Houghton Valley Playcentre celebrates 20th Great Debate

Houghton Valley Playcentre celebrates 20th Great Debate

Everyone at the Houghton Valley Playcentre is excited for this year's 20th Great Debate. Co-organiser Amanda Berkhan, second from the right, said the was a major fundraiser for the centre. PHOTO: Rosa Woods.

The Houghton Valley Playcentre is gearing up for its 20th annual Great Debate.

This year’s debate, ‘To be or not to be a politician,’ on August 31 will see politicians and comedians come together for an amusing night of light-hearted entertainment.

Debate co-organiser Amanda Berkhan said the event was a major fundraiser for the centre, and all proceeds would go towards family-based early childhood development.

“To have this fundraiser every year is incredible and we really rely on it to keep the centre going. It’s quite an original event. It’s all very tongue in cheek, so some people really like it.

“People come along to support even if they aren’t associated with the centre,” she says.

Berkhan attributed the event’s success to decades of dedication from long-time Rongotai MP Annette King.

“She’s been a really high-profile politician but she’s always done this for us. She organises the team and the topic and we’re very grateful to her.

“It really reflects well on her that she’s continued to do this for the community.”

King said she thought up the idea of holding a fundraiser debate, after she was approached by a group of women from the playcentre more than 20 years ago.

At that time the playcentre was being operated out of an old, damp school hall in the Houghton Valley.

“They needed to build a purpose built play centre and I suggested we host a great debate.”

King said the debates are always fun, naughty and not for the faint-hearted. “They’re done in good spirit and good fun, they really have been enjoyable.”

This may mark King’s last Great Debate, but she said it was likely to carry on.

“I’ve said to Paul Eagle it’s up to him to run it” if he steps in as the new Rongotai MP.

“I’ve just been thankful I got to be a part of it. I’ve always seen it as a way of contributing to the community and part of my role as an MP.”

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