BestStart Queenstown

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BestStart Queenstown is nestled in the centre of Tahuna (Queenstown), close to the “pulsing heart” of Lake Wakatipu. We are the place that locals trust to look after their brave little explorers.

Long ago, before the promise of gold brought Pakeha to Otago, the Maori roamed Kawarau, hunting for moa and greenstone and eels.  One night, a cruel taniwha (giant) called Matau kidnapped Manata; the daughter of the local chief, carrying her away to his lair in the hills. Her father declared that any warrior who was brave enough to rescue her, could have her hand in marriage. The young men in the village were afraid, but Matakauri, bravely accepted this challenge, setting off into the hills to rescue Manata and slay the giant.

Here at BestStart Queenstown, the legend lives on, sharing its values and strengths with our brave little explorers as they journey through our classrooms. 

Tahuna - Where our youngest Bravehearts explore. Tahuna Room feels like a cosy nest where tamariki (children) develop a sense of belonging through daily rhythms and rituals being aligned to home. Learning is nurtured by noticing and responding to individual physical and emotional needs. The room is designed to engage and interest tamariki in learning, particularly through sensory exploration.

Manata –Where our brave adventurers play. Manata Room provides a warm, welcoming space where whanaungatanga is at the forefront. Our indoor and outdoor learning environments provide tamariki with a rich opportunity to fearlessly explore as we offer learning experiences that engage, challenge, and spark their curiosity.

Matau – Where little giants journey. Matau Room is a stimulating environment where self-care skills, social competence, and independence skills (I can do it!) are nurtured. It is a room rich in language. Tamariki voice is valued and they bravely develop communication skills through conversations, stories and songs and express themselves creatively through art, music and dance. They grow emotionally as they learn to identify, express and manage their feelings and needs.

Matakauri – Where the Mighty Bravehearts have space to grow. Matakauri Room supports tamariki to be curious and confident, to be strong and courageous, to challenge, explore and ask questions. Holistic development and individual learning happen through play and creativity and help to build foundations of early literacy and numeracy. Positive and informative school transitions are facilitated through our relationship with local schools. School visits are organized, ensuring new entrant teachers know the needs and strengths of each of our tamariki.

What you can expect from BestStart Queenstown:

  • To see happy, healthy, nurtured and confident tamariki bravely leading explorations, to confidently share their voice, to adventurously show off what they at great at.
  • Stimulating, collaborative learning experiences reflecting adventure and discovery.
  • To work together in partnership with experienced Kaiako, creating an individually developed learning plan to support meaningful learning for your brave explorer.
  • Regular updates of your brave adventurers on Storypark.
  • A diverse, bi-cultural environment where Kaiako uphold the unique heritage of our Maori culture.
  • Eco-warriors roaming a path of sustainable thinking and choices.
  • Healthy nutrition provided by a skilled on-site cook, ensuring healthy hearts and minds.
  • Frequent excursions in our local community, including a ski day, supporting a sense of citizenship.

Do you have a brave adventurer waiting to roam, indoors or outdoors, sun, rain or snow?

If so please get in touch with us today.

BestStart Queenstown is where Wakatipu’s Bravest come to Explore!

Ko te manu e kai ana I te miro, nona te ngahere | The bird that partakes of the miro berry owns the forest 

Ko te manu e kai ana I te matauranga, nona te ao | The bird that partakes of education owns the world

For more information about the specific fees for your centre, please contact us directly (03) 442 6822 /  queenstown@best-start.orgYou might be eligible for support paying their childcare fees. For more information click here

Video Gallery

Sustainable learning
Our Frontline Team
From Small Beginnings

kind words from our parents


I just want to say a huge thank you and well done to you, Nicole and the whole team. You have all put masses of effort in during this challenging time and the plans are just fantastic. I felt really moved by the depth with which the profile teachers have taken in individualizing the plans and how much care as well as education is inherent in their planning. Well done on your leadership, Nicole as you motivate your fantastic team of educators and staff.


Well done team, you have all done such a terrific job throughout these unchartered waters and you’re all very much appreciated!! Look forward to seeing you all when we can finally leave our bubbles. Stay safe and well.


Thanks for the individual learning plan, it looks amazing and its awesome to be able to read back over all the comments from the different teachers over time. Thanks for everything you do :-)


After being part of this school family for nearly 8 years we will definitely miss everyone. She is very excited to start school but I am sure she will miss her friends and teachers. We will pop in every now and again to say hi. Thank you for everything.


The singing and dancing you guys do with the children is fantastic, our daughter is always teaching me new songs.  She takes a lot from school, she loves telling her teddys, "everybody mat time, sit on the mat please" lol it's so funny.  Thanks so much, the work you do is amazing. 


Thank you for making our child feel at home, he is settling in well, this is a big change, but he already loves his new teachers! So happy that he is doing so well🤗


Thank you so much for all the time and effort your put into this first year at kindy. You made dropping him off at such a young age that much easier for me. He adores you and at least he can still visit you. You have done such a great job and we really appreciate it. Thank you!


As grandparents on the opposite side of the world it is wonderful to be able to see our grandchild grow not just through communication with her at home but also at day-care. This makes us feel we are part of her growing and development, for that thank you. xx


Thank you for all of your stories and wonderful work and insight into our granddaughters early education. You give so much pleasure and information to us on the other side of the world, and it’s obvious to us that both she and her wee family hold a special place in your heart. Bless you! Grandma ×


Animal Science

We've been focusing on animal science this week in the Matakauri class

BestStart Queenstown's Holiday Programme

We've been learning, growing and making memories together!

BestStart Queenstown's Very Own Cookbook!

Have a read of the cookbook our Cook made to share examples of recipies we make for our children at the centre