Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

We are excited to announce the list of keynote speakers who will be taking part throughout the 55th Annual Conference. 



Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education

Chris Hipkins is the Member of Parliament for Rimutaka. He is the ranked seventh in the Cabinet and is the Leader of the House and Minister of Education and State Services. He is also the Minister responsible for Ministerial Services.

Chris passionately believes that every New Zealander deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential in life. He is a staunch advocate for and defender of our public education system. Chris believes that a free, quality education is the right of every child.

Before becoming an MP, Chris also worked at parliament, first as Senior Advisor to two Education Ministers and later in the office of the then Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Chris entered Parliament in 2008 and became the Spokesperson for Education at the beginning of 2013.



Aline Wendy Dunlop, Strathclyde University

Before entering the Higher Education sector, Aline-Wendy held various teaching positions from 1970-1993 in pre-school, residential care, nursery assistant training, special education, home-visiting teaching and as a head teacher (1988-1993).

As Emeritus Professor in the School of Education, Aline-Wendy collaborates with colleagues, particularly in early childhood, early primary school and autism.

Her research includes a ten-year longitudinal study of 150 children, which will allow inferences to be drawn between two major educational transitions: entry to primary education, and subsequent entry to secondary education. 

Aline-Wendy was awarded an MBE in June 2013 for services to autism and early childhood in Scotland.



Helen Hedges, University of Auckland

Helen Hedges is the University of Auckland’s first Professor of Early Childhood Education, working within the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Helen’s research programme explores children’s and teachers’ interests, knowledge and learning in the contexts of early childhood education and teacher education. She researches children’s participation in everyday experiences, activities, and events in their families and communities, including in the early childhood centres in which they spend time.

Helen’s research has been published widely, both nationally and internationally.  Between 2016 and 2017, Helen was part of a revision team to update New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki.




Wiremu Sarich, Te Runanga o Te Rarawa

Wiremu Sarich is a youth educator working at Te Oranga for Te Runanga o Te Rarawa in Kaitaia.

Wiremu has been utilizing Nga Taonga Takaro (traditional Maori games) to promote healthy activity in schools throughout Muriwhenua from North Hokianga to Te Kao.

For the past year, Wiremu has been developing a new initiative drawing on the same principles and pedagogies inherent in Nga Taonga Takaro. 



Anthony Semann, Semann & Slattery

Anthony Semann is one of the Directors and founders at Semann & Slattery. For the past 20 years, he has worked as a researcher, consultant and manager with a broad range of government, non-government and private organisations.  His skills and expertise has seen him work with organisations across Australia and overseas including Columbia University (New York) as well as in France and New Zealand.  

Anthony has an exceptional capacity to challenge organisations and people to reflect on how their approaches to communication, leadership, diversity, values, relationships and workplace culture affect their services, businesses and ultimately the community.