Update 23 April 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

It’s been interesting to watch what’s been going on around the world with the COVID-19 situation, and concerning to see many countries still have rising numbers of cases.  In contrast, the Government briefing today revealed that while the number of deaths in New Zealand has tragically increased, there have only been three new or probable cases reported today.  I know it is frustrating for many of us being locked down, but I have been reflecting on the following whakataukī offered by our Maori Development Manager, Thomas Tawhiri, at our management meeting:

Kua tawhiti kē to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu,

He nui rawa o mahi, kia kore e mahi tonu.

We’ve come too far to turn back.


It really does seem perfect for the times, and hopefully we will move back to something resembling normal more quickly because of this early work we’ve done. 

The good news of course is that we are moving out of Level 4.  While our Centres won’t be opening at Level 3, we are already planning for when we do get back.

Veronica Pitt along with the Regional Managers have been working on the following guidelines that we should all be taking note of so that we are as prepared as possible for when sessions are able to begin again.

As a basic rule, neither members nor employees should be entering Playcentres during Level 3. Playcentres are still closed and accessing them is not required for essential purposes. 

Children are not to enter any Playcentre for any reason during Level 4 or Level 3.

There are a couple of situations where an adult may need to access the Playcentre, and we have outlined these below. 

In order for any of these to occur however they need to:

  • Be kept to a minimum, be coordinated through the contact/liaison person for the centre to ensure that there is no overlap in visits, and everyone should ensure high levels of hygiene are maintained (washing hands on entering and after leaving, coughing/sneezing into elbow, cleaning down door handles/keypads, etc).
  • The contact/liaison person needs to keep a written record of who is going into the centre and when – with the person who is going in texting the contact person when they leave.

Property projects: where there was a pre-planned property project that was delayed due to Level 4 or was scheduled to occur now, and the contractor is now able to operate safely in Level 3 – this can occur. One person from the centre can provide access to the centre to the contractor (if required) and lock up afterwards but does not need to be present during the work. 

Collecting paperwork: where there is paperwork sitting at the centre, that the Centre Admin or another member needs in order to carry out work from home – one person can go into the centre to collect the necessary paperwork, and take it home to email or share electronically with others. 

 Mowing the lawns: One person can go in to mow the lawns if this is needed. 

Checking on centre/feeding pets: In general, you should not need to check on the centre, however someone who lives nearby and can walk past can do an external quick check. If there is a need to feed a pet/fish that is in the centre and hasn’t been taken home, one person should be assigned to do this, with a clear schedule of when they will be going in to do so. 

For any of the above situations the contact person needs to be notified and will coordinate and record any visits, while keeping them to a minimum.

A reminder that playgrounds are still closed, so no children (or adults!) should be playing on the playground equipment. If toys and equipment have been taken home prior to the lockdown they will need to be cleaned and disinfected prior to being returned – once we reopen – and should not be being passed from family to family. You must avoid using any toys (soft toys) with porous surfaces that can absorb and retain fluids.

When we are alerted that we will be able to reopen our centres, it is likely we will have at least a week prior to prepare – including activities like carrying out a basic property inspection, general clean and making sure we have sufficient resources. 

Regional offices: If employees need to access regional offices in order to get items enabling them to carry out work from home, this needs to be coordinated with the appropriate Regional Manager.  The factors around this are similar to the above:

  •  Regional Manager to coordinate and record any visits to the office
  • These are to be kept to an absolute minimum and only where necessary
  • Employees to wash hands regularly and practice good hygiene – disinfect surfaces/door handles that are touched as much as is practical. 

In another positive development, we are going to open the shop next Tuesday, although that will be for online orders only. Megan and Jessamy have worked out a protocol for doing this within the Level 3 requirements, working different days so they are not in the shop together. No customers will be entering the shop for any reason and there will be a cleaning protocol in place for the shop and office.

Ka kite anō au i a koutou.

Sean McKinley