Language: English | Māori

Rolleston Toy Library a 'labour of love'

A group of Rolleston mums say the launch of New Zealand’s first purely online toy library has been a ‘labour of love’.

In 2018 Fiona Morland and Michelle Sim, along with other local mothers, came up with the idea of forming a toy library in the fast-growing area of Rolleston.

“We didn’t intend for the toy library to be based online at first, but I guess it reflects the nature of Rolleston being a fast-changing and evolving town; we needed it to be accessible for all families in the area and the best way to allow that was to launch a service online,” says Ms Sim.

“We know many families are currently using the services of surrounding toy libraries, such as in Lincoln and Hornby, but they require travel out of Rolleston which is a deterrent for some.”

She says the group has dedicated much of their time getting the project off the ground – fundraising, sourcing and collecting toys, finding a place to store them and setting up the online platform.

“It has definitely been a labour of love, but all the support and positive feedback we have received from the community has been incredible.”

While there are a select few toy libraries in New Zealand which have their services online, the Rolleston Toy Library will be the first in the country to be purely online.

“Rolleston didn’t really have a space that was suitable for our needs, so we had to think a bit outside the box,” she says.

The group has been supported by Storage King Rolleston, who have given them the use of two storage units for more than 250 toys.

“People can browse the range of toys we have on offer from their lounge, select the toys they want to borrow, and once a week we will have a collection and drop off day.”

A collection and drop off time would be held between 3-4pm every Sunday outside the Rolleston Community Centre.

The Rolleston Toy Library was funded under Rātā Foundation’s Learn priority area,   Rātā empowers learning, inspiring individuals and whanau through education – no matter what stage in life they are at and put great importance on giving people the best possible start in life. 

Showing how groups and organisations connect families/whānau and communities to children’s learning and schools is a priority for Rātā.“Play is important to all children. Toys are a major factor in helping children to learn and develop their physical, mental, perceptual, and social skills through play,” Ms Morland says.

“Good toys are often expensive and not affordable for many families. A toy library enables its members to borrow a wide range of well-designed and educational toys at minimal cost, enabling them to support their child's learning requirements.”

Toy libraries also helped to reduce environmental waste.

“Borrowing rather than buying toys also helps to reduce the number of outgrown and broken toys in the landfills.”

For more information and to browse the Rolleston Toy Library’s selection, visit their website: