Board of Trustees
Barbara Alaalatoa ONZM (Board Chair)
Former Principal and Chairperson of the Education Council, Barbara believes, "O le ala i le pule o le tautua" – The pathway to leadership is through service. A long term champion of equity, excellence and leadership, Barbara recently earned the NZ Order of Merit for her services to education.
Dr Edmond Fehoko
Dr Edmond Fehoko is a proud Tongan, born and raised in New Zealand. Edmond is an active Community Leader with a Ph.D. in Public Health, and is currently a Senior Lecturer at Otago University. Edmond has received numerous awards for his services in Pacific Education and Health Research.
Tony Caughey ONZM
Appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014 for services to education and business, Tony has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and is an experienced CEO and company director. Tony is a past chair of the Young Enterprise Trust and current chair of the Play it Strange Trust.
Professor Jenny Lee Morgan
Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan is an educator, author, and researcher who is currently the Managing Director of Pūrangakura. Undertaking tertiary leadership roles, producing high-quality research, and contributing to Māori education earned her the Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award (NZARE).
Nicola is the Principal at Spotswood College, Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu Chair, a Toi Foundation board member and former Chair of the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. She has taught in all education sectors and has received prestigious recognitions for her transformative work in education.
Dr Areti Metuamate
Areti (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Haua & Cook Islander) is CEO of Te Kupenga, the Catholic tertiary institute of New Zealand. He is a member of a number of boards in Australia and New Zealand and has held roles in Government in Wellington and Canberra.
With over 15 years of experience directing, consulting, and managing projects in various sectors, Chris is an expert in learning design, partner, and change management. A former teacher, he is the leader of business development at Springboard Trust and a trustee of the NZ Youth Mentoring Network.
How we were founded
Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ was founded in 2011.
The programme was the result of collaboration among a number of individuals and groups from across the political spectrum and from all sectors of society.
The establishment was led by Shaun Sutton, founding CEO, and Deborah George, founding Board chair, and both remain actively involved today.
The flagship programme has been supported by the Ministry of Education throughout this time, and the University of Auckland was the founding tertiary partner, delivering the academic element of the programme until 2018.
The programme was inspired by the Teach First programme that has operated in England and Wales since 2003, and created for the Aotearoa New Zealand context.
The organisation has significant gratitude for the University of Auckland Faculty of Education and Social Work, and in particular Dr Ngaire Hoben, Director of Secondary Initial Teacher Education, and Professor Graeme Aitken, Dean of Education until 2018, for their instrumental work in developing and delivering the academic programme from 2012 to 2018.
Meet the team
Michelle Johansson - Kaitiaki | CEO
Michelle is committed to holding courageous spaces for our teachers to step up and change the world. She is particularly interested in the spaces where Education and Equity meet for Pasifika peoples.
Jono Smith - Te Mataiho | Deputy Chief Executive
Jono works to support the network of schools who employ Teach First NZ Programme participants, to effectively support participants to have a positive impact on students and school communities.
Whetuu Nathan - Kāuru Kura | Director of Education
Whetuu has served in a range of spaces in the education sector. Her focus has remained unwavering on Māori, Pacific and marginalised students, ensuring the education provided to them allows engagement and achievement to their full potential.
Lee Devenish - Kāuru Ahunga | Director of Pre-Programme
Lee is passionate about ensuring all students in Aotearoa reach their potential. His role is to oversee the Pre-Programme journey for our participants from attraction and recruitment through to securing employment with one of our partner schools.
Richard Watkinson - Aka Tuakana | Mentor Manager
Richard works to support our network of in-school mentors as they develop the teaching and leadership skills of our participants. He has led English and Media Studies departments in the UK and Aotearoa, and more recently worked as a PLD facilitator.
Billy Revell - Pule o le Nu’u | Community Lead
A firm believer of servant-leadership, Billy strives in his journey with us to create safe and creative spaces to allow others to tell their story whilst facilitating the growth of our village (Community).
Alysha Bentley - Kāuru Akatoro | Recruitment Lead
Alysha’s role is all about connecting with people who want to become change makers in the education system. Alysha helps make this dream come true by supporting them through the application process to join the Ako Mātatupu whānau.
Mike Nahu - Recruiter
An experienced secondary school teacher, Mike now supports our rangatahi as a recruiter at Ako Mātātupu. He believes equitable and nurturing learning spaces are vital for student growth and can only be created by informed and compassionate kaiako.
Bella Qian - Recruiter
Born and raised in Auckland, Bella wants to give back to the community which has given her ever so much. She can't wait to connect with like minded people who are passionate about education.
Adrienne Likatau - Te Rauora | Counsellor
It is Adrienne's intention to hold a safe space for every brave soul who chooses to connect with her, and the stories they share. She hopes to facilitate therapeutic talanoa that offers hope, and reconnects people, with a healthy sense of wellbeing.
Jayden Matchitt - Information and Systems Manager
Jayden aims to serve at Ako Mātātupu by ensuring the systems and processes reflect best practice and that participants are well cared for and resourced to succeed in their teaching journey.
Natalie Knight - Finance Manager
Finance Manager of Ako Mātātupu
Bina Mehta - Rauwhiti Puna | Payroll and Accounts Manager
Bina is passionate about education and the impact it has on young people. She joined the Ako Mātātupu team in 2015, and supports the organisation to keep our accounts and finances in order.
Nyra Marshall - Kaihautū / Kaihāpai / Pouhāpai/ Rauhāpai | Teacher Educator and Kaihautū
A descendant of Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Kahungunu, Nyra believes that education is the key platform to advance Māori success. She belongs to C15, is part of the Kairapu network, and taught at Aorere College for five years.
Charles Looker - Kaihautū me Kaihāpai | Teacher Educator and Kaihautū
A Kaihautū is one who keeps the timing for paddlers on their voyage; so does Charles in ensuring that needs for Māori are met at every stage of the kaupapa, so that our paddlers have all that they need to continue their journey.
Maria Sevao - Kaihāpai | Teacher Educator
Maria supports and walks alongside our participants through their journey with Ako Mātātupu. She is an experienced teacher and believes education is the key in encouraging students to be changemakers in their whānau.
Penisimani Tapueluelu - Kaihāpai | Teacher Educator
Mālō e lelei! With a decade of experience, Peni believes in creating a safe and positive environment before any learning happens. He brings his practical knowledge in dealing with mainly Pasifika learners as a whole and a community.
Denyce Su'a - Kaihāpai me Taki Kairapu | Teacher Educator & Kairapu Lead
Dedicated to nurturing creative and brave learning spaces inside and outside our classrooms, Denyce also leads our Kairapu Network, working to ensure our alumni continue to feel connected with our kaupapa and supported in their next adventure.
Sam Siliasau - Kaihāpai | Teacher Educator
Ni sa bula vinaka! I am on secondment from Wesley College for 2022. One of the Kaihāpai | Programme Manager and hope to positively contribute to such an exceptional movement.
Nadeen Papali'i - Kaihāpai | Teacher Educator
Why am I here?:
Supporting teachers on the frontline in the classroom is an effective and efficient way to reach the masses of students. I love playing my part.
Brent Dunn | Kaihapāi and Kaihautū
E rere ana taku aho toto mai te Norta, Hokianga whakapau karakia, kia ora Ko Brent Dunn tōku ingoa. I am a C16 kairapu, I have come back to Ako Matātupu to share my experiences as a Kaiako and support you as you shape a better future for our tauira.
Take our eligibility quiz
Are you eligible to join our flagship programme? Our quiz will help you understand whether you meet our eligibility criteria as well as what subjects you may be able to teach.
Request an info pack
If you would like to find out more about our programme, how it works and who we are looking for, we have created an information pack just for you!