Volunteer of the Month 2023

December 2023

Tamara Chamberlain from Helensville Playcentre

“Tamara is always the first to arrive and the last to leave at every session.  She always finds inspirational ways to set up invitations to play and we know when we arrive there is already going to be an amazing set up.

Our numbers have been low, and roles have been difficult to fill and she has quietly taken on the leadership role in pretty much all the vacant roles.

She’s out there promoting Playcentre at community events, ensuring our health and safety is up to spec, our secretary, organising and chairing our meetings. On top of that you can often find her husband there undertaking repairs and maintenance.

She’s helpful and always answers questions from other members and visitors. Thank you Tamara for keeping Helensville Playcentre running smoothly.”

November 2023

Michelle Crawford from Pirongia Playcentre

Michelle is part of our leadership team and is about to embark on her 2nd year on the team. This year has been a super busy one for our centre, and Michelle has carried her fair share of workload throughout. Not only has she been one of our leaders, but she’s also covered our vacant communications role and organised all our centre events, including helping plan our centres 50th Birthday celebrations later this year. She’s led internal evaluations, coordinated our monthly newsletters, helped with property maintenance, and constantly doing things behind the scenes to help us operate. Amongst all this, she has also started and is about to complete C-Series. An absolute super-star!  – Renee 

Michelle contributes to our centre in so many ways. She has completely revived our centres’ communication channels with her social media presence and beautiful emails. She always makes an effort to include our honorary members, she is one of our team leaders and the first to volunteer her time when we need extra course holders/ first aiders for sessions. She puts a huge amount of time into our centre – Pirongia is very lucky to have her!  – Rachel 

October 2023

Emmeline Henderson from Wairaka Playcentre

I would like to nominate Emmeline Henderson for volunteer of the month. Even with three children to juggle at Playcentre she still manages to sort all our private hires of our centre, organises fundraising events, helps our secretary when needed, work on our Facebook page to help promote Wairaka Playcentre, organise excursions and other general maintenance and organisation. She always goes above and beyond and is no doing C series to ensure we have a succession plan for our person responsible position. 

On top of this she is kind, caring, and a fantastic educator of all of the children at Wairaka Playcentre. – Michelle, Centre President

September 2023

Kirsty Gray from Whitford Playcentre

When I started in Feb 2022 Whitford had lots of children who were close to school age and in the last year we have lost many of our members as these children have since gone to school. At one stage our numbers were extremely low and Kirsty was picking up the bulk of the playcentre roles as so many of our members were new and had not been assigned roles or put on parent help.

Kirsty has kept our centre running, managed to upskill members such as myself and also helped to organise and provide one-site training for our new members which has really boosted moral and helped to create that whanau environment again!

July 2023

Laura Graham from Galatea Playcentre (Murupara)


Laura will receive a $100 Playcentre Shop voucher in recognition of the significant contribution she has made to her Playcentre community

Laura’s centre members say, “She has worked to bring the membership up to a now bumping centre, making it the best whānau hub for our rural community.  Our community has limited opportunities for Mums, so Laura’s efforts to keep our centre running has been so appreciated. 

Kei te pai Laura, we love you!”


June 2023

 Alison Moorcroft from Whataupoko Playcentre

I (and our committee) would like to nominate our amazing treasurer/unofficial president Alison Moorcroft who goes above and beyond for Whataupoko Playcentre here in Gisborne.

Our Playcentre would potentially not be operating without Alison who is a walking Playcentre handbook, does a lot of the behind the scenes paperwork, helps all our members with their learning stories and Playcentre Introductory Award course content, guides us all in our Playcentre journey, manages the committee like a pro, never misses an opportunity to play with the tamariki (all the tamariki) and always has a smile on her face.

She is amazing, and we are so lucky and so grateful for her and her commitment to our Playcentre. 

Thank you Alison for all your hard mahi, with love – your whānau at Whataupoko Playcentre.


May 2023

Nerissa Blair from Te Awamutu Playcentre

One of our valued members is Nerissa Blair. She currently has 2 daughters Rose and Kate that attend Te Awamutu Playcentre and Isla, her eldest, now goes to school.

Nerissa puts her heart and soul into our Playcentre. She is currently our treasurer, which as we know, takes a lot of time and energy. She is an active member of our centre, attends every meeting and goes above and beyond if the centre needs anything. Her and her husband’s business is a building company and there have been many times when she gets her husband to “whip something up” if we ever need anything built.

However, the most special thing about Nerissa is her ability to make a connection with all the tamariki and caregivers alike. Nerissa has a smile that lights up the room. I don’t think there is a single child in our centre that hasn’t had a learning story written by Nerissa. 

She is a very special person and we all love her to bits!

April 2023

Bree Iorns from Paekākāriki Playcentre

Bree is not only our superstar Treasurer but she keeps centre in ship-shape thanks to her skills as a gardener, ‘handyman’, seamstress, project propeller, and offers valuable knowledge of tikanga me kaupapa Māori. She obtained her PIA early on, and for a whole was the sole PIA qualified member on sessions.

In the last few months Bree has constructed furniture and storage facilities at centre with no budget; repurposing materials she finds under and around the building.

She is continually evaluating our space and how to make different forms of play more accessible to all tamariki.

Bree is the rare combination of a thinker and a doer, and we are very fortunate to have had her for several years. With her youngest heading off to school in the near future you’d think her pace would slow but her contribution rate continues.

March 2023

Lauren Shaw from Pyes Pa Playcentre

We have been lucky to have Lauren as a member of Pyes Pa Playcentre for 6 years. Lauren is one of the most passionate, dedicated and hard working people I know. 

She has been a Playcentre mum, with her three girls, for nine years, and worked hard to achieve her C4 early on. While mumming she also juggles work and many dance classes!  She turns up, without fail, enabling us to open our wee centre and has held numerous playcentre committee positions (too many to mention!).  Not to mention the workshops she has organised and her invaluable in-depth knowledge of the playcentre ethos.

Lauren is a superwoman and everyone’s exercise pal at Playcentre. Even encouraging a number of us to enter the Tauranga women’s triathlon this month! We will be so so sad to see her go next month as her youngest, Sage, turns five, but we will certainly keep in touch! 

February 2023

Eleanor Kane from Kelburn Playcentre

Eleanor is a regular mum to two children aged four and two who both attend Playcentre.

But that’s where the regular part of Eleanor stops. Eleanor goes above and beyond for our centre in a way so many will never know about. She is the first point of call for EVERYONE whether it was falls in her basket as co president or not. 

After just one year at Playcentre Eleanor agreed to take on the roll of sole President at a large Playcentre just in time to deal with everything COVID had to throw at us. She come out on top. 

Eleanor works tirelessly, ensuring that all of the behind the scenes policy work and essential centre administration ticks over keeping our centre working. As a full time mum she fits this in where ever she can, regularly working late into the night. She then turns up at least three days a week with a smile on her face and a positive attitude for all those around her. 

As a person responsible she has also worked over time to cover others when needed, and to shuffle her family life around when needed to be there for us to run sessions. 

Eleanor is a superstar, and we are so grateful and lucky to have her as part of the Playcentre whānau in Kelburn.