What its like to return to your Centre after 6 months

The first word to describe the first session back would be magical. To see the tamariki get right back into their favourite activities and explore new ones. A relief is another one, to be finished all the work and organising and to sit all together and share our kai and have a cuppa together.

6 months ago we were hit by a flood. Luckily we have whanau members on the same road that ran in and lifted what furniture they could off the floors as they watched sewerage tainted water stream through each door. The next day was a beautiful clear blue sky but our centre was still surrounded by water that slowly drained away. Our sandpit was contaminated. Our vinyl was bubbling from underneath and carpets sodden, appliances drowned. In the days following we navigated as much parent help as we could manage without children exposed to our now dirty centre, that is a challenge in itself I’m sure every Playcentre parent can understand. Amongst insurance claims, property emails and figuring out what we were doing, we found a temporary centre a suburb over! It was a place to continue to meet up and play but it was definitely limiting for our explorers. Our tamariki managed about 18 weeks of term time without messy play, shared kai or shade for sandpit playing. It was a challenge some days. The extreme delay to reopening was due to the flooring company being overloaded, and our roof leaked halfway through the process, another setback!

We pumped out a tremendous amount of volunteer hours to finish setting up our centre once it was ready, got through our nerve-wracking MoE check with a few tweaks to fix and we finally got the OK to open!
It’s been a journey. A journey of finances, consensus decision making, emotional and mental stress, physical strain and making do with what we had. But we made it through! Now, we celebrate with facepaint and carpentry. What a perfect first morning of play.


Water about about 50-60cm deep

Furniture piled high as we sorted out what was damaged.

Centre member, Adeline, thrilled to be back on their first day with face painting and collage.