Meet the Curriculum Leads


Features a group of curriculum leads throughout Aotearoa,

who answer a number of spontaneous and fun questions relating

to the future of education in Aotearoa.

Meet the Curriculum Leads and hear their stories.

Let’s see what's in here.



Growing up what kind of learner were you?

I was the goody good always wanting to please the teacher.

Was there a strong teacher role model that had a positive

influence on your learning or life?

Yeah, I had a teacher in college actually and I think she just made

the students feel really seen and like what we thought mattered.

She had love, that’s aroha,

tui, ‘amanaki.

Share with us your most challenging or funniest moment

in your teaching environment.

I actually do recall quite a funny story which was around a

group of children that were really interested in fishing.

And this child said, I want to know how you catch the chips.


Engari kn ngā kōrero pai rawa atu ko ngā wā ka whāki mai

The funniest ones were the times the children


ngā tamariki e hapū ana o rātou māmā.

told me their mother is pregnant.

Ka mōhio te kaiako ki ngā mea katoa

Teachers know everything.

Hei aha te karere o te ao.

No need for world news.

As a curriculum lead what does working

with teachers and kaiako mean?

I think it'd be great if we can help teachers explore their

passions and get them to really connect on a personal level

with the passions and interests of the

learners that are in their classroom.

He aha e whakahirahira nei te marau-ā-kura ki ngā ākonga?

Why is the local curriculum or marau-ā-kura important for learners?

Ka hoki au ki tērā whakataukī

I go back to that saying that the

ko te tamaiti te pūtake o te kaupapa.

child is at the centre of everything.

So the child is the centre of everything and I think how can

you not have a curriculum that connects to them.

You know, in early childhood we talk about the tamariki

coming in and knowing that they have a place here,

that they have a strong sense of belonging.

All those things that they bring with them,

their story, is part of that learning.

Develop students that have a sense of connection,

strong relationships, where their identity, language and

culture is really enhanced and it’s through that that we’re

going to have students with really enhanced wellbeing.

It's the biggest endorsement we can give

to our children isn't it, their language,

their culture, their identity.




Riripeti Totoro

Te Tai Tokerau

Riripeti TotoroKo ahau he uri nō Ngapuhi, Te Mahurehure, Ngāti Wai me Te Kapotai.  Ko Riripeti Totoro tōku ingoa. I was raised and educated in Whangarei.  After school, I moved to Auckland to attending the Auckland Teachers’ Training College and The University of Auckland.  I spent my early teaching years at Kowhai Intermediate.  Whilst there, I moved from mainstream classes, to a reo rua and then to rūmaki reo.  One of my most valuable learning opportunities during these years was to attend He Whakapiki i Te Reo under the tutelage of Rahera Shortland and Evelyn Tobin.  My husband and I returned to Whangarei to raise our children closer to their marae, hapū and whanau in 2002.  My teaching in Whangarei included Primary, Intermediate and Secondary.  I was a Lead Facilitator in the Phase 5 Te Kotahitanga project where I developed a passion for pedagogy and curriculum.  I became a Principal of a small urban school in 2016 where I worked alongside the community, whanau, teachers and Board of Trustees to develop a localised curriculum which prioritised inclusion and restorative pastoral care.  It is the culmination of these experiences that led me to the role of Curriculum Lead.  I look forward to working alongside teachers to support the development of localised teaching and learning opportunities that are inclusive of identity, language, and wellbeing.  Nō reira, ko te manu ka kai I te miro, nōnā te ngahere.  Ko te manu ka kai I te mātauranga, nōnā te ao.


TeRiini Henare

Tai Tokerau

TeRiini HenareTēnā koutou katoa, he uri tēnei nō Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa me Ngāpuhi. I have given myself to the early learning sector for 15 years. Initially working as an Education support worker supporting pēpi and tamariki with special needs into ece. I have worked in privately owned services, umbrella organisations and Kōhanga reo which is where my formal learning has come from. I studied at Waikato university and have a degree in Te Reo Maori and a post grad in ECE education. My informal learnings have come through my tupuna and the many experiences I have had growing up Māori and being a part of an amazingly supportive large whānau. From teaching I took up a role with MOE as a Senior ECE adviser here in the North, and then most recently spent 9 months with the curriculum design team working on the pilot programme Te Kawa Matakura also known as Tauranga Kōtuku Rerenga Tahi here in Te Taitokerau, where we were successful in gaining level 5 NZQA accreditation. I then spent just under a year working as a Special Ed adviser again for MOE before moving into this role as Curriculum Lead. All whilst also raising 3 amazing tamariki with my husband Joe. I love the fact that our sector can reach out and ask for support re: curriculum and we respond. From supporting schools with designing their local curriculum, supporting iwi, hapu, marae and whanau with engaging in their kura/schools/ece and how and what that looks like, unpacking resources, looking into all curricula documents, specific online tools, face to face workshopping of any specific Kaupapa ie: ANZH and Te Takanga o te wā and so much more. This role is refreshing, exciting, positive, and responsive to people and that’s what I am enjoying at the moment.


Amber Davidson

Tai Tokerau

Amber DavidsonI am working as a Curriculum Lead (Secondary) in the Te Tai Tokerau region, primarily based in the Kaitaia office. Prior to joining the Ministry of Education, I was a teacher and Senior Leader at Whangaroa College for 10 years, and before that I was the HOL Social Sciences and teacher at Kaitaia College for seven years and then way way way back in the days between 2002-2007, I was a teacher at Opononi Area School. I have loved teaching in rural Northland and I am strong advocate for those kura who are in isolated areas that have only one specialist teacher in each curriculum area (if they are lucky).


Ali Booth

Tai Tokerau

PortraitKia ora koutou. Ko Alison (Ali) Booth tōku ingoa.

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, England and it was also here that I began my teaching career.

After migrating to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1997 I have spent the last 25 years teaching and leading in the primary sector. I joined the Ministry as a Curriculum Lead in January 2023 and feel it is an exciting time to be in this role as the refreshed curriculum is implemented.

I am passionate about collaborative approaches at all levels and enjoy supporting school leaders, teachers and communities to design authentic and responsive curriculum for their tamariki.


Shawn Cooper

Tāmaki Makaurau

Shawn CooperKia ora koutou, ko Shawn Cooper tōku ingoa. I am the Senior Curriculum Lead (Secondary) based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Equity and agency have guided my personal and professional journey and informed my teaching, professional inquiry and community involvement. Working across primary, secondary and tertiary settings in Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand, I trust my varied experience in Science Education and Student Leadership Development will be useful in helping others implement rich, responsive teaching and learning programmes. It is a privilege to be in a position to be a “curriculum activator” to foster improved wellbeing outcomes for our ākonga and our communities.


Carmel Flynn

Tāmaki Makaurau

Carmel FlynnAfter nearly two decades of teaching in, and leading, kindergarten teams, I began my work with the Ministry of Education in July 2019 as a Senior Education Adviser, Auckland Central Schools. Working with school communities added depth and breadth to my knowledge, understanding and respect for the education sector. The role of a Curriculum Lead is part of a new and innovative function, one which is in tune with who I am as an education professional. I am passionate about curriculum, reform and change, embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi and advocating for strengthening wellbeing through curriculum design and delivery. By nature of inquiry, I am a curriculum activator and influencer. I am a leader who co-constructs and co-designs authentic curricular implementation within communities of learners.


Ma’ata Baranyi-Heimuli

Tāmaki Makaurau

Maata Baranyi HeimuliBefore joining the Ministry in January 2021, I had 22 years of primary teaching experience in state schools and Catholic schools in central Auckland including being a team leader, a cultural leader, and a lead teacher. I am passionate about curriculum, reform, and change, embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and advocating for strengthening wellbeing through curriculum design and delivery. In the Curriculum Lead role, I look forward to helping kaiako shape their local curriculum in a way that strengthens the wellbeing of all learners. I am determined to guide kaiako through open learning conversations that will help develop key competencies and the cultural capabilities of all learners in our diverse city of Tāmaki Makaurau. With my skills and knowledge of the NZ curriculum, I can support schools to explore how effective curriculum delivery impacts learners’ wellbeing holistically, culturally, mentally, and physically. I am fervent about improving the learning of all tamariki. One of my strengths is the ability to embed a Pacific lens to curriculum delivery.


It is always important to lead by example, one must serve to lead.


Tony Halalilo

Tāmaki Makaurau

Tony HalaliloIt was the term “wellbeing” that led me to apply for the position of Curriculum Lead. I was keen to know more about what the Ministry felt worked in this area, because for me, this covered things like identity, cultural, learning, and physical disability, and sustainable education in Aotearoa. I had worked in the Wellbeing space for 5-years at The University of Auckland and felt I could be more effective supporting change in the sector if I helped the Ministry understand the size and breadth of the meaning of Wellbeing.

The most important aspect of our role is that we work to disseminate the Eurocentricity of our education system that has maintained inequitable outcomes for our ākonga. I can help kaiako indigenise and create an education system that fits our geographical location in the Pacific, and meets the needs for learners, irrespective of their gender, their culture, and their abilities. As a Curriculum Lead, we promote the love of learning, and create facilities that promote whole community learning, that helps us eliminate undertones of racism and prejudice, through more accurate lens of learning, one that considers all voice and perspective, not solely a Western one. 


Mike Webber

Tāmaki Makaurau

PortraitE noho ana rā au ki runga I tōku taumata ki Ngongotahā kia mārama ai taku tirohanga atu ki Te Tai Tokerau, ko te tihi o Parahaki, ko te tihi o Maungataniwha e tū whakāhī ana. Kei ngā pūtake o aua tihi e toru taku ngākau e tau ai.

My 15-year teaching career was exclusively at intermediate level, within the Tamaki Makaurau region. The lack of male Māori kaiako in mainstream education was my primary motivation for choosing to pursue a career in teaching. My decision to exit the teaching professional and work for the MOE is to hopefully be a voice of reason and change because despite the increased emphasis on raising Māori student achievement and honouring the principals of Te Tiriti, there is currently no systems in place to attract, support and retain Kaiako Hou, equipped with the knowledge of Te Reo & Tikanga Māori, to teach in Kura Auraki.


Angela Smith

Tāmaki Makaurau

PortraitKia ora koutou. Ko Angela Smith tōku ingoa. 

I joined the Ministry of Education after 12 years in early childhood care and education where I held teaching and leadership roles. I have a keen interest in curriculum design and quality improvement practices informed by respectful, authentic and intentional pedagogy.  I am motivated by the learning success of tamariki, whānau and kaiako and thoroughly enjoy collaboration to learn, grow and thrive together.  As Curriculum Lead (Early Years) I am privileged to serve our community as we journey together to enhance wellbeing through ever strengthening curriculum outcomes for tamariki. 

Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu – adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar


TeRina Marikena

Tāmaki Makaurau

TeRina MarikenaNgā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa, he uri tēnei no Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa anō hoki.

I pakeke mai ahau i raro i te āhuru mōwai o Te Aho Matua, he raukura ahau no Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu ki Ngāti Porou hoki.

Kua tekau tau ahau e whakaako ana i roto ngā haumarutanga o te ao Māori, kura tuatahi mai, whare wānanga mai, i au e pakeke mai nei kotahi noa te aronga nui ko te ao Māori tērā, i runga anō i te mōhio ki ngā huanui o te ao Māori ki te tangata ahakoa ko wai. Ahakoa te kawenga mahi e mahi nei au, ko te oranga o te ao Māori me ōna reka katoa kei te mātamua o ngā whakaaro, he Māori tuatahi ahau, ao pō, pō ao. E whakapono ana ahau he mana nui tō te mātauranga, hei reira ngā aheinga kia panoni te oranga o te tangata, ā, kia whai oranga nui te apōpō o Aotearoa. Nōku te whiwhi, nōku te maringanui i tēnei tūnga mahi.

Hei whakakapi ake i ngā kōrero anei tetahi rotarota e whakaauha nei i oku manako i roto i tēnei o ngā tūnga mahi:

Ka whakaweawe ana koe i te oranga o tētahi, kāore e whai panga ki a ia anake, engari kei te whai panga hoki ki te hunga nāna i whakaaweawe i tōna oranga katoa.

Ahakoa he iti te mahi, he pounamu te mahi.

Kia mārangaranga, mā tērā e pari anō ai te tai.

I grew up under the haven of Te Aho Matua. I am a graduate of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi, and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu ki Ngāti Porou.

I have been fortunate to teach for ten years within te ao Māori within primary and whare wānanga settings, whilst growing up my focus has always been for the betterment of Māori, knowing the benefits it has for all people no matter where they come from. No matter my job title my passion always remains with Māori and all the great attributes it holds. I am Māori first always, therefor I work for my people. I believe education holds great importance; it changes lives for the better. I am humbled and grateful to have an opportunity to be a part of this new role, helping shape a better tomorrow for Aotearoa.

I would like to share a poem that sums up my goals and aspirations within this job:


When you create a difference in someone’s life, you not only impact their life, you impact everyone influenced by them throughout their entire lifetime.

No act is ever too small.

One by one, this is how to make an ocean rise.


Renu Sikka

Tāmaki Makaurau

Renu SikkaSat Sri Akal! Kia ora koutou, ko Renu tōku ingoa.

My name is Renu Sikka and I have been working at the Ministry of Education for the past one year and two months as a Curriculum Lead.  Prior to being a Curriculum Lead at the Ministry of Education, I  have been in various Senior Leadership roles as well as being a Resource Teacher Learning & Behaviour (RTLB), John Hattie Visible Learning Impact Coach for change management within schools, Mathematics and Science Curriculum Lead, Māori Achieving Success as Māori (MASAM) within school Kahui Ako Lead role, Positive Behaviour for Learning Lead (PB4L), Associate Teacher, Coach and Mentor for provisional and beginning teachers, both at Primary and Intermediate schools.

I bring with me 20 years of experience of working with various socio-economic and cultural settings in areas of local curriculum development, culturally responsive & sustaining teaching practices, evaluation of teacher impact, digital learning, and leading and coaching collaborative inquiry within the teams. 

I am passionate about ensuring equitable, accessible education for all and strongly believe in rejoicing and celebrating cultural diversity through developing an appreciation of the importance of culturally sensitive approach to our New Zealand Curriculum. Culture is the social and moral fibre that unites a community and makes it unique.

In my role as a Curriculum Lead, I actively seek to form solid learning networks with Primary & Intermediate schools and local communities to support kaiako and school leaders to design and extend learning experiences for ākonga beyond the school walls – as well as to ensure all ākonga experience a rich and responsive localised curriculum which is not only innovative, inclusive, diverse, future-focused using digital technologies but also leads to a positive well-being as an outcome. 

Having been recognised for my contribution to the wider communities and education sector, with the National Excellence in Teaching (ASG NEiTA) award in 2019, I believe for me the most important aspect of the role is Whakawhanaungatanga - putting relationships first and being inclusive of kaiako and all contributing stakeholders – whānau, marae, hapū, iwi and the local community.  I feel quite privileged to be in this role at the Ministry of Education as part of this amazing Curriculum Leads team and be able to and make a difference through a refreshed curriculum as a key driver for a change within the wider community.

I am passionate about learning and am currently studying towards my doctorate at AUT with a focus on -Teaching practices when working with culturally diverse students in an online learning environment.

Ka kite


Daisy Zuo

Tāmaki Makaurau

PortraitTēnā koutou katoa!大家好! I grew up in China and started my journey in the early learning sector in 2003. My early teaching and leadership years at Centre level offered me valuable opportunities to develop my passion for curriculum design and delivery that strengthens children’s sense of belonging, builds resilience and enhances school readiness.

I have had the privilege to work with, and to draw on the expertise of some amazing Centre leaders and school leaders throughout my teaching and leadership journey, and I’m passionate about facilitating curriculum design that enables authentic connection with whānau, and strengthens cultural capabilities of the kaiako to ensure the learning experiences for our diverse learners are relevant to them, their whānau and the community they live in. Another area of expertise I bring to this role is providing meaningful support for kaiako and Centre leaders that improves team cohesion and strengthens the effectiveness of teaching.

I feel privileged to be in a position where I can help to foster the quality of learning, improve equity and inclusion in our education system, and enhance the wellbeing of our ākonga, kaiako and our communities


Alison Fowkes

Tāmaki Makaurau

Alison FowkesKo Alison tōku ingoa. I joined the Ministry of Education Mangawhau office in July 2021. Prior to joining the Curriculum Lead Team, I worked as HOD Technology and have been teaching in the secondary sector since migrating to New Zealand in 2004. I saw the Curriculum Lead position as an opportunity for me to put my qualifications and years of teaching experience to use in a way that has a broader reach. My lived experience of growing up in a country with huge disparity, I observed the impact this has on communities and societies health and wellbeing. I am particularly interested in being part of the changes in education that is actively working towards reducing inequity. My educational interest has always been curriculum, and the position of Curriculum Lead has facilitated merging areas of educational interest and passion for equity.

The expertise I bring to the Curriculum Lead role includes 25 years of classroom teaching and middle management experience and qualifications. In my home country I taught at 8 secondary schools in Cape Town, South Africa, working as a long-term reliever, teacher and HOD. I then worked as a facilitator contracted by the University of the Western Cape and the Department of Education, retraining teachers as part of a new curriculum reforming Apartheid Education. Curriculum Leads actively bridge the gap between educational philosophy, policy documents and classroom practice by supporting Kaiako to do what they do best.


Sonja Petkovic

Tāmaki Makaurau

PortraitTēnā koutou katoa,

Ko Petkovic tōku whānau

Nō Montenīkoro, nō Makerōnia hoki ōku tīpuna

Nō Podgorica ki Montenīkoro, ahau

Kei Tāmaki Makaurau tōku kāinga

Ko Sonja tōku ingoa.

My professional journey started overseas where I taught English as a foreign language for 10 years. The road took me to New Zealand where in the last 20 years I’ve had the privilege of learning with my many secondary English language learners about language acquisition, communication and literacy within multi-layered narratives. Teaching and leading English as a second language has inspired me to explore cross-curricular approaches as a way of building on learner strengths, support student wellbeing in the complex fabric of learning, and capture the bi/multi-lingual and cultural capital of our ākonga.

I am looking forward to continuing the relationships I’ve developed with the sector in my previous role as a Senior Education Adviser at the MOE, supporting the educational aspirations of our society, whānau,and kura for their rangatahi. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Curriculum Lead team and occupy a constructive role in enabling equitable and responsive education in our communities.


Viv Carr

Tāmaki Makaurau

PortraitKia ora koutou, ko Viv Carr tōku ingoa.

I joined the ministry in January 2023, as a Curriculum Lead in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland for Primary schools. I have over 25 years’ experience in the education sector, mainly teaching and leading in primary schools across the motu and internationally.

It is a privilege to be in a position to actively support schools and work closely with Kaiako to design, implement and extend the learning experiences for ākonga to reflect their identity, culture, language and whanau aspirations through a rich and responsive curriculum.

Ko te piko o te māhuri, tērā te tupu o te rākau

The way the sapling is shaped determines how the tree grows.


Te Kaihou Ngarotata

Tāmaki Makaurau


Latisha Kelly


Latisha KellyKia ora, Kia orana, Talofa lava, Greetings

My name is Latisha (Tish) Kelly I have been working at the Ministry of Education for the last four months as a Curriculum Lead.  Prior to being a Curriculum Lead, I taught Business Studies and Visual Arts as well as being a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) for 19.5 years at the high schools in Tokoroa. My continual motivation while teaching in Tokoroa was equitable outcomes for all learners, no matter their gender, ethnicity, or special learning circumstance.  Great curriculum is a driver for change in every community.  A rich curriculum is one that learners can see themselves in, leads to increased learner engagement, attendance, and well-being. It is this passion for change, through great curriculum design, I bring with me to my role as Curriculum Lead.  


Leah Steens


Leah SteensTēnā koutou katoa – he uri ahau no Tūhoe me Hōrana. I am privileged to have been born into a whānau where two worlds meet. I have been a teacher and leader within the ECE sector for 35 years prior to coming to the Ministry of Education two years ago. My passion is our curriculum – Te Whāriki and ensuring that it is delivered within our sector as it was intended. I am here to support and work alongside our ECE services, teachers, governance and management groups who are willing to create authentic change within their practices for tamariki, whānau communities, hapu and iwi.


Nada Harpur


Nada HarpurPrior to working at the Ministry of Education I worked in a Primary school in a town called Tokoroa. Tokoroa is a culturally rich community filled with people from all walks of life. I have had the privilege of working with children as a kaiako ranging in age from 5 to 11 years old, each age group with their own unique way of learning. I became a Curriculum Lead because I am a passionate advocate for well-designed curriculum to meet the needs of ākonga, giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi and our ākonga and whānau māori. I wanted to contribute to the role out of the refreshed curriculum for the betterment of our future generations and to support those working in our schools who will be implementing it.


Julie Taupo


PortraitMauriora ki a koutou

Ko Maungaakawa te Maunga
Ko Topehaehae me Piako-iti ngaa awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngaati Hauaa me Ngaati Paaoa ngaa iwi
Ko Ngaati Werewere tooku hapuu
He uri hoki ahau noo te whaanau Drummond oo Kootirana
Ko Kai a te mata me Waitii ngaa marae
Ko Julie Taupo ahau.

I have been involved in the education sector for 16 years, as a parent, teacher, and board member. The majority of these years were spent in Early Childhood settings both as a kaiako and centre manager and most recently in Years 0-2 of the primary sector. Raising our 5 children and supporting them through their education journey made me aware first hand of the unique challenges facing tamariki and rangatahi Maaori. I advocate strongly for the power of relationships and the value these play in developing and designing curriculum in education settings. My passion is curriculum design that is strength-based and relevant for the learner, the teacher, the whaanau, and the wider community.

Frankie West


PortraitTēnā tātou, he uri tēnei nō ngā rau taniwha o Waikato. Ko Frankie West tōku ingoa.

Alongside working in the Ministry, my main mahi are being a māmā to three beautiful te reo Māori speaking babies and a wife to my tāne. I am a Primary trained kaiako and moved into Secondary teaching in 2016. I applied for the CL role to help support our ākonga, kaiako and kura learn and grow in their spaces. I have much to learn but only hope that through years of teaching and working in various spaces that the pūkenga attained can be of value to others.


Reshma Patel-Harman


PortraitNgaa mihi nui ki a koutou

The journey of my grandparents and my parents has carved a pathway of generational travel, exploration, connections, and service to forge new beginnings. Their stories and exploration have been influential in shaping who I am today, and this has been instrumental in my 'why' and 'how' I work with our Ākonga. I see that the greatest strength in changing lives comes from our connections within our community and being reflexive to the needs of our people. I strongly believe in functioning collectively and developing the strengths of the people around us, by providing an authentic stance for them to shine.

I have taught in various educational contexts within New Zealand and England. Most recently I have come from an incredible team of people from Learning Support, here in the Waikato. These contexts aimed to provide for rich learning experiences of our neuro-diverse learners, and whānau needs. In this role, I have relished innovative curriculum planning promoting and empowering students' and whānau voices, which have created opportunities for genuine choice; and inspired students and whānau through collaborative practices. 

I am excited about joining this team and placing Te Tiriti at the forefront of the curriculum refresh. I am passionate about assisting with and designing responsive curriculum learning that ensures every Ākonga or learner experiences national learning priorities.

Nicole Young

Bay of Plenty – Waiariki

Nicole Young Tēnā koutou, Ko Nicole Young toku ingoa, nō Pāpāmoa ahau.

I am a Curriculum Lead|Kaihautū Marautanga for Bay of Plenty|Waiariki with expertise in Early Childhood Education|Te Whāraki. I began my teaching and leadership career over 20 years ago, mainly managing, and leading Early Learning services, Kaiako and kaimahi. I had a short period with adult teaching at Toi Ohomai before being a part of Kāhui Ako, in its early establishment. Although my studies in Master of Educational Leadership empowered my passion for living and evolving curriculum design, it has been my relationships and experiences along the way that continue my passion and drive for positive curriculum design. I joined the Ministry of Education as Senior Education Advisor in August 2017 and more recently, changed over to my Curriculum Lead position, March 2021. This journey has enabled me to commit and actively support Kaiako, kaimahi and ākonga through the development/design of their Localised Curriculum|Marau ā-Kura. I look forward to further supporting places of learning to have an inclusive curriculum that incorporates the past, present, and future of learning, and fosters a sense of belonging to heritage and culture.


Makarena Hotene

Waiariki/Bay of Plenty

PortraitKo Mataatua te waka, Ko Putauaki me Te Tahuhu o Haokitaha nga maunga, Ko Rangtitaiki me Ohinemataroa nga awa, Ko Pukeko, Ueimua me Rongokarae nga whare tipuna, Ko Ngati Pukeko, Ngai Tamapare me Ngati Rongo nga hapu, Ko Ngati Awa me Tuhoe nga iwi, Ko Makarena Hotene ahau.

I am a curriculum lead for Waiariki region and work from the Whakatāne office. I have taught across the sector as a primary and high school teacher in mainstream, Kura Kaupapa, and Kura a Iwi for six year and lectured at Whare Wananga for 5 years. My recent role was as an academic advisor and coordinator for marking and assessments within the School of Indigenous Studies at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

I will end with this whakatauki to encapsulate my purpose and reason I am in this role, “Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti, te whanau me to hapori arahia o tatou mahi – Let the uniqueness of the child, the family and community guide our work.”

Mauri ora.


Reina Hepi

Waiariki/Bay of Plenty

PortraitKo Tongariro te maunga Ko Taupō te moana Ko Tūwharetoa te iwi Ko Te Heuheu te tangata

Ko ahau he uri nō Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Tūhoe me te Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Ko Reina Hepi tōku ingoa. Before working for the Ministry of Education, I had the privilege of teaching and learning amongst our Ngāti Tuwharetoa tamariki on all sides of our beautiful Lake Taupō. I have taught in the mōtu for over 25 years, and during that time managed to raise my tamariki amongst our own with the support of local and Māori boarding schools. I have taught in Kura-ā-reo, Te Kōhanga Reo, mainstream primary, middle school and most recently senior school, both multi-culturally. Over the years I have endeavoured to start a Master of Education and am still on that journey of lifelong learning.

I am the first member of my whanau to complete an academic degree, however I come from an extensive line of hard workers, mana wāhine, visionaries, teachers, and learners. I now have the honour to engage with all our whanau, hāpu and Iwi around the mōtu for the betterment of our mokopuna. The Curriculum lead role for me ensures that our tamariki, kaiako, whanau, hāpu and Iwi have an advocate at the fore front of the learning journey within the New Zealand educational system.


Keeri Stanley-Kaweroa

Waiariki/Bay of Plenty

PortraitKo Mauao te maunga,

Ko Tauranga te moana,

Ko Mataatua te waka,

Ko Ngāi Te Rangi te iwi,

Ko Ōpureora me Waikari ngā marae,

Ko Ngāi Tūwhiwhia me Ngāti Tapu ngā hapū

Tēnā rā kōtou katoa, ko Keeri Stanley-Kaweroa tōku ingoa. Nōku anō te whiwhi i te rirohanga o tēnei tūranga i tēnei tau 2023, ā, e kīa nei ko te Kaihautū Marautanga (Curriculum Lead) mō ngā kura Māori (Māori Medium). Kei Tauranga Moana ahau e mahi ana, hēoi, ko ngā pito katoa o te Waiariki tāku e hora nei.

I te ngahuru tau kua hipa ake nei, he pononga au ki ngā kūao o Tauranga Moana whānui, ki aku kauheke o Ngāi Te Rangi iwi hoki. Ko te tūranga Kaiako/Pouako tētahi, ko te tūranga Poukaiāwha (AST/ASL) o te Kāhui Ako tētahi, ko te ringahāpai o te rōpū kaitiaki o Te Tai Whanake ki Tauranga Moana tētahi, ko te mahitahi me ngā iwi e toru o Tauranga Moana hoki. Katoa mai, mō ngā tamariki mokopuna te take!

E ngākaunui ana ki ahau te whakakōtuituia i ngā kōrero me ngā hītori o te takiwā ki ngā kaupapa ako o te marau kia mārama, kia hihiri ai te tamaiti ki tōna ake whenua, ki tōna ake whakapapa, ki tōna ake ao hoki. Kia tupu, kia rea, kia puawaitia!

Kati ake i kōnei, mauri ora ki a tātou katoa.


Saskia Dean

Waiariki/Bay of Plenty

PortraitKo Saskia Dean tōku ingoa, nō Tauranga Moana ahau

I have recently joined the Curriculum Leads / Kaihautū Marautanga team for Bay of Plenty / Waiariki.

Working in the Early Learning sector for the past 30 years, I am excited to take on the new challenge in the curriculum sector and support others in the journey of embedding an authentic rich and robust local curriculum for their place of learning. 

I am excited to have the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and experience to others with been able to open up conversations, share ideas and build relationships.  

I look forward to meeting you and walking alongside the sector and learning together to ensure our tamariki have their well-being met.


Nui Beamsley

Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti

Nui BeamsleyTaku hei piripiri, taku hei mokimoki, taku hei tāwhiri,
Taku kati taramea, tihei māuri ora.
He uri tēnei nō Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa me Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi ,ā, ko Arohanui Beamsley tōku ingoa.

I joined the Ministry of Education in 2017 as an Early Learning Education Advisor, following 16 years in Te Kōhanga Reo movement. I applied for the Curriculum Lead role as I was interested in moving into a role that focuses on curriculum development. If I could best describe the role, it would be “Ko tou rourou, ko taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi”.


Ra Hansen

Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti

Ra HansenI came to Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga, from the position of Deputy Principal and SENCo of a great semi-rural coastal school, for the opportunity to focus on improving equity across education. Prior to Haumoana I was Assistant Principal and SENCo at an urban intermediate school. I have 25 years’ experience in education in both Aotearoa and the UK as a kaiako, board member and parent, leading teams developing local curriculum and collaborative pedagogies with a focus on inclusion for all ākonga. In 2014 I completed a post graduate diploma in education on a Teachers Council Study Grant to focus on digital learning.


Gaylyn Campbell

Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti

PortraitKia ora koutou katoa

I began my role as Curriculum Lead in January 2023. I bring with me 30 years’ experience teaching, initially within a kindergarten association as teacher and head teacher. I then moved into the tertiary sector to teach across several initial teacher education programmes, focussed primarily on the practicum papers.  Wanting to have increased contact with children, I then moved back to kindergarten as a Senior Teacher providing pedagogical advice and guidance across a number of settings. Along the way I have gained a master’s in education with a focus on leadership, one of my interests. Other interests include early literacy, diverse learners and social justice. I applied for this role as I am absolutely focused on the provision of a quality curriculum for our youngest citizens, and well supported kaiako to implement and design this curriculum.


Bruce Hill

Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti

PortraitI te taha o tōku hoa Rangatira me āku tamariki,

Ko Kokai te Maunga,

Ko Hotohoto te Awa,

Ko Horouta te Waka,

Ko Te Poho o Materoa te Marae,

Ko Te Aitanga-a-Mate te hapū

Ko Ngāti Porou te Iwi,

He uri hoki rātou nō Tuhoe me Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki anō hoki

Ko Bruce Hill tōku ingoa

I am the curriculum lead based in Tairāwhiti for years 7 – 10. I’ve been teaching for approximately 22 years, 16 in English medium, specifically years 7 & 8 teaching all areas of the curriculum. I’ve also taught for 6 years in Māori medium at TKKM o Ngā Uri a Māui, teaching Pāngarau to years 9 & 10 as well as NCEA L1,2,3.


Jo Veen

Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti

PortraitKo Jo Veen toku ingoa. No Haumoana ahau.

I am one of the curriculum leads based in sunny Hawkes Bay.  I have been a secondary school teacher for 20 years. My specialist subject areas are Japanese and Drama but I have dabbled in English, Theatre Technology and Digital technology over the years. I also have done research in using mobile technology as an educational tool and am passionate about the potential that technology offers for diverse learning experiences. With this role, I am looking forward to developing relationships across a wide range of educational spaces and working with kura and kaiako to explore the changes happening in education,  NCEA and across the curriculum.


Melanie Hagan

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu

Melanie HaganKia ora, ko Mel tōku ingoa. I joined the ministry in February 2021. I support the Taranaki|Whanganui|Manawatu region, based in the Whanganui office. I have over 20 years’ experience in the education sector, mainly teaching and leading in primary schools within Manawatū. It is a privilege supporting schools to design, implement and deliver quality (rich, exciting, engaging, and relevant) learning experiences for our learners which reflect their culture, identity, language, interests and whānau aspirations. It is also an exciting time in education to be focused on our curriculum.

Ngā mihi.


Hilarie Nicoll

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu

Hilarie NicollI have been employed in teaching and leadership roles within education for the past 38 years, most of my career has been as a professional leader in early learning and as a professional development facilitator with Massey University. I joined the Ministry of Education in 2018 and have been employed as a Curriculum Lead since the beginning of 2021. I am currently enjoying working with a range of centres to provide advice and guidance regarding their own unique curriculum design process as well as engaging in conversations to strengthen the implementation of curriculum support documents. I am passionate about ensuring Te Whāriki and local curriculum development is informing the decisions to support improving learning outcomes for all tamariki. I believe that genuine connections with whānau and the community as contributing partners involved in decision making about learning can only result in affirming a child’s culture, language, identity and therefore supporting equitable outcomes for all.


Heather MacLean

Taranaki, Manawatū-Whanganui

PortraitTēnā koutou katoa, ko Magaliesberg te maunga, ko Vaal te awa, ko Quantas te waka, Nō Āwherika ki te tonga. Kei Papaioea tōku kainga. Ko Heather MacLean tōku ingoa. I have lived in New Zealand for 35 years and prior to that grew up in South Africa. I have been fortunate to have completed all my studies in Education, Psychology and Philosophy here in Aotearoa.  I have worked within the Education sector for over 25 years ranging from the Early Learning Sector through to Initial Teacher Education. I have a passion for Early Learning and have previously work as an Early Intervention Teacher for the Ministry of Education. After working for 17 years in Early Learning Sector I have recently returned to Te Mahau in January 2023 as a Curriculum Lead. I am excited about the mahi involved in the Curriculum Lead role with the opportunity to engage with kaiako and their wider whānau. The aim being to strengthen our sectors understanding of Te Whāriki and the range of resources being released by Te Mahau. I am passionate about culture, language and identity, diverse learners, and leadership. Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga form the foundation of my practice. I am looking forward to establishing new relationships and strengthen connections I already have in the sector. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa



Hannah Cartmell-Wise


PortraitTēnā koutou katoa

I whānau mai ahau I Ingarangi

Ko Te Awakairangi tōku ngakau

Ko Hannah Cartmell Wise tōku ingoa

I have joined the Curriculum Lead team from the ECE licensing team where I have been working for a little over a year. Before working for Te Tahuhu I have been in the ECE sector for over 15 years in the ECE sector predominantly in Kindergarten. I am passionate about collaborative leadership and have 10 years’ experience leading teams. I also have a keen interest in supporting kaiako to implement inclusive teaching practices to ensure equitable outcomes for all tamariki. I became a curriculum lead as I want to be able to support kaiako to implement quality leadership, develop a deeper understanding of Te Whāriki and intentional teaching strategies that enable tamaiki to thrive in all ECE environments.


Vanessa De Souza-Cameron


portraitThe Curriculum lead role appealed to me as addressing equity issues and improving outcomes has been a passion and an area of focus in my career. As a woman of colour, raised in Aotearoa, and raising my tamariki here, I want to support an education system that allows them and all ākonga to succeed with their culture and identity a core part of that success.

Prior to joining the Te Whanganui-a-Tara Regional team, I was part of the NCEA Change Programme implementation team at National Office where I was involved in gaining regional and local voice. Before coming to the Ministry, I spent 18 years as a kaiako and middle leader, teaching Social Sciences in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Tāmaki Makaurau and overseas.

I will always be a kaiako at heart and am excited to be a part of such meaningful curriculum change that caters to diversity and is focused on supporting the wellbeing and achievement of all our ākonga.

Leah Eruera


E mihi kau ana ki a koutou katoa. He uri ahau nō Te Whānau-ā- Apanui me Whakatōhea. He Kaiako o Te Kōhanga Reo, o Te Puna Reo, o Te Wānanga o Aotearoa hoki. He pou kaha au mō te whakamāuitanga o te reo Māori ki ngā tāngata katoa puta noa i te motu. Kia mōhio ai ngā tāngata katoa i te kai o te Rangatira.

I have a background working in Kohanga Reo, Puna Reo and Te Wananga o Aotearoa. I am passionate about education and success for Māori as well as passionate about Te Ao Māori being utilised, understood, prioritised and normalised within mainstream education. I strive to see an education system where our Kaiako are well established and flourishing which will intern benefit the education of our tamariki.


Janine Simpson


PortraitPrior to working as a Curriculum Lead I worked in the education sector as a Kaiako, Deputy Principal and Education Consultant for over 25 years. My passions and strengths lay in leadership development, formative assessment, curriculum design and mathematics pedagogy.  Becoming a curriculum lead will allow me to continue in this space and to widen the scope of support I can offer kura, Kaiako and Kāhui Ako.  I am excited about the direction of Te Mātaiaho and am thrilled to be supporting schools, communities and students with its implementation.


Janine Higgins

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast

Janine HigginsI’ve been fortunate to have a variety of roles and experiences in education prior to taking on the curriculum lead role, including Deputy Principal roles at two local schools, co-leadership of a local Kāhui Ako, Board of Trustees chairperson, and 20 years of classroom teaching experience in a variety of settings (NZ Primary, Intermediate & Secondary, UK Primary).  Curriculum design genuinely interests and inspires me. Being a proud mum to one tween and two teenagers is a sound reality check for how important curriculum design is for the engagement and achievement of our tamariki and rangitahi.


Dan Green

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast

PortraitPrior to working at the Ministry, I taught for 15 years across primary and intermediate age ranges both in Aotearoa New Zealand and the UK. I also held a range of leadership positions from middle leader to Assistant Headteacher - focusing on teaching and learning. While working in the UK, I taught the mathematics segment of a one-year ITE course. Mathematics is an area that I am passionate about. In 2017, I completed a Primary Mathematics Specialist course and followed by a Master of Education, with a focus on developing conceptual understanding in maths.

I applied for this role as I was excited by the refresh and how it can be a transformative driver of change and improved educational outcomes.


Sue Hone

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast

PortraitKia ora koutou,

Ko Sue Hōne tōku ingoa.

I’m excited to be taking up the new role of Curriculum Lead (Early Years) in Whakatū (Nelson). I was a Head Teacher for 14 years with the Nelson Tasman Kindergartens. I was privileged to lead, support, and walk alongside teams through change and the establishment of initiatives that continue to uplift tamariki and their whānau. I’m excited to be a part of adorning our kaiako with knowledge so they can ensure our tamariki fly.

Ma te huruhuru ka rere te manu

Adorn the bird with feathers so it can fly


Erina Tuhakaraina

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast

portraitKo ngā purapura whetū ki a rātou, ko ngā purapura ora ki a tātou, tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Ngāti Hauā me Ngāti Kahungunū ngā iwi

I tipu ake ahau ki Whakatū, ko Whakatū ki Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui tōku kainga

Ko Erina Tuhakaraina ahau

Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa.

Born and raised in Whakatū, this is home for me. I have many whānau close by, which I love. My teaching years have been in Māori medium akomanga at Primary and Intermediate kura, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Much of my learning has happened in these spaces and I have made many lifelong connections with kaiako, mokopuna and their whānau. My leadership roles have consisted of whānau leader roles, Across school lead for the Kāhui and I am currently a participant of Te Akatea Transformative Leadership programme for Māori Emerging Leaders; which is founded on He Wakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, focused on hapū and iwi aspirations.

I am excited about my new role as Kaihautū Marautanga, a role that allows me to support Māori medium spaces levels 1 and 2 with new curricula, tools, and resources. Designing great learning experiences where all mokopuna can experience a rich and responsive curriculum that enables equity, excellence and belonging, and where our mokopuna are flourishing in their learning, is a priority. 


Kathryn O’Connell-Sutherland


Kathryn O’Connell-SutherlandI come to this role after nearly 30 years immersed in the early learning sector enriched by many experiences, opportunities and relationships established along the way. I have background and passion for early learning, relational pedagogy, culturally sustaining leadership and intentional curriculum decision making. In previous roles, I have supported kaiako in tertiary education at Te Rito Maioha and as an education manager at Kidsfirst Kindergartens. Most recently, I was part of a national programme to support kaiako to begin to implement the refreshed Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early childhood curriculum and was responsible for leading a national team in the design and delivery of PLD programmes for CORE Education Tātai Aho Rau. As Senior Curriculum Lead (early learning), I am motivated to learn and grow in my role in Te Mahau (the newly designed ministry of education) to listen, be responsive and support equitable outcomes in partnership with mana whenua. I am proud to work alongside a dynamic team and continue to champion the early years sector, strengthen local curriculum and promote more effective feedback opportunities into the design of resources and support that are available to leaders, kaiako, parents and whānau. I intend to take practical action to give effect to the underpinning aspirations of our curriculum and improve outcomes for all tamariki mokopuna across Aotearoa.

He whāriki hei whakamana i te mokopuna, hei kawe i ngā wawata

A whāriki that empowers the child and carries our aspirations


Averill Manning


Averill ManningI came to the Curriculum Lead position with many years’ experience in the education sector as a secondary school teacher, leader, researcher and Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Education in Christchurch. Much of my experience in the education sector has been in settings with students who no longer attend mainstream education. I believe that a well-designed, inclusive curriculum has a central role in supporting the engagement, achievement and wellbeing of all ākonga. This is an exciting time for curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand and I am looking forward to supporting leaders and teachers as they design rich learning experiences that enable students to flourish.


Sharon White



Melanie Crase


PortraitKia ora koutou katoa. Ko Mel tōku ingoa. Born in Hamilton, I spent much of my childhood in Australia before moving to Ōtautahi | Christchurch – the place I call home. After completing teacher training, I taught at a primary school in Whakatāne for a few years before heading overseas for a one-year OE that somehow turned into 17 years! During this time, I taught in bilingual and international schools in Asia and had the opportunity to get to know and implement a variety of national and international curriculums. This experience sparked a passion for curriculum design, and I have enjoyed leading curriculum initiatives in schools overseas and here in New Zealand. My years of teaching in diverse, multicultural environments have highlighted the importance of having a rich and inclusive curriculum that reinforces identity, language, and culture to achieve equitable outcomes. As a Curriculum Lead, I enjoy working with a wide variety of education enthusiasts and supporting leaders and kaiako with their curriculum journeys.


Megan Martin


PortraitKia ora, ko Megan Martin tōku ingoa.

I believe that learning is the ‘super-power’ of the 21st Century.  For me the Curriculum Lead position presents a unique opportunity to be part of a team focused on building collective ‘educative’ capacity through a curriculum that is inclusive, equitable, connected and future-focused. This work aligns with my personal values of positive transformation, team-work, and contribution to the greater good. As a facilitator of learning, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to share my strengths, knowledge, and skills to empower others to grow and develop theirs.


Kylie O'Keeffe


portraitKia ora e te whānau

E rere kau mai te awa nui nei.

Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa 

Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au. 

Ko Ruapehu te maunga

Ko Whanganui te awa.

Ko Te Ati Haunui-a-Pāpārangi te iwi.

Ko Kylie O’Keeffe ahau.

I am one of the curriculum leads in Ōtautahi. Before starting this role, I was an Education Advisor. Previous to being an Education Advisor, I spent several years teaching in the primary sector. All my teaching experience has been in the junior school particularly the transition to school space as a New Entrant teacher. The last 6 years of my teaching were in a bilingual akomanga. I have been involved in research around transition to school and helped to trial the ANZH with the tamariki in our space.

Toi tu te kupu, toi tu te mana toi tu te whenua.


Bee Williamson


PortraitKīoranga kotou,

Ko Kopinga tōku marae

Ko Hokotehi tōku imi

Ko Pipitarawai tōku maunga

Ko Mangatukuwera tōku awa

Ko Tōkumaru tōku waka

Ko Whakamaharatanga tōku marae

Ko Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri tōku iwi

No Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands au

Kei Ōtautahi tōku kāinga ināianei, e ako ana au ki raro i te korowai atawhai o Ngāi Tahu whānui

Ko Bee Williamson tōku ingoā.

Kia ora, my spiritual home is Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands, although I have always lived in Ōtautahi under the korowai of Kai Tahu. I have spent most of my professional journey teaching and leading curriculum in community based Early Learning services. It is through the cumulative of diverse teaching experiences that has built my knowledge and capabilities that I bring with me the Ministry of Education as Kaihautū Marautanga/Curriculum Lead.

During my time teaching I have engaged in two research papers in Early Learning as a deputy lead (TLIF) and a teacher researcher (TLRI). Both with an emphasis on wellbeing, cultural intentional practice & working theories through a localised curriculum. I am very privileged to having worked with ākonga from refugee & migrant background which in adds richness to my pedagogy. I am passionate about future focused education where all ākonga experience inclusive & equitable learning opportunities through a full rich curriculum. Me Rongo.

Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa.

Let us keep close together, not far apart.


Loretta Schmidt

Otago Southland

portraitI applied for the role of Curriculum Lead because I was part of the Korero Mātauranga in Christchurch and heard ākonga say they didn’t see themselves in their learning or understand why they were learning it. The community and whanau questioned this too.  I felt an immediate connection to the kaupapa of the Curriculum Lead role and wanted to support the wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific ākonga. As a Māori and Pacific teacher, I took responsibility for looking after my community and youth.  As a mentor and careers advisor for Pacific students, I guided them at school and transitioning into work or further study.  I strongly believe in Hauora and I love education. I believe that this role will enable me to make a difference for our ākonga. The most important part of my role is working with kaiako to help them develop their own flavour of curriculum for their ākonga.  Influencing change for the better and giving our ākonga a chance to be successful in their own skin.   


Jess Tuhega

Otago Southland

Jess TuhegaTēnā koutou katoa, ko Rangiuru te maunga, ko Kaituna te awa, ko Te Arawa te waka, ko Tapuika te iwi, ko Ngati Moko te hapū, ko Te Pāmu rāua ko Tapuika ōku marae. Ko Jess Tuhega tōku ingoa. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I have lived in Ōtepoti/Dunedin most of my life as this is where the whānau I was raised by reside. My partner and I have chosen to remain here to raise our own tamariki as we have connections also to the place and the people. Ōtepoti is home.

I have worked within the Early Learning sector for over 20 years now both in New Zealand and overseas. I joined the Ministry of Education in March 2021 as a Curriculum Lead after working within the tertiary sector for 13 years at Te Rito Maioha – Early Childhood NZ. My mahi within the initial teacher education space has deepened my knowledge of early learning education culturally, pedagogically and theoretically, however the experience on how to apply this practically has been of most value. The education of Māori and Pacific learners and working with diverse learners is where my passion and strengths can be found.

I am excited about the potential the Curriculum Lead role has to engage early learning services, schools and the kaiako within them to support critical thinking’ about working in partnership with the community, the whānau and ākonga to design meaningful learning experiences that affirms and celebrates identity, language and culture. When all tamariki start to see themselves and the cultural values and beliefs of their whānau reflected within the curriculum, that is when success will become evident. It is not an impossible job, but it is going to take some time, hard work, dedication, and commitment.


Maria Kewene-Edwards

Otago Southland

PortraitHe mihi mahana ki a koutou. He uri ahau nō Ngāti Hikairo me Ngāti Haua ki Waikato, Nō Ingarangi i te taha o tōku māmā.

Ko Maria Kewene-Edwards tōku ingoa. 

I bring to this role, a wealth of 35 years’ experience and expertise teaching in primary education and more recently in Initial Teacher Education at the University of Otago, College of Education.  Here, I had a focus on Literacy, classroom practice and the visual arts.  Prior to this, I was in a bi-lingual classroom.

I have had many exciting educational opportunities which has allowed me to enter many domains of the educational world, both Te Ao Māori and Tangata a iwi.

My passion for the arts is a definite strength. I have been extremely lucky and privileged growing up in a theatre and musical background with parents who instilled these amazing skills and attributes in our whānau. I am classically trained in flute and majored in music.  This was one of the main reasons I stayed in school - oh and to eat my lunch. 

I am excited with the changes and the challenges that the NZ Curriculum will bring and feel privileged, as a Curriculum lead, to be part of the journey in supporting all who will enable our learners and whānau to blossom

Nō reira,

“Poipoia te kakano kia puāwai”.


Joneen Walker

Otago Southland

portraitTēnā koutou, Ko Joneen Walker toku ingoa, nō Otepoti ahau.

I feel fortunate to be a part of the Curriculum Lead Team. Education has been my passion for nearly 40 years, I have been engaged, excited and challenged in the ‘magical’ world of education and I know that his role will continue my passion of teaching and learning. I have a broad range of experiences across the education sector both nationally and internationally - a classroom teacher, reading recovery and literacy support teacher, University of Otago College of Education Lecturer, Assistant Principal, Principal and facilitator. My strengths are in Literacy, Numeracy, Integrated Curriculum and developing effective classroom practices.

Being a part of the Curriculum Refresh, supporting teachers through these changes will be a journey. Through the complexity of change, I want to find the simplicity within it to support and guide teachers and principals to engage and create connected, enriching and relevant experiences for our ākonga, helping them to grow and flourish in their world.


Lorraine Dallas

Otago Southland

portraitKia ora koutou, ko Lorraine Dallas tōku ingoa.

I trained as a primary teacher when my tamaiti were still at primary school. I have taught in Waihopai/Invercargill kura, from Year 1’s to 8 and had been Deputy Principal of a kura that was formed through a merger of 4 kura. I was involved with the curriculum development, and was lead for Literacy and Maths, as well as co-coach and data person for PB4L. After 12 years with this role I then decided to go rural and was based out in Western Southland as a Learning Support Co-ordinator moving across Early Learning, Primary and Secondary. I have trained as a Reading Recovery teacher, BSLA Facilitator, and Reading Together. I also was the Teacher of ESOL and completed my Certificate in TESOL.

I joined the MoE at the beginning of 2022 as a Senior Education Advisor. It was when I was part of a workshop on the Refresh NZC with the Southland Primary Principals that my passion for Curriculum was reignited. I made a promise to myself that if another LC position arose within the Southland MoE I would apply as Te Mātaiaho resonates with my philosophy on teaching and learning. Being part of the Curriculum Lead team is an opportunity to again be able to make a difference for our ākonga by working closely and supporting kaiako and education leaders.

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