Our story began back in 2007 when we were involved with various community led projects working with children and youth. We saw an opportunity to create a business enterprise which could also provide an holistic learning environment where people could explore the business world in a creative way by making educational puzzles for young children. We held a couple of workshops and the idea gained traction as Puzzles4Education.
Following that vision, we moved to rural Karekare in Auckland’s coastal Waitākere Ranges where our home-based workshop became the heart of what we lovingly referred to as Puzzle Farm. During this time, we explored and sharpened our creative skills as a family, brainstormed our ideas and slowly expanded the supply of our puzzles through the Early Childhood Education community on a part-time basis. We quickly realised that though there were plenty of educational resources available, few were relevant to life as a child growing up in New Zealand. Filling this gap in the community became our main objective.
In 2013 we moved puzzle production to its own premises on the very edge of the Waitākere Ranges. To this day, all our puzzles are crafted by our whānau in an old apple packing shed from times gone by on a little hill overlooking the suburbs. We continue to be so inspired by the beauty around us, and we decided then was the perfect time to plunge into the business full-time.
2015 marked the year Puzzles4Education was officially reborn as Kiwi Made Toys, and thus began a long period of research and development. By 2018 we had released the first of a brand-new collection of puzzle designs. We also began remastering our original best-selling designs such as the Colour Koru and Leaf Tapa, so as not to lose our connection with the humble roots we’ve grown from. Ever since, we continue to expand our range of wooden puzzles with the growing demand for NZ-made educational resources that reflect Aotearoa’s various communities and ways of life. We want every child in this country to have tools that represent their daily learning journey.
Our puzzles are well loved in the early childhood community and can now be found in kindergartens, playcentres, schools, libraries, museums and family homes all throughout New Zealand.