Click images to read bio
I have taught in both primary and secondary schools in Auckland for more than 30 years and have held a variety of school management and leadership roles. I recently retired as Principal of Swanson School in Auckland and I am now working in a consultative role, supporting Boards of Trustees, Principals and Leaders of Early Childhood Centres. I have also served on the Complaints Assessment Committee of the Education Council for over six years. I am therefore very experienced at dealing with all manner of complaints and conflict in schools and early childhood centres. Kindergarten is, of course, where children learn through play. Since 2014, I have fielded numerous national and international enquiries about my philosophy of children’s play. As Principal of Swanson School I introduced the concept of Free Play, and, among many other invitations, I was asked to do a TEDx talk at Bond University and speak at an international Early Childhood conference in Australia. I am excited to play a role in the Kindergarten movement for several reasons: Blockhouse Bay Kindergarten was where I began my own life of learning; one of my daughters and my sister both work in early childhood; I have worked closely with early childhood teachers and leaders in my role as a school principal and an investigator; and I have a particular interest in children’s play.
Kia ora koutou – my name is Katherine Souness – former chairperson of Roskill South Kindergarten, mother of two kindergarten graduates, and primary school teacher. As a new entrant teacher with 17 years’ experience and a parent of two girls aged 5 and 7, I have a deep working knowledge of the transition between kindergarten and school and of child development. I value community, child centred pedagogy and robust policies and procedures that provide a framework for our teachers to build excellent practice within. I am keen to contribute to the momentum gathered by the Auckland Kindergarten Association over the last year. I am particularly interested in our constitution and how it can be improved to develop stronger community involvement now and into the future. I bring organisational skills, an eye for detail, tenacity, strength in researching and collating information, and a commitment to helping our kindergartens go from strength to strength. As a board member, I am privileged to be able to contribute to the Association’s future direction.
I am honoured to be able to support an organisation with such a proud record of contribution to our community. Primarily experienced in the Education Sector, my current position is the Lead of the Tauira Experience at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (a nationwide tertiary provider with 32,000 students). Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is committed to the revitalisation of Māori cultural knowledge. In addition to the AKA, I have had the opportunity to sit on a few boards, primarily in the education and non-for-profit sectors and am always drawn to how we reflect our community in our vision and decisions. I’m a Canterbury-raised lad currently living in the Waikato with my wife Helen and two tamariki, Liam and Anahera. I am a keen Dad, gardener and outdoorsman. It is an exciting step and a great opportunity to work for an organisation where what we do is done for the right reasons and makes an impact.
Professor Tania Ka'ai
Māori (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu), Hawaiian (Kanaka Māoli), Cook Island Māori, Sāmoan I am a Professor and Director of Te Ipukarea Research Institute and Te Whare o Rongomaurikura – The Centre for Language Revitalisation in the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies at the Auckland University of Technology. I have a background in primary and secondary teaching and I have been an educator in tertiary education for over 30 years. As an Indigenous scholar teaching and researching in a university, I use the cultural values and knowledge transmitted to me by my Māori and Pacific elders and mentors as an epistemological framework to inform my writing and teaching within the academy. I have been been involved in Māori language revitalisation interventions for almost 30 years including Te Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori. This work has expanded to the Pacific in working with communities on creating digital resources to increase access to their endangered languages. My research and publications reflect this work with communities. I feel privileged and humbled to have a role on this Board and hope my experience and knowledge will contribute in helping the Auckland Kindergarten Association to achieving its goals and aspirations for a future based on the health and wellbeing of all our children and families within our diverse communities in Auckland.
Kia ora koutou, my name is Ankita Sharma and I’m presently the Centre Manager at KiNZ Myers Park care and early learning centre. I have worked in the ECE sector for the past 8 years as a teacher and immensely value what a difference a quality ECE setting can make in the lives of young children. I’m an advocate for quality education and believe in adapting and enhancing our teaching practice in line with teaching pedagogies. I have a keen interest in the governance of Auckland Kindergarten Association and would like to contribute to the Board with a teaching perspective. As a value-based leader, my strengths lie in respecting and understanding the needs of our kaiako and working with a growth mindset. I have experience in the private ECE sector as well and I understand the needs of the business as well as education and know how to present a balanced view to both parties. I believe my strong likeness for diversity, ability to articulate precisely, a balanced approach to comprehend and communicate the perspectives of the board and the teachers is critical for this role with the association.
Pauline A. Winter
Chief Executive Officer
Pauline Winter (Te Ᾱti Awa-Taranaki/Samoa) has been with the Auckland Kindergarten Association since November 2017. Pauline is guiding the Association through a time of change to strengthen the organisation’s ability to respond to the changing nature of the Tāmaki Makaurau population and the growth of early childhood education opportunities. Supporting Pauline during this time is a new executive leadership team with a strong focus on supporting teachers and staff to continue the legacy of what Aucklanders and New Zealanders have been part of for over 100 years – the Kindergarten experience. Pauline has a business background having run her own consultancy and a small light manufacturing enterprise. She has also held Chief Executive positions in the NGO sector and the Public Service in Wellington. Pauline has held governance roles on several Private/Public boards and also holds community advisory positions. A former Westmere Kindergarten child, she has been a Playcentre mother and worked in the Adult Community Education sector and tertiary education. She also served as a Commissioner on the TEC board. Pauline Winter is a previous Pacific Business Woman of the Year and was awarded a Queen’s Service Order (QSO) in 2008 acknowledging her work to business and Pacific communities.
Chief Financial Officer
As the Association’s Chief Financial Officer, I lead the property, finance and ICT teams, which serve our kindergarten and centre staff. Our role is to ensure they have the necessary support to deliver the highest quality experience to the tamariki of Tamaki Makaurau. I am committed to the long-term sustainability of the organisation, business excellence and risk management. With a background in finance, I bring to this role over 20 years’ experience in a wide range of sectors, from professional services, finance and property through to technology, food and support services in New Zealand as well as in the UK. My connection with kindergarten started as a boy in Otago and both my children attended Devonport Kindergarten where they really thrived. To this day, the fond memories of their happy times as kindy kids drive them back each year to visit on open days. Both my experience, and that of my children, remind me each day about the value of kindergartens and the need to ensure the future of the Association for the next 100 years.
General Manager - Education and Innovation
I started my career as a nurse in the Netherlands. In New Zealand I spent nearly 30 years in different management positions in Health and Disability services, including intellectual disability services, mental health and addiction, aged care, and child health. For the last 5 years, my efforts have been to improve outcomes for our young tamariki and working in Early Childhood Education with the kindergartens is one of the best ways to achieve this. This is an exciting time to work for AKA and the kindergarten movement at large as we are focussed and driven to strengthen and grow the movement to provide more tamariki with the opportunity to benefit from the kindergarten experience. I have a strong focus on collaboration, networking and innovation and believe that by working together we can achieve great outcomes for our young tamariki, and future generations to come. As our communities and society changes over time, we need to ensure we remain relevant and meet the needs of our communities and whānau whilst we maintain that what makes kindergartens the best learning environment for children.
General Manager - Community Engagement
My connection with Auckland Kindergarten Association goes back to when I was a kindy kid at Mt Roskill Kindergarten and has followed on as an adult with my teacher training with the AKA through to sending my own son to Mission Bay Kindergarten. As a mother of two young boys along with a background in education, I am passionate about play-based learning and the benefits this brings to children. I believe that the Association brings something unique to Auckland’s early childhood education (ECE) offering. With an amazing history of over 110 years, Auckland Kindergarten Association ensures early childhood education is accessible for all children, placing tamariki learning and well-being at the heart of everything we do. I feel choice is important when it comes to selecting ECE providers and the Association has a variety of service types to meet whānau aspirations for their tamariki. I have worked in the ECE sector for over 20 years in a variety of leadership and general management roles. In my professional career, I have been focussed on team culture, building relationships and whanau engagement to create high quality outcomes for our tamariki. I have been fortunate to experience a variety of ECE models over the course of my career and have also worked closely within the areas of ECE compliance and strategy. Auckland is such a diverse city and as the General Manager of Community Engagement I look forward to supporting the Association with meeting the varying needs of our individual communities and achieving the organisation’s long-term strategy.
GM Culture, Capability and Wellbeing
I’m really pleased to be amongst the team at the Auckland Kindergarten Association. It’s an organisation with a proud history, representing a movement that has and will continue to have huge impact in the lives of our tamariki. Our staff experience of their work is critical to the happiness and wellbeing of our tamariki and it’s this connection that drives me to focus on how we can continue to create a positive environment for our staff. I was born to Croatian parents and grew up in Auckland. I am lucky enough to have experienced a family environment where learning is cherished and so I studied at Auckland University, completing a bachelor of arts in anthropology. Later on I went to study in human resources and then completed a masters degree in arts management. More recently I completed a diploma in positive psychology. This drive to learn is what I am intensely interested in – our creativity and how we explore. For most of my working life, I have been in human resources and have enjoyed the variety each day brings. It is a place where I learn about others and also create new ways for our staff to experience work. I am interested in how we live full, authentic lives, and how we bring our best selves to work every day. I can’t do this on my own and have a team of human resource professionals who work alongside me to provide support to our people.