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Aria Whanga


Kia Ora, my name is Aria. I am one of seven children and have lived in Hamilton my whole life. Being part of a big family has given me lots of opportunities to help out with younger siblings, nephews and nieces. We are a family who have been taught to love and nurture where we see a need. 


For the past 5 years I have spent time volunteering in nurseries, planning kids’ activities, community events and keeping children entertained, and over that time I have developed a passion for working with children. 


I enjoy painting, music, playing guitar, piano and drums. I believe in creating a safe space for the children to grow and learn and am really excited to have the opportunity to work with your children.

Lina Wang Teacher

Lina Wang

Teacher - Fantail Room

Kia ora! My name is Lina. I’m from China and I speak English, Mandarin, and some French. I came to New Zealand in 2017 and finished my graduate diploma in early childhood teaching in 2020.

Over the past years, I have been working with children of all age groups and improving my teaching practice. I believe every child is unique and I respect their individuality. They have their own dispositions, strengths and interests that should be acknowledged and encouraged. As a kaiako, I strive to create a caring and enriching environment where our tamariki are empowered to explore and learn through play at their own pace.

I simply enjoy being surrounded by children and have a passion for working with/alongside pēpi. I believe whanaungatanga is the core of early childhood education as it provides us all (kaiako, tamariki and their whānau) with a sense of belonging and connection – especially for infants, a strong consistent relationship makes them feel secure and safe, from which their learning journey begins. I’m so happy to be part of Growing Wings and look forward to meeting you and your child(ren).

Rhiannon Donkin


Kia ora, ko Rhiannon toku ingoa. I come from the small town of Ōpōtiki in the Bay of Plenty where I have grown up surrounded by the beautiful awa, tātahi and ngahere. I now call the Waikato home where I have lived for the past 6 years with my two cats Archie and Aggy.

I have been teaching in early childhood education for the past 9 years with a strong focus on infants. I believe in all tamariki having equitable opportunities to learn, grow and develop. I believe that all tamariki should have endless possibilities to be immersed in Te Taiao and have the freedom to explore at their own pace. I recognise that our tamariki bring with them a kete full of knowledge and it is our job as kaiako to support them alongside their journey as they unpack this. All of our tamariki are capable, confident explorers and it is through the respectful, reciprocal relationships we build that we see them flourish.

Peter Shepherd


As a finance professional, I have had the privilege of working in several successful business, surrounded by some excellent leaders. I got involved in Growing Wings because I wanted to help create a centre that gave future leaders of the industry an opportunity to thrive while growing our tamariki to reach their full potential. As a leadership team, we stand behind our people to empower them to create a place where parents entrust us with their children, where kids learn and grow and where teachers are truly valued and encourage to express their passion for teaching. Our vision is to spread our values and partner with others to grow our wings as a leading early childcare centre in the industry.

Luke Crabb


For me this started as a project of passion. How can I personally create a great environment for my child that is coming into the world very soon, that will allow my wife Becks to be able to keep teaching and also be able to be Mum. As part of the journey of understanding what we wanted to build I learnt that there was a fantastic opportunity to be able to grow individuals in the industry, how can we develop a brand that is recognised in the future as being the place that teachers want to work at. One that is going to grow our teachers and help with their career progression.

Leane Ashby

Teacher - Fantail room

My name is Leane, I am a mother of 4 boys and have just finished the last practicum placement before gaining my Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education with The Open Polytechnic. My favourite part of teaching is watching young children explore their world and grow confidence in themselves. I enjoy giving children time to explore their senses through the use of different materials. Allowing them to individually learn from these experiences I will engage in creating messy activities for us all to be involved in. I strongly believe play promotes intentional exploration and develops a sense of joy toward learning, allowing for positive and successful outcomes for our tamariki.

I am a passionate, caring and friendly teacher who truly believes in letting the uniqueness of each individual child guide my work. I aim to foster and build on the knowledge children bring each day, ensuring that I respect and understand the differences in identity and individuality. Supporting a strong sense of self within each tamariki I strive to ensure each child feels included giving them a strong sense of belonging to their world.

“Anei au, too pou whirinaki”

“I’m here, I’ll support you”

Jasmine Dalton

Teacher - Swallow’s Room

Kia ora Growing Wings community,

My name is Jasmine. In 2016 I graduated from the University of Waikato with a diploma in Early Childhood Teaching and have continued to actively develop and strengthen my practice since then.

Over the past year, I have been exploring my understanding of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. One of the key approaches in this practice, is envisioning the environment as a ‘third teacher’. How I like to utilise this understanding, is by creating and supporting an environment that celebrates cultural diversities and embraces the uniqueness of each child. Every child should be supported in feeling safe and confident, to be themselves. I also like to advocate a strength-based approach to teaching, that acknowledges each child’s talents, and uses these to support and guide their learning journey.

During my years in teaching, I have also developed a keen interest in supporting our older tamariki, as we prepare them for the next stage in their learning journey.

Strengthening each child’s social and emotional competency is what I consider to be the building blocks, to getting our children ready for school. I also have a strong passion for creating an environment that feels like ‘home’, empowering for both the children, teaching team and whānau, as we all work collaboratively to achieve mutual goals and aspirations.

Ann-Kathrin Boss


Kia ora,

My name is Ann, I am 28 years old and came to New Zealand in 2017.

I grew up in Germany until I went to Australia in 2015 where I met my husband. Living in New Zealand is a dream come true and I am super excited to continue building my family’s life here.

Having some experience in childcare back in Germany I am now ready to start my career here at Growing Wings Early Learning Centre

I am very passionate in learning and teaching about different cultures and helping tamariki to express themselves in all different areas of play and learning.

This passion just grew more and more as I am watching my 10 month old (who will also be attending Growing wings) develop her own personality.

I cannot wait to meet you and your wonderful child/children and help them reach their full potential.

Manpreet Kaur

Teacher - Swallows room

My name is Manpreet Kaur. I moved to New Zealand in 2016 from India. I adore living in this amazing country, where I graduated in 2021 with a degree in early childhood education. Along with my husband and our lovely baby, we currently living in Hamilton.

I enjoy teaching because it allows me to watch young children develop in front of my eyes. I enjoy playing a significant role in their lives as they work towards their future objectives.

Working with Growing Wings where we promote child-led learning, excites me. I agree that every child is unique, and we should provide for them in accordance with their needs.

Matt Lambert


Whats up, my name is Matt and I have been working as an Early Childhood Teacher since 2014.

 I grew up in Auckland and moved down to Hamilton in 2022 with my wife Nicky and our son Liam. 

Outside of work, my main hobby is Ultimate Frisbee which both my wife and I have been playing since 2016. I have been quite involved with the sport in Auckland, leading a club, organising social tournaments and being a part of the Auckland Ultimate Executive Board from 2019 – 2022.

Nelia Guitierrez

Teacher - in training

Nelia is still perfecting her Bio, we shall upload it once it’s just right

Glori Wang


Kia ora koutou! I originally came from China over two decades ago and now consider myself a “Chiwi”. I travelled quite a bit during my last career in international business. Until I had my daughter in 2014, I became an enthusiastic learner and practitioner in child development, early intervention (my daughter started walking after three years old due to her cerebral palsy condition), early childhood education, and curative education. I worked alongside specialists and therapists as a family coordinator/counsellor to help other children with special needs and their families. That was how I found my passion in working with children and fostering their learning and development. Then, I completed my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) and gained my registration in 2019. I have been enjoying and proudly working in early childhood education since then. 

I uphold love and reverence when working with tamariki. I value Ako as a responsive and reciprocal teaching-learning process, which empowers tamariki to develop their meta-cognitive ability to ‘learn how to learn’ as competent learners who view learning as a lifetime journey. I treasure positive and meaningful relationships with tamariki, kaiako, and parents/ whānau. Together, we build a solid foundation to support our tamariki to learn and thrive as “it takes a village to raise a child.” 

Outside work, I enjoy being in nature, gardening, plant-based cooking, and camping with friends and families.


I look forward to exploring new learnings and beautiful experiences with you and your tamariki along this journey.


Nga mihi maioha,




Sarah Pratt


Kia Ora,

My name is Sarah, and I am very glad to join the Growing Wings Team.

I have been working and teaching in Early Childhood Education since 2019, having developed a passion to teach and care for children from a young age.

I graduated from my Bachelor of Teaching ECE in late 2023 which has been a wonderful opportunity of growth to better support our tamariki and develop as an educator.

Prior to teaching I worked for a decade in hospitality and front facing administration. These experiences have woven and continue to support me, today. I embrace and value Whanaungatanga (relationships) as the foundation for all I do. I love to have a chat, getting to know what is important to each of my whanau and their tamariki so I can support them in a responsive, caring, and positive manner.

I am a Mum of 2 daughters, who are in primary school and have been married to my husband since 2010. Together we love to keep busy, camping, exploring, and spending time with friends and family.

In my spare time I enjoy baking, crafting, pottering in the garden or sitting at the beach taking in the peace and calm.

As a kaiako my passion is to support each child as unique individuals as they grow and develop in their own time. I wish to support my tamariki with their social and emotional development through communication and Aroha, following their interests to empower them as confident and capable members of society. 

Abby Edwards

Teacher in Training

Kia ora 
My name is Abby Edwards and I am super excited to be joining the Growing Wings on Grey whanau!
I am originally from a small town in New South Wales, Australia but I have been living in New Zealand with my partner for over 3 years now. I have been Teaching in Early Childhood for 4 years and I absolutely love building strong, safe and secure relationships with my tamariki and the entire whanau. I love making fun and exciting resources to suit all of my tamariki’s learning goals and personal interest. I am about to enter my second year of my Bachelor of Teaching and love learning more ways to best support tamariki on their learning journey. 

I am also a Mum to my very busy almost 2 year old Amelia who will also be joining the Growing Wings whanau. 


I am looking forward to joining you soon and getting to know you all.  

Picture of Catherine Burr

Catherine Burr


Hello everyone! My name is Catherine.
I have recently completed my Bachelor of Teaching degree at Waikato University and have started my Masters in Education this year!
I was born and raised in Pukekohe, but moved to Hamilton to start my university journey in 2020. I am a very family oriented person so I love spending time with my loved ones. I also enjoy tramping, dance, and all things Disney (and Marvel and Harry Potter!)
I have been working in the childcare industry overall for nearly 10 years, whether that’s helping out as a teacher support person, relief work, or full time employment.
My personal belief is “learn the basics, the rest will come.” I am passionate about teaching, and learning beside young children and helping them find their voice and the skills they need to succeed in both future school environments, and at all stages of life.

Jaynee Millar


Kia Ora, I’m Jaynee 


My Passion for working with children started when I was still a child, always caring for those younger around me, at church and at school. I completed a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education at the University of Waikato in 2019 and have been growing in my knowledge as I work ever since. I started at Growing Wings as a Reliever, 


My other Passions include Music, Art, Caring for Animals (I have 4 Guinea Pigs), Crochet, and Photography. 


‘Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord’ Psalms 127:3 CEV


I believe that all children are a blessing complete individual, and that they have the right to have their voices heard and their basic needs met. I am currently developing my knowledge of social competence and promoting positive guidance, as well as developing on my limited knowledge of New Zealand Sign language, so support our Tamariki in their Communication. 


Currently, my main focus outside of teaching is planning my Wedding and learning to build my life around and with my Fiancé who is currently studying Theology and towards becoming an ordained Minister, this journey will also lead me to become a Pastor’s Wife and take on Church Ministry responsibilities. 

Picture of Anita Gibbons

Anita Gibbons


Kia ora koutou katoa
Ko Knocknarea tooku maunga
Ko Garavogue tooku awa
Ko Star Queen tooku waka
Ko Airani tooku iwi
I tipu ake au ki Taamaki-makau-rau me Rotorua
E mihi ana ki ngaa tohu o nehe
o Kirikiriroa e noho nei au
Ko Chris tooku hoa taane
Ko Stacy raatou ko Ashley ko Emily ko Katelyn ooku tamaahine
Ko Anita tooku ingoa

Kia ora e te whaanau

I’m Mama to 4 daughters who over the years have taught me about the wonders and challenges of discovering who you are and creating space in the world to be yourself.  I’m a qualified kaiako who loves learning and exploring new ways of doing things, often researching or finding professional development to enhance my own understanding of the world around me and the people who are my community.

Whanaungatanga (relationships) is central to everything that I do, I love making connections to others and finding out backgrounds, whakapapa, whaanau values, aspirations, the things that each whaanau hold important to themselves and their tamariki.  This helps me to understand who the tamariki are, the kete of knowledge and skills that they come with and how I can nurture, uphold and support the mana, wairau and mauri of each tamaiti.  I’m a heart centred kaiako who believes in creating a nurturing environment that is a home away from home, with plentiful opportunities for tamariki to explore and guide their own learning, and that celebrates the uniqueness of each tamaiti.

~ Poipoia te kaakano kia puawai ~

~ Nurture the seed and it will grow~

Kimmy Allan


Kia ora koutou,

Ko Kimmy ahau. I am so excited to be a part of the Growing Wings team!

I have lived in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton my whole life, making this town my home. I have had the pleasure of experiencing many center’s throughout the Waikato region through my previous position as a reliever, which has further informed my teaching practices and professional learning opportunities.

I am passionate about a child-led teaching approach that embraces the child as a citizen of the world who possesses innate potential, capabilities, and success in their own way. My favourite part of being a kaiako is working in partnership with tamariki and experiencing their unique ways of seeing, being and doing in their world. Relationships, inclusion, and empowerment are core components of my teaching philosophy. These aspects form a foundation for a learning environment where respect and heart-centered interactions are consistent, which allows tamariki to thrive and experience tūrangawaewae – their own place to stand. Within tūrangawaewae, tamariki will be able to explore at their own pace through play opportunities and experience learning as a positive and enjoyable occurrence.

I am an advocate for children being heard, seen, and valued always. This enthusiasm has led me to pursue my current studies towards a Master of Education in early childhood to inform my understanding of how to best achieve this.

“He waka eke noa


A canoe which we are all in with no exception”

Becks Crabb


Kia ora I am Becks one of the Growing wings owners, I am a registered primary school teacher and have been for the past 8 years working mainly in the junior years.

I believe in creating an inclusive environment where children’s individuality, values and beliefs are respected and diversity is acknowledged and praised. I am passionate about children creating strong links to nature and their environment. I feel very lucky to own and work at a centre that is able to facilitate this through and leads to endless opportunities for enriching learning experiences. With primary school teaching as my background, I plan to use this to help grow, support and nurture our tamariki into being school ready.