Volunteer of the Month 2022

December 2022

Karen Josey

I would love to nominate one of our volunteers (Karen Josey) for recognition of the hard work she does at our centre.

Her youngest child is now in her mid-20s, so left long ago, but Karen still attends with her C4 qualification offering support and years of knowledge from her experience as a Playcentre Mum.

Karen has attended a few different Playcentres but has been with us for over 10 years now.

She used to be a marker back when the old education model was still being used.

And when you’re having a brain fog and looking for inspiration for a new setup, Karen will pipe up with a great idea and a coffee.

We do appreciate the time and effort she gives to our Centre and believe she is such an asset to us.  

Desiree Robson 

Thames Parawai Playcentre


November 2022

Katrina Curtis

Katrina has been my vice president this year and we have had an incredibly productive 3 terms. 

I was due to give birth my second child in September, but James arrived 5 weeks early as I was driving home from Playcentre with my 3 year old Matilda!

I messaged Katrina from the hospital, and she has seamlessly picked up all my jobs of organising the SGM and AGM, as well as all our usual day to day running of our centre at barely a moment’s notice.

I’d love her enormous mahi to be acknowledged by Playcentre – Kate Lord, President,, Landsdowne Terrace Playcentre




October 2022

Grace Murphy

We at Russell Playcentre would like to nominate Grace Murphy as Volunteer of the month. She is actually our volunteer superstar of the last 3 years!

Grace and her 2 boys practically live at Russell Playcentre. She leads the Executive board, oversees Staff, deals with all things playcentre, and is the walking brain of Russell Playcentre.

Her mahi in the centre goes way beyond any normal acceptable voluntary work.

She has a big heart for families, to have somewhere in the community to bring their children and form friendships. She puts great emphasis in maintaining and nurturing the building. Grace will often stay behind after each session ensuring the centre is clean enough for the next day of play.

If something needs fixing, building, cleaning, sorting, she’s on it. If there’s a curly situation, she’s the default person at the forefront for that. 

Even when never asked to do things, she just does it.

Grace, bless her heart, is the rock of our centre and without her, the place would have fallen down in the last year in very tough times. But she hung in there, found out what she had to, practically did every office role holder there was, has been the main communicator both in centre and to our wider community, to keep the place going.

Now we have seen consistent growth of members again, and she has paved the way for, and assisted 3 new staff into their new roles.

Grace has done ALL of this and more, for free, and never asks for anything in return. We are thankful for you Grace, and all you do. 

We at Russell Playcentre see you, acknowledge you, and thank you, for being the best volunteer you can be. 

Because of you, we still have this precious Taonga to call our 2nd home, at Russell Playcentre.

Tino pai Grace!  From all of us in the Bay of Islands!



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.