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New chapter for kindergarten in the Wellington region

6 August 2014

New chapter for kindergarten in the Wellington region

The Rimutaka and Wellington Region Free Kindergarten Associations come together today as one organisation called He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association. He Whānau Manaaki, meaning ‘a caring family’, encompasses 85 kindergartens in the Wellington region, from Seatoun north to Levin and Masterton. Over 5,600 children and families participate in kindergartens operated by the new association.

“What happens each day at kindergarten is what matters most to children and whānau” says He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens governance board co-chairperson Shane La’ulu. “We believed forming one association to support that to happen is the best way forward for everybody.”

The Rimutaka and Wellington Associations have managed and supported kindergartens in the region for decades. The new association continues that practice, employing some 500 teachers and 150 support staff.

Amanda Coulston, previously the general manager of the Wellington Kindergarten Association, is the chief executive of He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens, and Jane Braun, previously the manager of the Rimutaka Kindergarten Association is the deputy chief executive. The interim governance board is made up of the two previous associations’ board members and is co-chaired by the previous chairpersons Pamela Malcolm (Rimutaka) and Shane La’ulu (Wellington).

As the leadership team, Amanda and Jane are working with the board and management and professional advisory teams to bring the two organisations together. There will be a transition period to allow time for systems, policies and procedures to be worked through and aligned, and for the development of new structures such as reference and advisory groups.

While there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes, what happens each day at kindergarten for children and families continues as usual. Families continue to be involved as they are each day. The immediate change is about the structure of the association supporting kindergartens, rather than what happens at each kindergarten.

“We are committed to making the new organisation the best it can be” says He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens co-chairperson Pamela Malcolm. “These are exciting times for kindergarten.”

Over the past 18 months the governing boards of the Rimutaka and Wellington Kindergarten Associations explored the idea of bringing together the associations and concluded a single association would provide a sound foundation for the future. Kindergarten association members voted to establish the new association at special meetings in May this year.

For more information visit:

Click here to read the newsletter to the kindergarten community.


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