Playcentre Aotearoa Life Member Pamela (Pam) Hanna has been recognised in the New Year Honours List 2024 as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community and early childhood education.  

Ms Hanna has been involved in New Zealand’s Playcentre movement for 20 years and has made a significant contribution to several community initiatives in Lower Hutt.

Ms Hanna was National President of the New Zealand Playcentre Federation for three years and was appointed inaugural Chief Executive of the Early Childhood Development Unit in 1989.

Under her leadership, the unit played a pivotal role in supporting centres to serve a diversity of communities and in providing effective professional learning and development for practitioners.

She authored the book ‘Thinking Together: Quality Adult-Child Interactions’, which continues to be used as a resource for early education practitioners today.

She has been involved with Lower Hutt community initiatives, revitalising the Petone Planning Action Group and Petone Rotary Fair, an event which attracts 30,000 visitors annually to the Jackson Street heritage shopping area.

She was Chair of the Petone Community Board from 2016 to 2022. During her tenure, she ensured residents were aware of the ramifications of local body plans and projects.

As Chair, Ms Hanna advocated for the redevelopment of several amenities including Petone wharf and library and engaged with residents and business owners to raise awareness of historic buildings and precincts.

Ms Hanna is one of only six life members of Playcentre Aotearoa. Other life members include Barbara Chapman, Beverley Morris, Margaret Wollermans, Robbie Burke and Marion Pilkington.

Playcentre Aotearoa is a nationwide charity with over 400 early childhood education centres throughout the country which values parents as first and best educators for their tamariki.