MANGAWEKA Playcentre's new space in Broadway has everyone beaming.

Playcentre president Bronwyn Robb said the new spacious, light-filled building is in total contrast to the old building that was pulled down.

"It was old, dark and cold, so of course we are all just so happy now."

The new building opened a week ago.


The babies, toddlers and big 3 and 4-year-olds head in twice a week on Monday and Wednesday mornings, with some mums and one dad, ready for a great fun morning.

Each corner is filled with an activity tailored for the small fry, including a kitchen/bedroom complex with the latest in wooden ovenware, pots and plates. Bunny pillows are on the small bed and a rainbow selection of clothes hang in the wardrobe.

A stereo plays quietly in the corner with the top 10 of kids' favourite songs like Puff the Magic Dragon and The Wheels on the Bus. A small girl in a tinselled fairy dress sits cross-legged softly humming along.

A soft sofa is the reading corner and books are piled high. Then there's the playdough table and painting corner, a workbench with lots of toy tools and of course an outside play area.

The children come from throughout the Mangaweka area as far as Taihape, Hunterville and Rangiwahia, Bronwyn said.

"Playcentre mornings are very popular with the mums and the children.We all love coming here."

Small babies look in amazement at the action happening around them, such as little girls with pony tails pushing tiny prams laden with everything from dollies to plump stuffed teddies.

At the playdough table, Colin McIntyre, aged 3 from Hunterville, is absorbed, knocking out dog shapes.

"I've got a police dog called Ned," he said. "Wow, is your dad a policeman?" I asked.

"Naaaaah," he yelled. "Ned must be a big dog," I said.

"He isn't," said Colin.

Then Colin explained that his favourite game was making his brother run away, so he (the policeman) and dog Ned could track him down.

Turns out Ned is a very clever small terrier who becomes a police dog on command.