Tamariki and whānau from Karatia, Rawene and Waimamaku Playcentres visited Te Piiti Marae in Omanaia, Hokianga on Wednesday 13 September to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week).

The visit was organised by Mrs Waihoroi Johnson (more commonly know as Nanny Ma), who has worked as a Session Facilitator at Karatia Playcentre for 27 years. Te Piiti Marae is her ancestral home and tūrangawaewae.

Playcentre staff, including David Moger, Chief Executive of Playcentre Aotearoa, also visited the marae and commented on the authenticity of the visit.

“It was a privilege to be invited to the marae to enjoy waiata, games and kai together with the tamariki and their whānau, and to learn more about tikanga Māori from the mana whenua,” said Moger.

Nanny Ma was proud to introduce the Playcentre community to her marae.

“I felt really blessed with the visit from all the people from the National and Regional office. Everyone loved seeing you all. I felt really proud to have the centres visit my marae. I’m still buzzing today,” commented Nanny Ma.

Nanny Ma and her whānau have had a long association with Karatia Playcentre. Her mother was a member from the 1960s and Nanny Ma remembers her mother going with Lex Grey and other Playcentre members to Australia.

In 1976, with little warning and no consultation, Omanaia Playcentre had its prefab building uplifted and transferred to the new Opononi Area School. Playcentre sessions were then held in the [Te Piiti] marae until another prefab arrived a year later. The centre was then renamed Karatia Playcentre.

There are over 400 Playcentres operating across Aotearoa, with Māori tamariki accounting for 11 percent of tamariki enrolled in Playcentre sessions nationwide.

New whānau are always welcome to visit their local Playcentre. 

Tamariki and whānau from Playcentres in the Hokianga area visit Te Piiti Marae to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.