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.

Keryn Hooker - Centre Manager

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


Tanya Bavastro - Water Room Team Leader

Kia ora Future Kids whanau,
Tanya Bavastro is my name but I prefer to be called Tanz.
I am Hamilton born and raised then moved away returning 14yrs ago with my son who has this year started at St John's College.
I have been working alongside or teaching tamariki for approximately 10years now starting as an ESW (Education Support Worker) for McKenzie Centre during that time I was encouraged to pursue my Early Childcare Degree.
I believe in working alongside and encouraging our tamariki and supporting their independence and exploration, building strong reciprocal relationships with their peers as well as kaiako.
I also feel that during these early years tamariki focus most of their learning through play and real life experiences, with saying that I am very excited in becoming part of the team here at Future Kids, and working alongside kaiako and tamariki as this comes through very strongly in the Future Kids philosophy and environment.
Music, singing and the use of Te Ao Maori within my own practice are passions of mine and are included in my day to day practice.
I look forward to becoming part of the Future Kids whanau, getting to know not only the tamariki but also their families and whanau.

Sukhdeep Kaur

Kia Ora,

My name is Sukhdeep and I have moved to NZ from India 6 years ago with my husband Harpreet. We have 13 months old daughter Ghankeerat. I have started working in early childhood 2 years ago as a teacher aide, and have plans to accomplish a degree in ECE in near future. I am passionate about children's learning, build strong relationship and help children to be a confident learner. I am excited to join the team at Future kids and get to know all the children and their family/whanau.

Many thanks,

Na Tan

Kia ora, my name is Na and I am excited to have joined the team at Future Kids Te Rapa preschool. I began working in Early Childhood Education in 2015 and completed my Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) in 2017.

I believe children learn best when they feel secure and are immersed in a rich, natural environment. I have a true passion for working in the early childhood industry and enjoy building special relationships with children and their whānau.

I am a mother of three children, one daughter and two sons. Hamilton has been my home for the past 17 years. My interests are music, travel and hiking. I love to spend most of my spare time with my friends and family, just relaxing, hanging out and embracing the special moment.  

I look forward to working with your children and can’t wait for the new challenges ahead.


Devon Elliott - Air Team Leader

I’ve been working in the ECE sector for 9 years and have held a variety of positions over this time including previous leadership roles. I am particularly passionate about building strong relationships and partnerships between whanau, tamariki and kaiako and enjoy seeing how this leads to best outcomes for our children. Over my career I have had a keen focus on the development and care of our youngest tamariki, our under two’s.

I feel very privileged to be a part of their very important first years and to have the opportunity to witness the world unfold before them as they make new discoveries every day. Born and raised in Canada, I spent 3 years teaching in England before moving to New Zealand 12 years ago. My partner Grant and I have 3 children who we’ve playfully named our Caniwis! Last year we moved to Pukete into our ‘forever’ home and we are slowly discovering our gardening and DIY skills. It has really taught me that you are never too old to learn new things! I’ve been fortunate enough to do a fair bit of travelling over time and we continue to try to do as much of this as we can as family. We also love to go for walks, either in nature or just around the neighbourhood, and go to the beach.

I look forward to having the opportunity to meet each of you and your children and am looking forward to undertaking our shared mahi!

Dianne Mexted - Earth Team Leader

Kia Ora, my name is Dianne and I am very excited to be part of the Future Kids Team. I am a passionate fully qualified teacher with 14 years’ experience in ECE and 5 years’ experience as a Team Leader.

I believe in building loving, caring, trustful reciprocal relationships with children and their whānau and this is the cornerstone to my teaching philosophy. I believe that respectful practice underpins all I do and allows tamariki the opportunity to grow and learn safe in the arms of people who care about them and their well-being. 

My partner and I are blessed to have 3 daughters, Katie (30), Samantha (29) and Ashlie (26) and 5 grandchildren, Connor (5), Cannon (4), Hadley (2), Elsie (23mths) and Lennox (7 mths) that span the globe from America to New Zealand. We are lucky to also have a very loving family both in the US and in the Waikato and in our spare time we love to spend time with family and friends. I enjoy knitting and other handcrafts and love baking and entertaining.

I am looking forward to getting to know you, your whānau and your beautiful children and sharing in their learning journey at Future Kids

Nicole Wang

Ko Baiyun toku maunga
Ko Pearl toku awa
No GuangZhou China ahau
Ko Canterbury toku kura
Ko Yiwen toku whaea
Ko Jianchao toku papa
Ko Xiaowen toku ingoa

Kia Ora, hello, 你好. My name is Nicole. I originally came from Guangzhou, China and I have been living in New Zealand since 2002. I have gained a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a graduate diploma of ECE teaching in NZ.

Currently I live with my partner Jim and three children (9,3 and 1 year old) in Pukete. They are very supportive to my postgraduate study in early intervention.
I have been working in various childcare centres since 2011. I enjoy nurturing and educating young children and I always have great passion in project-based learning approach while I am aiming to provide all children with provocation-rich and inclusive learning environment.

I am very excited to become a part of the Future Kids teaching team and I am looking forward to getting to know all the families and children.

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.

Kate Hill

Hi, my name is Kate and I am excited to be joining the team at Future Kids.

I am currently studying to gain my Bachelor of Teaching at Wintec and am looking forward to continuing to develop my knowledge and practice here at Future Kids. I have always had a passion for working with children and have previously been a swimming instructor, in my home town of Te Awamutu.

Through coaching young children, I became aware of my passion for encouraging tamariki to develop the knowledge and skills needed for life and decided to move into ECE.

I was born in Zimbabwe and lived in Botswana until I was 9, when I moved over to New Zealand with my family. In my spare time, I enjoy being active and getting out and about, whether it be a day at the beach or a day on the netball court. I look forward to being a part of the Future Kids whānau and furthering my experience.

Mimi Chih

Kia ora!  I’m Mimi Chih from Sarawak, East Malaysia.  I completed my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) from the UOW in 2018, and I am on a provisional registration.  Hamilton is the first city I’ve lived in since arriving in New Zealand in 2017.  New Zealand is like all that I have watched on Discovery and National Geographic channels, and much, much more!  My husband and I have made great friends with the many wonderful people from all over the world who have chosen to come to Hamilton. We enjoy spending time with our friends, be it exploring the gastronomical experiences, sight-seeing, and just chilling out together.

As I think about it, we as kaiako are so instrumental in the process of children’s learning, and I am humbled and honoured at the same time to be part of that life changing process.  It’s so awesome when children are making the most of their early years: playing with their peers respectfully, enjoying their daily learning experiences, taking on unfamiliar challenges in stride, and most of all, being level headed, happy and confident.

I’m excited and thrilled to be joining the FutureKids team at Te Rapa, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the children and the families.

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. 

Sophie Taurua 

Balbir Ghattaure (Neena) - Team Leader Fire Room

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.

Te Rapa Preschool

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New Plymouth Preschool

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