Keynotes and Workshops

Kathryn Berkett

Profile website

Kathryn has a Masters in Educational psychology and is a certified Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics practitioner. With a unique ability to engage audiences, Kathryn delivers the latest neuroscience information in an easy-to-listen to, easy-to-understand way.


Dr Maria Cooper

Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work (Leadership).

Profile website

Maria Cooper teaches and researches early childhood education in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice. Her research/teaching interests include educational leadership, infant-toddler curriculum and pedagogy, Pasifka/diverse learners, and teacher-family collaboration. Her doctoral study explored collective leadership activity of teaching teams in the context of infant-toddler education and care. Maria is current co-editor of The First Years Ngā Tau Tuatahi NZ Journal of Infant and Toddler Education and co-director of the Early Childhood Seminar Series. She is a fully registered teacher and experienced teacher registration/certification mentor. Maria is of Samoan/Czech heritage, has three children and was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand.


Dr, Professor Mere A Berryman

Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whare, ONZM, PhD, MEd, BEd, Professor | Poutama Pounamu Director & Expert Partner

Profile website

In her work, Dr Mere aims to challenge the pervasive and historic discourses that perpetuate educational disparities for Māori students and disrupt these through school leadership and reform initiatives.


Professor Alex Gunn

University of Otago College of Education - Associate Dean (Teacher Education), Associate Professor, DipTchg(ECE) BEd MA EdD

A previous presentation by Professor Alex Gun (27.39 minutes)

After teaching in urban and rural not-for-profit and community based early childhood settings with children aged between birth and school-age, Alex took a position in early childhood teacher education in Christchurch. She moved to her current position at the University of Otago College of Education in 2011 where she teaches and researches in early childhood education, inclusive education, teacher education, and assessment.   Alex is interested in teachers' beliefs and practices, and in how the things we do in education come to reflect and (re)produce certain norms.  She is intrigued by how teachers take up normative understandings in ways that enable and constrain particular subjects, understandings, and ideas.


Wiremu Sarich

Read about a class taken with Wiremu

A Youth Educator from Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, Wiremu Sarich is a practitioner of traditional Maori games with years of experience delivering programs in schools and communities, nationally throughout Aotearoa and internationally.

Wiremu will share his vast knowledge and experience of Taonga Takaro (Indigenous games) to enhance your understanding and engagement with Te Ao Marama (Māori world view). You will learn a handful of games and associated tikanga (teachings) to help lift the veil on Nga Kurahuna (hidden pedagogies) and various ways to utilise them as teaching aids. Activities will be interactive and free flowing. Please arrive with your inner child on the outside, ready to play, listen and share, you will need him/her to lead you to Te Whare Rehia (house of learning)


Dr Bridgette Redder

Bridgette Redder is the Kaiārahi Hōtaka (programme Leader) for Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand’s Postgraduate Diploma Infant and Toddler Learning and Development. Bridgette’s research interests primarily centre around the early years, particularly the first 1000 days.


Raewyn Penman


After training as a kindergarten teacher in the late 1970’s Raewyn began her teaching career in full day early learning services.   Her teaching career has spanned 40 years and included teaching tamariki from 3 months to 6 years, owning, managing and teaching in her own centres, lecturing at the tertiary level, developing and facilitating a wide range of professional learning opportunities for teachers throughout New Zealand.  She has a passion for the provision of high quality care and education for infants and toddlers and is currently lecturing in Te Rito Maioha’s new post-graduate Infant & Toddler programme.


Dr Janis Carroll-Lind

Director Research and Postgraduate Programmes

Janis began her career as a primary, early childhood and special needs teacher. From there she lectured in inclusive education (for initial teacher education students) and mentor teaching (for early childhood, primary and secondary teachers) at Massey University College of Education. Then as the Principal Advisor (Education) at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner Janis undertook a national inquiry into the education and care of infants and toddlers. Her commitment to raising the quality of ECE for all learners brought Janis to her present position here.


Toni Christie

Toni Christie is the Director of the Childspace Early Childhood Institute in Wellington, NZ.  She is passionate about early childhood education, leadership, environments, infants, teamwork, communication, and advocacy for children, families, and early childhood educators.  Toni holds a Master of Education with merit from Victoria University in Wellington.   

Toni enjoys her many roles in life as wife, mother, author, keynote speaker, marriage celebrant, Justice of the Peace, editor, musician, artist, and mentor.  She loves to sing, dance, and play with her family, friends, and colleagues every day!


Sharon Carlson

Sharon was a facilitator for Core Education for 10 years, during this time she was a regional facilitator for the MoE 3 year contract 'ECE ICT professional learning project'.  As an accredited Netsafe facilitator Sharon has provided support, and guidance centres, management and organisations on cyber-safety, digital citizenship and social media policies and use.


Amanda Higgins

Amanda's Master's thesis investigated how e-Portfolios affected teachers and families communication.  Previously she was a facilitator with Core Education, working on the MoE contract 'Early childhood education information and communication technology professional learning project'.  She has lectured at Victoria University, Wellington and managed community based early learning services.


Jan Tauoma

Further information to come.


Robin Christie

Robin Christie is an early childhood teacher who designs and builds learning spaces for young children, both indoors and out. Robin specialises in creating custom-built environments that are functional, culturally appropriate, and aesthetically pleasing. He is married to Toni, his partner in love, life and work, and they are in the process of living happily ever after with their two children and assorted animals on ten acres on the edge of Wellington, NZ.


Ene Tapusoa

Senior Educator A'oga Fa'a Samoa

As a senior teacher Ene has undertaken several leadership roles which include being a teacher researcher in our Centre of Innovation research, being a Pasiika represntative for the ECE advisory group to the NZTC for 3 years, and is a current member of the ECE advisory committee in Auckland University Faculty of Education Epsom.


Dr Penny Smith

Penny has been involved in the early childhood education sector for thirty years. The first ten years were spent teaching in kindergartens in the Taranaki and Manawatu. The past twenty years have been in the tertiary sector beginning at Massey University where I lectured in the Bachelor of Education (Early Years, birth to eight) degree and in other programmes.

Penny is currently a Senior Lecturer at Te Rito Maioha’s Palmerston North teaching base. Her role encompasses teaching and research activities. It is a challenging and very rewarding role as she is passionate about growing responsive, culturally intelligent teachers who will make a difference in the lives of our children.

Her research journey is an important part of her work and she has just completed her PhD. Penny's doctorate was a mixed methods investigation of early childhood teachers’ beliefs and practices about peer learning. Penny has begun to develop a research platform through publications and presentations and am excited about publishing my research.

Pennys role on the Council is to represent staff views and to ensure the staff voice is heard.


Claire Wilson

Claire teaches in the Graduate Diploma and Postgraduate Leadership programmes at Te Rito Maioha ECNZ. Claire holds a master’s qualification with first class honours, and received the New Zealand Academic and Research in Education (NZARE) Rae Munro award in 2017 for her high quality Master’s thesis.

Claire, who is both ECE and primary trained, has been involved in educational research for many years, predominantly using action research methodology. This research field experience has given her many skills in working closely with leaders, teachers and wider learning communities, particularly within low socioeconomic settings.


Jase Te Patu

Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Watch Jase deliver a TED talk (18.59 minutes)

Watch Jase share simple tips on Mindfulness (3.05 minutes)

Jase has been teaching in the health and wellness sector for 27 years. Jase is the creator of M3 - a Mindfulness programme for tamariki using movement to tell our Māori stories. As an award winning facilitator, yoga studio owner and champion for mental health and wellbeing, Jase has weaved these 3 elements together in the pursuit of creating calmer, focused more peaceful children.

Join Jase to understand how some simple techniques can be implemented in centres in order to whakatau te tinana, te hinengaro, te wairua hoki - calm our bodies, minds and soul.


Joe Harawira

Watch Joe in storytelling mode (13.28 minutes)

Joe is a well known storyteller who has shared the magic of storytelling both nationally and internationally for many years.  A founding member of Te Reo Wainene o Tua he has been a key contributor to revitalising purākau, reviving oral traditions and normalising te reo Māori.  Joe’s expressive storytelling techniques and combination of te reo Māori and Pākehā engage audiences of all ages bringing to life the ancient stories of Aotearoa.  Joe has a passion for kaitiakitanga within our country.


Dr Lesley Rameka

Watch Lesley deliver a live presentation (20.33 minutes)

Lesley is a Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Waikato. Lesley has worked in early childhood education for over 30 years, beginning her journey in te kohanga reo, and working in a number of professional development and tertiary education providers over the years.

Lesley’s research interests include; Māori early childhood education, Kaupapa Māori Assessment in early childhood, Curriculum development in Māori early childhood services, Māori pedagogies, Māori and Pacific perspectives of Infants and Toddlers care and education, and Maori immersion educational transitions. Lesley is currently part of a project that is examining bicultural belonging for refugee children and families in ECE.


Arapera Card

Pouhere Kaupapa Māori

Arapera has been employed with Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand for over ten years.

Arapera is of Ngai Tuhoe and Ngāpuhi descent. In her current role with Te Rito Maioha she is Pouhere Kaupapa Māori | Senior Advisor Māori and supports the organisation in maintaining its bicultural integrity, contributing to the increased sector knowledge in te ao Māori.


Dr Alison Warren

Alison Warren is a Senior Lecturer and Leader Education Delivery at Te Rito Maioha in Nelson. Her PhD, completed in 2019, used posthumanist theories to investigate emotions in early childhood teaching. She has presented and published articles on this topic, and also on teacher identities and bicultural teaching practice.


Raewyn Higginson

Raewyn has worked in the field of special needs for ten years and has led a project promoting ASD in some schools in the Upper Hutt area before working for Te Rito Maioha. She is now conducting a small-scale research asking how children with ASD are included in the mainstream ECE centres in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.