Dakota Davis, 10, is fundraising to get herself to Japan, with handmade key fobs. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Dakota has her eyes on Japan


Dakota Davis loves Japan – she loves the language, the culture and the food.

So, when the 10-year-old Hira School student asked her mum, Sarah, if she could go there for a trip, it didn’t come as a surprise, but how to get there financially was another story.

With three younger siblings, it wasn’t as easy as simply booking a trip. So, they set about coming up with a plan for Dakota to raise the money needed to get herself and her parents to Japan.

“She’s just zoned in on it, which I think is fabulous. I couldn’t convince her to go anywhere else and I couldn’t deny her of it,” says Sarah.

Dakota started teaching herself how to write and speak Japanese and tried to immerse herself in the culture as much as she could.

“I told Dakota if she wanted to go, she would need to do the research and figure out exactly how much it was all going to cost.”

Dakota estimated she would need $6000 for flights, accommodation, food, and activities for one week in Japan with her mum and dad.

The first idea that came to mind was baking, but having never baked before, and Sarah being an avid sewer, the decision was made to make key fobs.

Sarah gave the tools and support to start making them, and soon she had a large collection.

A simple post on a local North Nelson Facebook page sent sales through the roof, with locals happy to support Dakota’s goal.

Having surpassed $200 in sales and with stock levels running low, Dakota is now focussing on making more.

She has had orders from businesses and is looking forward to making personalised fobs with business logos.

Requests for specific fabric or designs are also welcome.

Dakota’s goal is to make it to Japan in three years, but Sarah says with the effort she’s putting in and the success that she is having so far, she should be able to get there sooner.

“She’s working so hard, and it’s been so nice to be able to spend one on one time with her, away from the other kids, helping her reach her goal,” says Sarah.