Local Interviews

Wanaka’s Newest Early Childhood Centre – WanaExcel

By on August 27, 2017

When my wife and I starting our planning our move to Wanaka, one of the critical boxes that needed ticking was the small matter of preschool daycare. During what worked out to be our final trip before moving down for good one, one of our prearranged stops was visiting a brand new early childhood centre that we had been reading about online. Ideally we were keen to see what their philosophy was and what the people were like.

I still believe this was the final tick that gave my wife the confidence that we are making the right decison. We met the team from WanaExcel and were immediately impressed with their philosophy, the brand new custom built facility and the team that make it an outstanding operation. When we dug a little deeper and meet the family behind the business, it’s no surprise that we felt immediately at ease, with a wealth of child care management experience behind them, but also with youthful energy and ideas.  The Thomas family has created a wee gem.

For families with young children looking to move to Wanaka, I highly recommend a visit. Whether you’re looking for part-time or full-time care for babies, toddlers or preschoolers, WanaExcel have everything covered.  I was fortunate to get an hour of the team’s time and asked them how it all works and what makes them tick.


How long have you been involved in Childcare and WanaExcel?

WanaExcel just celebrated its first birthday but our family has been involved in owning childcare centres for the past 20 years in Whangarei.


What is the most rewarding part of your role with WanaExcel?

Being accepted into the Wanaka community where families value educational opportunities as we do, allowing us to implement our unique approach to education, support our young children and provide opportunities for them to excel.

As with real estate, communication is crucial – what are the key questions do parents need to be asking when considering WanaExcel?

  • What is a typical day like for my ___ year old and how does the programme change to cater to their growing needs as they get older?
  • How are the individual needs of my child met?
  • Is there any flexibility of hours beyond those that are booked?
  • What sets WanaExcel apart from the rest?



What trends are you predicting in childcare this year?

The introduction of the new Te Whariki Curriculum – this closely aligns with WanaExcel’s philosophy of learning through life experiences to create well-rounded citizens and is a change that we have been looking forward to for a while now. We are also seeing a growing awareness and acceptance of the importance of Early Childhood education and socialisation, and the flow on effect it has on an individual’s ability to learn throughout their life.

What recent work have you been most proud of and why?

The conception and development of WanaExcel.


What is Wanaka’s best kept secret?

Want to know what’s happening in Wanaka? Check out the Upper Clutha Trading Post on Facebook!

Best advice for people moving to Wanaka?

Get involved in the community and let Southern Hospitality do the rest!

Best place to get coffee in Wanaka?

Alchemy has great coffee and sparkling water on tap!

Name 5 people (dead or alive) you’d invite to a dinner party (apart from family).

  1. Ari Vatanen (Rally car driver)
  2. Bob and Debby Gass (Authors)
  3. Dr Hook (Band)
  4. Helen Keller
  5. Richard Branson

It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where would we find you and what are you doing?

Enjoying a beautiful family brunch at one of Wanaka’s epic eateries.

Favourite time of year in Wanaka and why?

Being relatively new to town, we are still enjoying the vastness that Wanaka has on offer for each season.


If you are looking at out of home childcare options, we personally highly recommend the team at WanaExcel.  Get in touch with them here.





mitch campbell

Welcome to my property hub, a place designed to showcase the very best of premium property in Central Otago and provide you with everything you need to ensure that your journey of buying or selling in this beautiful region is as smooth as possible.

I wanted to create a platform to share insights and knowledge on everything property-based from the Wanaka region, but also feature outstanding design products, interviews with industry locals, interesting architectural work and new trends to help inspire you with your own plans.

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