1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.
Spend two minutes with Veeshayne Patuwai (otherwise known as Veesh) and you will believe that anything is possible. She is a community member living in a suburb of Glen Innes, Auckland called Fenchurch. Veesh and the parents of this suburb are committed to providing the best they can for the children in their neighbourhood.
With the support of the Ministry's Early Learning Taskforce, she identified and placed 28 children into early childhood education (ECE) this year. And things don't stop there! Veesh is working with a further seven other families to find ways to support them and their children to find the best ECE option for them.
Veesh has also established the Fenchurch Gifted Kids Club to complement the work she has been doing with non-participating families. She aims to create a neighbourhood where families celebrate their children. Parents and kids come along to Veesh's house to participate in fun activities that complement learning and development.
Last year she introduced a holiday programme that operates out of her house and is now an established part of life on Fenchurch Street. Last holidays the children had an Easter Egg hunt, took a ride on the train to spend a day at the Wave Pool, went for a bush walk, and on rainy days had 'Movies and Popcorn' at Veesh's family home.
The Kids Club operates once a month in the early evening and so far the parents and the children had a games night where families played board games. The next planned events include photography, making books, kapa haka/waiata and families will be supported to teach their children their Pepeha.
Fenchurch has seen some hard times recently, as it is one of the first areas in Glen Innes to undergo a building/housing transformation as part of the transformation Housing Regeneration Project. Many of the families that live in the street have been there for more than thirty years and they have been watching their neighbourhood change with old houses, and many residents moving out. The new houses are almost finished and this will see new families moving in, while at the same time other families may have to move to other areas of Tamaki. Veesh hopes that families that have to move away will still connect to the Fenchruch neighbourhood through the FGKC. She is also keen for new residents to join the club and be part of this exciting project.
Veesh is really excited about her work. "We are creating a new tikanga for our community and through this our families are experiencing what it takes to be resilient through challenging times."
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