connection, often with strangers, had become a new currency; a currency of kindness.

At the time, most (if not all) of the conversation centred around insurance company wrangles, the state of the roads, and too much uncertainty. I found it very draining and demoralising. For the health of the community, plus to save my own sanity, I created something that would validate those small acts of kindness and help us to shift our focus to kindness, connection and gratitude.

I designed a set of small thankyou cards and had 10,000 printed. I gave them away encouraging people to look for kindness and pass on a card in acknowledgement. And so the Thankyou Project was born.


For over 10 years I’ve been posting the free photo-cards to people all over New Zealand. While it’s tiny and simple, it’s also a powerful tool that can help us pause, and connect with someone in a positive way, all in a few seconds.


Several years into the project I was at the Happiness & Its Causes Conference in Australia listening to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson present on Love 2.0. Her research and findings validated what I was discovering for myself with Thankyou Project:

love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people,

even strangers, connect over a shared positive emotion


Anytime I feel hesitant to pass on a card - for fear of rejection or fear of embarrassment - I take heart from American philosopher and psychologist William James who said, ‘the deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated’.


People love to feel acknowledged, appreciated and seen.

Order your own free set of Thankyou Cards and join the quiet fun.

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