Recognising three outstanding leaders in early childhood education

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ is proud and delighted to recognise three inspirational members and leaders for their outstanding service to early childhood education. 

Dr Anne Meade, Helen Baxter and Eneleata Tapusoa have been awarded life membership of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ.

“Dr Anne Meade, Helen Baxter and Eneleata Tapusoa have devoted their lives’ work and made a significant impact on early childhood education,” says Te Rito Maioha President Dr Lesley Rameka.

“Their respective contributions have helped transform national ECE policy and quality; pay and conditions for ECE kaiako; as well as our understanding of Pasifika values and culture in early learning,” says Dr Rameka.

“It is an enormous pleasure to recognise their incredible commitment and the difference their mahi has made.”

Life membership is awarded for the most outstanding service and commitment to early childhood education. Since its beginnings as a membership association in 1963, only 26 other people have been recognised as life members of Te Rito Maioha (formerly Te Tari Puna NZ Childcare Association). It is the first time the accolade has been given in more than 10 years.

Dr Anne Meade

Dr Anne Meade is an eminent educationalist and one of early childhood's leading thinkers. Over four decades as a teacher, researcher, lecturer, author and policy developer, Anne has made an immeasurable impact on the quality of early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Since the late 1980s, when policy around childcare became more about education than simply childminding, Anne has led and influenced seismic changes in national policy and practice for early childhood education and care. 

From teacher qualifications to the right of children to access quality free early childhood education, Anne has been steadfast in her commitment to ensure tamariki have the best our country can offer. Despite being retired, Anne remains a key go-to person to untangle tough policy problems.

Anne was also our organisation’s first research leader. Notably, she led research which gave evidence of the impact qualified ECE teachers have on teaching and learning, when there is a high proportion of them in a centre.

Eneleata Tapusoa

Eneleata Tapusoa is a dedicated and valued advocate for Pasifika fanau, aiga, faiaoga and students in early childhood education. She has contributed enormously to understanding of Pasifika values and culture in early childhood education.

For over 20 years, Ene has been an outstanding member of Te Rito Maioha through her early childhood education centre, the A’oga Fa’a Samoa.

Unfailingly generous with her time and knowledge, Ene has guided and mentored Te Rito Maioha student teachers on Pasifika education for many years. She has presented at Te Rito Maioha conferences, assisted with student graduations across the years and facilitated workshops  to provide local and national understanding of Pacific ways of knowing, doing and being.

Ene was an active member of our Council for two terms. In her very humble and respectful manner, she supported Council in being a voice for our Pacific students, fanau and  communities.

Helen Baxter

Helen Baxter has been actively involved with the ECE sector for over 40 years. She has taught in, and fought for, quality and equity in early childhood education in a wide range of roles.

Helen is a staunch advocate for ECE. In the 1980s, she helped develop the first national award for early childhood workers.  Four decades on, she is as dedicated as ever, deeply involved in the Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement, striving to improve conditions and pay for the ECE sector.

Helen has the ability and experience to see issues from all angles, as a kaiako, from both union and employer perspectives, keeping whānau and tamariki at the centre. She is always generous with her time. Te Rito Maioha has often called upon her deep knowledge and balanced perspective.

Helen continues to actively support numerous ECE centres, kaiako and whānau with her wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge.

About Te Rito Maioha

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand is a leader in early childhood and primary education – growing teachers, leaders, experts, knowledge and bicultural practices so every child learns and thrives.