adults, and adults and children. The team: Anthea, Kirsty Hill, Ann Loye, Amanda Cheetham, Jose’ McGovern, Jeannie Ward, Danny Ward, Anne Burnside, Shona Jones and Jacqui Paku et al clearly operated like a well oiled machine! Parent education, property maintenance and fundraising were ably undertaken. A second session and an afternoon session were unsuccessfully trialled but the water tank was successfully moved. The Playcentre was in good heart, even if the President could see storm clouds on the horizon.
“The effect of the rural downturn is becoming more noticeable at Otamauri and in wider Hawkes Bay. Farmers can’t afford to retire and their children can’t afford to farm. Our projected rolls don’t look good. Children remain in the cities or overseas where the opportunities are greater. Farms that might have employed a married couple and perhaps a shepherd 20 years ago are now run by the farmer and maybe his wife or partner. That is if she isn’t working in town to supplement the farm income. We live in fluid times and it is not only the farming community that is forced to change. A job today may be gone tomorrow. I cannot remember a time in my life when there was so much uncertainty about.”
Sometimes the bright spot in the doom and gloom about the future proved to be the continued enjoyment of the children of the facilities, the activities and each other.
“We are here because they love it!” A Yule 99.
Many of the children who had frequented the Playcentre and their parents who had supported the centre for years moved to school. The roll dropped from 30 to 13 in 3 years. Worse was to come.
“I would like to wish all of you who are around for the future all the best. I don’t assume that things are going to be easy for you especially in the next year but I am confident that you will see a turn around in no time. Remember what you put into this place will reward you by what you and your children get out of it. We are here for our children’s future and we have a great community asset that has been used by many for over three decades.” K Hill 2000.
Messy Big White
Reflection makes me tired. Where does life go? It only seems like yesterday that preschoolers and Playcentre days ruled my life. Big White, the family wagon was forever laden with my children, other people’s children, car seats, nappy bags, food, small backpacks, wet paintings, bits of wood and other interesting creations. Meeting agendas, the minutes, reports, discarded socks, shoes, clothes, half eaten fruit and crumbs. The car was never clean and always on the road.
My Playcentre involvement was busy and rewarding. Emma, Thomas, Henry and Charles speak fondly of their time there. It has helped them become the people they are.
The Playcentre philosophy is a good one. It grabs you. While founded on the principle of learning through play, the empowerment for adult and child can be enormous. Positive