The overall governance of Whānau Manaaki is the responsibility of the Board which, in turn, is accountable to the Whānau Manaaki community.

The Board is elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year. The Board is comprised of elected members (who are parents/caregivers or members of the community), staff representatives and the Chief Executive. The Board can appoint additional members who have specific skills. 

The Board delegates day-to-day management of Whānau Manaaki to the Chief Executive. 


Martin Robinson

Board Chair

Martin became involved with Whānau Manaaki in 2019 when his children started attending kindergarten. He has worked in property, the government sector and the corporate world both in New Zealand and overseas.

With a passion for local community, he volunteers for several Boards in the Porirua area. He finds the role both challenging and rewarding. “Stewardship of an organisation as important to our communities as He Whānau Manaaki is something that requires focus and attention to make sure we're doing our best by our tamariki, their whānau and our communities.”


Miranda Zander

Deputy Chair

Miranda Zander became involved in kindergarten through her daughters Chloe and Bianca. They have both attended Paparārangi Kindergarten, and she enjoys the kindergarten ethos.  She particularly appreciates that kindergarten involves the whole family, not just the kindergarten child.

As a lawyer and a celebrant, Miranda had skills to share on the board and she has been able to learn more about the early childhood sector and all it entails. She says it’s a lovely accommodating environment to be a Board member, where members are not afraid to ask tough questions to enable good decisions.

Emma McGregor

Finance Chair

Emma McGregor lives on a sheep and beef farm in the Wairarapa, and all three of her children attended South End Kindergarten in Carterton.

She became involved with the Board because she wanted to ensure that the community feel of kindergarten remains as the organisation grows. Emma says it’s great to be part of an organisation that can offer behind the scenes support to help kindergartens to remain close to their local communities. 

She’s also proud of the way Whānau Manaaki helps families in wider ways – for example with vouchers and shopping during the pandemic.


Anna Faasolo

Community Representative

Anna Faasolo was born in New Zealand and raised in Samoa. She now works as an announcer at Samoa Capital Radio in Porirua. With three children of her own, as well as two adopted children from Samoa, Anna appreciates the importance of early childhood education.

As a Community Representative, she is highly motivated to support teaching teams in kindergartens who help to shape the future of our children.


Anne Prescott

Staff Representative

Anne Prescott has worked as a kaiako at Northland Kindergarten for over 11 years.  She lives in Titahi Bay with her husband and three teenage/young adult children. 

Anne is passionate about the role that kindergarten plays in the lives of whānau with young children and is excited to be a part of the growing role that Whānau Manaaki has taken in the wider community over the past few years as it develops programmes and structures that provide wrap around services for whānau.

Her forward thinking, positive mindset, strong organisational abilities, solution focussed approach and love of community is an asset to the Whānau Manaaki Board.

Ashley Newson

Community Representative

Ashley Newson has three young children that have attended Onslow Kindergarten and loves her local kindergarten, taking part in the kindergarten committee and helping to organise fundraising events, working bees and social gatherings.

Ashley is also a Primary School Trained Teacher so can offer a different perspective to the early learning curriculum and the transition to school. She is passionate about high quality early childhood education and is excited to be supporting Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens to reach across the different communities and to help young children to thrive and be successful in their early learning journey. 

Daniel Wark

Community Representative

Daniel was a member of the fundraising committee and Board at his local early childhood centre, as well as a Community Representative, then Chairperson on the South Otago Kindergarten Association Board.

He is passionate about what kindergartens offer families, their values and inclusiveness, and the importance of having trained teachers supporting and growing our young tamariki. 

Daniel is also part of Kindergartens Aotearoa and recognises the importance of growing the kindergarten movement again in our country. In Daniel's everyday life he manages a sheep and beef farm, is a volunteer fire fighter, and a Board member for two local schools. 

Hayley Galo

Mana Whenua Representative

Jessica Firmin

Staff Representative

Jessica lives in Whanganui with her three children and has been the Head Teacher at Marie McFarland Kindergarten since 2019. She has many years’ of experience working within schools in supporting roles and has taught in Kōhanga Reo, day care and kindergarten.

As well as representing our staff on the Board, Jessica has completed the first Indigenous Full Distance Triathlon in Napier and has gained a full scholarship in memory of Corrine Te Au-Watson through sharing her story. Her strength, courage and determination has inspired many, and she is a great asset to our Board. 

Kath Cooper

Community Representative

Kath Cooper is a qualified Early Childhood Teacher, who has also worked as a Centre Manager and Senior Lecturer at Te Rito Maioha. Kath is married to Jody, and they have four children, and four grandchildren.

Kath is also a qualified Gallup Strengths coach and is passionate about helping teams work better together. Kath enjoys time with friends, family, and walking her wee dog, Meg.

Leanne Nelson

Ex Officio Senior Teacher

Leanne is a Senior Teacher at Whānau Manaaki, working with Upper Hutt/Wairarapa and South Otago kindergartens.

She truly values and feels privileged to be supporting and connecting with our greatest resource, our kaiako who work so hard with true vision to support their tamariki, whānau and communities.  

Leanne has been teaching since 1996 in various roles and loves the passion, diversity and advocacy of the Board, the Association and the Senior Teacher team.  When she's not busy with all things “kindyland” she lives in Upper Hutt with her husband Steve and two children Zac and Abby.  She loves the outdoors and exploring the Wairarapa coast.  


Natasha Munroe

Community Representative