Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 20 Feb 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// International visitors spend $10.6bn in year to December

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 05:38 PM PST

International visitor spending reached a record high of $10.6 billion in the year to December 2017, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says. The latest International Visitor Survey results from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, released today, showed expenditure increased five per cent compared with the year ended December 2016. “It’s great to see this continual steady growth, largely driven by increasing numbers of visitors from the United States. US expenditure is up 18 per cent over the year (to $1.3 billion) and this is probably thanks to the start of direct flights between Houston and Auckland,” Mr Davis says. “Australia and China remain our biggest markets, however, with Australians spending $2.6 billion in the year to December and Chinese spending $1.5 billion. “It’s good to see New Zealand appeals to such a diversity of markets. This bodes well for the continued strength of the tourism industry over the longer term.” Visitor numbers are predicted to continue rising over the next five years, Mr Davis says. “Government is focused on managing growing visitor numbers – implementing educational campaigns for visiting drivers, developing new Great Walks, only promoting New Zealand outside the peak summer season, and so on. “I recently announced over $14 million for tourism infrastructure and I’ll be meeting with mayors in the next couple of weeks to seek a collaborative way forward on freedom camping. “I know there are challenges for tourism. I also know that these challenges are not unsolvable, and there is plenty of work going on to ensure the sustainability of the industry.” For more information on the International Visitor Survey, visit:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Paving the way for Pacific success in Education

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 05:24 PM PST

The Government’s three year work programme for Education reaffirms our commitment to lifting and sustaining achievement for Pacific children and young people, says Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa. “Our work programme announced today places a high priority on improving Pacific student achievement and reflects our commitment to ensuring the education system is responsive to Pacific children, families and communities.” says Ms Salesa. Priority areas for Pacific education will focus on quality teaching and the role of Pacific identities, language and culture, and powerful connections with parents, families and communities. “While there have been some improvements in Pacific participation in the education system, there are still serious inequities that impact Pacific children and young peoples’ ability to achieve their potential. “A whole of system response is needed so that every Pacific person gets a quality education and is successful. “I am also keen to develop strong connections across my portfolios. For example I see an opportunity for young people to undertake training and education in the Building and Construction sector. There are long term sustainable career opportunities for young people that choose a trade. “Our Pacific children and young people deserve choices so they can make informed decisions that will get them into secure jobs, and be trailblazers in any field or profession they want. “Parents, families and communities also deserve the opportunity to participate effectively in the system, so that they too can support the decisions their children and young people make. “I invite our children, young people, parents and Pacific communities to engage in the Education Summits to collectively drive change so that the education system delivers for all,” Ms Salesa said. This is an exciting opportunity for the Pacific community to engage in the future of education in New Zealand. Minister Hipkins Press Release: Click here Contact: Kieran Meredith, 027 879 2336

/////////////////////////////////////////// Lid lifted on unique WW1 stories

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 04:07 PM PST

More than 30,000 students across the country are set to uncover and explore the fascinating stories of New Zealand soldiers in a new initiative from the First World War Centenary Programme (WW100), says Prime Minister and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Jacinda Ardern. Discovery boxes containing replica artefacts from the First World War have been distributed to 1000 classrooms across New Zealand, through an exciting new project from WW100 and School Kit, in partnership with Auckland War Memorial Museum and New Zealand Post. Students will use the artifacts in their research as part of a hands-on inquiry-based learning approach. “The boxes form part of the Walking With an Anzac education programme, a project aimed at supporting students and teachers to unearth the stories of local First World War soldiers using the vast array of online records now available,” Jacinda Ardern says. One of the stories children will explore is that of Alexander Aitken and his violin. After being gifted a violin by a friend who won it in a raffle, Aitken played the violin almost every night in the trenches of Gallipoli, bringing the power of music to soldiers surrounded by the sadness of war. “That story particularly resonates with me,” says Jacinda Ardern. “A violin was one of the very few possessions my great grandmother bought with her to New Zealand when she emigrated from Scotland. It’s been a treasured part of our family ever since.” She said the project was a great way to engage students with the Centenary of the First World War and ensure that the stories of New Zealanders during the War were never forgotten. “Through Walking with an Anzac, students have already discovered over 2300 forgotten stories of New Zealanders in the First World War; developing a more personal connection with events that impacted their communities a century ago,” Kylie Power co-owner at School Kit said. Thirty two of those stories are explored in the discovery boxes.

/////////////////////////////////////////// CPTPP text and National Interest Analysis released for public scrutiny

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 04:00 PM PST

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has today welcomed the release of the text of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). “New Zealand has been working hard to see the text made public as quickly as possible,” Mr Parker says. “Public scrutiny of trade agreements is welcome and important. We’ve been publishing detailed information about the CPTPP since November, and now people can see the full legal text for themselves.” An analysis suggests it could be worth up to $4 billion a year to the New Zealand economy once fully implemented. Mr Parker said the Government and its trade negotiators had contributed to changes that meant the CPTPP was a major improvement for New Zealanders over the previous TPP. Those changes included the suspension of 22 items in the earlier agreement. “The suspensions mean that prior expensive changes to New Zealand’s intellectual property law and our medicine-buying agency Pharmac no longer apply,” Mr Parker says. “The suspensions also narrow the scope of investor-state dispute settlement in the CPTPP, an area of particular concern to us.” It also includes commitments to safeguard and enforce labour and environmental standards and it upholds the Treaty of Waitangi. And we have found a way to ban foreign buyers of existing homes. The trade agreement will create new opportunities for international trade, including preferential access for the first time to Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru. “CPTPP has become more important because of the growing threats to the effective operation of the World Trade Organisation rules,” Mr Parker says. The full text of the CPTPP is available online at The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also released today the National Interest Analysis of the CPTPP, which assesses the likely costs and benefits for New Zealand of entering into the Agreement. “The analysis concludes that it is in New Zealand’s national interest to ratify the agreement,” says Mr Parker. “It estimates that the CPTPP will boost New Zealand’s economy by $1.2 billion to $4 billion a year once fully implemented. That’s a significant increase in a country where 620,000 jobs are dependent on exports.” “At the same time, it outlines how the CPTPP protects New Zealand’s right to regulate in the public interest, including in such areas as health, education and the environment.” The National Interest Analysis is available online at It will be updated next month with more details of side letters that will be signed along with the agreement. Public briefings and consultations on the CPTPP are continuing around the country. There will also be a full select committee and parliamentary examination process, Mr Parker says. “We are keen to keep hearing what New Zealanders think.” The CPTPP will be signed in Santiago, Chile, on 8 March. The 11 countries involved are New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Judging panel for the PMs Excellence Awards announced

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 02:24 PM PST

Adventurer and outdoor education provider Sir Graeme Dingle and Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero are among those who will judge the 2018 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Award finalists, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The annual Awards celebrate the outstanding work being done in schools and early learning services to support children and young people across the country. “I am really pleased with the exceptional New Zealanders who have agreed to contribute to the judging process this year. Their time and commitment to reward the best in education is remarkable,” Mr Hipkins said. “The panel members bring a wealth of experience and mana to the judging process, to assess the outstanding programmes in our early learning services, schools and kura.” The Awards include four categories, the Supreme Award and an Education Focus Prize that changes focus every year. The 2018 Education Focus Prize – Takatū Prize celebrates outstanding inclusive practices that enable all children and young people with additional learning needs to succeed. The Awards are judged in a two-step process. Up to 20 finalists will be selected by a group of education experts, with those entries then viewed by the judging panel before the panel decides each of the category winners. Winners will receive $20,000 and funding for a professional development opportunity. The supreme award winner will receive an additional $30,000 and an opportunity to represent New Zealand education in an international forum. “I want to encourage every education service from early learning to senior schools to enter the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards this year. The Awards provide an excellent opportunity to showcase best practice across the sector and to celebrate great achievements in improving outcomes for children and young people”, Mr Hipkins said. Entries close 5.00pm on Friday 23 March 2018. Winners will be announced at a ceremony later this year.

The panel:

Amanda Malu Chief Executive, Plunket

In September 2016 Amanda became the Chief Executive of Plunket, following six months as Acting Chief Executive.

Amanda joined Plunket in 2014 as the Chief Marketing Officer and brings a wide range of senior leadership experience to the organisation.

Working across government and education institutions Amanda has led significant marketing and behaviour change campaigns, including the highly successful ‘It’s not Ok’ campaign against family violence while at the Families Commission. Most recently she has held senior management roles within the science and tertiary education sectors.

Amanda is passionate about the opportunity that Plunket has to make a real difference in the lives of all children and their families and through her leadership, aims to ensure every family is able to access Plunket support when needed.

Amanda is the current chair of the Wellington East Girls’ College Board. She is of Ngai Tāhu descent. Amanda grew up in Christchurch and she has lived in Wellington for the past 18 years.

Amanda re-joins the Panel after serving as an education expert for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Carmen Dalli Professor, School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Carmen started her academic career in the Department of Teaching the Early and Middle Years of the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta. She joined Victoria University of Wellington in 1986.

In 1994 Carmen was involved in the establishment of the Institute for Early Childhood Studies and has served as its Director for several years. Between 2006 and 2013 she was an Associate Director of the Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research. She was Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Education between 2014 and 2016.

Carmen’s research combines an interest in developmental issues in the early years with a focus on early childhood policy and pedagogy. She has published widely in the field of early childhood teacher professionalism and has a particular interest in group-based early childhood education and care settings for children aged under three years.

Recent publications include Research, Policy and Advocacy for Young Children (2016, co-edited with A. Meade, NZCER) and Under-three year olds in policy and practice (2017, co-edited with E.J.White, Springer). The latter is the first in a new book series by Springer – Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations – co-edited with E. J. White. She also co-edited (with Profs Linda Miller, Claire Cameron and Nancy Barbour) the recently released Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Policy (2018).

Deanne Daysh JP Chair, Wellington High School Board of Trustees

Deanne has over 30 years’ experience in education as a classroom teacher and in leadership positions including Deputy Principal.

Being involved in children’s education is of absolute importance to Deanne. Her extensive governance experience having been on boards since 1989, includes chairing a primary school board of trustees, being on boards of trustees both in New Zealand and the UK, and on the national board of Parents Centre NZ.

Her passion for education enables her to offer energy and experience that focuses on students which assists in achieving results in student learning and achievement.

Deanne is a Justice of the Peace and volunteers for Kaibosh (food rescue).

Deanne has lived in Wellington for over 25 years and is currently on the leadership team and teaches new entrant students at Island Bay Primary School in Wellington.

Henk Popping Principal, Otumoetai Intermediate School, Kāhui Ako leader

Henk is the principal of Otumoetai Intermediate School and has been active in a wide variety of organisations in the Waikato and in Tauranga. These range from being a founding member of the Hamilton Residents and Ratepayers Association to President of the Tauranga Principals Association.

He is currently chairman of the Western Bay Energy Education Trust, a founding member of the AIMS GAMES Trust and chairman of the Tauranga Transport Network group. He is a member of the Ministry of Education’s Cross Sector Forum in Education.

Henk is currently Lead Principal of the Ōtūmoetai Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Under Henk’s leadership, Otumoetai Intermediate School was a joint winner in the Excellence in Teaching and Learning category, Atatū Award and inaugural winner of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award – Takiri ko te ata Award in the 2014 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

John Rangiteremauri Heremia Principal, Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, Huntly (Ngāi Tūhoe descent)

John has been the Principal of a high achieving Māori immersion school, Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga (Years 1 – 13), since 1990. The Wharekura is the largest Māori immersion school in New Zealand.

He is a pro-active and visionary leader in Māori education and upholding quality te reo Māori education pathways.

He has held leadership roles with Te Akatea, Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa, as well as actively contributing to national leadership research initiatives and programmes.

He is a highly respected leader of iwi educational initiatives for Tūhoe and Tainui.

John is also the chairperson of the Waikato Endowed Colleges Trust.

Kate Shevland Principal, Orewa College

Kate has been Principal of Orewa College for twenty years and has strong links across the education sector. She is currently on the Executive of the Auckland Secondary Schools Principals’ Association and is the leader of the Orewa Community of Learning | Kahui Ako.

She has previously been on the Board of Rodney Economic Development Trust, Auckland Secondary Schools Headmaster’s Association, Harbour Sport, Chair of North Shore Secondary Principals Group, and on many local educational advisory committees. She was on the Ministerial reference groups for the Resource Teachers: Leaning and Behaviour (RTLB) review and 21st Century Learning.

Kate is currently on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority Board.

She is a strong advocate for relevant future focussed learning, responsive to student and societal needs.

Kate re-joins the Panel after serving as an education expert for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Linley Myers Principal, Royal Oak Primary School

Royal Oak Primary is a decile 8 contributing school with 650 students. Prior to winning her current position at Royal Oak Primary School, Linley was Principal for six years at Maungawhau School in Mount Eden.

Linley has had a varied background in education having spent three years as an evaluator in the Education Review Office and four years as a leadership advisor in the Education Advisory Service, based in Auckland. Both these experiences have added significantly to Linley’s depth of educational knowledge and understanding.

Linley has been appointed as the Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako Lead Principal for her nine neighbouring schools, leading the development of the community in its first two years. She is the lead Principal for Nga Manu Awhina (Cluster 8) Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) service and hosts an additional 32 RTLB as part of Royal Oak Primary School staff. Linley is a member of the National Executive for lead RTLB principals and has worked collaboratively with the executive team and Ministry of Education to develop a strategic direction for the service.

Linley has developed a highly inclusive school community with pride in its richly multi-cultural makeup in her time at Royal Oak and is frequently visited for the work in innovative learning environments that is developing throughout the school.

Linley is a silent partner of Myers Bruce Leadership consulting services in education.

Dr Sarah Te One Coordinator, Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa (ACYA)

Sarah is an independent professional development provider and researcher and is currently a member of the CORE Education’s Te Whāriki contract team.

Sarah has had over 25 years of experience in early childhood education as a teacher, researcher, lecturer, unionist, and as a parent. She has also worked in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as Principal Advisor, Education.

Sarah has been involved in several major research projects including Centres of Innovation, Teaching and Learning Research Initiatives, a Teacher-led innovation fund project, and other Ministry of Education funded research projects.

Her research interests focus on children’s perspectives and influence on social policy, parent, and community partnerships in education, curriculum, transitions to school, and advocacy for children’s rights.

Sarah has been involved in running child rights advocacy courses with the Māori Wardens and education groups.

Simon Heath Principal, Renwick Primary School (Ngāi Tahu)

Simon has been teaching for 36 years, including 24 years as principal, the past 11 years as principal at Renwick School. He is on the nine-member Education Council.

Simon has been involved in numerous education working groups.

He is a past-president of the Marlborough Principals’ Association, past chair of Mistletoe Bay Trust, led the Marlborough Project ICT e-Learning programme, and is involved in the Eco Schools project at Renwick School.

He is currently chairman of the Mistletoe Charitable Foundation, and is on the Ministry of Education’s Kāhui Ako Reference Group.

Soana Pamaka Principal, Tamaki College

Soana Pamaka became Principal of Tāmaki College in 2006. She was the first person of Tongan descent to become a High School Principal in New Zealand. Prior to her appointment as Principal, Soana was head of the History Department, a Dean, and a Deputy Principal at Tāmaki College. Under her tenure as Principal, both roll numbers and academic success has steadily increased at Tāmaki College.

Away from the College, Soana is involved with a number of governance roles, which over the years have included the ASB Community Trust, Teach First NZ, Tāmaki Regeneration Company, and more recently she has been seconded to the Board of Te Papa, Wellington.

Soana works closely with students, staff, the community and her church. She is a highly respected leader in her community.

Judging Panel

Colin W Rangi Iwi Education Consultant

Colin Rangi is an uri of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Maniapoto iwi. With the completion of Ngāti Tūwharetoa’s Treaty Settlement, he was the Deputy Chair for Ngāti Tūwharetoa’s Treaty Claims, supporting the Chair, Te Ariki Sir Tumu te Heuheu, to whom he provides specialist advice. He was the previous Chair of Mokai Marae Trust.

Colin has had 45 years in education as a teacher, principal, Māori Advisor, University Lecturer, Manager of the Iwi Partnership between Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ministry of Education, Māori Education Consultant, and an endorsed provider for NZ School Trustees Association.

Currently he has been approved by the Ministry of Education for appointment as a Commissioner and Limited Statutory Manager to assist schools.

He has also served as a Governance Facilitator establishing a new Kura and Board of Trustees. He has been a past council member of Waiariki Institute of Technology (2012-2014), representing Te Mana Mātauranga in which Colin was Deputy Chair of the Iwi Advisory group. He is currently a Council member on the new Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology serving the Bay of Plenty.

In 2016 and 2017 Colin was a member of the Iwi Planning Group to develop the Māori History in Aotearoa initiative to teach in all New Zealand schools and Kura.

Colin’s other past leadership roles include Chair Māori Reference Group on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Māori Strategic and Implementation Plan, Chair of Iwi-Ministry of Education Hui Taumata Mātauranga, past Chair of Tūwharetoa Māori Sports Awards, and Project Manager of Tūwharetoa Cultural Knowledge Project.

Colin re-joins the Panel after serving as a judge for the 2016 and 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Deborah George Co-founder, Teach First NZ Executive Chair, InZone Education Foundation Trustee, Woolf Fisher Trust

Deborah’s career in education spans three decades in a variety of roles across the commercial, government, and not-for-profit sectors.

Initially a secondary school teacher, Deborah went on to own education businesses in Hong Kong and New Zealand, worked for the Australian Government marketing education services in Hong Kong and China and was one of a team of three to expand the Duffy Books in Homes programme, a nationwide initiative to increase the penetration of books in homes in low socioeconomic areas.

Deborah spent five years on the board of trustees of Auckland Grammar School as an elected parent representative and was employed for 12 years as Director of Development and Director of Enrolment and External Relations.

Deborah’s belief in the transformative power of education led her to co-found Teach First NZ, a not-for-profit she saw while on sabbatical in the UK in 2011. Teach First NZ engages top graduates to teach in secondary schools serving low decile communities.

Currently Executive Chair, she was also a founding trustee of another educational equity initiative, the InZone Education Foundation (IZEF). IZEF enables Māori and Pacific Island students to attend top performing state schools by developing boarding hostels within the school zone and providing them with the necessary academic and pastoral support.

In 2017 Deborah was invited to become a Trustee of the Woolf Fisher Trust. The Trust was established in 1960 to recognise and reward excellence in education and fulfils this mandate through its prestigious fellowship and scholarship programmes.

Deborah re-joins the Panel after serving as a judge for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Sir Graeme Dingle KNZM MBE ONZM Founder and Director of the Hillary Outdoors Education Centres, and the Graeme Dingle Foundation

Sir Graeme has dedicated over 45 years of his life to improving outcomes for New Zealand’s young people. He pledged to dedicate his life to positively impact on New Zealand’s negative youth statistics. A humanitarian and philanthropist with a passion for mountaineering and adventure sport, Sir Graeme is one of the world's leading outdoor adventurers.

He founded the Outdoor Pursuit Centre of New Zealand (OPC) in 1972, now the Hillary Outdoors Education centres, and Project K in 1995, now the Graeme Dingle Foundation which delivers developmental programmes to nearly 30,000 children and young people each year.

He has inspired, organised, and led numerous expeditions. These have included many rock-climbing, mountaineering, and adventuring firsts throughout the world including a sea, mountain, and river traverse from the South Island to Auckland with six convicted violent offenders, and a two-stage epic circuit of the Arctic. He also has completed several Antarctic expeditions.

Graeme combines his love of the outdoors and adventure with a strong commitment to social responsibility and change, and has been the impetus for many community campaigns and directives.

He is the recipient of a variety of distinguished awards, and in 2002 he was awarded the Visionary Leader Award, in the Deloitte Top 200 Awards, for his work with Project K. Graeme inspires people, inspires confidence, and acts on his convictions and understanding of the importance of our youth to develop a better world.

Sir Graeme’s many accolades include an MBE for services to outdoor pursuits, an ONZM in 2000 for his services to youth, the Award of New Zealand for services to Sport and Recreation, and was knighted for services to youth in 2017.

Graham Hingangaroa Smith CNZM Distinguished Professor, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Graham is an internationally renowned Māori educationalist who has been at the forefront of initiatives in the education field and beyond. His academic background is within the disciplines of education, social anthropology, and cultural and policy studies, with recent work centred on developing theoretically informed transformative strategies to improve Māori and Indigenous cultural, political, social, educational, and economic well-being.

He has been involved in the development of Tribal- Universities and was the foundation chairperson of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Council. He has also served on the University of Auckland Council and is a former Professor of Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori), at the University of Auckland. He is a former and now retired CEO of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. He currently leads the new Institute for Post-Treaty Settlement Futures.

Graham’s earlier training was in Social Anthropology completing an MA (Hons) dissertation on Māori Rituals of Encounter. His PhD thesis in Education was on Kaupapa Māori Theory as Transformative Praxis. He is a trained primary teacher and taught in Auckland schools, before he returned to lecture at Auckland Teachers’ College. He was a foundation teacher in the Kura Kaupapa Māori school movement.

His academic leadership has informed the emergence of Māori education studies within New Zealand universities and across the broader tertiary sector and he maintains a strong influence in the Māori language revitalisation movement. Graham has also worked extensively with other indigenous/First Nations’ peoples across the world including Australia, Canada, Micronesia, India, Norway, Hawaii, Alaska and the US mainland. He spent six years in Canada where he worked as Head of Education Policy Studies at the University of British Columbia.

He is in constant demand as an invited contributor to international forums/ conferences on indigenous issues. More recently he has been assisting other universities in the international arena to effectively meet the needs of indigenous students, faculties and communities. Professor Smith has been recognised for his contributions including Honorary Doctorates from Canadian institutions (a D.Litt from UNBC and a LLD from OUC), an elected Fellow of the prestigious American Education Research Association and received a Queens Honour, a CNZM in 2013.

In 2017 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the education sector.

Graham re-joins the Panel after serving as a judge for the 2016 and 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Dr Helen May Emeritus Professor, University of Otago

Helen was a junior school teacher for 9 years. Later, when she had her own children, she worked in childcare, including five years as the Coordinator of the Victoria University of Wellington crèche.

In 1987 Helen began work in teacher education at Hamilton Teachers' College, later the University of Waikato. During the early 1990s she worked with Sir Tamati and Lady Tilly Reedy and Margaret Carr on the development of Te Whāriki, a first bicultural and national early childhood national curriculum. More recently, the original writers were advisors to the Ministry of Education project that updated Te Whāriki (2017).

In 1995 Helen was appointed to the first New Zealand Professorial Chair in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University of Wellington. In 2005, she was appointed as Professor and Head of the Faculty of Education at the University of Otago, and was the foundation Dean of the University of Otago College of Education (2006-2011).

Helen retired from university teaching in 2016 but continues to speak about the early years’ history, curriculum, and policy with teachers and researchers in various national and international settings. She is currently involved in a cross national study Re-imagining teaching: lessons for current times from progressive 20th century experimental schools.

Helen has published 13 books in the field of early years education and schooling including Teachers Talk Teaching (with Sue Middleton) 1997; Discovery of Early Childhood (1997, 2013); School Beginnings 2006; I am five and I go to school 2011; and most recently Growing a Kindergarten Movement (with Kerry Bethell) 2017.

Iva Ropati Principal, Howick College, Auckland

Iva was a former professional rugby league player who represented New Zealand and played for a number of clubs in the UK, Australia and NZ Warriors. Following his playing career, Iva served on the NZRL Board of Directors and also spent time on the Counties Manukau Zone Board for the NZRL. He is currently a board member for College Sport Auckland.

In his educational career, Iva is an experienced Principal of sixteen years and has served two Auckland secondary schools. He led the transformation of One Tree Hill College before moving to his current school, Howick College.

Iva has been a member of a number of educational boards and advisory groups including the Ministerial National and Regional cross sector forums, Ministry Boys’ Advisory Group, MIT Pasifika Advisory Group, and most recently serving as an inaugural member of the Education Council. Iva is also a foundation executive member of the NZ Pasifika Principals Association.

In 2009 Iva was one of six New Zealanders awarded a Sir Peter Blake emerging leadership award. This award recognises New Zealanders who have demonstrated significant achievement, leadership talent, and potential. Across all areas of leadership in New Zealand it is awarded to people who are making a difference in their respective leadership contexts.

John Bongard ONZM Ex-CEO, Fisher and Paykel Board Chair, The Rising Foundation

John is the former chief executive with Fisher & Paykel, where he began his career in 1973 and retired in 2009.

He is into his seventh year on the Netball New Zealand Board, where he is the chairman. His relationship with Netball New Zealand stretches back 20 years, when Fisher & Paykel began their sponsorship of international netball in 1996.

John is now a director on a number of boards in New Zealand and offshore. He is currently on the Board of Narta Australia Pty Limited, H.J. Asmuss & Co Limited, WilliamsWarn NZ Limited, and is the Local Chairman of South Auckland Partners – BNZ.

He also chairs a Thailand based steel processing company - PSCTH Thailand. John is currently the Chair of the SkyCity Auckland Community Trust.

He works with Totara Hospice in Manurewa as Deputy Chairman of the Totara Foundation and other charitable organisations, including Founder and Chairman of The Rising Foundation which aims to unlock the potential of students in south Auckland schools by developing their leadership skills. John is also Deputy Chairman of the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust Board.

John was awarded an ONZM for services to business in the 2010 New Year Honours List.

John re-joins the Panel after serving as a judge for the 2016 and 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Paula Tesoriero MNZM Disability Rights Commissioner

A world champion athlete, former senior public service manager and governance expert Paula took up her appointment as Commissioner in August 2017.

Paula has a high profile in the disability sector having served on several boards including the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, NZ Artificial Limb Service, and Paralympics New Zealand. She also served on the Board of Sport Wellington and is a member of the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand.

Paula is a former lawyer with a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Management and held senior management roles at Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Justice.

Winning gold in a world-record breaking time at the Beijing Summer Paralympics, her services to cycling were recognised when she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

Dr Wendy Kofoed Principal, Newmarket Primary School

Dr Wendy Kofoed is Principal of Newmarket Primary School in central Auckland. She has broad experience of teaching and leadership and works with schools and teachers in New Zealand, and internationally. Wendy serves on several advisory groups, and is a lead principal of resource teachers. She has involvement in diverse professional networks and local and global communities.

Her academic and research interests include the role of schools in developing strong home and school partnerships, particularly community engagement in schools.

Wendy has particular interest in curriculum, digital technology, and futures education, and in developing, growing, and sustaining effective leadership. She continues to share and celebrate the strength of education in New Zealand.

Wendy re-joins the Panel after serving as a judge for the 2016 and 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Wendy Lee Director of the Educational Leadership Project Ltd.

Wendy has been involved in the early childhood education (ECE) field over the last 45 years as a teacher, tutor, lecturer, manager, professional development facilitator, and researcher. She now leads the Educational Leadership Project Ltd., which provides professional learning for the ECE sector in New Zealand. Over the past two decades, Wendy has collaborated with Professor Margaret Carr at the University of Waikato on a number of research projects including the Centre of Innovation Project (Roskill South Kindergarten), the Royal Society of NZ Marsden Fund Early Years Project (Learning Dispositions in a Social Context), the Centre of Innovation Project (Greerton Early Childhood Centre) and a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative Project (Learning Wisdom). She was co-director of the National Early Childhood Assessment and Learning Exemplar Project that developed the Kei Tua o te Pae books on assessment of learning in the New Zealand early childhood sector.

Wendy has presented extensively at conferences on early childhood education, curriculum, leadership, and the value of Learning Stories to document children’s learning, throughout the world. She has delivered keynote lectures at many conferences and has advised teachers, educators, and government officials in a range of countries on current developments and issues in the ECE sector, both in New Zealand and globally.

Wendy has a deep interest in curriculum, advocacy, and leadership issues in ECE. She is highly enthusiastic about the power of documentation via Learning Stories to strengthen the learner identities of children and to make visible to the wider community, the learning that occurs in the ECE sector. Wendy is committed to the right of all children, parents and whānau to access high quality early childhood education. In particular, she is passionate about the importance of the outdoors for all children and the critical importance of a strong professional teaching community in the ECE sector.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister heads south to see recovery needs

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 02:18 PM PST

Civil Defence Minister Hon Kris Faafoi is travelling to the South Island today to see the effects of former Cyclone Gita and discuss recovery with local mayors and officials. “Today we are assessing the damage across affected regions. The focus will be on clean-up and recovery, doing damage assessment and supporting communities and travellers who are isolated or affected. “The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency management is also keeping an eye on the potential for more heavy rain in South Canterbury and Otago, and the effect of this on river levels.” Mr Faafoi says that while there was considerable damage over the past 24 hours, good decisions were made to declare local states of emergency early. “This meant we have kept people safe. I do appreciate that some people may have been inconvenienced but it was great that people took steps to keep themselves and their families safe and listened to official advice. “There will be a time for lessons to be learned but for now we’re focused on what needs to be done for communities and business to be able to go about their lives. “Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups were well prepared for this event and communities also responded brilliantly.” Damien O’Connor, MP for West Coast Tasman, is travelling with Mr Faafoi. A further trip to see damage elsewhere may be confirmed if required.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Māori achievement a priority for Education

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 01:20 PM PST

The Government’s three-year education work programme prioritises lifting achievement for Māori students, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Today Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced a comprehensive work programme to ensure the education system delivers for New Zealand children and their families, with a focus on lifting Māori achievement. “The gap between the educational achievement of Māori students and the total population is substantial and persistent,” Mr Davis says. “Even though results in Māori-medium education are better, near that of the total population, significant numbers of Māori students do not go on to any tertiary education. “Too many Māori students are disengaged from the school system or not progressing to tertiary education. Remedying this situation is a key focus of our education work programme over the next three years.” Work being undertaken to lift Māori achievement includes a refresh of Ka Hikitia (Māori Education Strategy); strengthening the Māori-medium education pathway; providing long term solutions for the supply of te reo teachers; and improving the transition of students from school to further education and training or work. “One of the biggest levers we have to raise Māori achievement is to strengthen teaching – in English and Māori-medium schools,” Mr Davis says. “That means ensuring we have a pipeline of te reo competent teachers and making the most of initial teacher education and professional learning and development to support the teaching workforce to be confident and culturally competent in our classrooms. “We expect that better integration of Māori language and culturally responsive teaching and learning practice across the whole education system will provide significant leverage for addressing the inequity that currently exists. “How the education system can be more equitable for tamariki and rangatahi, and its role in protecting te reo and fostering Māori identity and culture will be key themes at Minister Hipkins’ Education Summits in May. I encourage hapū and iwi as well as Māori educationalists to get involved and contribute to the discussion.” Minister Hipkins’ Press Release and the Cabinet Paper is available here.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Ambitious three-year work programme for education

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 11:11 AM PST

The Government has today released details of its extensive education portfolio work programme over the next three years that will champion a high quality public education system for all New Zealanders, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. “New Zealand has an education system to be proud of, but as the way we work and live continues to rapidly change, so too do the demands on our education system. Over the next three years, we can make significant progress in changing our education system to provide for all New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins said. “The education system should bring out the best in everyone, providing all New Zealanders with learning opportunities so they can discover and develop their full potential, engage fully in society, and lead rewarding and fulfilling lives. “There are, however, still some major constraints holding us back. Too many of the policy settings for the education portfolio, particularly those focused on accountability and compliance, are rooted in a 20th Century mind set. “A focus on standardisation and measurement over the past few years has worked against an ability to future-proof education. It was backward looking and simply won’t cut it in the future. Schools say there is too much red tape that has stifled creativity and innovation. “We need to change that. We need a system – from the cradle to the grave – that is inclusive, that can adapt to the needs of the modern world. It needs to engage every learner – in a much more personalised learning experience. We need our people to be resilient, creative and adaptable, able to work collaboratively as well as independently. The work programme includes the NCEA review, a review of Tomorrow’s Schools, developing a future-focused Education Workforce Strategy, a continuous focus on raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika learners, an action plan for learning support, an early learning strategic plan, a comprehensive review of school property. It will also include a programme of change for vocational education, a full review of the Performance Based Research Fund and better support for the research aspirations of our tertiary sector. “Each of these workstreams needs to include explicit consideration of the impact for Māori and Pasifika learners, supporting provision through Māori medium education and students who are disabled or have additional learning support needs.” The Cabinet paper about the education portfolio work programme is available here: Mr Hipkins said achieving successful change “will not happen by dictating what ought to be done”. “Education is a portfolio where success depends on broad engagement and shared ownership. We will need to work in a way that respects, engages and draws in educators together with parents and whānau, iwi, employers and the wider community.” The government’s work programme for 2018 will focus on refining, articulating and getting shared ownership of a vision for the education system, reviewing some key aspects of the system and refreshing the strategies for the education portfolio. Education summit “A whole-of-portfolio Education Summit process will be the key vehicle to refine and enable shared ownership of this vision, and will inform the development of strategies in support. “To realise this, I want to work with the education system and all its participants in a more collaborative way to set the direction of travel and agree shared priorities for education – from early learning, schooling and tertiary through to lifelong learning,” Mr Hipkins said. The Education Summit, most likely to be held in May, will be the keystone of a national conversation about what New Zealanders want their education system to look like, Mr Hipkins said. “I want children, young people and adult learners, their parents, whānau, communities, Māori and Pasifika, teachers, researchers and education leaders at all levels, disability organisations and employers and industry to participate in the events we will be organising, both at the Summit and afterwards.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Increased funding for child mortality in the Pacific

Posted: 19 Feb 2018 09:08 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today that New Zealand will contribute a further NZ$7 million to improve newborn mortality rates in the Pacific. The Pacific has some of the world’s worst child mortality rates. Nearly 1,700 children under five years of age died in the Pacific in 2016. More than 80 percent of those children died within their first year of life and half of those children died in their first 28 days. “New Zealand’s increased funding will focus on improving child health policies; better early health services such as newborn care, immunisation and nutrition that are both high impact and low-cost; and stronger health promotion at a community level to increase awareness of, and improve practices that pose risks to child health,” Mr Peters says. “Funding will help the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu as countries with some of the worst child health indicators.” Funding will continue to support UNICEF as a long-standing partner of the New Zealand Aid Programme with considerable child health expertise in the Pacific and globally. New Zealand has been providing support to UNICEF under the Pacific Maternal Newborn and Child Health Initiative since 2014, working closely to develop areas of focus, countries to target and interventions to be supported. ENDS Contact: Stephen Parker, Chief Press Secretary, 021 195 3528

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