New home for First Five


A Porirua preschool on the brink of clo­sure has found a new home.

First Five Child­care Cen­tre will be mov­ing across town in the new year and man­ager Jenni Ma­son couldn’t be hap­pier.

‘‘We’ve got the keys and Can­nons Creek has wel­comed us with open arms.’’

Ma­son had feared she would have to close the preschool’s doors af­ter months of search­ing for new premises had proved fruit­less.

In July, the preschool was told it would have to leave its Kenepuru site af­ter the land trans­ferred to Ngati Toa iwi as part of a his­tor­i­cal treaty set­tle- ment.

Car­rus De­vel­op­ment, the business build­ing 600 new homes on the site, of­fered the build­ing to the preschool but land to put it on couldn’t be found.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fered the use of a Tawa prop­erty but the build­ing was owned by Tawa Col­lege who said they needed it.

The shift across town to the old Can­nons Creek play­cen­tre will hap­pen in Jan­uary and un­til then it’s business as usual, Ma­son said.

‘‘Car­rus is go­ing to let us stay un­til the new build­ing is ready.’’

The Kenepuru prop­erty would be sold to pay for ren­o­va­tions to the new build­ing.

First Five had signed a two- year lease for the min­istry­owned Can­nons Creek play­cen­tre that had sat empty for three years.

The prop­erty needed a bit of work to bring it up to stan­dard but par­ents and staff had vol­un­teered to help out, Ma­son said.

‘‘We al­ways say that once you’re a First Five fam­ily you stay part of the fam­ily.’’

A few par­ents had left the cen­tre be­cause of the un­cer­tainty but about 20 chil­dren would make the move to the city’s east.

‘‘I’m just thrilled, ev­ery­one’s happy and so ex­cited...I’m sleep­ing a bit bet­ter too.’’

Ma­son wel­comed any fam­i­lies need­ing child­care to con­tact the team at First Five.

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