A team of makers, thinkers, explorers and theatre singers. We approach work and play with curiosity and experimentation, using what we learn to create meaningful learning that connects.
Looking for Mrs Farquhar at lunch time? Look for the long snaking line of students at the skipping rope. Jump in, jump out and off they go, happy and excited. Some still have to "Learn It". Others have reached the "Prove it" stage. Many will remain, comforted to be in a safe inclusive group.
Since 2010, I have been the passionate, proven Principal of this vibrant, successful, and innovative school. It's without hesitation, I say I'm focused on "accelerating growth factors for student learning outcomes", while investing in innovative solutions to mitigate some of the biggest challenges facing education.
My style is fostering a culture of professionalism formed on a solid foundation of critical reflection. My own professionalism is expanded through a network of advanced educational practitioners. Practitioners who extend my theoretical, philosophical and pedagogical base. Fundamental in my belief, is strategic dialogue will map learning and teaching so innovation and creativity can flow into an innovative curriculum.
From considerable leadership experience, I know the school's vision has to be a collective vision, "crafted collaboratively". The continuously evolving vision must be student driven with ambitious academic goals. Raising success hinges on operating according to values and beliefs tied to vision. Daily I will ask: "does this decision help realise the vision?"
Jenna FoleyDeputy Principal, Team Leader
Deputy Principal, Team Leader
My journey in education has taken me down many different paths including teaching in an Area school, urban English and Welsh schools, small semi-rural schools and in a purpose built Innovative Learning Environment.
Teaching at Wairakei Primary School allows me to use so many of the skills I gained in these different settings - as well as acquiring so many more. I consider myself a life-long learner and continuously strive to build on my knowledge of teaching and education in order to create the best possible outcomes for students.
In my spare time I enjoy playing netball, reading, getting out and about with my two children and making the most of what this area has to offer.
Gwen BowlerAssistant Principal, SENCO
Assistant Principal, SENCO
Education has no beginning and no end. It ebbs and flows and is ever-changing. As an educator, it is my responsibility to instill a love of learning and an ability to adapt to an ever-changing world.
My teaching journey started at 40 when I retrained as a teacher after a career in journalism and many years as a stay-at-home mother. When we guide our students to be lifelong learners, we send them towards their next journey well-prepared for whatever life brings.
Angel ChauvalTeam Leader
I am a teacher and team leader. I wanted to be a leader because a leader is, above all, a motivator. Motivating others to succeed is important to me.
Wairakei Primary school has a wonderful rural environment and an amazing community. I enjoy working with this community to help students rise to succeed. Learning happens everywhere and is different for every child, celebrating and challenging students is my drive as a teacher.
I strive to encourage every student to achieve to the best of their ability. My passions are Technology and Science. I use them as foundations in unlocking excitement and wonder to produce thinkers and creators.
I believe Wairakei Primary School is a special place. It provides a safe environment for our children to discover, create and develop their love of learning.
I grew up in Taupō and have lived here most of my life. I am married with two grown sons and two delightful grandchildren. My husband and I enjoy travelling, spending time with our family and friends, tramping and camping. I love arts and crafts, in particular painting and sketching. Before becoming a teacher, I was a tailor and had my own clothing design business. I still enjoy designing and making clothing, especially wedding dresses.
I have been a teacher since 2005. I joined Wairakei Primary School in 2018. I love teaching and I especially love teaching at Wairakei Primary School. I became a teacher after 7 years as a scout leader for 1st Taupō Scouts. This was where I realised my desire to inspire and educate children was more important to me than just one hour, once a week.
I have a long history of being part of the education world. My experiences include being a parent, grandparent, and teacher. I have had training in both Early Childhood and Primary School.
I have been working at Wairakei Primary School since 2014 and I am teaching in the junior school. I have a strong belief that all children are capable learners and I am passionate about developing learning programmes that are creative, challenging, authentic and fun with my team. I nurture the children’s curiosity while encouraging them to become self- motivated and independent learners who understand what they are learning and why they are learning it.
I enjoy working in the supportive learning community of Wairakei Primary School where children, families and teachers learn and grow together.
I am from Christchurch but moved to Taupō at the end of 2018. I am passionate about travelling with my most memorable trip being to Egypt. I also love keeping fit through sport, the gym and just getting out and exploring the outdoors.
I have been a qualified teacher working in New Zealand since 2013. Prior to that, I spent 8 years in Hong Kong working with Chinese children in primary schools.
I decided to pursue a career in teaching because I loved the idea of making a difference in the world by helping children learn and develop as people. It is rewarding to see the progress children make and to be a part of their learning journeys.
Kia ora koutou katoa,
I have made the move to Taupō from Te Whanganui-a-tara (Wellington). When asked why I want to be a teacher, so much excitement and thought goes on in my mind, and I think it is because I want to guide and empower children, the future leaders of Aotearoa in their personal learning, growth and development.
I want to support them to fill up their kete’s with knowledge and experiences that will allow them to reach their personal dreams and highest potential. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors exploring all the beauty Taupō has to offer. As well as reading and listening to music.
I am passionate about teaching and learning, particularly in the areas of digital technology, languages, and the core subjects of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
I lead the curriculum area of Digital Technologies and I am the staff representative on the Board of Trustees.
I enjoy Wairakei Primary School for the whānaungatanga and close connections between staff and students. There is a strong community feel. Innovation and creativity are encouraged, and opportunities for students abound. Our place is one of life-long learning and showing POWER each and every day.
I have been teaching since 2004. I started teaching at Wairakei Primary School in 2011. I am married to Steve and we have two children – Myles and Amelia. Myles and Amelia both enjoyed their primary school years here at Wairakei Primary School. I am really proud to be part of this school and appreciate all the amazing opportunities that are given to our children.
I like working with children and teaching. I love the fun that can be had and the feeling of being a part of a child’s growth and development. My favourite subject is maths. I appreciate the patterns and connections that can be found in numbers and I enjoy problem-solving. I have trained as a Math Specialist Teacher (MST).
My family and I love living in the Taupō area. When I’m not teaching I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog and mountain biking - which is a particular family passion.
I grew up on a farm near Whakamaru with my parents and four brothers. I have fond memories of growing up in the countryside and attending a rural primary school. My intermediate and highschool years were spent in Taupō, and I studied to become a teacher in Christchurch. I feel at home in Taupō, and am excited to be joining the Wairakei community.
My journey as an educator has allowed me to work both overseas, and in New Zealand in a variety of academic settings. I am passionate about learning, and love sharing this passion with the younger generations of today's world. My favourite thing about being a teacher is allowing students to spark their interests, pursue their curiosities and unlock their capabilities. I strive to create a positive and fun environment, in which children can thrive and grow.
Outside of school, I live an active lifestyle. I play football for Taupō AFC, and social cricket. I enjoy camping and travelling around the country with my partner Briana. I love spending time with my friends and family and being outdoors as much as possible.
I am passionate about our students, teaching and learning, particularly in the areas of literacy, digital technology, physical education, and the Arts. I believe that forming positive relationships with students and whānau are at the heart of success for everyone.
I enjoy Wairakei Primary School for the whānaungatanga and maanaakitanga where close connections between staff, students, and the wider Wairakei community are fostered and enjoyed.
My journey in education began in 2016 as a teacher aide. My passion only grew as I worked with the students around me, and I began my teacher training.
Wairakei Primary is a place where I myself can continue as a learner and also support the students in my class on their learning journey. There is a real community feel from both the whānau of the school and the staff within, which makes it feel like home.
I moved to Taupō in 2021 for a change of scenery from my hometown of Thames, where I spent most of my life. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and whānau at the beach or riverside in and around the Coromandel.
My mission here at Wairakei Primary School is to assist children in developing their passion and skills to become lifelong learners. I believe it is vital that we allow the children to have an impact on the world one step at a time.
On a personal note, I am a fun and energetic person who loves all things sport. You will find me on the sideline of almost any sports game. I am involved in touch rugby, social football and hockey. I am also a little bit of a gym-junkie, who is always up for a challenge.
My passion is to create a love of learning so my students become ‘lifelong learners’. My focus is the importance of acquiring knowledge so I can keep informed and keep my students up to date with new learning strategies.
I am a local here and enjoy all that Taupō has to offer. I love walking with my husband and dog by the lake or river, having coffee with friends, family gatherings, and gardening. When not in Taupō I enjoy being by the sea at Papamoa.
Diana FitzsimmonsTeacher Aide
I have been associated with Wairakei Primary School since 1990 (with my daughter, Shalee and son, Robbie attending) and have been a member of staff since 1998.
In the beginning, I volunteered as a parent helper and I guess they figured they might as well pay me for a few of those hours a week. I now work full weeks. I have seen many changes over these years and all for the betterment of our school, community and children’s education.
My job content covers a variety of programmes and classroom levels including: oral and written language, phonics and reading programmes, speech, student enviro group, assist with sports teams, grant funding applications, KidsCan programmes, Yummy Sticker, Fonterra Milk in Schools, Coastline phone recycling, helping with Pet Day, fundraisers… Each area has its own challenges and the rewards of working with, and for, our children are extremely satisfying. We are provided with excellent training and PD, however I find we often learn the best skills alongside those we work with. I enjoy being involved in projects that have an element of difference and are a challenge for both myself and the students ie the Aquaponics Unit (enviro friendly gardening with an exciting twist), fruit trees and with Hydroponic Units added in 2018. The support we receive from our community is second to none. I can honestly say I enjoy coming to school each and every day, working with such a dedicated group.
Cindy ClunieTeacher Aide
I am a teacher aide at Wairakei Primary School and am involved with supporting a huge range of children from our brand new 5 year olds right through to our senior students.
Every day is filled with lots of learning opportunities and fun for our students. We are a closely knit staff who support each other 100% to ensure we do our very best for our students on their learning journey.
Penny FischbachTeacher Aide
I have had many varied jobs over the years but I have now found my niche. I have been involved with Wairakei Primary School since 1994, firstly as a parent and then as a member of staff. My first position was working as a Teacher Aide, then in 2010 became the Librarian. I work predominantly in the Library but also support students and colleagues in the classroom.
My husband, Paul, and I have lived in Wairakei Village since 1988. Paul works for Contact Energy as one of the longest serving staff members. Our girls, Renae and Morgan, were both students at Wairakei Primary School, actually so was Paul for a short time, plus one of our granddaughters.
Wairakei Primary School is the most incredible school. We as a staff support each other in any way we can and are here for the betterment of our students ensuring they remember their primary years as positive and enjoyable. Our children’s primary school days are often the ones where memories are made and they carry those memories with them forever.
You are always welcome to call into the Library whenever you are in the school or get in touch if you have any queries.
Karen OfficerTeacher Aide
My main role at Wairakei Primary School is to assist Elyse in her learning journey and her daily challenges.
I also assist when needed with other children in classes when required. I have been with Elyse for 18 months and have really enjoyed watching her develop into an amazing young person.
I am also a parent of two past Wairakei Primary School students who enjoyed their time here.
I live on a lifestyle property in the Wairakei area with my husband and two children.
Val MansfieldOffice Manager
I am the Office Manager at Wairakei School. I have been in this position since July 1994. I am married to Ash and have lived in the Wairakei district throughout our married life. We have four children, Brian, Lisa, Gary and Vicki and two daughter-in-laws Louise and Emma and two son-in-laws Adrian and Alex. We have ten lovely grandchildren, Abbey, Beau, Ally, Leah, Alma, Regan, Brax, Nate, Indie and Ashton.
I truly love my job as Office Manager. I have met many families since I have been here and made some lifetime friends. I really enjoying seeing the students start at our school, leave as great role models and then continue their journey.
I believe Wairakei Primary School gives all students the best possible learning environment and opportunities, the support from all staff is second to none. I can think of no other place I’d rather work than here.
Rhonda EllingtonOffice Assistant
I have been associated with Wairakei Primary School since moving to Taupō from Auckland in 2003.
In my role as Office Assistant I work alongside our Office Manger supporting our students, staff, parents and the community.
I enjoy seeing our students grow throughout their educational journey while at primary school. It is heartwarming to see their smiles when they have achieved what they have set out to do.
I am appreciative of the opportunity I have been given to be able to support our students, staff and parents each day.
My days at school often don't go to plan, and you never know what might come up next. As the schools caretaker I can be found doing all sorts of things.
After almost 2 years I've seen little faces grow up, new ones have come along, and the conversations have continued to provide entertainment. All the staff help make this a great place for the students, and myself, to come to every day.
I have been involved with Wairakei Primary School since we moved here permanently in 2003.
My children Fergus and Kelsey completed their primary education at the school, and Blue and I were always involved with working bees, some of the school projects, repair jobs and rugby.
Chris Te WhareBoard Chair
Chris Te Whare
I have been involved in the education sector since 1986 when I began my teaching career. I have been fortunate to teach in the primary, secondary and alternative education sectors as well as having been the chairperson of a local early childhood education centre.
In addition, I have worked as a volunteer then in a paid capacity for New Zealand Bluelight. A youth charity, for the last 23 years, as a collaboration between Police and parents providing quality activities.
As a police officer for 12.5 years, my roles consisted of working with community groups to identify local issues and help young people keep engaged in education, thereby lowering the chances of truancy, family stress and ultimately crime.
I bring this experience along with an ability to see what things may look like in 5-10 years time. A board of trustees member is about the now but will have a long-term view of where our students in our school will be in that time frame. Having a good relationship with our Principal and being able to help achieve these short and long-term goals is an exciting space to work in to watch our students, staff, senior management team and Principal plan, develop and ultimately deliver quality learning opportunities. It is amazing and extremely rewarding.
May I stress a board members role is about governance, not the day to day running of the school. Being on the Board has a strong future focus on resourcing including buildings, teacher and students' resources and having the funding where possible to make the school a cool and stimulating environment.
Tracey BoumaBoard Trustee
Born in the Hauraki area, my parents moved to Reporoa when I was 11, so I have called the Taupō area home for a long time. My husband and I began farming in Taupō in the mid 2000’s. Then after a few years living and farming in the South Island we realised that Taupō was home and it was time to come back.
Currently I am involved with the running of our farming business and I also have a background in Community and Social Work here in Taupō. I feel that these two things combined give me a great balanced view to offer our school community and Board.
We have four children and have been a part of the Wairakei School community for 6 years now. Two of our children are current students, our eldest finished in 2019 and our youngest is due to start in 2024. As a family we enjoy the school community and its unique rural aspect, with some of my favourite school activities being our Pet Day and watching our kapa haka group perform at the local Tūwharetoa Festival.
I joined the Board of Trustees in 2020 and have learnt a lot in that time and continue to grow and develop my skills and knowledge base. Most recently I have taken on the finance role within the board. I am excited to continue this involvement over the coming years.
Gordon RobertsBoard Trustee
Emily WalkerBoard Trustee
I have grown up in Taupō and done all of my schooling through Taupō until attending the University of Waikato to gain a double degree in Sports and Leisure and Teaching. I now live back in Taupō with my husband and our son who attends Wairakei Primary School.
I am keen on the outdoors and enjoying what Taupō has to offer, particularly the hunting areas. I have represented New Zealand multiple times in sport and am keen to continue this and hopefully gain some more rankings both Nationally and Internationally in the future.
Having grown up in Taupō in a Taupō rural lifestyle, . Wairakei Primary school has played a vital role in the growth of my family. As a past student of the school, I connect with the school's principles and values, and the tradition of carrying on many of these rural and environmental values that were strong in the school, when I was a child.
As a secondary school Physical Education teacher at Taupō nui-a-Tia College, I am passionate about the education of our children and am looking forward to learning more about the primary sector, as I believe it holds a vital role in the progression of life long learning. I hope to bring my educational perspective to the board and offer my support where possible from my current lense.
Tony YoungBoard Trustee