“Dad’s Place” Open Day
Dad’s Place was THE Place on 15 August 1998. That according to The Wizard of New Zealand, MP Tim Barnet, newly elected Mayor Gary Moore, the entertainer Mr Moon, and news crews from both TV 3 and the Press. All these — along with scores of dads, mums and kids -voted with their feet by turning up for our grand opening.
Gary Moore officiated at the opening, emphasising the crucial role fathers can play in the raising of children and their need for support and recognition. He reflected on his time as a housedad and his experience as an organiser for the Fathering the Future Forum.
The City Council could help out groups like the Father and Child Trust, he suggested.
Gary’ s impassioned speech was well received and charged the atmosphere for an impromptu spell from the Wizard who, with help from the children, made the opening complete.
On-going entertainment came from local personality Mr Moon who, after a comedy routine, demonstrated both skill and paternal play as he engaged his son Robin in feats of acrobalance -the art of balancing on someone else’s shoulders, head, or feet.
Several keen father-child duos also had a go under Mr Moon’s watchful eye.
The day was rounded out by five-ball juggling and baloon animal sculpting provided by the comedy pair the Throw Backs (Grant Mathieson, Brian Ellens).
If the children weren’t in the queue to have their favourite animal created out of the magical twists of
latex by Ellens, then it was to pick out their favourite design from Honey the clown (Tess Windle) whose wide repetoir of face painting designs ended up adorning most of the children, and several of the adults as well.
Although we were awash with celebrities and well-wishers, the emphasis was kept squarely where it should have been: on ordinary dads and their kids.
“A thing like that could easily turn too loud, crowded and stressing … But people were relaxed. It was nice,” observed Christian Vollert, who attended the opening with his one-year-old daughter.
“She always enjoys it,” Vollert said of his daughter. “She’s always very happy to come to bad’s Place and socialise with the other kids.”
Perhaps it was that relaxed, friendly atmosphere that inspired all of our entertainers to donate their time to the Trust. Thanks to them and to all our tireless volunteers who made the day the success it was.