Our Team

Sue Hill: General Manager

Kia ora, I’m Sue. I hail from Zimbabwe, Africa, where I completed my early childhood studies and worked in ECE settings in both Zimbabwe and Botswana, prior to immigrating to New Zealand.

In 2011, I was privileged to join the wonderful Future Kids Ohaupo community where I worked as a teacher across all age groups, was team leader of the Water room and then centre supervisor, prior to taking on the role of General Manager.

I am passionate about children’s learning and believe in respectful relationships, empowering children to be confident learners who believe in their capabilities. I also believe that this learning extends to all ākonga; tamariki, kaiako and whānau as it takes a village to raise a child. I am excited to be a part of the Future Kids philosophy, supporting nurturing education through sustainable approaches for all.

My husband and I are part of a very active family, who love fishing and the outdoors. When we are not supporting our three children’s many sporting activities, we can be found exploring the waterways around New Zealand and enjoying the great outdoors.

Stevie-Rae Ofanoa - Earth Room Team Leader

Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou katoa
Ko Kakepuku te maunga,
Ko Tainui te waka,
Ko Waikato te awa,
Ko Tainui te iwi,
Ko Ngati Maniapoto te hapu,
Ko Mookaikanga te marae,
Ko Reitini Houpapa toku mama,
Ko Ian Love toku papa,
Ko Thomas Ofanoa toku tane,
Ko Zyon Ofanoa toku tama,
Ko Israel Ofanoa toku pepi,
Ko Stevi-Rae Ofanoa ahau
No reira tena kotou, tena kotou katoa


Above is my pepeha, my whakapapa, this shows and acknowledges where I came from, it is a reminder of my roots and my heritage. It displays my future with my partner and my children and the next generation to come. My husband is Tongan and I am Maori, our children have a mixture of both cultures and more, as I enjoy exposing them to the wonderful cultures that surround them here in Aotearoa.


I am a qualified early childhood teacher with over 8 years of ECE experience. I enjoy leading teams to achieve their goals and become leaders in their own passions that benefit the outcomes of our tamariki.


Working as a team is the greatest gift in ECE as I believe in the whakatauki, “Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini” – “My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective” and “it takes a village to raise a child”.


Teams that are passionate and highly motivated create successful environments. Individuals who work on their own may not succeed yet become overwhelmed and tired to carry such a heavy load alone.


I believe that whanau are the most valuable teachers in their child's life, they are the experts first of their own child, so building relationships with whanau is important to me. Please feel free to introduce yourself to me and have a quick korero if you see me about.


Arohanui,
Stevi-Rae
  

Jay Pooni - Fire Team Leader

My name is Jagmohan Pooni and I am originally from India. I am graduated with Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood in 2011 from the University of Waikato. I have been working with children for over 8 years. My husband Najinder and I have two daughters Jess and Priya.

I have a genuine passion for working with children and fostering their development. Key to teaching my philosophy is forming positive relationship with families, tamariki and colleagues. Through engaging in rich conversation I believe I can provide a programme whereby children can feel safe, happy and enjoy the learning experience.

I am very excited to join the Future Kids Te Rapa team and look forward to providing exceptional quality teaching and care in an energetic team environment.

Joanne White

Kia Ora, I’m Joanne.

I grew up on a farm in the Free State, South Africa. This is where my passion firstly for animals started. As a teenager, I also use to babysit everyone’s children and I developed a strong passion to take care of little ones. This led me to my first qualification in Equine Science (horses). Where after I lived in the USA for three years working on a Thoroughbred Breeding horse farm. I returned to South Africa and decided to take on my next passion. I obtained my Bachelors Degree of Education (ECE & Foundation Phase) in South Africa, where I worked with a range of ages from 3 – 13 years old. My husband and I immigrated to New Zealand in October 2017, we lived in Te Kauwhata where I worked at an Early Learning Centre till January 2019. We moved to Hamilton in September 2018 just before the birth of our firstborn, Ethan, who is now almost 5 ½ months.

My family consists of myself, my husband Andrew, our son Ethan and our beloved four legged ‘son’ Diesel. In our spare time we love to travel and explore, thoroughly enjoy camping, the outdoors and the beach. I am also a photographer, so take every opportunity to take as many memories as I can and spend as much time with my family as I can.

I am looking forward to joining the Future Kids Team as it is a place that reminds me of home and how I grew up and the type of Preschool I went to as a child. I am passionate about teaching the little Tamariki. The high fives, the light bulb moments. The moment you impact a little life so much you feel it in your heart. These are the best parts of why I choose to teach.

Stacey Robinson

Kia Ora, my name is Stacey and I am very excited to be working alongside your children and the team at Future kids.
I have 5 years experience working in childcare and am currently completing my 3rd year Bachelor of Early childhood education. Prior to working in Early childhood, I trained as a nurse where I spent some time nurturing and caring for young children. This experience helped me realise that my passion lay with working with children and supporting their learning and development at such a fundamental age.
I am very passionate about our natural world and forming nurturing relationships with plenty of meaningful experiences.
I am extremely blessed to be a mother of two gorgeous boys and surrounded by a big family in the Waikato.
I look forward to working with you and your children.

 

Gemma Cole - Air Room Team Leader (Maternity Leave)

Kia ora e te whanau,
Ko Gemma Ngarita Cole taku ingoa,
I was born in Hamilton and have lived here my whole life, I love the Coromandal and have family history there. My Whakapapa steams back to this area and it is where many of my whanau have lived and passed. I love spending time at the beach and walking through the native bush with my husband and our tamariki. We have two children, a daughter and son, both school aged. As a family we spend many hours camping, fishing, and exploring the wonder of nature and the beauty which surrounds us.
I have been in Early Childhood Education for over thirteen years and am a quailified and registered teacher. I have been involved in caring for childen aged 0-6 years old and have also been involved in Home-based Education and Care for the past three years in a leadership role as a Visiting Teacher. 
I come from a family of teachers and follow in the footsteps of my mother and Aunty.
My family and I have birds, a cat, a dog, and a turtle. We take pride in kaitiaki (guardianship) and enjoy growing our own vegetables, respecting and caring for the land and it's creatures.
I love art and creative adventures, writting and sharing in fun and laughter with my family and friends.
I am excited to join the Future Kids Whanau and look forward to meeting you all as we share in this journey.
Gemma Cole

Monique Harrison - Water Team Leader

Hey everyone I’m Monique.

I am really looking forward to joining the team at Future Kids. I am a fully qualified and registered teacher and have working in ECE for the past 8 years. The concept of a sustainable and eco-friendly environment is something I feel strongly about, so being part of a centre that is built on this is very exciting. I believe in creating an environment that is a good place for children to be, somewhere where they feel safe, cared for and confident to explore and learn in the environment around them, while building respectful and meaningful relationships. My 3-year-old twins Peppah and Ollie will be coming along with me each day and I am thrilled about them being part of Future Kids too. Along with our twins, my husband Adan and I have two older boys, Ashton is 9 and Elijah is 5, who definitely keep us on our toes! We are a very busy and active family who spend lots of time being outdoors, in the weekends you would find us on the rugby field, at the beach, at the park or bike riding. If by chance I manage to get a quiet moment to myself I like to spend it reading a good book. I can’t wait to get to know the children and their families at Future Kids.

Keryn Hooker - Air Team Leader

Kia Ora, my name is Keryn and I am excited to be joining the Future Kids team. I am a qualified and registered teacher with 10 years’ experience in the early childhood sector.

I believe that building strong relationships with each child and their whaanau underpins all other aspects of my personal teaching philosophy. I especially enjoy being outside with children exploring the natural world and helping them discover the environment around them.  I am very passionate about supporting children to become independent, inquisitive and knowledgeable members of society.

My husband Jason and I have two preschool daughters, Kaeleigh and Niamh. We are very blessed to live on a life style block at the base of the Hakarimata ranges. As a family we love being outdoors and you will often find myself and the girls out with the horses.

I am looking forward to getting to know the children and their whaanau during my time at Future Kids.

Gemma Weston

Kia ora whaanau,

My name is Gemma. I am a fully Qualified and Registered Teacher who has been teaching for over 15 years. I really enjoy interacting and teaching children and have many years experince working within the Education sector. I understand the importance of Early Childhood Education for young children, toddlers and infants, as they are our next generation on this beautiful world of ours. I always wanted to be a teacher, for as long as I can remember.

I completed my Diploma of Teaching (ECE) in 2008 through Te Tari Puna o Aoteroa (New Zealand Childcare Association) and gained Full Registration in 2011.

I live in St Andrews here in Hamilton with my partner of 16 years Dean. We have four cats, Molly, Poppy, Freddie and Zena. I love animals! I have a younger sister who is a Registered Nurse at Waikato Hospital and a funny, handsome and energetic nephew who will be eight years old in June. They live in Hamilton with my brother-in-law. My parents also live in Hamilton and we spend lots of time together. Family is a huge and important part of my life. My hobbies include drawing, painting (anything arty), swimming, gardening, camping and spending time at the beach with friends and loved ones. I like to be one with nature, to explore and value what Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) has to offer us all.

I am very excited to be part of our Future Kids Preschool team here in Te Rapa. I am looking forward to meeting the children, whaanau and families that will be involved and attending Future Kids Preschool Te Rapa.

Nga mihi nui

Gemma

Shannon Jackson

Kia ora my name is Shannon.
I have been working in early childhood for eleven years and I am currently provisionally registered and have a bachelor of teaching. I have been brought up in early childhood with my mum, aunty and cousins all being involved in the Early Childhood sector.
I love being out in nature going for bush walks and spending the day at the beach collecting resources. I enjoy camping, spending time with my family, friends and being surrounded in nature. Family is important to me and i was lucky enough to work with them in early childhood.
I have a passion for caring for all living things may that be a spider or a dog. I am passionate about childrens learning empowering them to lead their learning being there to support and guide them on their learning journey. I enjoy engaging with the children in messy play watching their creativity flow. Teaching our tamariki the importance of caring for our earth and the wonderful things it has to offer. I live in Hamilton with my partner Andrew and our dog. I have a stepson who is eleven that I love spending time with. I look forward to starting a new teaching journey with you all at Future Kids.

Annette Shaw

Hi I’m Annette,

I began my early childhood education journey when I took on the responsibility of caring for my Grandsons when their mother returned to work, and I still take care of my youngest Granddaughter one day a week. For the past four years I’ve worked as a casual reliever, working most days, and then employed as a Support Teacher in a toddler room. I've worked with different teams and age groups, but have spent most of my time with the babies and toddlers, which is where I am most comfortable and feel I have the most impact. I have been married to the same man for the past 39 years, we have five grown up children and seven awesome Grandchildren ranging in age from 14 months to 12 years. We have a small lifestyle block on the outskirts of town where we raise chickens, pigeons and cats.

I enjoy crafts, sewing, baking, knitting and gardening. I love to see a creation appear before my eyes from very small beginnings. I love the outdoors and when I get the opportunity I will walk or ride my bike anywhere. My speciality lies in the care and cuddles that are the foundation of children's self esteem and sense of safety. I love to play and share in each child's interests, I appreciate how special it is to be able to provide the one-on-one calm, peace, safety and love that a parent would. I look forward with anticipation to getting to know each child and the families of Future Kids Te Rapa.

Tessa Millar (Maternity Leave)

My name is Tess I first starting out working in a childcare centre over in Broome Australia when I was just 16 years old. From there i came back home to new Zealand and started doing work as a reliever in a centre in Cambridge, followed on by becoming a full time Caregiver/Teacher at ABC Primrose.

Working with children is not just a job but a passion of mine, to be able to teach children and help them grow and discover their world around them.

I myself and my partner have 3 girls of our own ages 3, 6, 9 we enjoy a lot of family time and going on adventures.
I look forward to being apart of the team at Future kids and getting to know the children and their Family/whanau.

Megan Applebee

Hi, my name is Megan and I am beyond excited to join the team at Future Kids!


I moved to New Zealand from Canada seven years ago, and I absolutely love it here! I have my Canadian qualifications for Early Childhood and am hoping to transfer them over and continue on an Education Degree in the near future. I have worked in Early Childhood for over ten years now and I couldn’t think of a better career. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of a child’s learning, and to experience the wonder of the world through their eyes. I think each child should be treasured for what makes them unique and special. Laying a proper foundation in childhood sets them up to grow into amazing humans. I feel honored to be part of that process.


My husband Nick and I own a lifestyle block in the Tauhei area, and we enjoy spending most of our time outside with our two year old son Maddon. We also have two dogs, a cat, two goats, a sheep, a calf, and some chickens. We love being able to grow our own fruit and vegetables, and Maddon loves running around with all the animals. I think the idea of creating a more sustainable earth for our children is so important, and being part of a centre built on this is very exciting.


I look forward to meeting all of the children and families at Future Kids.

Nicky Marston

Hi, my name is Nicky Marston and I am originally from UK. I have been living in New Zealand since 1979 when I emigrated here at the young age of 15 with my Mum, who passed away in 2001.  Even though I have been back to UK and done lots of travelling around the world, I could never live outside of NZ, so now consider myself a fully-fledged Kiwi!  I am a fully registered and qualified Early Childhood Educator who graduated from Christchurch College of Education with a Diploma of Teaching in 1992. Since then not only have I become Mother of two beautiful daughters who were born 15 months apart and are now in their early twenties but have also worked in a wide variety of Early Childhood settings alongside some amazing teachers, children and their families, all over New Zealand. This has shaped me into an experienced and passionate teacher who loves working with children of all ages. I am really looking forward to establishing strong trusting reciprocal relationships with all the children, Teachers and Whanau in my new role as Teacher in the Fire Room at Future Kids.   I have a strong philosophy that is reflective of my belief that every child is honoured and celebrated for who they are as unique expressions of magnificence!  
In my spare time I love going to the gym, reading, spending time with family and friends and I also really enjoy gardening too.  

Stephanie Carter

Hi, I’m Stephanie (Steph to most)…

I have a Bachelor of Education and provisionally registered with 8 years of teaching in the early childhood sector. We have only recently relocated to Hamilton from Cape Town, South Africa and even though we miss that beautiful part of the world, we absolutely love every moment here and are feeling quite at home. This year will be the 10th anniversary of being happily married to my best friend. We have an amazing, crazy little girl and are hoping to soon be adopting a retired greyhound to make our family complete again (we are definitely dog-obsessed!). When I have free time, I love being creative – from graphic design to knitting and everything in between; being outside and enjoying family time. I am a bit of a geek – I have a sneaky love for tech gadgets, Marvel movies and Lord of the rings (probably why we ended up in Hamilton).

I have a passion for our planet and life on it – “there is no plan(et) B”…as adults, we need to set the example, we need to not only tell but show how to care for our environment and those that share it with us. I base my teaching philosophy / approach on a quote by William Butler Yeats - “Education is not the filing of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”. My aim is always to inspire little ones - creating a passion and curiosity for learning within them that will in turn make them lifelong explorers and curators of our beautiful planet. Children are precious and need gentle, caring guidance through each stage of development, to unlock their full potential. Every child is unique with a unique way of experiencing the world around them as well as expressing how they process that world. I am always researching ways to improve my teaching to ensure the well-being of the children are taking priority.

I am excited to start at Future Kids and believe that it will be a happy chapter to add to my teaching adventure and a positive one for all the little ones in my care. 

Beina Liu

Hey, my name is Beina Liu.

It is so exciting to be part of the team at Future Kid. I came from China in 2005. I have been a ECE teacher since 1998 while I was in China. As well as this, I completed my Bachelor of Teaching ECE at The University of Waikato in 2011 and have been teaching ECE in New Zealand since 2009.

I am passionate about providing a quality early education to children. I enjoy interacting with children through positive teaching attitude in plays. I believe respecting children, listening to them, understanding their needs and providing quality resources to them are very important to promote their development and learning. I am looking forward to having fantastic time with your children here.

I live in Rotokauri with my husband, Jason and my beautiful girl, Georgia. I also have two dogs, Kuti and Marley, two mummy bunnies, Snow ball and Cinder, one daddy bunny, Lucky Grey and two broods of baby bunnies, who were born recently. I love animals. I enjoy cuddling them, playing with them and having good time of being their friend.

I love spending time with with my family. We love to travel to other towns in New Zealand or oversea. In my spare time, I love doing exercise, listening to music, watching movies and playing piano. I also enjoy doing painting with my girl. I love being her team and completing pictures together.

Apart from English, I also speak mandarin and Taiwanese. If I can help you with any mandarin and Taiwanese language problems please do not hesitate to give me a yell. I am willing to support all families.

I can’t wait to meet you at Future Kids. Looking forward my next teaching journey.

Navneet Dhiman - Currently On Maternity Leave

Kia Ora, My name is Navneet (NEET) Dhiman. I am a qualified and fully registered ECE teacher with more than 7 years of work experience. I hold Graduate Diploma in Teaching, a PG diploma in Education from AUT, and a Masters degree in Science from India.

Coming from a family of teachers, I have always been passionate about working with children and their whanau for making a positive difference in their lives. I view my role as a friend, facilitator and scaffolder to encourage children’s learning in a fun, exciting and confidence building environment.

I love working in a team and role model positive and respectful behavior to develop meaningful trusting relationships with everyone involved. I live in Hamilton with my husband and we love spending time together doing cooking, listening music, playing chess and travelling.

I am very excited to be a part of Future Kids, Te Rapa. I look forward to contributing to their continued success.

Jordyn Boot

Kia ora koutou, my name is Jordyn Boot and I am a 21 year old student in my

Second year at wintec studying a Bachelor of Teaching. I currently live in

Flagstaff, Hamilton with my parents, younger brother.

Prior to starting  my studies I  worked in a child care centre and it was only after leaving  here  for a position in a  totally different  role   that I realised how much  I missed it and decided that  this was  the career path that I wanted to pursue.

I would describe myself as a responsible, intuitive, very caring person. I am organised and although I enjoy structure, I do find it easy to adapt to new environments, and situations. Life is a learning journey and I am open to all I can do to improve myself and those around me.

I am excited to be joining Future kids and am looking forward to being part of a team who are also passionate about children and working with them to help them not only grow but thrive and succeed.

I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know you and welcome meeting you all and developing the many relationships that are to come.

Dale Newton

Kia ora my name is Dale,

I have a bachelor of education,  graduating in 2017, currently on a provisional registration.
I've been working in early childhood for 3 years. My passion for children's learning strengthened with having my own child and attending playcentre. Working with children has to be the most rewarding career.
Whenever possible my daughter and I try to find new walks to connect with nature and enjoy the hidden treasures. My fondest childhood memory would be picking fresh vegetables to eat out of my great grandmother's garden to eat, establishing a vegetable garden at home is a priority once we relocate to Hamilton in the near future.

Sophie Taurua

Kia ora, 
Ko Pouerua e Tuwatawata toku maunga 
Ko Owhareiti e Whirinaki toku awa 
Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua e Maataatua toku waka 
Ko Oromaahoe e Waikotikoti toku marae 
Ko Ngapuhi e Ngati Whare toku iwi 
Ko Darcy Taurua toku papa 
Ko Tracy Taurua ne Malaquin toku mama 
Ko Nadene Taurua toku tuakana 
Ko Sam Drake toku tuhinga 
Ko Rennie Taurua-Drake toku tama 
Ko Sophie Taurua toku ingoa 
No reira tena koutau tena koutau tena koutau katoa 

Kia ora whanau, 
My name is Sophie Taurua and that was my pepeha to introduce myself to you all. I am a new-graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education where I studied through Wintec and have experience working with children for the last 4 years while completing my studies. 

Family is hugely important to me and I spend as much time with them as possible, I have a 15 month old son as well as two nieces aged 4 and 6, and they are definitely a handful but well worth it. I have lived in Hamilton my entire life, but my partner Sam is originally from Invercargill. 

Some things I like to do for fun include, playing sports - especially netball, listen to music and sing, spend time with family, and just anything to do with being outdoors. I also love baking and messy play activities. 

Being able to form reciprocal and meaningful relationships with both children and whanau is something I think is really important within early childhood and really resonates with who I am as a person. 

I look forward to meeting and getting to know you and your tamariki in the Water room. 

Arohanui, 
Sophie Taurua 

Balbir Ghattaure (Neena)

Kia Ora Everyone

My name is Balbir Kaur Ghattaure (Neena). I am from India and I have been working in Early Childhood Sector for over 7 years, where I have been in roles of a teacher and a team leader. I am a fully registered teacher and hold a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Education and Graduate Diploma.

I have a passion for children. I always knew I was going to be a teacher. My passion has continued to grow over the years making me a better teacher and mother. I have a one beautiful daughter and she is one and a half years old.

I recognise the importance of the early years in children’s learning and development. I believe that children are confident, competent learners who can take lead of their own learning as well as shape my teaching practice.

I look forward to getting to know you and your family.

Nicky Burgess

 

Relieving Staff

Val Strange - Chef

Our onsite chef

Te Rapa Preschool

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We're in Te Rapa...

Read about our centre in Te Rapa.

New Plymouth Preschool

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New Plymouth Preschool

Read about our centre in New Plymouth