The AGM Edition

What a great time the AGM was – and for the first time in a long time, it was so good to be able to be together with so many of you in person, again.

Our Legacy Awards recognised not only the contribution that kindergarten has made to communities over the past 110 years, but also the ongoing contributions that individual kindergartens continue to make, today. Congratulations to all of the winners, and those who came so close to winning – I could feel the pride, and collective celebration in the room, and it brought home to me how strong, and vibrant we are as a network.

Awards happen once a year, but each and every kindergarten’s mahi is making a difference to the lives of tamariki and whānau every day. Thank you for your efforts – and rest assured, they do not go unnoticed. We hear every day how valued our teaching teams are through our social media channels, and in day-to-day conversations. I am immensely proud of the work that is done behind the scenes at Head Office, too, to ensure that tamariki are getting the absolute best quality start to their formal education. In order to achieve this, it requires a team effort, and I am just so delighted that you are part of our team, as we cannot do this without you!

Mā te tini, mā mano, ka rapa te whai – by many, by thousands, the work will be accomplished.

Warm regards,

Sherryll Wilson

Celebrating our winners

Our special Legacy Awards recognise those kindergartens that have made special contributions over the past decade, and that keep alive our rich and proud history. Congratulations to all our winners, koia kei a koutou.

Rangatiratanga – Leadership in raising the profile of kindergarten

Kidsfirst Wales Street

Over the last decade, the Wales Street teaching team has had an active role in their community, recognising the importance of connection to both tamariki and whānau. The team has found new ways to showcase their kindergarten, and show the world how proud of it they are – particularly through the production of videos. Their most recent effort was a video about the impact rubbish has on their environment, produced by tamariki and kaiako. Whānau and community have learned a thing or two along the way, too. Our thanks to award sponsors, Powershop NZ, for making this award possible.

Highly Commended:

  • Sunbeam
  • Greymouth
  • Lincoln
  • Trengrove

Manaakitanga – Kindergarten at the heart of community

Joint Winner Kidsfirst Bromley

Kidsfirst Bromley is a solutions-focused kindergarten whose work has received international recognition. As part of the kindergarten’s focus on improving the wellbeing and safety of their community, they were part of a local project which created significant social change, both in their suburb and throughout Ōtautahi Christchurch. The kindergarten team has also contributed to a University of Canterbury research project which looks at improving the social wellbeing of tamariki and their whānau. They are clearly a kindergarten with their community at heart, tino pai to mahi, Kidsfirst Bromley. Our thanks to award sponsors Modern Teaching Aids NZ, for making this award possible.

Manaakitanga – Kindergarten at the heart of community

Joint Award Winner Kidsfirst Portsmouth Street

The community each of our kindergartens serve is unique, and each responds to the needs of their community in ways that serve it best. After the many much-needed social supports were lost as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, this team did what kindergarten has done for communities for over a century. The Kidsfirst Portsmouth Street team advocates for tamariki and whānau, which in turn has created a proud and united community. Speech and Language projects, health and wellbeing initiatives, and being there for whānau through tough times are just some of the ways the team has been an important hub for its diverse and vibrant community. Ka pai, Kidsfirst Portsmouth Street. Our thanks to award sponsors Play’n’Learn, for making this award possible.

Highly Commended:

  • Queenspark
  • Hornby
  • Trengrove
  • King Street

Te Tiriti Partnership – Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi

Joint Award Winner Kidsfirst Linwood

Developing their kindergarten’s cultural narrative has been important for many Kidsfirst kaiako over the years, and the tradition carries on to today. The current Kidsfirst Linwood team honours Te Titriti o Waitangi by ensuring to protect the culture of mana and tangata whenua, and that Māori whānau are active participants in kindergarten life. Their bicultural commitment is evident in their environment, too, through features including leadlight panels in the playground, which depicts the story of Aoraki and his brothers, contributing to a stronger sense of place for tamariki, whānau, kaiako, and visitors. Ka mau te wehi, Kidsfirst Linwood. Our thanks to award sponsors BDO New Zealand, for making this award possible.

Te Tiriti Partnership – Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi

Joint Award Winner Kidsfirst Hokitika

Living te ao Māori values is extremely important for the team at Kidsfirst Hokitika, who welcome each new person to their kindergarten with a Mihi Whakatau. The kindergarten has an ingrained culture of Ako – where everyone learns together, and from one another, and older tamariki are always happy to pass on their knowledge to those just starting out. There is also a strong focus on sustainability and kaitiakitanga, with kaiako and tamariki committed to improving the whenua they are surrounded by, and learning along the way – kei runga noa atu koe, Kidsfirst Hokitika. Our thanks to award sponsors Mortlock McCormack Law, for making this award possible. This award was accepted on behalf of the kindergarten team by Catherine Gerslov-Wright.

Highly Commended:

  • Burnham
  • Templeton
  • Diamond Harbour
  • Lyttelton
  • Alexandra

Kaitiakitanga – Conscious of the natural environment

Kidsfirst Lincoln

Kidsfirst Lincoln has long been a trailblazer in the environmental space, becoming one of the first Enviroschools kindergartens almost twenty years ago. By learning through inquiry, building connections, and incorporating bicultural perspectives, the kindergarten has had a focus on a sustainable future for Papatūānuku, and have inspired many in their community. The sense of responsibility and care for our environment is brought to life every day through conversations you hear between tamariki, whānau, kaiako, and kindergarten visitors. Over the years, generations have contributed to the journey, and Lincoln now has the highest Enviroschools status possible, with their Beyond Green Gold certification, which continues to also influence the community around it. Our thanks to award sponsors Portacom, for making this award possible.

Highly Commended:

  • Ōpāwa St Martins
  • Lyttelton
  • Karoro
  • Hawthornden
  • Cashmere
  • Hokitika

Whanaungatanga – Rich and diverse inclusiveness

Kidsfirst Hargest Crescent

An inclusive kindergarten environment is actively nurtured by the Hargest Crescent team, who welcome everyone who steps through their doors with open arms. The kindergarten is a community-focused environment, with kaupapa, activities, and events being shared with visitors and those beyond the gates. Their welcoming programme makes sure tamariki and their whānau feel at home, and fosters a sense of belonging. Kei hea kē mai koutou, Kidsfirst Hargest Crescent. Our thanks to award sponsor Powershop NZ, for making this award possible.

Highly Commended:

  • Selwyn Street
  • Cashmere
  • Ilam
  • Cotswold Avenue
  • King Street
  • Portsmouth Street
  • McKenzie

2022 Board Legacy Award Winner

Kidsfirst Maniototo

This Central Otago kindergarten goes the extra mile in meeting the unique needs of its rural community, and meeting the needs of whānau, and how they connect with the kindergarten. Centred around the tight-knit town of Ranfurly, Maniototo kaiako never miss an opportunity to embrace whānau, past and present. The team works hard to provide learning through play experiences that relate to the specific interests of tamariki in their rural community. Tau kē, Kidsfirst Maniototo, fantastic mahi. The team would also like to acknowledge kaiako, Theresa Souness, who retired at the end of 2021, after 8 years of service to Maniototo kindergarten.

2022 Community Champions

Again this year we recognised a number of people who make significant contributions to our kindergartens, with our Community Champion awards. We’re so grateful for everyone who gives of their time to enrich the learning of tamariki. Nō reira, tēna koutou katoa, for your time, dedication, and care.

Janet Loh – Kidsfirst Selwyn Street

Kidsfirst Selwyn Street’s teaching team are always happy to see Janet Loh walk through their doors. Even though Janet’s tamariki left the kindergarten four years ago, she still comes along to help the teaching team with every day mahi, that keeps things ticking along. Janet is a welcome extra pair of hands on excursions, or in the kitchen, and will often show up with food deliveries, which are much appreciated. Ngā mihi nui for your contributions to our kindergartens, Janet, congratulations.

Avie Miller – Kidsfirst Broomfield

Volunteers and whānau are an integral part of making sure kindergarten excursions can happen, and are also an important way for family and kindergarten friends to stay involved. Avie Miller, a treasured member of Kidsfirst Broomfield’s kindergarten whānau is there to lend a hand when tamariki go out to explore the big wide world, and she’s there in so many other ways, too. Thank you, Avie, for the support you give to the Kidsfirst Broomfield team, and for the way you enrich the life and learning of tamariki.

Wally Hemapo – Kidsfirst Diamond Harbour

Wally Hemapo’s mokopuna may have moved on to the next stage of their educational journey, however this kolo still generously donates his time and skills to their kindergarten, Kidsfirst Diamond Harbour. His incredible carving projects bring te ao Māori to life – including an Oamaru stone korū, a special pou, and a waka, which was gifted the name “He waka eke noa” because at kindy, we’re all together on our journey. Wally epitomises kotahitanga, and has strong relationships with tamariki, whānau, and kaiako at the kindergarten, which he maintained even during COVID restrictions, setting up a fundraising book sale, and food and clothing drive. Ka rawe, Wally, we appreciate you so much.

Our Highly Commended Community Champions this year were:

  • Karen Koster – Phillipstown
  • Abbie Strong – Wales Street
  • Alleesa Menzies – Maniototo
  • Grandad Ewan – Isleworth
  • Anna Smith – Queenspark
  • The Boere Family – Karoro
  • James and Toni Rutherford – Sunbeam
  • Ben Calvin – Sunbeam

Recognising our Legacy

Thanks to our sponsors

It takes a village to put on an awards ceremony, and, again this year we were grateful to the sponsors, who helped make it all possible. Please pass on the word, where you can, to promote these firms.

Tēna koutou – thank you to you all, Kidsfirst wouldn’t be the same without you.