About Tauranga Shoebox Christmas

We are a registered charity and we are passionate about spreading Christmas cheer throughout Tauranga, one shoebox at a time. Whilst a shoebox doesn’t seem like much for some people, for many children, Christmas with gifts doesn’t happen for them. A shoebox of brand-new gifts to call their own can make a memorable Christmas for many.

Bee and Claire are the main faces of the operation. These two do all the administration, liaison with schools and organisations, emails, coordination of sorting and deliveries. Cy is our IT / website guru who developed our website and registration software and then manages and troubleshoots throughout the year. We also have a team of ‘elves’ who assist with sorting, drop offs and deliveries as and when required.

3208 Shoeboxes Registered In 2021!

0 3500

"We delivered more than 2300 shoeboxes to local children in 2020! Well done to our amazing donators!"

How It Works

We liaise with schools and organisations who provide us with lists of children.

We have a registration process where amazing donators can sign up and are allocated a child off the lists to shop for. At a minimum we provide the donators with the age and gender of the child/ren. Where possible, we try to get the schools and organisations to provide some interests of each child to make shopping more fun.

The donators will then shop for their allocated child/ren. The gifts they purchase need to be able to fit in a shoebox. Donators will wrap the shoebox and drop it back to one of our drop off locations.

We then deliver the shoeboxes to each school / organisation when their list has been completely received and checked off. We aim to complete all deliveries the first week of December.


Time Line

  • Friday 9th July 2021 - registrations open
  • Monday 2nd August  allocations begin
  • Friday 1st October – Sunday 7th November – drop off locations open
  • Monday 8th November – Sunday 21st November – sorting
  • Monday 22nd November – Friday 10th December – deliveries start
  • Saturday 11th December - shutdown for 2021
    gift card

    The Rules

    1. The price range of shoebox is between $20-$50
    2. No food
    3. No cash, lotto tickets or gift vouchers
    4. Ensure your shoebox, once full is wrapped and has your reference label (emailed with your allocation) printed and fixed to the bottom of the shoebox. 
    5. Drop off to one of our drop locations
    xmas surprise

    How To Fill A Shoebox

    An idea that has been popular in previous year's is to follow the theme want, wear, read, need.


    • Art and craft supplies
    • LEGO, minifigures
    • Cars, diggers, trucks, trains
    • Playdoh, modelling clay
    • Games, puzzles
    • Toys - transformers, beyblades, ooshies, surprise bags, LOL dolls


    • Sun hat
    • Togs / rash shirt
    • Socks
    • Underwear
    • T-shirts
    • Dress-up costumes


    • Books
    • Posters
    • Comics
    • Magazines


    • Sunblock
    • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
    • Hair ties / brush
    • Lunch box / drink bottle
    Note: we appreciate that not all children have details such as clothing size provided.
    on the way

    Drop Off Locations

    House of Travel Papamoa

    • Shop 23 - Papamoa Plaza
    • Opening Hours
    • Weekdays; 9.00am - 5.00pm
    • Saturday; 9.00am - 1.00pm

    House of Travel The Crossing

    • 2 Taurikura Drive
    • Opening Hours
    • Weekdays; 9.00am - 5.00pm
    • Saturday; 10.00am - 2.00pm

    House of Travel Mount Maunganui

    • The Cruise Deck
    • 169 Maunganui Road
    • Opening Hours

    Maven Bay of Plenty

    • Ground Floor
    • 116 Cameron Road (corner Wharf Street and Cameron Road)
    • Opening Hours
    • Weekdays; 9am - 5pm

    Tunstall NZ

    • First Floor
    • 2/65 Chapel Street
    • Opening Hours
    • Weekdays; 7am - 5pm
    • Weekends; 10am - 3pm


    • 2 Pandora Place
    • Welcome Bay
    • Opening Hours
    • Mon, Wed, Fri; 6am - 10am
    • Mon - Thur; 4pm - 6:30pm

    Toyworld Bayfair

    • Bayfair Shopping Mall
    • Mt Maunganui
    • Opening Hours
    • Mon - Wed; 9am - 6pm
    • Thurs, Fri; 9am - 9pm
    • Sat, Sun; 9am - 6pm

    My Ride Mt Maunganui

    • 37 Totara Street, Mount Maunganui
    • Opening Hours
    • Weekdays; 8.30am - 5.30pm
    • Sat; 9am - 4pm
    Drop off locations are open! Shoeboxes must be dropped off by the end of Sunday 7th November

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Bee and Claire are the main faces of the operation. These two do all the administration, liaison with schools and organisations, emails, coordination of sorting and deliveries. Cy is our IT / website guru who developed our website and registration software and then manages and troubleshoots throughout the year. We also have a team of ‘elves’ who assist with sorting, drop offs and deliveries as and when required.

    2020 is our first year registering as a Charitable Trust. The reason we have applied for charity status is to allow to take donations from amazing people within the community or apply for grants / funding. In order for us to continue to grow and support our community, we have some basic running costs – these include petrol for delivery vehicles, our insurance policy being paid every year, website hosting costs, wrapping paper, labels and Sellotape. It would also be great to have some funds available in the event of needing to prepare emergency shoeboxes – one of the team could go and shop for emergency shoeboxes and have them back in our hands the same day if we have a small monetary reserve available.

    It is purely to protect the privacy of the child. The schools provide us with a list of children that have had their names swapped out with reference numbers. If the school / organisation provides further notes (i.e. clothing size, interests, favourite colour etc) then we pass these details on to the donator.

    We specifically request no food as we don’t know if your allocated child has food allergies or lives with someone with severe food allergies. This is ensure the safety of the children and their families.

    You can find this year's drop off locations listed in the 'Drop off Locations' section above.

    You can get a shoebox from any shoe shop. Most shoe stores around town are aware of Tauranga Shoebox Christmas so have no issue with people coming into their stores asking for an empty shoebox.

    We ask that your shoebox has a value between $20-$50. The reason for this is to prevent disappointment if more than one donator is contributing to one family. If one shoebox has something (i.e – a cellphone, iPod or gift vouchers) and another child from the same family gets a shoebox with a lesser value gift inside, it can be disappointing and difficult for parents to explain.

    Unfortunately no. We are not given specifics of caregivers / parents however we do get advised (where known) if there are siblings in the same household. If there are other siblings that are at a different school we will try and get the age and gender of those sibling/s to ensure all the children in that household are covered.

    Please get in touch with us as soon as you can. That will give us plenty of time to re-allocate to another family willing to donate. Absolutely no problem at all.

    Spread the word! Share our Facebook page, tag your friends in our posts, share the website link, hustle around your colleagues, sports teams etc. If we do need another person on board we will call out for more people to join our team.

    Once the shoeboxes are delivered to the participating schools / organisations it is up to them to decide when / how the shoeboxes are distributed. Some give them out to the children on the last day of term, others hold a ‘shoebox christmas’ gathering for those children on the list so they can open them altogether. Others simply hand them out to the children before the end of Term 4 to take home and it is up to them if it goes under the tree until 25th December.

    No. Shoebox Christmas is about personalised gifts for children in need. It's about the joy of unwrapping a gift, knowing someone has chosen it just for them.

    Get creative! If you purchase pencil cases, lunch boxes etc fill them with other goodies - marbles, cards, put a book in a lunch box. It is amazing what you can fit into a shoebox when you get creative.

    Not all schools, organisations, social workers are able to collate individual interests of the children they submit to us. However, we have a helpful list of ideas how to fill a shoebox which might be helpful in choosing appropriate gifts. Following the read, wear, need, want method serves most people well.

    We started this community project in 2017 and it has grown from strength to strength. Our goal each year is to grow the number of schools and community organisations that we support, to eventually support every school within Tauranga city.

    A list is compiled by each school / organisation. The general rule is that the child must be from a home that is struggling. The term ‘struggling’ is quite subjective, however schools are given a mini criteria of sorts (but not limited to):

    • Child has faced poverty – no lunch frequently, missing out on school activities due to parents not being able to afford, lack of school uniform, missing school due to financial difficulty
    • Child may have been subject to bullying
    • Child may have come from womens refuge
    • Child have suffered severe illness or had a family member suffer severe illness
    • Child may be terminally ill
    • Child may be in care, womens refuge, homeless

    This is a mechanism in place to protect the privacy of children. The school / organisation names have been referenced in the child allocation code's. These will change each year to ensure privacy is maintained.

    Follow us on Facebook where the majority of our updates will be posted. Ensure you hit the ‘like’ button and also are following us so that our updates show up in your news feed.

    Unfortunately we cannot come and collect your shoebox. If we start collecting a few here and there we end up driving all over Tauranga picking up everyone’s shoeboxes. You can either post / courier it to Maven Bay of Plenty or try putting a post up on the shoebox Christmas page to see if anyone else might be going past your way and able to do a good deed on your behalf.

    Yes. The reason for this rule is that it makes stacking the shoeboxes easier when storing them and when transporting them for delivery, as well as giving a general consistency in size.

    No. We cannot sift through the list and allocate people their individual preferences. This year we have streamlined the process so a lot of it is automated in order to save us time behind the scenes. Hundreds of hours went into manually allocating children with donators and if we want to keep expanding and include more schools in this venture, then we need to automate our processes as much as possible.

    For 2020 – no. Our goal is to cover our entire Tauranga urban limits first (essentially, we want to worry about our own backyard first and do it well) then we will look at expanding to our regional town centres. If you are in one of our town centres, have time and energy available and would like to set up please get in touch! 

    The long-term goal is to cover the Bay of Plenty region under our Charitable Trust.

    Just flick us an email or a private message on FB and we will add another child to your allocation.

    Yes. We ask for this as many of the children receiving shoeboxes do not get anything new throughout the year. It is a way to make them feel good knowing that everything in their box was purchased specifically for them.

    Once you register, a message will flash on the screen above the registration form confirming your submission was sent. You will then be sent an email confirming your successful registration.

    Once you have been allocated a child, another email will be sent with your shoebox reference code, age and gender of your allocated child. You will also receive a printable label with each of your allocated children's reference codes, which is to be fixed to your wrapped shoebox.
    Please check your SPAM folder if no emails are received.

    We send out email updates as well which are the same as the Facebook page updates. Just ensure that our emails are not going to your spam folder and you won't miss out on any updates or exciting news.

    "We are so thankful for the amazing support that we have received for this beautiful community project!"

    Sign Up For 2021

    Please provide your full name
    Please provide your phone number
    Please provide a valid email address
    Email addresses must match
    Please select the number of children
    This site is protected by Google's reCaptcha. Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Our Key Partners ♥

    Responsive, Tauranga web design and development
    Maven - Surveying, land development, planning. Serving the Bay of Plenty region