Caroline and Michael Ocego put 18-month-old Madison's name on the waiting list of her kindergarten before she was even born.
Small World in Remuera has been Madison's party place for two days a week since she was 6 months old, giving Caroline time to run the event management business she set up in 2002.
She said the centre had told parents it would not offer the 20 hours of free childcare package. It costs them $95 a day, but Caroline would not consider taking Madison out when she hit the qualifying age of 3.
"It doesn't make a difference because she's so happy there. We used to live in Remuera ... Now we are in Mt Eden, further away, but I'm still happy to run across and drop her off."
She said they got lucky, thanks to the advice of friends and looking around.
"They were welcoming and it seemed a happy, safe environment. We get reports every day on how she sleeps, what she played with, the noises she made, what she ate, even the state of her nappies."
But the hunt for the perfect daycare can be a long one, running to 18 months of sitting on a waiting list.
"A friend [in the Glendowie area] is looking to change from the daycare they use and ...
discovered the waiting lists ... were too long and they have to stay where they are. It's not easy."