'Pretty exciting' day at kindergarten

Prime Minister John Key is greeted at the opening of Dunedin Kindergartens' Forbury Rd site by Helen Deem Kindergarten pupils (from left) Cybelle Morrison (4), Lachie Mitchell (4), Cooper Pauley (4, back to camera), ''Ninja Turtle'' Jack Morrison (4), Cayden Geddes Newton (4), Rhyley McHoull (3) and head teacher Mary Mackenzie yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Prime Minister John Key is greeted at the opening of Dunedin Kindergartens' Forbury Rd site by Helen Deem Kindergarten pupils (from left) Cybelle Morrison (4), Lachie Mitchell (4), Cooper Pauley (4, back to camera), ''Ninja Turtle'' Jack Morrison (4), Cayden Geddes Newton (4), Rhyley McHoull (3) and head teacher Mary Mackenzie yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

It is uncommon for the Prime Minister of New Zealand to come face-to-face with a Ninja Turtle, but 4-year-old Jack Morrison provided the opportunity and John Key seized it.

The pair met at the opening of Dunedin Kindergartens' $1.4 million Forbury Rd site in St Clair, Dunedin, yesterday morning and it was ''pretty exciting'' for all involved.

Jack was one of a group of pupils from Helen Deem Kindergarten who presented a gift to Mr Key upon his arrival to officially open the site and then swiftly told him he had to wait to open it.

''It's going to be pretty exciting waiting to open it, but OK,'' Mr Key replied.

After Mr Key opened the site, which includes Helen Deem Kindergarten and Dunedin Kindergartens' administration office, and unveiled its koru-family sculpture, he took a moment to chat with Jack.

It was Jack's last day at the kindergarten and he dressed for the occasion as Donatello, his favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

When asked if he knew who he had been speaking to, Jack said ''no'', but he had made a new friend which was ''pretty exciting'' nonetheless.

Jack told Mr Key about his sister and brother, of whom ''one's older and one's younger'', he said.

Mr Key had earlier told the crowd of about 80 about his personal experiences at kindergarten.

''The one lasting memory I have of kindy is we had to go sit off in the blue room if we were naughty,'' he said.

''Some would say I have been sitting the blue room for the last 12 years,'' he quipped, referring to his parliamentary career.

Dunedin Kindergartens chairman Randal Scott said it was ''a real privilege'' to have Mr Key open the building.

''It's a huge honour to have the leader of the country come here and give the kindergarten some recognition.''

Yesterday's ceremony was the culmination of hard work by the kindergarten and its community, he said.

Six protesters holding placards emblazoned with the Labour Party logo and the message ''Higher Incomes, Better Jobs'' stood outside the site during the ceremony.

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