Meet the curriculum leads

You can ask to connect with a curriculum lead through your local Ministry of Education office.

Hear the stories of our 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.


Read our curriculum leads' profiles

Te Tai Tokerau

TeRiini Henare

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 Māori and a post grad in early childhood 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 advisor in early learning here in the north. I then 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 also spent just under a year working as a special education advisor again for MOE before moving into this role as curriculum lead. This is 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 regarding curriculum and we respond. From supporting schools with designing their local curriculum, to supporting iwi, hapu, marae and whānau with engaging with their kura/school/ECE services and how and what that looks like, to unpacking resources and looking into all curricula documents, to specific online tools, to face-to-face workshopping of any specific kaupapa (for example, 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

Amber DavidsonI am working as a Curriculum Lead (Secondary) in the Te Tai Tokerau, 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. Before that I was a teacher and the Head of Learning for social sciences at Kaitaia College for 7 years. 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

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

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, England and it was also in England 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.

Jamie McQueen

PortraitKa tangi a Tūkaiāia kei te moana, Ko Ngātiwai kei te moana e haere ana: Ka tangi a Tūkaiāia kei tuawhenua, ko Ngātiwai kei tuawhenua e haere ana.

Ko au te Nōta, ko te Nōta ko au. He reo aroha o Ngātiwai, Ngātihine, Ngāpuhi tenei e rere atu ana ki a koutou katoa.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with others to grow better opportunities for our mokopuna. I am new to the role joining the team in January 2024. I am keen to help our hapū in the north get the educational resources they need and deserve. I te wairua ngāwari, e hīkaka te manu nei ki te waiata ngātahi i a koutou, ngā manukura. 

Whakamaua te pae tata kia tina,

Whāia te pae tawhiti kia tata.

Mauri ora ki te katoa!

Deanna Niha

PortraitE te tī, e te tā, rau rangatira mā, tēna rā tātou katoa.

Ko Deanna Niha ahau, he uri tēnei nō Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, me Ngāpuhi.

As a māmā, experienced kaiako, strategic leader, and Senior Advisor with the Ministry of Education, I have spent over three decades immersed in the Early Childhood sector. Throughout this journey, I've had the privilege of collaborating with dedicated kaiako, leading teaching teams, engaging in impactful research, and facilitating professional development initiatives.

My passion lies in weaving together strong pedagogical principles and practical knowledge of Te Whāriki to create an enriching educational environment. I am genuinely thrilled to contribute to a space responsive to our sector's diverse curriculum needs.

Believing in the transformative power of Mātauranga Māori, I am committed to fostering practices that empower individuals, nurturing the collective power of the community. My vision encompasses sharing knowledge, strengthening relationships, and supporting the sector in designing a responsive, locally embedded curriculum that reflects the essence of mokopuna, whānau, kaiako, hapū, and iwi.

Ngā mihi nui

Tāmaki Makaurau

Shawn Cooper

Shawn CooperKia ora koutou, ko Shawn Cooper tōku ingoa. I am a 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

Carmel FlynnAfter nearly 2 decades of teaching in and leading kindergarten teams, I began my work with the Ministry of Education in July 2019 as a Senior Education Advisor, 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

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.

Koe taki ko ha sevaniti kuo pau ke taaimu'a ai 'ae mo'ui fakasevaniti ma'u pe.

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

Tony Halalilo

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

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 profession and work for the MOE is to hopefully be a voice of reason and change. Despite the increased emphasis on raising Māori student achievement and honouring the principles of Te Tiriti, there are currently no systems in place to attract, support and retain Kaiako Hou, equipped with the knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori to teach in Kura Auraki.

Angela Smith

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

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 10 years within te ao Māori within primary and whare wānanga settings. 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 and always, therefore I work for my people. I believe education holds great importance and 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

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 two years as a curriculum lead.

Prior to this role, I held various senior leadership roles, as well as being a Resource Teacher Learning & Behaviour (RTLB), a John Hattie Visible Learning Impact Coach for change management within schools, a mathematics and science curriculum lead, a Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM) within school Kahui Ako lead role, a Positive Behaviour for Learning lead (PB4L), an associate teacher, and a coach and mentor for provisional and beginning teachers, both at primary and intermediate schools.

I bring with me 20 years' experience of working with various socio-economic and cultural settings in areas of local curriculum development, culturally responsive and 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 and intermediate schools and local communities. I do this 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 that is not only innovative, inclusive, diverse and future-focused using digital technologies, but also leads to positive wellbeing as an outcome.

I have been recognised for my contribution to the wider communities and education sector, with the National Excellence in Teaching (ASG NEiTA) award in 2019. For me, I believe the most important aspect of the role is whakawhanaungatanga – putting relationships first and being inclusive of kaiako and all contributing stakeholders, including 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

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. 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

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 a Head of Department (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 are 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

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. This road brought 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/multilingual 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 Advisor at the Ministry, 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.

Te Kaihou Ngarotata

Te KaihouKia ora, ko Te Kaihou Ngarotata ahau.

I tipu mai ahau ki ngā rekereke o ōku maunga Ruahine me Ngā Rangi Tapu ā-Whata.

I am very grateful to be nurtured in the embrace of kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori, but also very lucky to have experienced a life within the Kura Paerangi community as well.

I am currently based at the Maungawhau office in Tāmaki Makaurau and continue to move authentically as myself while navigating my chosen career path. As a kaihautu marautanga (curriculum lead), I do my utmost best to support kaiako, school leaders and ultimately their whānau too, specifically alongside Te Tīrewa Marautanga o Aotearoa and its supporting resources.

I have 3 goals to achieve while appointed as a kaihautū marautanga here at the Ministry of Education. Maybe you can help me achieve those goals or I can support you while working towards them. Either way, ko aku ringa ki a koutou!

Logan Wikitera

“Te piko o te māhuri tērā te tipu o te rākau, tamaiti akona i te kura kaupapa, tū ana ki te ao, tau ana!”

Ko Ngāti Hine pukepukerau!

Ko Te Rarawa kaiwhare!

Tīhei Mauri ora!

He māhuri tōtara tēnei i tupu ake i te wāo matomato o te kura kaupapa Māori, ki roto i te āhuru mōwai o Te Aho Matua.

Ko Logan Wikitera tōku ingoa and I am a product of Te Aho Matua.

I was born and raised in central Auckland where I attended Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Maungawhau in Maungawhau/Mt Eden, the nesting ground where I discovered my passion for mātauranga Māori.

I completed tertiary study through Te Wānanga Takiura and post-graduate study through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. I have spent over a decade teaching a wide range of kaupapa in kura kaupapa Māori, wharekura and taiao spaces.

I have experienced Māori learning models such as Te Whatuareare me Te Aho Matua through Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kōtuku. This experience helped fortify my understanding of mātauranga Māori me ōna tikanga katoa. My goal as a kaihautu marautanga is to bridge mātauranga Māori into a new world context to enable tauira Māori to reach the pinnacle of success.


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 4 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 Coordinator (SENCO) for almost 20 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 that 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 2 worlds meet. Prior to coming to the Ministry of Education 2 years ago, I was a teacher and leader within the ECE sector for 35 years.

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 HarpurBefore working at the Ministry of Education, I worked as a kaiako at a primary school in a town called Tokoroa. Tokoroa is a culturally rich community filled with people from all walks of life. I had the privilege of working with children 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, but I also worked most recently with tamariki 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.

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 how the innovative curriculum planning has promoted and empowered students' and whānau voices and created opportunities for genuine choice. I have also relished how it has 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.

Tamara Takiari

Marama Hune

He tamaiti ahau nō Te Maunga rāua ko Hinepūkohurangi

“He kōtahi nā Tuhoe, ka kata te pō!” 

He taniwha hoki tēnei nō te piko o Ngāti Māhanga! He piko, he taniwha, he piko, he taniwha, Waikato Taniwhā Rau!

“Whakatupu he tamaiti Rangatira hei takitaki i te mate o Tonganui”. 

I tipu ake ahau ki Te Waipounamu, whānau mai ai au ki Otepoti. kīhai he Kohanga Reo, atu i te Kohanga Reo, nā tōku kuia i whakahaerehia ki te Whare Karakia ki Brockville. Nā wai rā, whakahokia e tōku whaea i a mātou ki Taneatua. Hei aha? Kia puawaitia ki raro i te āhuru mōwai o tō mātou iwi a Ngai Tūhoe, ki raro i ngā tauawhinga o a mātou kuia, koroua. He raukura ahau o Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rūātoki me te Wānanga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa. 

“Iti Rearea, Teitei, Kahikatea ka Taea!”

E rua ōku whainga e ārahi ana i ahau me ōku mahi: 

”Mā te hoki atu kite awe māpara, hai tohutohu i te aratika, hai taonga tuku iho mo ngā raukura e puawai nei i te ao o te nāianei, o te ānamata anō hoki”. 

“Mā te mahi ngātahi o te whānau, hapū, hāpori me te kura kia eke ai ngā tamariki, ngā ākonga ki te taumata o angitū ki roto i ngā wāhnga katoa o tōna oranga. Kia anga whakamuja te tamaiti i runga i te mauri tau, te mauri tū me tōna kārohirohi atu ki te aō whānui”. 

Tekau mā waru neke atu ngā tau e noho ana au ki te ao kaiwhakaako tamariki ki ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori Te Aho Matua. Kotahi o aua tau i noho hai Kaiako Matua ki Te Kohanga Reo o Kākariki ki Tāmaki. Kua noho au hei Pou Whakahaere Wharekura, Kura Tuatahi anō hoki. I noho au hai Kaiwhakahaere Whakangungu Kura Māori ki Te Wānaka o Waitaha ki raro i te korowai o Ngā Tapuwae a Rehua. I noho mo ngā tau e 4 hai tūmuaki ki Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Piripono Te Kura Whakahau ki Ōtara, kei Tāmaki. 

"Matua rautia te tamaiti"

Ko te whakaaro nui o konei, mā ngā ringaringa maha te tamaiti e whakatipu, e whāngaia ki ngā kai o tōna ao Māori. Nā Wharehuia Milroy

Bay of Plenty, Waiariki

Nicole Young

Nicole Young Tēnā koutou, Ko Nicole Young toku ingoa, nō Pāpāmoa ahau. I am a curriculum lead | kaihautū marautanga for Bay of Plenty, Waiariki. I have expertise in early childhood education and Te Whāraki.

I began my teaching and leadership career over 20 years ago. I managed and lead a number of early learning services and their 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 role as Curriculum Lead in 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

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, in kura kaupapa Māori, and in Ngā Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa for 6 years and have lectured at whare wananga for 5 years. My most 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.

Keeri Stanley-Kaweroa

PortraitKo Mauao te maunga, ko Tauranga te moan, 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

PortraitKo Saskia Dean tōku ingoa, nō Tauranga Moana ahau.

I have recently joined the curriculum lead | 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 wellbeing met.

Kelly Marumaru

Kelly MarumaruKo Kākānui te maunga, ko Mataruia te punawai, ko Tukaki te wharenui, ko Te Rangiwhakapunea te wharekai, ko Te Ehutu te hapu, ko Te Whānau ā Apanui te iwi, ko Kelly Marumaru ahau.

Tēnā koutou katoa, I am the kaihautū marautanga | curriculum lead for the Waiariki region and am based in Whakatane.

I have had 20 years teaching as a kaiako both in mainstream primary, secondary and Kura-a-Iwi school settings, as well as working as a SENCO, a specialist teacher and NCEA knowledge and experience leader. I have completed a Masters in Contemporary Education focusing on leadership and 21st century teaching and learning.

Most recently I have had the privilege of being a deputy principal | tumuaki tuarua for 7 years, establishing a new kura based in Te Whānau ā Apanui and building and nurturing leadership, curriculum design, collaboration and culturally responsive practices.

I look forward to advising and supporting educational settings to work alongside whānau, hapū and iwi so that local curriculum and marau ākura reflects their aspirations for their tamariki that support te reo matatini me te pāngarau, literacy & communication and maths learning outcomes.

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Reina Hepi

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 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 education system.

Andrew Macdonald

portraitKo Kopuwai te maunga, ko Manuhirikia te awa, nō Alexandra ahau, engari, nō Maunganui tōku kainga inaianei.

Kia ora tātou, my name is Andrew Macdonald, and I am a Curriculum Lead | Kaihautū Marautanga for Bay of Plenty, Waiariki. I have expertise in primary education, integration of Te Ao Māori in mainstream classrooms and I am passionate about teaching and learning through play.

I have been a classroom teacher for 14 years, team leader for 4 and have run classrooms for students ranging from Year 3 through to Year 8. My strength is engaging students through building positive relationships and creating targeted, holistic and culturally enriching programming. I enjoy helping teachers find their spark in teaching by optimising our New Zealand Curriculum which inevitably leads to fun, laughter and learning for our tamariki and kaiako alike.

I am excited about my role working alongside the teaching sector. Through getting to know your school community, I know we can do great things and bring your localised curriculum to life in your kura.

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.

With your food basket and my food basket, the people will thrive.

Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti

Gaylyn Campbell

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 moved into the tertiary sector to teach across several initial teacher education programmes, focussed primarily on the practicum papers. 

Wanting to have more contact with children again, I moved back to kindergarten as a senior teacher providing teaching and learning advice and guidance across a number of settings.

Along the way I have gained a Master of 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.

Nicky Anderson

PortraitHe kākano ahau i ruia mai i Rangiatea, I am a seed born of greatness.
I te taha o tōku māmā ko tēnei tōku pepeha
Nō Waikato ōku tūpuna heoi i whānau mai ahau i Heretaunga
I tipu ahau i raro i te maunga o Te Mata o Rongokako
I tipu ahau i te taha o te kōawa o Karamu
Ko Pottage tōku ingoa whanau
Nō Scotland rātou
Ko Nicky Anderson tōku ingoa
Nō Heretaunga ahau
Kei Ahuriri ahau e noho ana
He ngākaunui au ki te ako.

I am thrilled to be appointed as Kaihautū Marautanga | Curriculum Lead. I have experience in teaching and leadership over the past 30 years at primary, intermediate and secondary levels.

The curriculum lead role interests me because of the focus on supporting kaiako and school leaders to develop learning opportunities and curricula that is inclusive of ākonga identities, culture and language.

Building a culturally relevant and responsive curriculum is key to giving practical action and effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi. I am looking forward to building partnerships with kaiako and school leaders that support the development of authentic and engaging local curriculum.

Mary Stubbings

portraitMauri tu Ma uri ora! Nō kotirana, me Aerana ōku tipuna, i tae mai rātou ki Aotearoa i te tau kotahi mano waru rau ono tekau mā wha, i runga i te waka Rangoon. Hei tapiri ake, ko Whakapūnake te maunga e rū nei I taku ngākau, ko Te Wairoa Hōpupu Honengenenge Mātangi rau, te awa e mahea nei aku māharahara, ko Mary Stubbings toku ingoa.

I am looking forward to supporting schools with the implementation of Te Mataiaho as a curriculum lead for secondary education in the Tairāwhiti area. Although I began my teaching career in primary schools, most of my experience comes from working as a teacher and in middle and senior leadership teams in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. Prior to this, I worked for the University of Waikato as part of the Poutama Pounamu team which advocates for excellence, equity and belonging in schools.

I believe that placing ākonga at the centre of the decisions we make about teaching and learning ensures tamariki are the most important factor in education. Building positive relationships with students whānau, and community, and providing pedagogy that supports dialogic interactions will create the conditions for students to reach their full potential. As a Pākeha educator I strive to enact the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to create opportunities where there is a deeper understanding of the responsibilities that we have as Te Tiriti Tangata.

Rhan Tangaere

RhanTēnā koutou katoa

He uri tēnei o Ngāti Kahungunu me Rongomaiwahine hoki
Kei Heretaunga  ahau e noho ana.
ko Rhandell Tangaere tōku ingoa

I tipu ake au i Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngāti Toa, I kuraina ahau ki te reo rua o Ngāti Toa, koira te tūāpapa o tōku reo Māori. I have been involved in the Early childhood education sector for 13years. Teaching in both private and Kindergarten settings and lecturing.

I am passionate about te ao Māori and supporting Kaiako to become the ‘key tool’ to connecting tamariki with their tuakiritanga. I have a genuine appreciation for collaborating alongside Kaiako, whānau and tamariki to best meet their needs and learning aspirations. I am very interested in researching what support is available for a tamaiti and their whānau as well as the Kaiako involved in the transition from Te Kōhanga Reo to Kura Kaupapa. 

Qualifications: Bachelor of Teaching (ECE); Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership (ECE); Master of Education (ECE) (ongoing).

Rachel Duckworth

PortraitKo Maukatere te mauka, Ko Rakahuri te awa, Ko Takitimu te waka, Ko Tūāhiwi te marae, Ko Kāi Tūāhuriri te hapū, Ko Kāi Tahu te iwi, I tipu ake au ki Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, Ko Rachel toku ikoa.

Tēnā koutou katoa, I am the Kaihautū Marautanga | Curriculum Lead for the Tairāwhiti region and I am based in Gisborne. 

I have had over 25 years in the primary sector as a teacher, syndicate leader, deputy principal, SENCO, digital tech leader, and numerous other roles within the busy day to day life of a school. Championing curriculum reform that strengthens wellbeing and upholds Te Tiriti o Waitangi, I ignite innovation by co-designing authentic, integrated learning experiences that empower learners.

Daelan Karangaroa

PortraitKo Moumoukai me Mauwhiri ngā maunga. Ko Nuhaka me Waikerepu ngā awa.

Ko Takitimu toku waka. Ko Manutai me Kahungunu ngā marae. Ko Ngati Kahungunu toku whanau whanui. Ko Ngati Kauaha toku hapu.

Ko Rakaipaaka toku iwi.

Ko Gina Mulligan-Hill taku hoa wahine.

Ko Shantay, raua ko Eli aku tamariki.

Ko Daelan Kayne Karangaroa toku ingoa.

Kia Ora koutou katoa,

My name is Daelan Karangaroa and I am a Kaihautū Marautanga: Curriculum Lead based in Wairoa within the Tairāwhiti and Matau-a-Māui Rōpū.

The position appealed to me as an opportunity to look towards the future to work together with our Wairoa Community to address educational inequity in Wairoa, to ensure our mokopuna are not missing out – that all whānau, their tamariki and rangatahi are able to access engaging, culturally responsive, appropriate, and quality education.

I have been fortunate enough to be a Classroom Teacher, Junior Leader, Senior Leader, Deputy Principal, Assistant Principal, and Resource Teacher: Learning & Behaviour in the Tairāwhiti and Wairoa Districts over the past 15 years.

I look forward to supporting schools with the implementation for Te Mātaiaho and ensuring that our ākonga are at the centre of all of our decisions when it comes to teacher and learning.

Nāku noa, nā Daelan.

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū

Melanie Hagan

Melanie HaganKia ora, ko Mel tōku ingoa. I joined the Ministry in February 2021 supporting the Taranaki-Whanganui-Manawatū 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

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

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 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

Brigitte Luke

PortraitKia ora koutou. Ko Brigitte Luke angi au, no Taranaki au.

I joined the curriculum lead team in 2023. Prior to this I was principal for 9 years at Rahotu Primary School, south of New Plymouth. I have 30 years’ experience in education, teaching across primary, intermediate, secondary and area schools. In between extensive travel, I have also worked as a behavioural specialist, a Resource Teacher of Literacy, a SENCO, a deputy principal, and the Head of Faculty in the arts department.

Between 2020-2022 I worked alongside education provider Te Rito Maioha and co-wrote the course content for the Bachelor of Education degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

At the forefront of curriculum delivery is my desire to ensure akōnga have opportunities to explore the surrounding whenua, engage in local narratives and have truly authentic learning experiences that will ultimately ignite their passion for learning. I am looking forward to working alongside kaiako and teachers as part of the curriculum lead team for Taranaki-Wanganui-Manawatū.

Lizzie Ash

LizzieKia ora, ko Lizzie tōku ingoa. I am excited to have joined Te Mahau, Ministry of Education in the Curriculum Lead role, supporting the Taranaki-Whanganui-Manawatū region and based in the Palmerton North office.

I have over 20 years’ experience in the education sector as a kaiako, board member and parent. My experience includes teaching and leading in schools and Kāhui Ako in Manawatū and Wairarapa. I have been involved primarily in primary education but also secondary, working at Central Regional Health School and supporting initial teacher education with Massey University.

I believe this is an exciting time for education: our ākonga, our whānau, our kaiako and our tumuaki. It is these relationships that are key to ensure we can meet the needs of all tamariki, cultivating a culture of collaboration, continuous improvement, innovation and identity.  I am passionate about the opportunity to be a part of this journey in the role of curriculum lead to support, encourage, and explore opportunities to engage ākonga and kaiako in authentic learning and teaching experiences that promote diversity, equity, inclusivity, engagement and a drive to provide the best education for our tamariki.  

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive.


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 because 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

PortraitE 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 kōanga 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.

Ra Hansen

Ra HansenI came to Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga from the position of deputy principal and SENCO of a great semi-rural coastal school. I joined because of 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.

Harkirat Kaur

portraitSat shri akal, kia ora koutou.

I am Harkirat Kaur, working as the Curriculum Lead for the Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) region. My journey in the Ministry of Education began as a senior education advisor in the licensing team and I transitioned into the role of ECE Curriculum Lead in October 2023. Before joining the ministry, I dedicated over 13 years to the early childhood education sector, starting as a kaiako and progressing through various leadership roles, accumulating a wealth of valuable experience.

My passion centres on developing a curriculum that prioritises inclusive learning environments, nurtures social-emotional development and enhancing learning experiences for the tamariki. I am an ardent advocate for the implementation of Te Whāriki and am deeply committed to creating learning environments that honour the diverse cultures, identities and languages of ākonga and their whānau.

My whakapapa, deeply intertwined with the traditions and values of my culture, has profoundly influenced my approach to curriculum leadership. Having grown up in a multicultural community, I have come to appreciate the significance of celebrating diversity and ensuring that each child's unique background is recognised and integrated into their educational journey. Through this inclusive and holistic approach, I aim to establish an environment in which every child feels seen, valued, and empowered as they embark on their learning journey.

In my role as Curriculum Lead, I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to collaborate with the ECE sector. I believe that active listening, responsiveness, and support are fundamental aspects of our collective effort to enhance early childhood education. It's my commitment to work together with the ECE sector to provide our children with rich, diverse and meaningful learning experiences that lay the foundation for a brighter and more inclusive future.

Ngā mihi.

Tamatikahu Ratapu

PortraitE puāwai mai nei te ata huakirangi ki runga i ngā iwi o Ngāti Porou rāua ko Ngāpuhi. Arā ngā komore tapu ko Marotiri tiro atu ki Hikurangi rātou ko Whakatere Manawa Kaiaia. Ka mātai atu te whakaaro ki ngā wai rangaranga ki Te Moana nui a Kiwa, ki Te Hokianga a Kupe ko Mangahauini rāua ko Waima e ārahi korio ana ngā waka ko Tokomaru, ko Nukutaimemeha rātou ko Ngātokimatawhaorua. Ki tōku ahuru mōwai, ko Tuatini rātou ko Tuhirangi, ko Otātara, ko au ēnei, ko ēnei ko au!

As a raukura of Kura Kaupapa Māori I gained knowledge and a different perspective on the world of education. With a background as a Kaiako of Te Reo Māori, and a Resource Teacher for Learning and Behaviour I’m now embarking on a new journey with Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori, Mātauranga Māori at the forefront, so that iwi, hapū, tangata, tamariki and mokopuna Māori can thrive and benefit within the education system as Māori.

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast

Janine Higgins

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 2 local schools, co-leadership of a local Kāhui Ako and board chair. I also have 20 years of classroom teaching experience in a variety of settings (NZ primary, intermediate and secondary, UK primary).

Curriculum design genuinely interests and inspires me. Being a proud mum to 1 tween and 2 teenagers is a sound reality check for how important curriculum design is for the engagement and achievement of our tamariki and rangitahi.

Dan Green

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 1-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

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

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 Ako and I am currently a participant of Te Akatea Transformative Leadership programme for Māori emerging leaders. This is founded on He Wakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and 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. 

Canterbury, Chatham Islands

Kathryn O’Connell-Sutherland

Kathryn O’Connell-SutherlandI come to this role after nearly 30 years immersed in the early learning sector. I have been 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, the early childhood curriculum, and was responsible for leading a national team in the design and delivery of professional learning and development 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

PortraitKo Kahurānaki te maunga nāna ahau i whakaruruhau. Ka whai oranga ahau i a Ngāruroro. Ko Takitimu te waka tapu. He uri ahau o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga o Whātuiāpiti. Ko Sharon tōku ingoa. 

I am secondary trained and have taught physical education, health, outdoor education and te reo Māori in kura auraki. I have also taught in Māori-medium and special character kura where I wore a number of pōtae and was able shape the learning around the learner. 

I am passionate about bringing my lived and learned experiences into my role and support where I can as an ākonga, māmā, kaiako, Māori and wahine. I believe that all our kids deserve to achieve success, and what that may look for them and their whānau. Always a strong advocate for the value of relationships and developing authentic connections with ākonga and whānau.

Poipoia ngā mokopuna, ngā rangatira mō āpōpō.

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 1-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 and 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 entrants 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 2 research papers in early learning as a deputy lead and a teacher researcher. Both had an emphasis on wellbeing, cultural intentional practice and working theories through a localised curriculum. I am very privileged to having worked with ākonga from refugee and migrant background. This has added richness to my pedagogy.

I am passionate about future-focused education where all ākonga experience inclusive and 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.)

Otago, Southland

Loretta Schmidt

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 curriculum lead 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

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

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.

Lorraine Dallas

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 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 in this role I 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 Ministry at the beginning of 2022 as a Senior Education Advisor. It was when I was part of a workshop on the Curriculum Refresh with the Southland primary principals that my passion for curriculum was reignited.

I made a promise to myself that if another position arose within the Southland office, I would apply because 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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