Board of Trustees

Hannah Andrews

Position: Co-Chair Elected Board Member

Kia ora! My name is Hannah Andrews and I’m the mother of William and Nell. 
I’m originally from Christchurch and Blenheim, but have lived in Auckland for over 10 years. 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 run a technology start-up company working with charities to increase their revenue from their donations. I also love to cook and learn languages: I speak French and am learning te reo with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
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.

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.


Julia Darling

Position: Secretary - 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.

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.

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

Vasiti Palavi

Position: Elected Board Member

Geoff Ward

Position: Elected Board Member

Kia Ora, I’m Geoff Ward. Born and raised in Auckland, I returned home four years ago, after fifteen years living and working abroad in England, Australia, the Philippines and Singapore. I’m a Chartered Accountant, currently working for ANZ Bank.

I have two boys, Finn and Reuben. Finn is at Newton and loving it – Reuben starts next year. I feel really privileged to live in this community and that my children have an opportunity to attend this great school. I believe Newton’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, diversity and inclusion will set our children up well for the future.

I am excited to contribute to this unique, forward looking school.

Kim Hankins

Position: Elected 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.