Highest Needs Review Advisory Group members

John Bangma 

John BangmaI have the privilege and pleasure of being tumuaki/principal of Mairehau Primary School, Christchurch, a full-primary with 450 children from 34 nationalities and a total staff of 83. I am in my 28th year of principalship. We are the lead school for Te Paeroa: Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour cluster for 10 years and I am chair of the RTLB Lead School Principals Executive working with the MOE to support the RTLB in their work. I am also on the executives of the NZ Principals Federation and the Canterbury Primary Principals Association. As an ESOL pupil, my passion is success for all in education. 

Saane Faaofo Oldehaver 

Saane Faaofo OldehaverTalofa lava, malo soifua my name is Saane Faaofo Oldehaver and I am the principal of Weymouth Primary School. I am also the president of NZPPA - New Zealand Pasifika Principals Association and a member of the Executive team for Auckland Primary Principals Association I have been in education over 25 years and hope to bring my knowledge and understanding to the advisory group. I have also held the role of Special Education Need Coordinator in two schools I have worked in and hope this knowledge will support me to be an integral part of this team. 

Malo aupito. 

Lisa Foster

Lisa FosterLisa holds a BSc (Hons) degree in biomedical science, with experience as a research scientist in the field of genetics. Lisa also holds a Diploma in Anatomy, Physiology and Massage along with a Certificate in Psychology and a Diploma in Herbal Studies. She has worked in the New Zealand health industry for over 14 years and has recently been part of the executive leadership team for Carers Alliance, is a member of the Neurological Alliance, Board Director for Asia Pacific Alliance of Rare Disease Organisations (APARDO) and part of a World Health Organisation working group for Western Pacific region on Collaborative Global Network for Rare Diseases (CGN4RD). The range of her previous experience covers assessing and facilitating care packages for older people, employment and education support in the mental health area and leading a team offering crisis respite for youth. Lisa was also part of the Be Leadership graduates in 2014. She is wholeheartedly committed to impacting systems for improved inclusion for those with rare conditions. 

Dr Rebekah Graham

Dr Rebekah GrahamTēnā koutou kātoa,

I haere mai ōku tūpuna i Kōtirana

No Kirikiriroa tāku papa kainga

Kie Waikato-Tainui ahau e noho ana

Ko Parents of Vision Impaired NZ (PVI) āku mahi

Ko Rebekah Graham tāku ingoa

Dr Rebekah Graham (PhD, PGDipPracPsyc(Comm), MAppPsy(Comm)) is a Pākehā mother-of-four based in the Waikato region of Aotearoa New Zealand. Rebekah is a registered community psychologist and is employed as the National Executive Officer for Parents of Vision Impaired NZ (PVI). PVI is a national charitable organization that provides support and advocacy for parents and whānau of a person with a vision impairment. In her role Rebekah advocates strongly and consistently for inclusion, accessibility, and support for all, with a focus on parents/whānau of a vision impaired child. She is the current co-Chair of the ODI parent/whānau group, Chair for the Institute of Community Psychologists Aotearoa, and a member of the Access Alliance Steering Group. Dr Graham brings an academic lens to her work. Recent publications highlight how inequities of access play out in the everyday lives of New Zealanders.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BexGraham(external link) | Email: rgraham@pvi.org.nz | Mobile: 0226215740

​Recent media publications

Poverty and Disability (September 9, 2021). Guest blogpost for Equity Through Education NZ. Poverty and Disability - Equity Through Education(external link)

Recent academic publications

Masters-Awatere, B., Cowan, C. & Graham, R. (2021). Research reflections on making visible the experiences of Kāpō Māori during and after COVID-19. Psychology Aotearoa, 13(2) pp.93-98(external link).

Graham, R., Patel, S., Dempster-Rivett, K. (2021). NSCBI Pākehā/Tauiwi Caucus: current and future directions. Psychology Aotearoa. 13(2). pp.103-105(external link)

Graham, R. (2021). Barrier free supports for parents of a vision-impaired child during COVID19. Journal of the South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment. 13(1) pp.52-57(external link).

Graham, R., Masters-Awatere, B., Cowan, C., Stevens, A., Wilkinson, R. (2021). COVID-19 and blind spaces: Responding to digital (in)accessibility and social isolation during lockdown for blind, deafblind, low vision, and vision impaired persons in Aotearoa New Zealand. In B. Doucet, R. van Melik, & P. Filion (Eds). Global reflections on COVID-19 and urban inequalities. Volume 1: Community and Society(external link). Chapter 21. pp 234-244. London; Bristol University Press(external link)

Te Rina Leonard 

Te Rina LeonardE hara tāku toa i te toa takitahi,

Ēngari he toa takitini.

I te taha o tōku kōroua, ko Hiwinui Leonard, ko Ngati Rangiwewehi te iwi.

I te taha o tōku kuia, ko Te Ruaraima Keno, Ko Ngai Te Rangi te iwi.

Ko Te Pere o Te Arawa Leonard tōku pāpā.

I te taha o tōku māmā, ko Jenny Leonard, he whānau Pakeha.

Ko Te Rina Leonard au.

I am the proud māmā of two teenagers and live with my whānau in Porirua where our children attend Mana College. I am serving my second term on the Board at Mana College.

As the Deputy Chief Executive of Learning Delivery at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), I am responsible for the teaching and learning at Te Kura. We engage with over 20,000 ākonga (students) every year, many of whom have very high needs. I love this role and feel very privileged to work alongside some of the most talented and committed educationalists in Aotearoa to support this wonderful diverse group of ākonga.

My professional journey begun as an educational psychologist, working with ākonga with the highest needs in the system.  I have practiced in both health and education, with a strong focus on tamariki Māori and their whānau. I have also worked in the Public Service in leadership roles across policy, evaluation and operations in agencies including the Ministry of Education, the Education Review Office, Te Pūni Kōkiri and Corrections.

I am looking forward to contributing to the mahi of the Highest Needs Review and see this project as a unique opportunity to lift our collective performance and focus across Aotearoa to unleash the magnificent potential of those ākonga we have yet to fully embrace as a system – these are the ākonga with the highest needs.

Nāku te rourou, nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi

Nō reira, ngā mihi manawa ora ki a

Rev. Dr Featuna’i Liua’ana 

Samoan born and migrated to NZ in 1969. Educated at Rongotai College, Wellington. Member of the NZ Police, 1979 – 1984. Educated at Malua Theological College (MTC Samoa) and graduated M.Th. from Pacific Theological College (PTC Fiji). Graduated Ph.D. from Australia National University (ANU Canberra). Tutor Samoan Language and Culture for Australia Foreign Affairs Diplomats Abroad, 1996-1997 (Canberra). Taught at MTC, 1998 – 2009 and became Vice Principal, 2006-2009. Published author and contributor to books and Journals. Chairman Pacific Health Plan Committee Auckland (ADHB/WDHB), 2013-2018. Chairman Pacific Living Without Violence Committee, 2016-2018. Community Rep CPHAC Advisory Committee for Health in Auckland, 2016- 2019. Alliance Health Plus advisor for HVAZ, 2013 - now. MFAT Pacific Advisor Panel 2019-now. Church Ministers Advisory Group for Pacific Covid Vaccination 2021 – now.  Secretary EFKSNZ Trust, 2015 - now. Currently the Church Minister of EFKS Sandringham Auckland since 2009.

Thecla Kudakwashe Moffat 

Thecla Kudakwashe MoffatThecla Moffat is an educator who has been in the teaching field for three decades now. Thecla is passionate about inclusion and advocate for children’s rights and needs to be met in their educational settings. She taught both overseas and in New Zealand. She started as a new entrance and year 1 teacher for 10 years before transitioning to early childhood where she was an educator, a team leader and a mentor for student teachers. In this time, she also completed her Masters thesis on inclusion in ece settings.  She joined the tertiary sector in educating New Zealand’s teachers between January 2013 and October 2015 working as a lecturer at New Zealand Tertiary College. In her first year at New Zealand Tertiary College, she wrote the course guide for Inclusive Education Level 7. In October 2015 she joined the New Zealand Ministry of Education as an Early Intervention Specialist. In August 2019 Thecla joined Autism New Zealand to start their new early intervention services. She has a huge interest in inclusive education for children with diverse needs and promoting emotional and social competencies in the early years. She has done research in inclusive early childhood education and promoting children’s social competencies. She sits on the Teaching Council Inclusive Education Advisory Group. She is a parent to three amazing children one of whom is neurodiverse.

Email: thecla.moff@gmail.com or thecla.moffat@autismnz.org.nz

Missy Morton

Missy now works at the University of Auckland where she is Professor of Disability Studies and Inclusive Education. Her teaching and research include working with beginning and experienced educators to support all children, young people and their families to have the best education possible. Before moving into university teaching, Missy had worked for IHC and then CCS, working alongside disabled children and their families to access any education (before, and since, the 1989 Education Act), and for families to be better supported to have their hopes met for their children. Drawing on her own family’s experiences, Missy recognises the importance of the well-being of the family for the well-being of the child. Her recent research has been working with schools, students and their families to build respectful and useful approaches to assessment for students with ORS funding, and for those students who have ‘just missed out.’  Missy’s research and teaching focus on how systems and structures, as well as the actions of individuals, can build cultures of belonging and learning for all children and young people.

Nigel Ngahiwi 

ko Kakepuku rāua ko Pirongia ngā maunga,

Ko Puniu rāua ko Waipa ngā awa

Ko Mangatoatoa, ko Te Kopua rātou ko Pūrekireki ngā marae,

Ko Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi,

Ko Ngāti Pare-te-Kawa, ko ngāti unu rātou ko ngāti Ngutu ngā hapū,

Ko Nigel Ngahiwi taku ingoa.

I am the representative for Kāpō Māori Aotearoa New Zealand Inc and a blind father of 3. My tamariki have all been educated through Māori medium education. 

I am a teacher by trade and have taught in junior, middle, senior and tertiary levels. I also am a board member for Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ. I look forward to being able to contribute in any way possible I can, to this very important work. Ka nui ake te mihi.

Bernette Peters

Berne Peters is the National Manager for Intensive Family Service at CCS Disability Action. She works with regions and branches to support young people receiving intensive supports through CCS Disability Action either through Oranga Tamariki or the Ministry of Health. Her role is support creative and individualised supports to meet the needs of the young person and their family, whanau or caregivers.

Berne believes that with ongoing transparent and open communication we can build solid relationships with the young person and their wider team and this will allow us to create together, a plan that best meets the needs required

Berne has worked for CCS Disability Action for going on 14 years and the highlights of her work are the small steps taken every day to open up new opportunities to explore mainstream options like attending mainstream schools and living with a whanau in the community as opposed to group homes or residential type services

Berne’s main role is that of Mum to her two boys aged 20 and 5, children have always been a focus both personally and professionally, holding a degree in teaching and a post graduate diploma in Early Intervention.

Colin Tarr

Colin TarrColin represents NZEI Te Riu Roa on the Highest Needs Review Advisory Group. He has worked in education for the past 38 years as a teacher, principal, review officer, evaluation lead, director of early childhood teacher education, professional practice lecturer at the University of Canterbury, principal adviser teacher registration and he, currently, serves as a Ministry of Education Learning Support Service Manager for the Kāpiti Coast area. Colin has a master’s degree from the University of Tasmania in educational leadership and change and post graduate qualifications in education, professional development and business from Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. A long-time member of NZEI, Colin served as NZEI’s National President in the mid-2000s and is currently a member of NZEI’s Special Education National Reference Group (SENRG).

Frian Wadia

Kia ora koutou,

I am a parent of three differently abled children and here on the Highest Needs Review Advisory Group representing Parent to Parent. Parent to Parent is a nationwide not-for-profit organisation supporting families of disabled children and those with any type of health conditions offering a range of services and supports; of which I am a current board member and have been a support parent for several years.

I have lived experience of supporting my autistic children, profound deafness, sensory processing issues, and dyslexia, and the challenges of navigating the education and health systems to access inclusive education and appropriate health/disability services. My personal experiences of discrimination and exclusion of my own children and advocating for their rights to an inclusive education, have led me onto the journey of advocacy and governance roles across various other organisations 

Some of these roles include admin for Very Important Parents Supporting – Equity in Education (VIPS), trustee on our local school board for the past two terms, governing board member on the Teaching Council of New Zealand and presiding member of the Lottery Individuals with Disability distribution committee.

In the past I have been the secretary for Auckland Parents of Deaf Children and had a close connection with the local deaf community and organisations. Over the years I have sat on various forums, networks, and advisory groups within the education and disability sectors all aimed at improving inclusion for our disabled tamariki.

Professionally, I am an Early Intervention Specialist with Autism NZ supporting autistic children, their whanau and kaiako within homes, early childhood spaces and with transitions to school. Prior to this I have been an early childhood teacher for 15 years.

I am passionate about leading systemic change through inclusive and equitable policy, resourcing and supports, with the ultimate goal of ensuring inclusive, meaningful, dignified lives for all disabled children and individuals. I look forward to working alongside other advocates and educators passionate about inclusive education for our tamariki on this Highest Needs Review Advisory Group. 

Hannah Winter

Hannah Winter is the Learning Support Leader at Kidsfirst Kindergartens. Hannah is an Early Intervention Teacher who has worked in the Early Childhood sector for over 10 years in a variety of settings and roles. She brings with her both professional and personal experiences of supporting those tamariki and whānau with the highest needs and has worked for both the Ministry of Education along with a non-government organisation, Conductive Education Canterbury. More recently her work has focussed on building confidence and capability in the teaching profession, both in her role at Kidsfirst Kindergartens and as Senior Tutor for the Early Intervention endorsement of the Specialist Teaching programme. Hannah is looking forward to sharing her own knowledge and lived experiences to support this review. 

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