The Taupō Kāhui Ako is a collaborative educational relationship between 16 schools and 23 early learning centres. Our Kāhui Ako is in the Tūwharetoa rohe, in Taupō. Ngāti Tūwharetoa ariki Tā Tumu te Heuheu and his education team continue to take an active interest in education by working alongside learning centres and the Kāhui Ako to improve learner success in our rohe.

This collaborative relationship between all parties enables us to identify the different strengths, expertise and possibilities across sectors and share practices within our Kāhui Ako to benefit all learners.

Kaiako in early learning services (ELS) can support Kāhui Ako to:

Whānau can be confident their children are getting the best start to their education when ELS work closely with schools/kura and other services in a Kāhui Ako. This approach supports a focus on lifelong learning and enables a smoother transition to school.

Kāhui Ako collaboratively identify three to five achievement challenges using a range of data and evidence related to student achievement. ELS can contribute to the development of these challenges by considering the shared links between Te Whāriki, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa – and identifying what progress might look like across the child’s learning pathway.

ELS, Iwi and the community form an essential part of the learner pathway. When services and schools understand each other’s practices and share expertise and resources, overall teaching quality improves, leading to better outcomes for children at every stage of their educational journey.

Meet the Team

COL Principal 

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Tititea te maunga

Ko Mata-Au te awa

Ko Lake Wānaka te moana

Ko Oreheke tōku tūrangawaewae

Ko Taupō tōku kāinga inaianei

Ko Waipāhīhī te kura

Ko Lovelock tōku whānau

Ko Tim tōku ingoa

Nō reira 

Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou 

Tēnā koutou katoa 

Across School Leaders 

Philippa Simmonds

I have been fortunate to work alongside a dynamic and committed team of colleagues who are committed to improving outcomes for all of our learners.  Culturally responsive and relational pedagogy is an area in which my real passion and focus lies. One of the most fulfilling parts of this role is the opportunity to be exposed to the willingness of schools to critically reflect on their practice and the bold steps they take to improve outcomes for our ākonga in the Taupō rohe. 

Geoff (Snow) Ramek

Mai te awa o te Atua ki Tauhara maunga

Ko Tauhara te nmaunga

Ko Taupo te moana

Ko Waikato te awa

Ko Nga rakau e rua matahi pu o Atuamatua te waka

Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa te iwi

Ko Ngati Rauhoto, Ngati Te Urunga nga hapu

Ko Rauhoto, ko Haumoana nga marae

Ko Snowdon-Rameka te whanau

Kua eke nei nga whakaaro me nga korero o a tatou tupuna nei, ara ko Ngati Tuwharetoa kiA wehewehea ki nga taringa akonga.

Kia tukua nga korerorero pono o a ratou oranga. Nei ra te pukaea hei hartia nga korero ra, ki nga mokopuna me o ratou kura hiuahia mai ana.

Na reira, pai marire ki a koutou.

My role within the local Kahui Ako grouping is to bring Ngati Tuwharetoa to life.

As Across School Leader for the Tuwharetoa Cultural Knowledge project, I am tasked with sharing our knowledge within the boundaries of Ngati Tuwharetoa to bring about greater awareness, understanding, and in the end, pride.

I am based at Taupo nui-a-Tia College as a teacher of te reo Maori and Maori Performing Arts as well tutor of Te Awhiorangi kapa haka. Sharing our Tuwharetoa cultural knowledge is a delicate but rewarding task and a mission that will see many miles travelled, many faces met, and many stories told. I intend to meet with many teachers to help upskill them in their understanding of and sharing of our knowledge as well as interact and bring joy to the tamariki - and where possible - utilise Te Awhiorangi kapa haka to bring effect to the stories that pronounce our tribal history. 

Shiree Rakei

Ko Tainui te waka. Ko Tautare te maunga. Ko Waihou te awa. Ko Ruapeka te marae.  Ko Ngāti Raukawa te iwi. Ko Ngāti Tukorehe te Hapū. No Tāpapa ahau. Ko Tia tōku hoa tāne. Ko Jessica taku tamāhine. Ko Shiree Rakei ahau.

Tenā koutou! My name is Shiree Rakei and I am excited to join the Across School Leadership team this year. I have been teaching for 12 years and my passion for education is encouraged by our ākonga and the professional colleagues who support and teach our learners. What I enjoy about our Kāhui Ako is the sharing of learning and knowledge through collaboration, making connections, and working together as a community of learners.  We all have a common goal and that is to strengthen and improve learning outcomes for all our tamariki. With that in mind, I look forward to working alongside our amazing teachers and kura within our Kāhui Ako.

Associate Principal  Tauhara Primary School  

Leeanne Mason

Kia ora koutou, 

I am excited to become part of the Across School Leader team for the Taupō Kāhui Ako learning community.  I am committed towards the promotion of learning in a collaborative, culturally responsive, and strengths-based manner ensuring inclusion, and success for all. 

I am looking forward to the privilege of partnering alongside Iwi, schools, whānau and our wider community to support the wellbeing of all ākonga - through developing positive, resilient, confident and connected learners in a culturally responsive environment.  

I am passionate about wellbeing,  and am excited to work alongside schools and ECE to strengthen  their understanding of wellbeing and how they can support staff and students within their learning environments to “feel good and function well” 

Hildegardt Young

Kia Orana koutou katoa

Nō Ngā Kūki 'Āirani me Tiamana ōku tūpuna

I tipu ake au ki Tūrangi   

Ko te Kura Tuatahi o Tauhara tāku kura matua.

Tēnei tōku mihi ki te tāngata whenua o te rohe o Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Ka mihi hoki au ki ngā tohu o te rohe o Ngāti Tūwharetoa, ngā maunga koutuutu, ngā awa,ngā roto, te moana o Taupō. E mihi ana!

Ko Hildegardt Young ahau.

Mā mua ka kite ā-muri, mā muri ka ora ā-mua 

Those who lead give sight to those who follow, those who follow give life to those who lead.

This whakatauki speaks to the importance of working together.  

I look forward to working alongside Iwi, Whanau and Kura to strengthen  growth in all learners. 

Jo Dundas 

Ko Tauhara te maunga, Ko Taupō te moana, Ko Waikato te awa, Ko Ngāti Ruingarangi te hapu, Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi, Ko Te Heuheu te tangata, Ko Jo Dundas tōku ingoa.  

I am a teacher in the senior team at Taupō Primary School, where I have held a within school CoL role in Te Ao Māori, for the past few years. Now, as a part of the Kāhui Ako, I intend to continue this mahi as mana whenua, supporting kaiako in our rohe of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, ensuring we are catering to the needs of all our tamariki and that the aspirations of our Tupuna are upheld.  “We can ensure successful learners in both worlds when we are all culturally competent.”  I am also a member of the Te Akatea Association, being supported as a Māori emerging leader and growing myself in this space.

Kairuruku Tautoko Akoranga

Learning Support Coordinators 

Cathy Bateup

I am thoroughly enjoying my role of learning support coordinator for the Kāhui Ako.  I have been able to build relationships, learn and broaden my understanding within education to support my schools and their tamariki.  It is a privilege to be working amongst such dedicated and hard working professionals in a variety of schools where we are learning and working together for the benefit of our tamariki.  

I have worked in the Tuwharetoa area for most of my teaching career, having been here for 12 years.  Growing up in the Far North, I still at times struggle with the cold weather but the mountain, lake and amazing people make up for it!

Am so excited to be able to share the knowledge I have learnt from those that I have worked with, and the enthusiasm I have for providing the best we can for our learning community.

Learning Support Coordinator - Taupō Primary School 

Debs Morrison 

Kia ora e te whanau,

My husband and I moved back to Taupo in 1999. The Taupo region, and active life on our farm, has provided us with a fantastic backdrop in which to raise our 3 children.  In my life, particularly since becoming a teacher, I have seen students struggle unnecessarily with their learning. I am a big believer in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in which all students can achieve the outcomes, in their own way using their strengths.

The Learning Support Coordinator (LSC) role offers a unique opportunity for school communities to access a plethora of resources, and to work collaboratively with a team of very motivated and experienced educators. I am currently based at Taupo-Nui-a-Tia as an LSC, working closely with SENCO and Senior Management with screening (Irlens and Dyslexia), learning and behaviour support, implementing assistive technology use, managing transitions and liasing with the wider community to better support our akonga.

Vanessa McArthur

Kia ora koutou. 

It is my privilege to work in our Kāhui Ako as one of the team of Learning Support Coordinators. I am delighted to be part of this strong and diverse group who are so committed to the learning support delivery model for our community. Along with two of my colleagues, I am based at Waipāhīhī-a-Tia Primary School.  I look forward to working alongside leaders, teachers, students, and whanau to support and enhance outcomes for our learners.

Learning Support Coordinator, Waipahihi-a-Tia Primary School

Martyn Howie 

It is an honour to be part of the Taupō Kāhui Ako team as a Learning Support Coordinator and to work with tamariki in our area.

I have worked in Taupō and internationally for over 25 years, in a number of different roles, both in the classroom, in senior management and in school improvement.

I am based out of Taupō Nui-a-Tia college and will be working with Kaiako, other learning support coordinators, SENCO and senior management teams.

I am working in the area of Year 9 engagement, including the Belong and Dream initiative, alternative education, managing transitions, supporting learning and behaviour and working with community organisations.

It is great to be part of this collaborative environment, to respond to learners’ needs and to empower learners to do things they could not otherwise do.

Jan Smith

Ko Jan Smith tōku ingoa

He Kairuruku Tautoko Akoranga o Kohungahunga ahau

No Taupō ahau

Ngā mihi māhana ki a Koutou

I am the Early Childhood Learning Support Coordinator based at Tauhara Primary working predominantly in Early Childhood settings across the rohe and supporting positive transitions into School.  Partnering with Whānau to make a positive difference for ākonga within the Ngāti Tūwharetoa rohe sits at the forefront of my role and working within a collaborative team.

Taupō is my Turangawaewae, where I was brought up and completed my own schooling. I returned to raise my two now adult Tamariki and a Kindergarten teaching career spanning 26 years.  I continue to strive in strengthening my partnership with Ngāti Tūwharetoa Iwi, whānau, tamariki, professional colleagues, and the wider Taupō community in an inclusive environment in this  role. 

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.



Early Childhood Education Learning Support Coordinator


Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Ruahine tōku maunga

Ko Tukituki tōku awa

Ko Ngāti Kahungunu tōku iwi

Ko Rakautatahi tōku marae

No Takapau ahau

Ko Nicole Waldman tōku ingoa

I grew up in Takapau, Central Hawke’s Bay. My teaching career began in Dannevirke and I later taught in Melbourne before settling in Taupō. I have taught a range of year levels and have experience in middle management. Building relationships with tamariki is at the core of my teaching philosophy. I strive to create engaging and challenging learning opportunities that meet the diverse needs of our tamariki and make all of them feel successful.

I am excited to begin my new Learning Support Coordinator role within the Taupō Kāhui Ako. The knowledge I have gained through collaborating with skilled and passionate teachers is invaluable and I look forward to continuing to fill my kete and using this to support the kaiako and tamariki in our community. 

Kim Stevens

Kia ora koutou katoa, my name is Kim Stevens and I'm enjoying being one of the Learning Support Coordinators in the Taupō Kahui Ako. 

Having called Taupō home for over two decades, I have a strong connection with this place and its community. An experienced teacher, I am committed to constant growth. I am enthusiastic about collaborating with students, staff, and whānau. My focus is on prioritising students and their needs in all aspects of my work. I'm excited to be part of this team, supporting the educational endeavours of our community.