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Welcome back to the start of the 2020 Playcentre year. Already I have seen the excitement via social media of many Centres announcing the start of their sessions for this year.

I also am anticipating some positive changes for Playcentre in 2020 as a result of a lot of the work that we began last year.

We are waiting on confirmation of an extension to the recognition of the previous Course 3 Playcentre qualification which was to expire at the end of this year. My advice from the Ministry of Education officials I have been working with is that this is currently with the Secretary for Education for consideration and we expect this to be signed off very soon.

We have also been working with the Ministry of Education on a proposal for additional funding which has now been finalised and will be forwarded as part of the Budget 2020 programme to be considered by Ministers. It is my view that this is to address the historic underfunding of Playcentre and that we will be working with the Ministry throughout 2020 to progress the future funding model for Playcentre as noted in the Early Learning Action Plan.

I will be meeting with Hon. Tracey Martin on Monday 10 February to advocate for support for our budget bid. Minister Martin is the Associate Minister for Education and Minister for Children as well as the Minister for Internal Affairs so I will also be raising our concerns around the Community Grants Scheme as well promoting the need to properly fund Playcentre Aotearoa. We also have requested a meeting with Hon. Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education, to seek further support for Playcentre.

The Playcentre Management Team have also had a number of changes over the Christmas period and we will be welcoming a number of new staff to the National Service Centre. Each of the new appointees will have the chance to introduce themselves in future Bulletins but for now I will provide a brief introduction.


Kaiwhakahaere Hononga Māori (Māori Relationships Manager) – Thomas Tawhiri

Thomas joins Playcentre on 24 February and is currently School Relationship Manager with NZQA and brings to Playcentre an extensive education background including – Student Achievement Practitioner at the Ministry of Education, Education Group Manager at Te Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, Māori Curriculum Leader/ECE Lecturer at Whitireia Community Polytechnic and Education Review Officer at ERO.

Thomas’s qualifications include – Diploma of Teaching, Bachelor of Education, Postgraduate Certificate in Child Health Sciences, Postgraduate Diploma in Te Reo Māori and Master of Indigenous Studies.


Human Resources Manager – Meg Cooksley

Meg joins Playcentre on 17 February and is currently working at Greater Wellington Regional Council at a Senior Business Partner. Meg has a wide range of Human Resource experience including operating as a Human Resources Manager and being an active member of senior leadership teams.

Meg’s previous experience includes working at Kapiti Coast District Council and the Inland Revenue Department and she brings a wealth of HR experience to Playcentre.


National Property Manager – John Manning

John joins Playcentre on 24 February and is currently National Manager Assets & Facilities at the Department of Corrections. Prior to this John has a property background that includes – Property and Facilities Manager at Hutt Valley DHB and Facilities Management Manager at Te Papa.

John has completed Health and Safety and Asset Management training and has a range of engineering qualifications.


Communication Manager – Gael Woods

Gael joins Playcentre on 10 March and is currently Communications Manager at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (the Correspondence School). Gael has previously worked at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research as a Storyteller and prior to this was Deputy Head of News at Radio New Zealand where she was previously a Specialist Education Correspondent.

Gael has a Diploma of Journalism and has been a finalist / winner for a range of Newspaper and Radio awards in relation to her Education reporting specialism.

Along with new appointees we would also like to acknowledge staff who are departing or have had a change of position.


Claire Gullidge will become temporary Project Lead Website Development in March reporting to the new Communication Manager. Claire will be continuing with the amazing work she has done on our website as well as other promotional work.

Mārika Williams has decided to leave Playcentre to focus on further Education. As Māori Development Manager Mārika provided Playcentre Aotearoa with some amazing resources as well as providing support for Te Whare Tikanga Māori. Mārika left Playcentre at the end of January and we wish her well with her education endeavours.

Dalene Mactier, USI Regional Manager has accepted a position with ERO and her last day with Playcentre after 19 years was on 27 January. Dalene acknowledged that Playcentre has been an enormous part of her life from her very first visit to Ashburton Playcentre, enrolling in Southbridge Playcentre, becoming involved in Canterbury Playcentre Association, then the Playcentre Federation and finally transitioning with us to Playcentre Aotearoa.

Alan Taylor, Property Manager will be leaving Playcentre on 20 March. We are looking forward to Alan joining us at the 14th February Management team meeting so that we can farewell him and thank Alan for his hard work over the years.


Ka kite anō au i a koutou.