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Kia ora and welcome to the Otago University Childcare Association (OUCA).

We are a community operated Early Childhood Service administered by the Manager and an elected Board. We provide a high quality early childhood education for children through the provision of 100% qualified registered teachers and excellent teacher-to-child ratios.

Over 50 years ago the OUCA was established by students and staff of the University for children of students and staff. We continue that tradition today by giving priority to this group of children.

Our mission

  • We enrich the lives of tamariki through the provision of quality education and care
  • We partner with the University of Otago to meet the needs of whānau
  • We partner Kāi Tahu as Mana Whenua and support their aspirations
  • We whakamana each centre and nurture a connected and supportive OUCA community
  • We engage best practice when implementing Te Whāriki
  • Through authentic relationships and partnerships, we manaaki tamariki, tākata, whānau and kaiako
  • We provide effective and sustainable governance, management and leadership
  • We integrate the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi into our teaching and organisational practice

Our history

The Otago University Nursery Association was established following a meeting of interested parents on 11 November 1968. The Rev Gaze offered All Saints Church Hall as the venue, this was accepted. In March 1969, the Centre opened as an Incorporated Society with 24 student parent members.

The organisation moved to Cumberland Suite (an old two-storied house), opposite the old gym, on 21 August 1971.

On 19 October 1971, the University offered the premises at 525 Great King Street. Major alterations, to cater for 30 children, were completed in November 1972 and it opened in February 1973.

On 10 January 2007 following the merger of the Dunedin College of Education and the University of Otago, the College of Education Early Learning Centre came under the umbrella of the OUCA as the College Centre - Rōpu Tiaki Tamaiti.

On May 5th 2014 the Nursery, Preschool and Fulltime centres moved to 551 Castle Street North, to four purpose built centres , including a Bilingual centre - collectively known as Te Pā. Rōpu Tiaki Tamaiti (College Centre) continues to operate from 137 Union Street East

Our board

Parent Representatives

College: Sara Kidd
Te Maioha: Esther Ardley
Te Puna: Iftekhar Amed
Te Uru: Emma Nuttall
Te Pārekereke o Te Kī: Johnny Nu'u


Catherine Shayler

Deputy Chairperson

Sara Kidd


Rory Hibbs

University of Otago Council Representative

Tanya Syddall

OUCA Staff Representative

Mary-Ellen Goodlet

Education Sector Representative

Alex Gunn

Student Advocate

Briar Alexander

Tertiary Education Union Representative

Lincoln Wood

Mana Whenua Representative

Amie Curtis

Our policies

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