Conference 2022 – Key Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Mere Berryman

Professor at the University of Waikato, Division of Education

After 20 years of teaching I began working as a researcher in the 90s. I wanted to understand why, what we had been doing with Māori learners and others in education was perpetuating trajectories of disparity for them. Over two decades of learning from students, whānau, centres and schools, to promote Māori students’ educational success as Māori, has followed. Working to understand the place of the system and society has also been essential.


Lesley Murrihy

Chief Advisor, Te Poutāhū

Lesley Murrihy has recently taken up a position as a Chief Advisor in Te Poutāhū (the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Centre). Prior to that, her long career in education (spanning over 40yrs) has been spent in schools both as a teacher and as a school principal. She has had the privilege to lead a small, decile one school in the heart of the King County and she left there to open the first new school to be built in Wellington for nearly three decades as foundation principal.

Lesley always wanted to be a teacher and what brings her the most joy is seeing others, whether students, teachers, colleagues, friends or family growing and developing into “leadership” – into living an increasingly whole and integral life and bringing their unique contribution to the world. Her doctoral thesis focused on whether coaching assisted the growth and development of educators. It found that it did, and coaching leadership has been the backbone of her leadership approach ever since.


Ann Milne

MNZM, PhD, Ann Milne Education

Dr Ann Milne is a Pākehā educator who led the Kia Aroha College community’s almost 30-year journey to develop a critically conscious, culturally sustaining learning approach centred on students' cultural identities. That learning is described in her doctoral research, and in her book, Coloring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools, which was published in 2016. Ann’s services to education were recognised in 2020 when she was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Ann is also the recipient of several national research awards and scholarships, including the New Zealand Principals’ Federation’s prestigious “Service with Distinction” Award in 2015 for “outstanding service to education in New Zealand.” Since retiring from her principal’s role in 2016, Ann has established Ann Milne Education and Ann Milne Online to share her long leadership experience in this area.


Catherine Bentley

Tumuaki/Principal- Hastings Girls’ High School

I am in my fifth year as Tumuaki of Hastings Girls’ High School. Prior to this, I have had fifteen plus years’ experience in the primary sector as well as in early childhood as a Playcentre mum. This wealth of experience is has given me a unique perspective of learning, which is perhaps why I am so committed to a curriculum that challenges and develops the critical thinking, creativity,
knowledge and skills of all our ākonga.

Over the past five years, our mahi at HGHS has focused on creating a school culture where identity is taonga – the essential building block which becomes the starting point for student learning; we are committed to embedding a curriculum that is culturally sustaining, uses local contexts, resources, people and which is focused on increasing equity, social justice, critical thinking and enhancing democracy.

We are the 2021 recipients of the Prime Minister’s Excellence Awards – Leadership.


Russell Bishop

Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop PhD ONZM - University of Waikato

Russell Bishop is Emeritus Professor of Maori Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. He is well known for directing the development of Te Kotahitanga, a large New Zealand Ministry of Education funded research and professional development project from 2001 to 2012. This project demonstrated how teachers and other school leaders could improve the educational achievement of Māori students in mainstream classrooms by implementing a culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. Since his retirement from Waikato University, he has developed the notion of relational pedagogy and leadership further with Cognition Education in New Zealand, Australia and Canada. He is the author of 8 books, including Teaching to the Northeast (2019), and approximately 90 other quality assured publications. He has delivered over 100 keynote addresses, nationally and internationally, and has won numerous awards for his work including a recent ONZM.

Conference Panel

Marcus Freke

Director of Education for the Waikato - Ministry of Education

Marcus worked in the Primary education sector around the Waikato for 28 years, 21 of these as a principal in a range of contexts. His last role was as foundation principal of Endeavour School, the first purpose-built ILE in the Waikato. Marcus joined the Ministry of Education as the Director of Education for the Waikato in July 2021.


Tony Grey

Principal - Te Ao Mārama School

Tony Grey is current Principal of Te Ao Mārama School - a private partnership school which opened 2019 in NE Hamilton.

He is deeply passionate about the importance of staff culture, empowering others, and developing a culture of learning and innovation.

He has been involved in education for 25 years, with the last 16 years as Principal.


Michele Morrison

Senior Lecturer in Educational Leadership - University of Waikato

Michele is a Senior Lecturer in educational leadership at the University of Waikato and current editor of the Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice (JELPP). An experienced teacher and school leader, Michele prioritises educative processes and research that privilege lived experience and the pursuit of social justice. Her PhD examines the nature of context, through the narratives of leaders who seek to transform NZ schools.


Janice Tauoma

Manager, A’oga Fa’a Samoa Early Childhood Centre

Janice Taouma is the manager of the first Pasifika/Samoan early childhood centre, established in 1984.
The Aoga Fa'a Samoa, was named a recipient of the Ministry of Education's early childhood Centre of Innovation for its research and language continuum.

Janice has undertaken numerous consultancy roles and participated in sector advisory groups focused on improving quality for Pasifika early childhood services and strengthening bicultural and immersion early childhood education.


Helen Tuhoro

Principal - Tarawera High School

Mrs Helen Tuhoro, MNZM is a graduate of the University of Waikato and Massey University, holding a Bachelor of Teaching degree and a Diploma in School Management. Mrs Tuhoro’s teaching career commenced in the primary sector and moved in later years to her current position in the secondary system. She is the inaugural Principal of Tarawera High School in Kawerau; a school established in January 2013 after the closure the High School and Intermediate in December 2012.


Invited Workshop

Chris Jansen

Senior Consultant - Leadership Lab

Dr Chris Jansen is a senior consultant with Leadership Lab where he works alongside organisations in the education, health, social services and community sectors in a range of projects. These include design and delivery of leadership development programmes, change management initiatives, organisational capability and strategic planning.

In particular Chris is involved with the Grow Waitaha programme where 150 schools across Greater Christchurch have partnered with Ministry of Education, Ngāi Tahu, and 4 providers over the last 4 years to explore future focussed pedagogy including student agency, collaborative teaching, flexible learning spaces, cultural narratives, authentic curriculum and diverse partnerships. This process includes individual coaching and mentoring of school leaders, facilitation of collaboration between schools to share innovation, and the curation of successful case studies to benefit the wider public sector.

Chris has a background in Physical Education teaching and counselling (school and drug rehabilitation centres). He has also been involved in NGO community development and social service sector for many years, both locally though Te Ora Hou Otautahi (an indigenous youth development organisation) and also in the Pacific (Ola Fou development project). Chris has written a range of international journal publications including ‘Leadership for emergence: Exploring organisations through a living system lens’ and ‘Leaders building professional learning communities: Appreciative inquiry in action’.