AAPE evolved as part of the mission of the Porirua EFKS Church to provide Samoan literacy, sustain cultural and Christian values, and encourage moral and ethical principles to peoples lives, even from their early ages. The CCCS parish at Porirua, one of the first Samoan congregations in Wellington then, took up this mission challenge, and utilized the availability of their small church hall as a center for child-care and school for young children.
The Minister's wife, mothers, and grandmothers of the community became the first teachers, concentrating on their own below 5 year-old children as the focus group. Literacy, numeracy, recitation of biblical passages, and singing Samoan songs were the main areas of their curriculum. Naturally, as part of this age group interests, playing activities were also involved in the sessions. It was then called either, O le Aoga Amata, or, O le Aoga Faataitai. All expenses incurred to operate the programme of activities were met by the generosity of the parents, the community, and the general budget of the Church.
The introduction of the Aoga Amata (Early Childhood Education) component into the education system of New Zealand brought in pathways of regulations to improve infrastructure, guidelines to promote curriculum, policies to upgrade governance and management, and qualification standards to enhance quality service. AAPE took this journey, and learned a lot in the struggles, the challenges, and the experiences encountered. It became a licensed center in 1996, and approved as a chartered early childhood provider in 1998. Credit should go to all the children, parents, the Church (CCCS, Porirua), Government agencies and personnel, and everyone who in one way or another took part in the history of AAPE.