Playcentre marks 50 years
In November, Onehunga Playcentre marked its 50th Golden Jubilee with a huge celebration. Past and present whānau came together to chat, reminisce and enjoy the sunshine, celebrating their contribution over the years to the early childhood education (ECE) of hundreds of local children.
A karakia was given by local kaumatua, Charles Berryman, and current members welcomed everyone in different languages to highlight the cultural diversity of the playcentre. The local community helped put on a great spread with support from Weta Coffee, Lucious Café, Bakers Delight Royal Oak and Countdown Onehunga. This kept tummies full, and children happy,as the formalities began.The messy play-inspired cake was cut by Noelene Johnson, who was the oldest member at the celebration, and Leo Cossar, the youngest member, who is nearly three months-old.
At the end of the day, a fundraising raffle was drawn, and Onehunga Playcentre would like to say a big thank you to Onehunga Business Association, Paper Plus Royal Oak and Walls and Roche Chemist for donating prizes.
The organisation originally started in a church hall on Grey Street, before the purpose-built building on Hill Street opened in 1995. There was a hiccup along the way when the playcentre had to spend a winter in Mangere East, when contaminated soil was discovered on-site, and had to be removed.
Noelene Johnson, who attended with her child in the early church hall days, says she has many fond memories, and loved her time at the playcentre. She says she is envious of the current, beautiful purpose-built building, as nowadays members don’t have to pack everything away every day, as they used to have to when they shared the church hall with others.
Talia Goodger, a representative from Playcentre Federation, and the centre support worker, says the playcentre has a high ECE standard, which is reflected in the glowing Education Review Office (ERO) report received last year. She put the strength of the centre down to the dedicated group of families that belong to it, both present and past.