All Blacks’ Barrett brothers introduce their sister Zara, raising awareness for Down syndrome

Stuff 12 August 2019
Family First Comment: “People with Down syndrome need to feel loved and included.”

All Blacks stars, the Barrett brothers, have shared the story of their 16-year-old sister Zara – a teenager who is “funny, cheeky, very honest” – and has Down syndrome.

“She’s so honest, and we love that about her,” Beauden Barrett said of his little sister, who they call “Zars”.

“People with Down syndrome need to feel loved and included.”

The Barrett family, dairy farmers in coastal Taranaki, includes eight children all up – fellow All Black Blacks players, Scott and Jordie, two other brothers, and three sisters. They spoke to Newshub to raise awareness for the charity UpsideDowns.

Down syndrome can occur in any family, regardless of history. It happens when “cells contain an extra chromosome, number 21”, according to the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association.

People with Down syndrome have delays in development and learning. Speech therapy can help improve their communication skills, however this is only available through private practitioners and can cost between $4000 to $10,000 a year.

UpsideDowns is an education trust that aims to help children with Down syndrome “develop their communication, confidence and independence, and the right to participate fully in society”.

Beauden, told NewsHub“Zara without speech couldn’t keep us honest, couldn’t share her views and points – and tell us how much she actually loves us and cares for us and supports us.

“It is super special that she can do that. She’s so awesome and we love that about her. She calls it how she sees it and she appreciates the simple things in life.


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