St Kilda Kindergarten teacher June Aerakis with brothers
Jae (3, left) and Nate (4) Roome on the boulder which
crashed through their house earlier this year. The boulder
is now part of the playground of St Kilda Kindergarten.
Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
St Kilda Kindergarten pupils are boulderly going where
few kindergarten pupils have gone before.
In their imaginations, the two-tonne rock, which has pride of
place in the playground, has become the final frontier,
allowing them to explore strange new worlds, and seek out new
life and civilisations.
The boulder also holds intrigue for the children because it
was the boulder that fell off a St Kilda cliff face and
smashed through the Roome family's house earlier this year.
For St Kilda Kindergarten teacher June Aerakis, the large
rock was a dream come true.
''A few years ago, the back playground was redeveloped.
''I always said how lovely it would be if the kids had a rock
to climb on, and everyone always said, `you're dreaming,
there's no way we can get a rock in out the back'.''
It appeared the dream would be too expensive, she said.
''But when the Roomes' catastrophe happened, I asked if there
was any chance of us having one of the rocks.
''Jennie [Roome] said no because they had all been taken.''
Mrs Aerakis said she had all but given up on the dream
becoming reality before she retired at the end of this year.
The 67-year-old has been teaching for the Dunedin
Kindergarten Association for 21 years - the past 10 with the
St Kilda Kindergarten.
But little did she know the Roome family had organised a
Fairfield Transport crane to remove the boulder from their
house, and drop it into the kindergarten's playground earlier
this week, much to the surprise and delight of Mrs Aerakis.
''It was a wonderful surprise. It's the best leaving gift.
''And the kids absolutely love it.''
Mrs Roome said it was nice to see the boulder in ''a more
''I thought about turning it into a water feature in our back
yard, but we're creating a lot more joy with it here.''
Mrs Aerakis agreed.
''There's going to be a lot of joy here for the children for
years to come.''