Establishing a certificated puna kōhungahunga (Māori language playgroup)

"Te piko o te māhuri Tera te tipu o te rakau - The bow in the branch is indicative of how the tree will grow."

'Establishing a Certificated Puna Kōhungahunga' is a guide for whānau who want to set up a puna kōhungahunga.

Ministry of Education staff are available to work with whānau to set up a puna kōhungahunga and to get certification. Their focus is on quality early childhood education programmes for children.

If you are interested in setting up a certificated puna kōhungahunga contact your local Ministry of Education office. 

Licensing Criteria Cover

Managing the finances

It does not need to be expensive to start a puna kōhungahunga. It is best to work out a budget right from the start so the group knows just how much money it will need. Costs may include:

  • rent and bond for premises
  • play equipment
  • matting or carpets
  • food and drink for children and adults (or will they bring their own?)
  • electricity
  • first aid kit
  • administration costs such as photocopying.

A puna kōhungahunga must have a certificate to get Ministry of Education funding and you will need to open a bank account in the name of your puna kōhungahunga. If you choose not to get a certificate you will need to work out how you will cover your costs. In some groups parents give money regularly, but in others funds are raised through donations, fundraising and community grants.

  • Being eligible for funding
    • To be eligible to receive funding a puna kōhungahunga must:

      • be certificated (hold a valid interim or full certificate) and
      • meet the conditions for payment of funding set out in the Ministry of Education’s Playgroup Funding Handbook.

      There are two types of funding available from the Ministry – playgroup funding and special grants.

      Playgroup funding helps with the day to day operating costs of running a puna kōhungahunga. It is based on the average number of tamariki attending and the hours of attendance per session over a six-month period. Funding can be claimed for a maximum of 25 tamariki between birth and six years old for each puna kōhungahunga session. Funding cannot be claimed for tamariki attending the puna kōhungahunga with a caregiver when they are enrolled with a home-based service. There are no restrictions on the number of times or hours the puna kōhungahunga meets as long as no tamaiti attends for more than 4 hours a day.

      The special grant is to assist a puna kōhungahunga to cover large 'one off' costs that cannot be met from other funding. This grant is not given automatically and there is no guarantee applicants will get the money they apply for.

  • Financial reporting
    • Every year in July, all playgroups including ngā puna kōhungahunga, have to give a Playgroup Funding Report to the Ministry of Education which shows how the puna kōhungahunga has spent the money it has got from the Ministry in the past year

  • Annual statistics form
    • The Ministry of Education collects information from all playgroups including ngā puna kōhungahunga (not just those receiving funding). An annual statistics form is sent out to puna kōhungahunga in June each year and asks for you to fill in:

      • the number of hours the puna kōhungahunga is open for
      • the age, gender and ethnicity of children enrolled at the puna kōhungahunga.

      For more information about the funding of puna kōhungahunga and how to apply refer to the Playgroup Funding Handbook on the Ministry’s website, or get a copy from your local Ministry of Education office.

  • Closing a puna kōhungahunga
    • If the puna kōhungahunga closes then all remaining funds that you have got from the Ministry of Education must be returned. You may also need to return any equipment/resources bought with Ministry funding or grant money. It is important that you have kept clear financial records and lists of equipment. What to do with any money or equipment obtained outside of Ministry of Education funding should be decided by the people left in the group with help from staff at your local Ministry of Education office.