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551 Castle Street North – Te Pā Building
Head TeacherNeli Padgett
Phone+64 3 742 2991 (Head teacher)
 +64 3 742 2991 (Centre)
Age range2–5 years

Te Puna
A spring of fresh water, a spring of life

Nau mai haere mai!

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa.

In Te Puna we have a play-based programme, with a balance of child initiated and intentional teaching experiences. Children learn what it is to grow up in Aotearoa and our programme is enriched by the country's Māori traditions. We also celebrate the many different cultures we have at Te Puna and embrace the diversity of family patterns.

These things are especially important to us:

  • Children making decisions for themselves
  • Making and maintaining friendships
  • Being kind and helpful around other people
  • Looking after the environment
  • Being confident to express themselves in different ways and explore new things.

About 40 children attend Te Puna, spread between our two main playrooms and our outside playground. For most of the day children are free to choose where they play. That means 2, 3 and 4-year-olds are mixing throughout the day. For the younger children this is a chance to learn from the older ones; and it gives the older children opportunities to develop their caring and nurturing side. We have a ratio of 1:8 qualified teachers to children, and in parts of the day it is often better than this.

We have a well-established Bush programme. Once a week the twelve oldest children across all of Te Pā (Te Puna, Te Uru, and Te Pārekereke o te Kī) explore the wilds of Woodhaugh or the Botanic gardens together. It immerses them in the natural world and gives them the chance to deal with new and challenging situations.

Most of the children coming into Te Puna come from Te Maioha, our under-twos centre. For all children new to the centre we have a two week settling period, when they spend time here and get to know the place and the people. If children have not been in centre-based care before sometimes the settling period is longer than two weeks.

Te Puna philosophy

We consulted our community to decide what is most important for children here. Here's what we came up with.


For us this means tamariki will develop:

  • A secure sense of belonging
  • Confidence to make decisions for themselves
  • Resilience in the face of difficulty.

We relate this to the concepts of:

  • Tino rangatiratanga / Mana: identity, pride, inner strength.

Active citizenship

For us this means tamariki will develop:

  • Confidence to take leadership and responsibility in Te Puna
  • A sense of fairness and inclusiveness
  • Connections so they know their place in the wider community
  • Attitudes of respect for the land, environment, and living things
  • Appreciation of the heritage of both parties to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We relate this to the concepts of:

  • Arahina/Māiatanga: confidence, self-reliance, leadership, perseverance, self-assurance
  • Kaitiakitanga.

Social competence

For us this means tamariki will develop:

  • Confidence and ability to communicate thoughts and feelings
  • Skills to develop and maintain friendships
  • Considerate, kind, and respectful attitudes to others
  • Empathy
  • Ability to deal with new social situations.

We relate this to the concepts of:

  • Nga hononga: tuakana/teina, ako, whanaungatanga
  • Manaakitanga/Aroha: caring, sharing, kindness, supporting others, being a friend.

Love of learning

For us this means tamariki will develop:

  • Curiosity about the world
  • Creativity in thinking and expression
  • Problem solving skills
  • Confidence in the face of new experiences
  • Confidence to take on new challenges.

We relate this to the concepts of:

  • Māramatanga: developing understandings, working though difficulty, lateral thinking.


Our cook prepares varied and nutritious lunches as well as morning and afternoon tea. Our younger children have lunch in groups of 6–12 with two teachers, and after this many of them have an afternoon sleep.

Read the latest Te Pā ERO report

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