Central / Taranaki
Central North Island - Thames, Taumaranui, Tokoroa, Paeroa, Putaruru, Te Kuiti, Bay of Plenty (Whakatane, Te Puke, Tauranga, Taupo, Rotorua, Kawerau, Edgecumbe)
Taranaki - North Taranaki, South Taranaki
Whanganui Your Kindergarten - Taihape, Waiourou
Kindergarten Celebration Week Taranaki c 1990's (jpg 2.1MB)
Figure 1 Official Opening Follett Kindergarten 1953, Ruahine Kindergarten Association Archives
Ruahine Kindergarten Association is a group of 23 kindergartens and one early learning centre operating in Palmerston North, Feilding, Bulls, Marton, Foxton and Pahiatua in the south of the North Island.
The association was established in June 1949 under the name, Palmerston North Free Kindergarten Association. Within the year the Association opened its first kindergarten in rented accommodation in All Saints Church with Miss Audrey Cooper as Director. Fundraising for a permanent kindergarten building continued and in 1955 the association officially opened its first building in Campbell Street. More kindergartens were established in response to demand. In 1957 the association changed its name to Manawatu Free Kindergarten Association to reflect the widening span of its activities. In 1973 Manawatu Kindergarten Association celebrated its 25th Jubilee, its ten kindergartens and another four kindergartens in progress.
Around this time the Association considered the need for a childcare centre in Palmerston North. The 1970s expansion of women into paid employment saw consideration of the need to provide a kindergarten that would ‘cater for children of parents, who for a valid reason, need to pursue fulltime employment.’ (author’s italics) Whilst a plot of land was set aside for a childcare centre the childcare centre did not eventuate and the associated retained its focus on the establishment of sessional kindergartens. It was to be another 40 years before, in February 2016, the Association extended provision to cater for children from birth to school age with the opening of Ruahine Early Learning, Pahiatua.
A second association was also formed in 1949 in the Rangitikei District. The Marton Kindergarten Association was similarly quick to establish a kindergarten. Suitable premises were acquired in March, 1950 and staff appointed. A permanent building opened at Follett Street in Marton officially opened in July 1953. A second committee was set up in 1959 to open a further kindergarten. Following extensive fundraising a second kindergarten was opened in 1970 in Mill Street.
In 1994 the two associations along with Waiouru Association amalgamated under the name, Ruahine Kindergarten Association. Waiouru later affiliated with Whanganui Kindergarten Association. In 2016 the Association offers 23 kindergartens across the district, two full-time early learning centres as well as s home based service.
Figure 2 Follett Kindergarten, Marton 1972, Ruahine Kindergarten Archives
Ruahine Kindergarten Association archives
The Association’s archives are held in the association office in Palmerston North. The material is awaiting cataloguing. Some kindergartens have recently been passing old documents, photos and artifacts into the care of the Association.
For further information contact the Ruahine Kindergarten Association. Ruahine Kindergartens Central Office
26 Taonui St
Phone: 06 357 8264
or through the RKA Website here.
 NZFKU, Kindergartens in New Zealand 1889-1975, p.53
Manawatu FKA Annual Report & Balance Sheet March 1979 (pdf 3.3MB)
'Talents' 1959-1971 Manawatu Kindergarten Association (pdf 3.5MB)
Wanganui Kindergarten Association 1948 - 1975 (pdf 4.6MB)