Volunteer of the Month 2022

September 2022

Marzena (Margi)


Nominated by her fellow centre members, our volunteer of the month for September is Marzena (Margi) from Ōtaki Playcentre.

They say ‘when it rains it pours.’ That is certainly how it felt for Ōtaki Playcentre, when the majority of our longest attending members left for new adventures such as school. With so many new families keen to join our Ōtaki Playcentre whānau, we looked to Marzena (Margi) for knowledge and guidance. Margi has always been a wealth of knowledge, familiar with policies and procedures and the day to day running of Playcentre. 

Attending when her first child Tom was just a baby about 7 years ago, she has continued her Playcentre journey, completing Playcentre education, having a second baby and later juggling work, school, and Playcentre commitments.

No one works harder than Margi. Not doing it for the praise or recognition Margi just gets things done. One of the first to arrive, she is all ‘go’ from the moment she walks through the doors. It is rare to see her sit still, as there is always something to be done. Setting up invitations of play, sorting equipment and resources, writing up learning stories and recording evaluations and endless cleaning.

Margi has taken on many roles at Playcentre and even attended without her own children to support us and keep us open when our qualifications were lacking.

Margi’s engagement with the children is wonderful to witness.  She is encouraging and empowering. Often leading cooking/ baking and various fun activities for those keen to have a go.  Margi always has new ideas and ways to extend children’s learning in a holistic way. 

Always a smiley face Margi not only encourages the children but adults too. Showing support and understanding with the challenges that come with parenting.

Incredibly generous and giving to Playcentre, especially with her time. We have been very fortunate Margi chose our Centre to become part of her extended whānau.

On to new adventures as her youngest Nina turns 5 and is off to join her older brother Tom at school.  Margi will be well missed by all who attend Ōtaki Playcentre. 

Margi’s done so much for our centre, and we really want to thank her.

March 2022

Gemma Robinson


Gemma has been nominated by her fellow centre members at Maungaraki Playcentre in Lower Hutt.

She started Playcentre almost 9 years ago and has held a variety of office holder roles in that time including president, child planning officer and adult education officer.

She is currently secretary, fundraising officer, team lead on Monday session and a member of the employee committee.

She supports everyone in their office holdings and is a huge champion for parent-led education.  She has had a range of office holdings over her last 9 years (in fact, I think she has done them ALL at some point) and is committed, engaged and enthusiastic about it all.

What Gemma doesn’t know about Playcentre and more specifically about our Playcentre can be written on the back of a postage stamp. She is passionate about child led play. 

She does so much! She is the person responsible, as she has Playcentre Course 4 – so without her our sessions simply wouldn’t run. She turns up to every session with boundless energy, supporting each child and family with her passion and love of Playcentre.

She has ideas galore, kindness in bundles and she gives her time without hesitation. Running meetings, leading fundraisers, welcoming visitors with positivity and care and being a listening ear to all. 

Recently she organised a fundraising raffle for our centre which raised $1,600 – which is essential to the running of our Playcentre. 

If anyone deserves their efforts and love of Playcentre to be honoured, it is Gemma.