Volunteer of the month 2024

April 2024

Debra Chamberlain-Brown from Te Puke Playcentre

Te Puke Playcentre would like to nominate Debra Chamberlain-Brown for volunteer of the month. Debra is one of those rare truly special people that you come across every so often, and we have been so lucky to have her as part of our Playcentre whānau. 

Debra has been our superstar Grants Officer for the past few years, and she has managed to get a phenomenal number of large projects over the line thanks to her grant application efforts. Her work doesn’t stop with grants though, once initiated, Debra sees the whole project through. Two years ago, Debra sourced the funds to give our baby room a makeover, including new bunk bed cots, decorations, and a fresh coat of paint. The baby corner also got some new soft play equipment, toys, and other furniture, and the family play area was totally transformed into a role play wonderland for our tamariki. Following on from this, Debra once again sourced the funds and coordinated the installation of an incredible new bike pump track, and magical outdoor musical instrument installation.

Then came the big one, the pipe dream that was always talked about but never dared to be attempted; a big renovation project including a new kitchen, opening up the back with double doors onto a new covered deck area, autex on the walls, fresh paint, new carpet, and a bathroom do-up. Debra decided to take it on.

Not only did she spend hours making applications for grants, requests for donations, and spearheading some major fundraising to reach our funds target, she also project-managed the whole renovation from A-Z, with meticulous attention to detail. There were many hoops to jump through along the way, from both Council and Playcentre, but Debra never gave up. While the renovations were under way, you could often find her on the weekends on the end of a paint roller, doing an extra coat after the rest of us had called it a day. After it was all done, Debra followed up with all the report write ups and a myriad of thank yous for all of our sponsors. 

All members of Te Puke Playcentre would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Debra for everything she has done for our community. It is truly inspiring. Mīharo, e hoa! Through her amazing work, she has made a Playcentre dream come true. Debra is a wonderful human being, she has had such a positive disposition and can-do attitude. Always smiling, always excited for our little Playcentre. She has surpassed everyone’s expectations of what is possible and our Playcentre looks outstanding as a result. The sense of wellbeing and belonging has increased for our entire whānau as the changes to the environment are warm, beautiful and inviting. A place to be truly cherished.

But she hasn’t stopped yet! She is currently upgrading our Science area with new furniture and equipment; the final swansong to her days at our Playcentre with her youngest having started school this term.

We wish all Centres could have a Debra!

March 2024

Samantha Stocker, Pleasant Point Playcentre

Pleasant Point Playcentre are lucky enough to have Samantha Stocker as our president.  We say president but she is so much more than that and wears so many different hats.

Sam took on the President’s role at an extremely low point in our Centre (near closure) and has been the driving force behind creating what is now a thriving community.

She works far too hard – she is now also the Treasurer, represents our region at a national level, does most of the property maintenance, shares multitudes of resources from home, and is there from start to finish every day, shouldering considerably more than her fair share of the workload.

Sam provides endless hours providing love and support to our centre. She has a passion for early education and is the walking version of the Playcentre philosophy. 

She encourages each parent to immerse themselves in Playcentre by providing help, support and education around centre roles but also while supporting them in their parenting journeys and showing them love and support as we all ride this roller coaster together. 

She maintains the indoor and outdoor area so the tamariki have a safe environment to engage in meaningful play while attending our sessions. 

She organises amazing excursions within our community to ensure Pleasant Point knows just how amazing our centre is and what we can provide for the town’s beautiful families. 

Sam does all of this while raising two beautiful boys and maintaining a farm with her husband.  

We are so incredibly lucky to have Sam as part of our small town and Playcentre Community.  Our Centre would not exist without Sam, and we are all so grateful for her. 

It’s time for her to be recognised and celebrated. We would love for Sam to be considered for Playcentres Volunteer of the month. 


Steph Bonis and Amy Bray

Pleasant Point Playcentre

February 2024

Katie Prescott and Renee Smith from Mount Maunganui Playcentre

We have co-presidents at our centre – Mount Maunganui and they are equally so passionate and invested, always going the extra mile and giving so so much to the centre and wider community. Renee Smith and Katie Prescott have both contributed so much in their time at Playcentre and their time has almost come to an end with their younger children starting the next chapter of their education. 

Katie has always lead the charge for education, helping educate members and encouraging / helping them sign up and complete PC courses. Without her passion and encouragement I don’t think we would have half the number of people coming up with the levels they have. 

Renee has lead the way with the relocation of our centre, holding and attending so so many meetings with members, the council, specialists, builders and other trades etc. She always give so much and puts her hand up for most things. 

Both of them in their final year at PC have,on top of everything they do, put their hands up to be co-presidents just giving so much back. Always.