Te Ao Mārama

07 595 0595 33 Hare Puke Drive, Hamilton

Board Members

Andrew Corkill

Board Chairperson

General Information

Ko Andrew Corkill toku ingoa.

My name is Andrew Corkill and I have been Chairperson of the Te Ao Mārama School Board of Trustees for the last three years. Prior to that, I served on our initial Establishment Board as Deputy Chairperson while the school was being built and had a hand in designing the concepts which underpin our kura.

It was an honour to continue on from the Establishment Board through to the newly elected Parent Board to maintain and strengthen previous connections and enhance discussions and decisions going forward. Having an ability to bring the forethought and planning across from the Establishment Board to the Parent Board is important to continue in these early years of Te Ao Mārama.

I stood for the board because I am passionate about our place and I am inspired by the way our school has been developed through strategy and vision and how this has translated into the operation of the school.
Alongside this I place high emphasis on the fantastic culture that you can feel in every part of the school. Each time I visit, I see kids who are happy, energised and fulfilled by their learning environment and a team of highly dedicated professionals who educate them.

My wife Sarah is a foundation 'Day 1' teacher of Te Ao Mārama School and my two eldest children, Blake (7) and Taylor (5) both attend school. Our youngest Ashley-Rose, a future Te Ao Mārama alumnus is only 1 year old! We are all active users and initiators of the successful Roy Hilton Drive Walking School Bus which has been a great initiative for getting to know other families in our neighbourhood and creating a warm and positive community feel.

I have previous governance experience having been part of numerous Boards of Trustees and a member of the Institute of Directors. I am Chair of the Board of Progress to Health – a not-for-profit mental health and disability organisation whose vision is ‘communities without barriers’. For my day job I am National Partnership Manager at Sport NZ, the government agency for sport, active recreation and play. I have previously worked as General Manager for Sport Waikato.

I’m excited about the bright future of our incredible school and its inclusive culture. I am committed to drawing upon my professional experience from the journey thus far to continue and better contribute to the positive momentum of our School.

Laura Casey

Board Member

General Information

Kia ora koutou, my name is Laura Casey.

Our family have lived in the area for the past 7 years and have watched the school grow from an empty paddock to what it is today. My husband Rory and I are raising two beautiful boys who attend Te Ao Mārama, currently Cormac is in Pūkeko Tahi and Cooper Kererū Rua.

My background is in financial services & banking here in New Zealand and abroad before coming home to have children.

My current role is as the founder of a charitable trust The Cake Detective who donates birthday cakes to children going through hardship. As a result of this we have donated close to 800 cakes to some of our communities most vulnerable. Within the trust I currently sit as chairperson of a board of seven and am constantly learning in the governance area.

The values that we hold are those of respect, inclusion with a strong sense of community. These values I will also bring to the position. The experience and skills learned from holding a position on a charitable trust board will transfer to those of our school board. I am willing to learn and listen in areas of education that are unknown and offer a well rounded opinion on behalf of you the parents/caregivers to ensure that Te Ao Mārama continues to be the incredible school that it is today.

Outside of the charitable work I do, I enjoy going to the beach, watching our boys play sports and spending my down time with my new puppy.

I am standing because I feel whiria te tāngata (weave the people together) encompasses how our whānau have felt being a member of Te Ao Mārama. Across the spectrum from the tamariki, teachers and parents the current board have governed a school that is thriving, vibrant and has a true sense of community. I am honoured to be able to be a member of the school board to help ensure that the strong values and foundations that have been put in place continue and grow for the future pupils, families and teachers.

Chris Langley

Board Member

General Information

Kia ora Te Ao Mārama Community!

My name is Chris Langley & I am excited to be elected for the Te Ao Mārama School Board.

My wife, Melissa, is part of the Te Ao Mārama staff and together we have two children; Harry and Caitlin. Harry is currently in Year 2 at Te Ao Mārama, and Caitlin (who was a foundation student at Te Ao Mārama), has now moved onto Rototuna Junior High School as a Year 7.

I am a Deputy Principal at Rototuna Junior High School and a secondary school trained teacher who has a passion for education with over 16 years experience in the sector. Previously, I have taught at Rototuna Senior High School and Fairfield College as well as working for a short time at the Waikato Regional Council in their education team. As a foundation staff member of a rapidly growing new school, I understand the challenging yet rewarding environment this can bring.

The vision, values and school culture developed by the Board, Tony and the team since the school opened has been a major contributing factor to me running for the School Board. Te Ao Mārama's approach to education aligns closely to my own personal views. I feel strongly about providing students with authentic, ‘learning through doing’ experiences in order to help them develop the skills and dispositions needed to thrive and adapt in this ever changing world. Through my own children’s experiences at Te Ao Mārama, I have watched these attributes grow within them and have seen the positivity and passion they have developed towards their learning and their future.

I am a hardworking team member who thrives in fast paced, collaborative environments. I am always solutions focused and value the power that establishing strong relationships can bring. I have a passion for fostering connections between school and the community and feel my connections with key community stakeholders in the Waikato could be a valuable contribution to the board and school.

I am truly excited with the prospect of being able to contribute towards the governance of Te Ao Mārama and work alongside the other board members.

Heemi McDonald

Board Member

General Information

Kia ora koutou katoa.

I am Heemi McDonald and I am delighted to be re-elected to represent you on the Te Ao Mārama School Board.

I have been fortunate and grateful to serve this amazing school and community as a member of the Board. I am excited by the direction and future for our school and am committed to enabling our children to be connected to the community and to positively contribute to the world around them. My wife Gemma and I have 4 children; Keeley now in Year 7 and attending Rototuna Junior High School, Avery in Year 5, Miller in Year 2 and Marlow not yet at school.

I am a Deputy Principal at Rototuna Senior High School, with experience in a range of educational settings. I have extensive experience in Curriculum Design, English curriculum and literacy development, Māori achievement, extending and accelerating learners. I have a good understanding of the importance of how a strong sense of belonging is vital to providing the best learning environment possible for our children.

As well as being a trained teacher, I have a Law degree from the University of Waikato, and am actively involved with a number of local community and national organisations. Where I feel I will be able to add value to the Board will be through strengthening community relationships, being collaborative in our activities as a Board and ensuring that we continue to inspire our Learners and prepare them for their futures.

Tama Tawhai

Board Member

General Information

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōnā te ngahere
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōnā te ao
The bird that consumes the miro berry, its domain is the forest
The bird that consumes knowledge, its domain is the world

Ko Tama Tawhai tōku ingoa.

He uri ahau nō Ngāti Kahungnu, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Porou, Rangitane.

Originally from Hawke’s Bay I moved to Hamilton 20 years ago to study at Waikato University and graduated with Law and Science degrees. There I met my wife Natalie and together we have 2 children, both at Te Ao Mārama – Emilie-Cate (8) and Blake (5).

Every day they come home full of excitement ready to share how stimulating their day has been. I believe that is down to the passion and dedication the whole team at Te Ao Mārama puts in to making the learning environment as comfortable and enjoyable for all the tamariki. The school has a real sense of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga, which are values that align closely with our whānau. I’ve also seen the same enthusiasm in others at Te Ao Mārama through coaching sports teams and helping with the kapa haka roopu.

I stood for the Board because I want to see that excitement and enthusiasm continue, by helping to drive the vision and values for the school, ensuring the team has the tools and support to continue their awesome mahi and enabling our tamariki to reach their personal and educational achievements.

For the last 15 years I’ve worked in both the private and public sector on national infrastructure projects, predominantly in roles involving programme and contract management, and stakeholder relationship management. I’ve worked with a broad range of people and enjoy working collaboratively to achieve a desired outcome and I appreciate the value that a diverse range of ideas and experiences can contribute towards a common goal.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with whanau and friends, remaining active through regular exercise, getting involved with our kids sports and activities, and travelling both within NZ and abroad (when borders allow).

Also, in complete full disclosure, I still support the Hurricanes and the Magpies… and unfortunately the Warriors.

I am honoured to represent the Te Ao Mārama whānau and community as a member of the School Board and look forward to preparing our manu to take on the world.

Ihipera Heke Sweet

Board Member

General Information

Ihipera is a researcher for the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development (College). Ihipera is from Hukanui Marae, Gordonton and is a mother to 2 children. Ihipera has been involved at a governance level as a representative on Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, and has experience in indigenous research and policy while overseeing a number of water restoration projects at the College. Ihipera holds a Bachelor of Laws with a second major in Te Reo Maaori from Waikato University and is currently studying towards a Masters in Environment and Society.

“I am honoured and privileged to be part of the team, and look forward to the exciting opportunities that Te Ao Mārama School has to offer the community”

Frank Young

Staff Trustee

Tony Grey