26 Jul 2017

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With lots to do, everyone at TopKids Harrison St helped out with the preparation, with children, teachers and whanau all chipping in to peel potatoes, kumara, pumpkin and carrots and ripping up bread to make stuffing.

The day arrived and we were blessed with a beautiful day. Our whanau and community pulled together, providing us with a number of kai cookers and helping prepare all the kai in trays to be cooked. The kai cookers smoked away in our front yard all afternoon and the aroma filled the whole centre!

We had a huge turn out as whanau, friends and the community joined us, the centre was packed! We had lots of exciting activities for children and whanau to explore and take home including flax weaving, poi making, seed planting and friendship bracelets, we also had free clothing and books that had all been donated by our whanau! Mr Whippy and the Village Snob joined us so there was ice cream for the children and warm coffee for the adults.

Towards the end of the evening we came together and Erika, the centre Manager, said a few words of thanks. We then had a moments silence before we released balloons with messages of love and remembrance into the night sky in honour of those who have passed on. After our moments silence we sang a local waiata, E Rere, acknowledging our connection to our place (Whanganui) and our awa.

One of our centre whanau blessed kai for us, then finally, the feast was laid out and it was time for a delicious, warm shared kai with whanau and friends.

At TopKids Harrison St our vision is ‘Nobody left behind’. We feel strongly that everyone should have a place and our acknowledgment of this special time of year means we can support and give back to our community. We are extremely grateful for the many donations we received towards this event which meant we could provide everything free of charge. We would like to say a special thank you to our local businesses that supported us with their donations of kai; Affco Imlay, The Beijing Restaurant, Pak n Save, The Crazy Pumpkin, Stevos and Whanganui Produce.

Through community events like this our tamariki, Kaiako and whanau are developing a sense of belonging within our centre and community. We are building awareness of the connections between events and experiences within and beyond the early childhood setting as well as developing an understanding of how these links are treasured by our whanau and friends.

Puanga is an opportunity to acknowledge that our whanau and culture are viewed positively: Tangata Whenuatanga, and develop a sense of who we are and our place within the wider world of relationships: Whanaungatanga.