Girls, no trousers please

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Teacher remembers the old days ahead of kindy’s 20th birthday

When Queenstown’s Sally Hogg first became a kindergarten teacher nearly 30 years ago, she was only allowed to wear skirts.

She even got into trouble for shorts-like culottes, such was the strict trouser ban for women teachers back then.

When Hogg joined Wakatipu Kindergarten a few years later in 1989, the skirts-only rule had been tossed out – but she’s since seen some even more dramatic changes over the years.

She cites the Labour Government’s introduction of the 20-hours-free scheme and kindergarten teachers getting pay parity with primary teachers as some of the biggest changes.

“Both of these things we fought for for many, many years,” Hogg says.

Hogg, 55, has been head teacher at Wakatipu Kindergarten since doors opened 20 years ago this month.
Like the kindergarten itself, she’s played a huge role in hundreds of Queenstown families’ lives – some 1720 toddlers have gone there.

“Anyone who’s been through Wakatipu Kindergarten remembers Sally,” says fellow teacher Laura Chisholm – she herself was taught by Hogg in 1989.

“Families trust her – they come to her with questions of all sorts because she’s so approachable,” Chisholm, 23, says.

Wakatipu Kindergarten was formed after three years of hard work by local parents concerned with huge waiting lists at the other childcare facilities.

Led by Queenstown funeral director Russell McGrouther, the action group rallied the community and central
government – they eventually came up with $220,000 to build the facility that caters to about 90 three- and four-year olds.

“It was a massive project … 20 years on, it’s still serving its purpose and doing a good job there,” McGrouther says.

Hogg takes pleasure in helping families and watching children grow – she’s now starting to see the next generation of children coming through the doors.

“It’s so rewarding. It’s really nice in Queenstown because you do get to keep in touch with children and families. I love reading school news­letters and hearing about prizegivings.”

Wakatipu Kindergarten will celebrate its 20th birthday on September 23 at the Brecon Street site from 12pm