And this little guinea pig went ...

Cousins Lily Swenson Mclean (9, left) and Lena Walker (10) show off the miniature accessories...
Cousins Lily Swenson Mclean (9, left) and Lena Walker (10) show off the miniature accessories which complete their festive guinea pig scene. The pair collected $136 in donations from patrons. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Not content with spending lockdown watching television, Lena Walker and her cousin Lily Swensen Mclean used their time to design and build an expansive guinea pig enclosure filled with "Kiwi Christmas" holiday scenes designed to spread festive cheer.

Sitting in Lena’s front yard, the enclosure houses 25 guinea pigs which were free to roam about the fertile pastures of Green Island, among miniature houses and businesses.

Not only is there a construction site, a beauty salon and a beach scene — complete with tiny tents and deck chairs — there is also a mini replica of Green Island School, the large version of which both children attend.

There had been no conflict in artistic vision between the pair, Lily said.

"We would just put things in, and if the other one didn’t like them, we’d just take them out."

Lena’s mother, Disa Walker, said the idea was developed after the family visited Wendelton guinea pig village in Nelson.

"We’d been looking for something the kids could do — we always go and see the Christmas lights but the kids fall asleep in the car because you have to go so late.

"This is great because you can see it during the day.

"Also, a lot of the things the kids enjoy around Christmas have been cancelled, so it’s nice to have something like this for them to do," she said.

Once the miniature village was completed, the family opened it to visitors.

They opened the gates from December 6 until Christmas Eve, in which time more than 200 people had visited.

Each night, the two girls would wait outside, keeping the small animals calm and welcoming visitors into the enclosure.

After all that hard work, the young cousins had collected $136 in voluntary donations.

Ms Walker said she had not expected that amount of money to come in.

"I thought there might be enough for each of them to get an ice cream once we closed up for the year, but that’s about it."

Lena and Lily had decided to use the money to invest in more guinea pig props for 2022.

Anything left over after that would be given to the SPCA or another charity.

"I think they can still get an ice cream, though. They’ve worked so hard," Ms Walker said.


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