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No. 50 (March 1965)
– 45 –

PLAY CENTRE AT
AHIMIA

the official opening of the Centre was in September 1963. After a talk given by Mr A. Grey, pre-school officer for the Maori Education Foundation, the local headmaster and his wife, together with a group of interested parents, set about discussing ways of setting up the centre and creating interest in the village. Three mothers visited an existing pre-school at Turua, where they gained much practical information on how to run the centre. Equipment at this stage was provided largely from school resources.

Since then parents' interest has become so great that all of them are now members of the committee. Mrs B. Renata is the president and Mr H. Connor the secretary-treasurer. Meetings of the committee are held monthly to discuss the centre's progress, equipment and maintenance, and ways and means of fund raising. Fund-raising schemes have included holding stalls, dances and raffles, and at present the committee is holding £30, as well as the £50 received as a government grant when the Centre was affiliated with the parent body in Auckland.

Sessions are held weekly on Saturday mornings from 9.30 a.m. to 12 a.m. They are organised by a trained supervisor (the local teacher) and two mother helpers. Altogether there are 13 mother helpers, and they work according to a pre-arranged roster system. Three of the mother helpers, Mesdames Collier, B. Renata and M. Connor, have qualified for their helpers certificates, and these three are now preparing for their assistant supervisor certificates.

Enthusiasm is Infectious

The 17 pre-school children on the roll show a keen eagerness to attend the weekly ‘school sessions’, and often older brothers and sisters of the tiny tots in the class also come along. Enthusiasm is infectious, and the greater awareness of school life which the centre has stimulated has also improved the school attendance and achievement of the older children.

The equipment provided from school resources has now been supplemented by the committee's purchases. The committee hopes in the future to obtain a complete range of standard equipment, to acquire a play centre building of their own, and, when the need arises, to operate more frequently.

through the play centre federation, the Maori Education Foundation can make available grants to enable Maori parents to attend play centre training courses.

The Northland playcentre association was recently granted £50 for 1965, having spent a similar amount last year on playcentre training expenses.

a memorial to the late mr charlie goldsmith was unveiled on 12 December in the Awatere Valley at Te Araroa on the East Coast. Mr Goldsmith, who was well known on the East Coast, was an Officer in the Pioneer Maori Battalion in the first world war. For many years he managed the Waiapu Farmers' Cooperative at Tikitiki. He was closely associated with Sir Apirana Ngata in many of the major Maori projects on the East Coast.