Teaching staff

Kaye website pic
Kaye Brunton – Principal

I became principal of this wonderful little school at the end of 2014. In this time I have come to know the children, teachers and whanau and there is huge spirit and strong heart at this school.  I only ever wanted to be a teacher, and over the years have deepened my knowledge of teaching and learning through various roles in schools, study to Masters level, teacher education and professional learning of teachers contracts. From all of this, I have come to believe strongly that what is really important for learning to happen,  is the quality of the relationships we build with one another and the focus we have on our children; knowing them and their families well and together, providing the opportunities for them to develop a love of, and curiosity for, learning.

NicoleNicole Avatea – Associate Principal

I began teaching at Ngāti Toa School in 2008. I strive to create an inquiry-driven programme that supports individual learning goals and incorporates the purposeful use of technology. Teaching can be hard work but I love what I do. I have a passion for teaching which drives me to work hard. The challenge excites me and forces me to think, learn and grow. I operate the classroom with an open door policy, so please feel free to come in and chat.  I look forward to meeting you all, and catching up with familiar faces at some stage this term.

KathrynKathryn Pierre

I have been living and teaching in the Titahi Bay and Porirua area for the past 17 years.  Prior to that I taught in Taupo and Wellington.  I love this school and our families.  I feel it is a great privilege to be a teacher and to work alongside our children and their families.  I believe all children have the potential to enjoy the best of what our community has to offer and that their bright futures are something that they can expect to create and fully realise.  I also have a passion for the environment and the outdoors which I instil through my programme.  I have a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a Diploma of Teaching.


Erena Latu

After graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, I came to Ngāti Toa School in 2013 as a student teacher for seven weeks. I was then offered a teaching position in the senior school beginning in Term 1, 2014. I’ve always had an interest in education and teaching. This was further fuelled after I had my own children so I decided to go back to university and study again for a Graduate Diploma in teaching. I hope to inspire students to have the same love of learning that I do. I love seeing them achieve a goal that they previously not thought was possible. I love the warm, friendly, family feel that Ngāti Toa has and feel privileged to be a part of the school.

Judith Nieland

I LOVE learning and teaching. For me learning is a lifelong source of pleasure and growth. I delight in sharing the strategies and skills for learning with my students.

I feel extraordinarily lucky to teach here at Ngāti Toa School. It is a real privilege to be able to contribute to the understanding and success of the learners at Ngāti Toa School, to play a part in their journey towards achieving their goals and dreams.


Judy Cross

I have taught full time for a number of years at all levels of primary school in the Porirua district and Titahi Bay where I live.  As well as being involved in youth work and running two businesses, I have been a part-time teacher and reliever at Ngāti Toa school for the last few years and at other schools in Titahi Bay and Porirua. I am passionate about engaging children in learning and helping them to take ownership of their learning through an integrated approach. I have a Bachelors degree in Education and am looking forward to the opportunity of continued learning with staff, students and families at Ngāti Toa School.

Maree Dargan

I am a passionate and enthusiastic teacher and love to see children learning to read and write and the world that these skills open up to them. I have taught full time for a number of years on the Kapiti Coast and completed a Masters of Education in 2008, specialising in literacy and exploring effective interventions to promote positive relationships.  This is year I am thrilled and excited to be team teaching a year 1 class with Melanie Clubley.  I love to see children enjoying their learning and achieving. I believe in having a positive and fun-filled classroom where learning can flourish.

Melanie Clubley

I strive to provide an inviting, engaging learning environment in which both children and adults feel comfortable and welcome. I love to learn and am passionate about inspiring others to do the same. I find working with our youngest children very rewarding and enjoy nurturing and developing their sense of wonder and supporting them as they commence their school journey. I particularly love science, maths and the arts and believe there is always room for music, singing and fun in our classrooms. My other passions include gardening, reading and being in nature. I love being surrounded by animals and live with a large number of them including dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens. I am looking forward to sharing these passions through Enviroschools. I have  a degree in Social and Environmental Studies and Post Graduate Diplomas in both Primary Teaching and Early Childhood Education and am entering my tenth year of teaching after having previous careers in banking and engineering. I am very excited about joining the team at Ngāti Toa in 2018 and getting to know the staff, children and families at the school.

Melanie Searancke

I joined the Ngāti Toa team in 2017 starting a new entrant class in term four. This was a great experience and I enjoyed it so much I took up the offer to be back in the school this year. My son attends Ngāti Toa School and is very happy here.



Pearl Freemantle

I am passionate about the joy of learning.  The more skills I learn and apply with understanding, the more meaningful are the choices in life that I experience. I enjoy educating, water sports including kayaking and white-water rafting, motorbike riding, writing, reading and the arts. Sharing my skills and knowledge is satisfaction in life for me. It’s all about the people, the environment and the community that we live in and how we contribute.


Kiri Weir – Part-time teacher

I have taught part-time at Ngāti Toa School as my two young daughters have been growing up. Art is my passion and I enjoy seeing children create beautiful pieces of work for all to enjoy.