Tēnā koutou katoa
It was wonderful to meet with the Associate Education Minister, Tracey Martin, this week and learn that the Government is to provide an urgent boost to our funding. It is really good news and Minister Martin’s pragmatic approach to helping us is much appreciated. Sadly, it doesn’t mean spending sprees all around! The $3.7 million must go to offsetting our current deficit. Without that funding we would now be looking at closing down Centres. The further $500,000 grant will be used to assess the condition of Playcentre facilities and to develop a much-needed maintenance plan.
Most of all though, the new funding allows us a breathing space and some certainty to plan for our future. And while the money is essential, it was also gratifying to hear the Minister talk about the Government’s commitment to working to ensure Playcentre is viable and her words of support for a “kiwi institution and a philosophy of ‘parents as first educators’ for their children that many families value”.
The Save Playcentre petition was signed by more than 16,000 in just a week or so. A big thank-you to all of you who signed the petition and supported the campaign. It was great to see our story get a lot of coverage in the media which in the end I think shows the widespread support for Playcentre and the regard in which it is held by many New Zealanders.
One of the consequences of the changes made by the Department of Internal affairs to the COGS funding criteria meant we now needed to apply for grants through Lotteries Community Grants. We received funding in the first round of last year which was allocated to Centres that applied. We have been advised that there will be no allocation of lotteries funding from the second round as we cannot be allocated funding in two consecutive rounds. This is disappointing and we should have been advised prior to this. However, Centres are encouraged to submit applications for funding via https://www.playcentre.org.nz/member/grants/apply/ as we will be considered in this particular funding round due to not receiving any allocation in the previous round.
Volunteer Week – Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi
In the words of Volunteering New Zealand we all thrive and are enriched by the goodwill of volunteers. National Volunteer Week, which takes place next week, celebrates the collective contribution of all volunteers who enrich Aotearoa New Zealand. The theme of the week is Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi – the benefit of working together. Playcentre exemplifies those benefits every day in our 420 centres, where our voluntary members work to ensure whānau and tamariki are able to get the most out of a Playcentre experience.
I want to pay a heartfelt tribute to all our volunteers, without whom of course Playcentre simply would not exist. As we go into our 80th year in 2021, it is also an appropriate time to think about the contribution of all the tens of thousands of Playcentre volunteers who have nurtured and safeguarded our organisation over its 79 year journey.
Ka kite ano au i a koutou
A message from Māori Development Manager, Thomas Tawhiri
Matariki hunga, Matariki ahunga nui – Matariki has many admirers, it bring us together
Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau Tupu Ngatahi o Aotearoa
Matariki is the Māori name given to a cluster of stars known by the ancient Greeks as “Pleiades”, and celebrated by cultures across the world. Matariki was known as the “bringer of foods” and Māori tīpuna, or ancestors, would carefully watch the heavens for signs of favourable conditions and bounty in the year ahead. Matariki, today, is a time of renewal, reflection and celebration of a Māori midwinter new year. As part of our Playcentre celebrations for Matariki the Te Ao Māori team – Keri, Sasha, Erana, Faith and Jean – have put together resources and learning activities highlighting Matariki. These are beautifully presented and come with printable posters which illustrate Matariki in its full splendour. Feel free to go on our website and check the kōrero. Special thanks to the Te Ao Māori field workers and Claire Gullidge Playcentre Communications Project Lead.