Reo Lanigan and Gina Frape have no doubt that the early childhood centre they opened in Awanui in 1998 will continue to be widely known as KK, but on Thursday Kids Kingdom was officially rebranded as Kahu Kiwi.
'Nanny' Faye Hira and Hine Waitai-Dye, who was the first child to enrol at Kids Kingdom 22 years ago, unveiled the new name, while parents, children and staff shared in the unveiling of panels on the roadside fence declaring the centre's value signs and philosophy panels at the front entrance.
The centre, which opened with less than a dozen children, now catered for 35 whānau, Lanigan said, with a staff of seven - five teachers, one in the office/administration and one in the kitchen.
It opened a sister centre, Awhi Pamau, in Kaitaia four years ago.
Lanigan told Thursday's gathering that a recent review of the centre's vision, mission and philosophy, the extension of the building, next door to Awanui Primary School, and the decision to name its various learning areas had continued the many changes that had been made over the years, and it had been decided that it was time to reflect that process of evolution.
"So, after 22 years, we were ready for a change, and the rebrand ball started rolling," she said.
The centre's philosophy had developed alongside whānau and community; the teachers were pivotal in that process, and the concept of the Kahu (Korowai) was chosen to represent the way in which the feathers of a cloak were woven together, as whānau and community were woven together to nurture tamariki.
"We thank our amazing teachers, who are the backbone of our centre. Their passionate and purposeful teaching create the wonderful environment for our tamariki to thrive, and we thank them for that," she added.
"I am proud to introduce our beautiful niece Hine, our very first enrolment in 1998. We are very privileged and acknowledge her amazing mahi in the design of our Kahu Kiwi sign.
"And our Nanny Faye, an amazing, talented lady who has been with us for many years. She is the Nanny of our centre; she has many Kids Kingdom moko scattered throughout the world."
Gina Frape said the new name needed to be meaningful, and the names of the centre's spaces to be connect.
"We wanted a story that created a sense of belonging and had a deeper meaning, something our whānau and tamariki would both relate to and possibly remember for ever," she said.
Sheridan Waitai's ideas and inspiration had been an invaluable part of the process, which began with the philosophy statement: 'Like feathers of a Kahu when whānau, kaiako and community are woven together, we provide the warmth and security needed to nurture learning and support the wellbeing of our tamariki.'
"When we thought about this, we knew that the most prestigious cloak ever to be worn was of that made by kiwi feathers, and we only ever want the best for our tamariki. It was very clear that Kahu Kiwi was to be the name for us," she said.
The feather represented new beginning, while the kiwi derived from "the most amazing story" about how it lost its wings.
"This story speaks of character, sacrifice and love," she said.
"The kiwi had a greater love than for himself, this greater love for all the things around him. He is a true the hero, saving the forest of Tanemahuta. Even in these modern times we still need to be like the kiwi and strive to save our forest and the resources in the world around us.
"For the managers and teachers here at Kahu Kiwi, it is our greatest wish that all our tamariki strive to be the best they can be. Sometimes it will mean making sacrifices, but like the kiwi we hope they always make good choices, that they are always loved and love themselves, and they all become famous in their own right."
The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of panels portraying the centre's values (māramatanga, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga and manaakitanga), philosophy panels at the entrance to the building and the naming of the learning spaces inside it.