Board of Trustees

Click here for information on the School 2019 Board of Trustees Elections

Laurayne Tafa

Position: Co-Chair

Talofa lava I am Pouli Laurayne Taulaete Nuanua Tafa of Samoan, Scottish and Pakeha descent.

My career in education has provided me a wide range of wonderful opportunities in teaching, school leadership, advisory and evaluation experiences.  I currently provide professional development to schools and organisations both national and internationally.  I very proud to be supporting my nephews’ schools through being a school trustee and enjoy working together with them team to achieve a high performing school where everyone in can reach their potential.

Tipene Lemon

Position: Co-Chair - Co-opted Board Member

He tūkou ahau nō te mara kumara o Hine-a-Maru.  I am one of the many varieties of kumara that descends from the cultivation beds of our founding ancestress, Hine-a-Maru.  This is a unique proverbial saying from within my tribal area of Ngāti Hine in the Bay of Islands.  

My association with Te Kura a Rito has been approximately 18 years.  Our twins left in 2018 and youngest son Waioro is in Te Uru Karaka.  I’m passionate about making a difference in the lives and futures of our youth. I strongly believe that quality educational pathways can provide such opportunities.  I have over 25 years of experience in education.  The has covered teaching in Secondary schools, Education Review Office (ERO), principal of a school and worked for the Ministry of Education.

I look forward to the opportunity of supporting a community approach to making a difference for our youth.  Upholding the legacy of being the best little school in Central Auckland.


Hannah Andrews

Position: Secretary - Elected Board Member

Kia ora! My name is Hannah Andrews and I’m the mother of William (5) who is in Whaea Sheila’s class, and Nell (4), who is currently at Grey Lynn Kindergarten and will start at Newton Central next year. I’m a lawyer specialising in commercial/technology law, working with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts three days a week.
I’m originally from Christchurch and Blenheim, but have lived in Auckland since returning from overseas in 2010. While in Blenheim, I grew up in a bilingual primary school environment and am committed to encouraging my children’s learning of te reo while re-exploring my (now rusty!) skills. 
I am delighted to be part of the Newton Central Board of Trustees and the community that surrounds the school. I strongly believe in our school’s special character and our commitment to Te Tiriti. I hope to support the kaiako in the great job that they are doing, and to help ensure that our tamariki all have the opportunities they seek.

Dr Rebecca Alekzander MBChB DipPaeds FRACP(Paeds)

Position: Elected Board Member

Kia ora, my name is Rebecca Alekzander.  I am originally from Palmerston North, but have lived in Dunedin, Wellington and Queenstown before our family moved to Auckland 6 years ago.  I have two girls, 6 and 8 years who attend Newton Central School.

I am a Paediatrician with a special interest in Child Development and Disability and work at Kidz First Hospital, part of the culturally diverse Counties Manukau District Health Board. Within the hospital I also have a governance role as a member of the Drug and Therapeutics Governance Group overseeing the district health board.

I believe in the importance of supporting and facilitating education. I am an honorary senior clinical lecturer for the Auckland University School of Medicine and a local co-ordinator for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Paediatric Clinical examination.  I hope that by serving on the Board I can help to support and facilitate the education of our community’s children.

I have enjoyed my time on the Board to date and am committed to ensuring that the short and long term visions and strategic plan for Newton Central School are achieved.

Kim Hankins

Position: Staff Rep

My name is Kim Hankins and I am the current Staff Representative on the Board of Trustees. I have been associated with Newton Central School since 2000 when my eldest son began here as a 5 year old. All three of my children attended the school and I began teaching here in 2006. At present I am specialising in Sport as Classroom Release Time support and I am an Across School Teacher for our Kahui Ako, specialising in Student Agency and Wellbeing . This is my third stint on the board as I was previously a parent representative, and have served previously as the Staff Rep.

Kiri Donaldson

Position: Elected Board Member

Kia ora, I am Kiri Donaldson. I am of Ngāti-Kahu, Ngāti Porou and Irish descent.  Born and breed in Howick, my education lead me to attend Epsom Girls Grammar School, here I fell in love with the area and  as an adult spent most of my life living in Mt Eden and Kingsland. I  am the mother to India Gray (year 3) and Khan Poole  (20 years old). This is my home! Home is where the heart is!

I work in the creative industry as a stylist and producer. I love to cook and you will more than likely get to taste my food at the many school fund-raisers.

I enjoy serving as a Board Trustee and been apart of the school at the strategic level, and look to growing with the school as India does

Carol Smith

Position: Co-opted Board Member

Ko Te Rarawa ki Ahipara raua ko Te Atiawa aku iwi

Ko Carol Smith toku ingoa

Tena ra koutou katoa nga iwi whanau o Te Kura a Rito, Newton Central School

My name is Carol Smith and i currently have 1 mokopuna in Year 5 and 1 who left last year having completed her 6 years in Te Uru Karaka, Maori immersion at Newton Central.

I have been involved in the school as an active whanau member and also as a reliever.

My involvement with Newton Central began at the age of 5 years old as this was my first schooling experience.   I was delighted when my mokopuna were able to follow in my footsteps.

I am committed to ensuring that our school continues with its model of co-governance, being a commitment to having dual partnership as per Te Tiriti o Waitangi.    I have had 42 years in education filling a wide variety of roles from early childhood education through to Tertiary education and also in the Ministry of Education. I am honoured to bring all that experience to the whanau and Board of Trustees of Newton Central to utilise as is appropriate. 

Nga mihi

Stacey Whitiora

Position: Co-opted Board Member

Ko Stacey Whitiora tooku ingoa. He uri ahau no Ngaati Mahuta me nga motu o Rarotonga. I have a rural upbringing raised in Tahaaroa and Kawhia, ooku kainga tuturu. I have a daughter who is in Te Awahou and a son who now attends Kowhai Intermediate. I have a Science degree, have worked in the natural resource sector as a public servant for 17 years and I am a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Like many whānau, instead of returning home to raise our children, we continue to live in Auckland to provide the best access to opportunities for our tamariki.  Our tamariki deserve the absolute best start in education. They are the link to our future and it makes sense to be fully invested in their future to insure the future success of the kura.

We have a lot of mahi in front of us to ensure this kura is the best little kura in NZ. We can’t do it alone and neither can the kaiako. Strong connections to their culture and society come from our collective whanau and community. Kia kaha tamariki maa ahakoa no whea ahakoa te aha kei roto I a koe te mana I tuku iho.

Julia Darling

Position: Elected Board Member

Kia Ora. I am Julia Darling. I was born and raised in Taranaki, of the Te Atiawa iwi. My passion of the performing arts took me first to Melbourne, and then to New York City – where I worked as a musician for almost two decades. While over there, I met my partner, had two kids, and got my Masters in Social Work. I recently returned to NZ with my family, of which one of my kids (Clarence) attends Newton. I now have a private psychotherapy practice in Ponsonby, and I am deeply invested in mental health awareness, anti-bullying, gender discrimination, dismantling privilege, and acknowledging indigenous cultures. It is an honour to serve our tamariki on this board.