Pirongia Playcentre celebrated their 50th Anniversary on 11 November, with afternoon tea for past and present members, and the wider community.

There were some ‘multi-generations’ in attendance at the event, including Caroline McMonagle, who brought her child Kelly McMonagle to Pirongia Playcentre and now attends with her mokopuna, Ryan McCormack, who cut the cake at the official ceremony.

There were also some founding members in attendance, Marilyn Yeates and Barbara Walter, who were instrumental in fundraising and campaigning for Playcentre in Pirongia as well as securing the current building back in 1978.

According to Renee Coutts Pirongia Playcentre Team Leader, “these founding members played a significant role in keeping Pirongia Playcentre going all these years. These past members no doubt faced challenges along the way, just as our current members do today.”

“But pulling together as a whānau and community to overcome any obstacles makes Pirongia Playcentre what it is today. And our present and future members can’t thank these past members enough,” said Ms Coutts.

Pirongia Playcentre is a heritage listed building, treasured by past and present Centre members and the community.

Pirongia Playcentre started as a playgroup in the early 1970’s and became a Playcentre in 1973.

In 1978 the local community purchased the original Pirongia School Classroom (built in 1873) which is believed to be the oldest school building in Waikato and donated it to the Playcentre.

The Centre is also having a commemorative mural created to mark the occasion.

“The mural will incorporate our tamariki and whānau, the “play, learn, grow together” philosophy of Playcentre, and our local flora, fauna and natural heritage, in particular the maunga which we are located under,” explains Ms Coutts.

For 50 years, Pirongia Playcentre has been offering families the chance to play, learn and grow together, as well as to forge meaningful friendships with other families in the community.

The centre is open Tuesday to Friday mornings from 9.30am and welcomes families with children aged 0-6 years.

You can contact them to arrange a free visit at [email protected].

Cake cutting: Past Pirongia Playcentre member, Caroline McMonagle, past Pirongia Playcentre child and current member, Kelly McMonagle, and present tamaiti, Ryan McCormack, cut the 50th Anniversary cake.