LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 1 | 2024

NZEALS Conference 2024

Conference Speakers

Inspiring us


Keynote Speakers

Deborah Wood (Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru)

Deborah Wood 200x286

Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga Education Review Office
Deputy Chief Executive Te Tāhū Whare

Deborah has a rich background in teaching, graduating from Te Tohu Paetahi, full immersion in Teo Reo and education leadership (Master of Educational Leadership from University of Waikato) with a diverse pool of experience gained from across ERO in school and kura evaluation, system research, methodology and professional practice. She joined ERO in 2017. Deborah has led foundational rangahau Māori, building an in-depth understanding of conditions for Māori learner success within kaupapa Māori and English-medium education. This includes system evaluation to drive decision making. She leads a cross-functional team to support the best outcomes for Māori learners across the education system; and a focus on growing what the system understands about kaupapa Māori, te reo Māori and te ao Māori to benefit all learners.

Joce Nuttall

Joce Nuttall 200x286

Executive Dean - Education
University of Canterbury

Professor Joce Nuttall is Executive Dean for Te Kaupeka Ako | Faculty of Education, bringing with her over forty years of experience as a leader, educator, and researcher in primary and early childhood settings.

Joce’s university experience includes Australian Catholic University (ACU) where she was Research Director – Teacher Education in the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education and was also where she established and directed the Centre for Early Childhood Futures. She served as Associate Dean (Teaching; Staff and Environment) at Monash University and Acting Associate Dean (Research) at ACU.

A board member of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority from 2016 to 2022, Joce has significant knowledge in the construction and implementation of early childhood curriculum policy and the design of teacher education programmes.

Her research interests include the initial and continuing education of educators and educational leaders, and the development of strategies for system-level workforce capacity building in early childhood education and care.


Dr Simon Breakspear

Simon Breakspear 200x286

Simon is a researcher, advisor and speaker on educational leadership, policy and change. Simon develops frameworks and tools that make evidence-based ideas actionable and easy to understand. Over the last decade his capability building work has given him the opportunity to work with over 100,000 educators across more than 10 countries.

Simon is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at UNSW. He serves as an advisor to the NSW Department of Education and sits on an expert steering committee for the Australia Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Simon received his BPsych (Hons) from UNSW, his MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford and his PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge. Simon began his work in education as a high school teacher.

Simon teaches educational leaders how to embrace new ways of thinking and working to achieve sustainable impact.

Jacoba Matapo

Jacoba Matapo 200x286

Jacoba has ancestral ties to Siumu Samoa and Leiden Holland. She is the first Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific at Auckland University of Technology. She is an Associate Professor in Pacific Early Childhood Education with over 15 years of experience in educational leadership, spanning ITE programme leadership, University leadership and leadership in ECE. Jacoba’s passion for Pacific education has stemmed from personal experience navigating cultural, political, and social tensions in her education and research journey. She has led key Pasifika education projects, anchoring Pacific philosophy and pedagogies for learner success. Her work advocates for the value of Pacific indigenous knowledge systems in education and the possibilities of transformation through relational ecologies, storytelling and the art of embodied literacies.