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Becs Aislabie and Heather Taylor stand at the new Barnardos site with shovels ready. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Ground broken on Turua’s new Barnardos  

The sod has been turned on a piece of land in Turua, marking the start of a project three years in the making.
Barnardos’ Turua Early Learning Centre held a blessing and ground-breaking ceremony on October 18 to anticipate the arrival of a new building which will replace its old one.
General manager Heather Taylor told The Profile that, once full funding has been achieved, an existing Barnardos building – formerly the Te Totara Early Learning Centre in Hamilton – will be divided into nine pieces and relocated to Turua by road.
The disassembled building will be rebuilt and renovated on a new site owned by Hauraki District Council adjacent to the current early learning centre.
The relocated building will be kitted out with new furniture, and more resources and equipment, while a new playground will also be created that will be available to the local community during the long summer evenings and weekends.
“We have known for about three years that this [current] building was coming to the end of its life as an early learning centre, so this project has been underway since then – with Covid interjecting in that planning and decision making,” she said. “But certainly for us, it’s been on our radar as something that needs improving.”
One part of the existing building will be gifted to the Turua Hall Domain and Community Trust to be repurposed into a new library, while another part will remain on site to be potentially used for sporting club rooms and toilets.
“We are a not-for-profit, so money is always the balance with what we want to do and what we want to achieve in communities, so that’s why it is important to come together as a community to build our early learning services,” Heather said.
“But it is very exciting. It’s been three years in the making and it’s nice to finally get it moving.”
Centre manager Whaea Becs Aislabie said she was also looking forward to the upgraded space.
“It’s amazing to be working with a non-for-profit organisation and [the building] is going to be three, four, five times bigger. The roll size is also going to increase,” she said.
“This has been a home to so many people, and even though we’re moving, we’re still close and we’re still connected.”