MANZ Conference 2021

Keys to Culture: Te tatau o te ahurea
Date: 10 & 11 July, 2021
Location: Wairakei Resort, Taupo

Kia ora,

Welcome to the information and registration site for MANZ Conference 2021!

After the isolation of recent times and the ongoing challenges we are all experiencing, the conference will be an exciting opportunity for us to get together to learn, share and network.

I am delighted to present to you the amazing line-up of speakers who are providing a wide range of topics which will, I’m sure, inspire you. Come along and enjoy the relaxing facilities at Wairakei Resort, Taupō while soaking up knowledge for your kete.

I look forward to welcoming you.

Cathy Wilson
Executive Officer

Conference Programme

With the programme for 2021, MANZ has tried to take into account many of your suggestions from your evaluations of 2019. After the official opening, our first keynote will be by Anaru Kapa setting the ‘culture’ theme of the conference. This will be followed by our age group speakers giving their keynotes one after another which means you can listen to all keynotes! We have also made this a two-day conference catering for the many kaiako who will need to travel home to be with tamariki or at work on Monday.

Click here to view our programme.

Conference Registration Fees and Information 

Early bird has now closed and our two-day registration fees including GST are as follows:

  • $440 School / Organisation Member 
  • $480 Individual Member
  • $665 Non-Member

South Island Discount

For 2021 we are offering our South Island attendees a $50 discount on their registration fee.

The 2-day full registration fee includes

  • Entry to conference sessions 10 and 11 July
  • Lunch and afternoon tea 10 July
  • Lunch, morning and afternoon tea 11 July
  • Nibbles and Natter networking function and celebration of the 150th birthday for Dr Montessori (one year late) 10 July


Invoices will be sent out upon registration and payment is required to the MANZ bank account.


Cancellations must be notified in writing by email to

We understand that circumstances can change. At any point, before the event, you are welcome to contact MANZ in writing to nominate a substitute delegate at no extra charge. A full refund less a $100 service fee will be issued for cancellations received on or before 31 May 2021. No refunds will be issued after 1 June 2021. Non-payment does not constitute cancellation.

NOTE:  Should COVID-19 cause this event to be cancelled full refunds will be given regardless of Refund Policy. When booking flights MANZ recommends that you book with a Flexi-fare so you can change flying dates or obtain a refund – just in case.


It is strongly recommended and your responsibility to have insurance to cover medical, travel, and registration expenses in the event of unforeseen circumstances.


Please advise of any special dietary, mobility, or other special requirements when you register.


MANZ, PO Box 31461, Lower Hutt 5040.

For all registration and general enquiries, email us at, or call Cathy on 027 4485 525 or Charmaine on 021 069 0092.  We would love to help.

Key Note Speakers

Anaru Kapa

Nō Te Aupōuri, Maniapoto, Tainui ahau.  Ko Anaru Kapa ahau.  Ngā mihi ki a koutou, ngā rangatira mā o Montessori.

In Anaru’s whānau, Montessori and Māori worlds have been a focus.  His whānau has been involved with both of his children attending a Montessori preschool and kohanga reo concurrently.  Marie (his wāhine toa) and himself chose these educational pathways for their daughters as they best fit their philosophical and educational value systems.  They have learnt much while on this journey.

Anaru has taught in various capacities for over 20 years, focusing on how to support the child/person to express the fullness of their taonga in the world to make positive changes.   This focus has had a bicultural lens. There has been much learning and opportunity to grow.  He has been trained in counselling (various forms), business and education.  He is continually learning Tikanga, whakapapa and growing in te reo Māori with whānau and other sources.

Anaru’s educational background includes an M.Ed in counselling and career development and degrees with sociology,  psychology, and business majors.  He has had the honour of completing a Diploma in Whānau Strengthening and Support using an Indigenous qualifications training framework.

Emma Elegado-Kotulic: 0-3 Years

Emma has an  AMI 0-3 years Assistants to Infancy Diploma, a Masters in Early Childhood Education, and is completing her Training of Trainers for this special age group. Emma is known for her extensive experience as a directress and an assistant administrator in Montessori long daycare. Together, with other AMI diploma holders, Emma helped develop a classroom curriculum that has ultimately made the children work independently, one of many principles of a Montessori environment. She has experience in both a Nido and Infant Community long daycare implementation.

Carol Potts: 3-6 Years

Carol is an AMI 3-6 Trainer with the Association Montessori Internationale.
She is currently Director of Training for the AMI 3-6 Diploma Programme in Aotearoa, New Zealand and on the Management Team and Advisory Committee of the Maria Montessori Education Foundation (MMEF), N.Z.
Carol has had the privilege to spend her days in 3-6 Montessori environments, for 25 years.  She is now part of the AMI Faculty in China and offers training in New Zealand and Australia.

Rebecca Dallam: 6-12 Years

Rebecca is the Director of Elementary Training at the Australian Centre for Montessori Studies. She holds the AMI 3-6 (1987) and 6-12 (1996) diplomas, a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Temple University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University. Rebecca worked in Montessori public education in the U.S. before emigrating to Australia in 1998. Since then she has worked to bring AMI 6-12 training to Australia so that more children can benefit from the Montessori approach to human development. Rebecca has taught at both the 6-9 and 9-12 levels in Sydney-area schools and currently directs a 6-9 classroom at Cameragal Montessori School. Rebecca has worked with teachers in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand and has served as a course examiner in Japan.


Michela Homer

Michela was elected to MANZ Council in 2013 and was re-elected in 2015. She is currently the Regional Professional Practice Leader for BestStart Southern. Michela considers the work we do is grounded in effective, meaningful relationships. It never ceases to amaze her how when we work collaboratively, we can make a real difference for tamariki and their families. She is motivated and inspired to work alongside her teams and MANZ to lift and improve outcomes for children, parents and teachers and to provide the best that we possibly can. She completed her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 3-6 diploma in London in 1994 and has worked in a variety of ECE and Montessori centres in Aotearoa.

Cathy Wilson

Cathy commenced working for MANZ as the Executive Officer in 2015 having been on the MANZ Council from 2011 to 2015 and the treasurer since 2013. She worked at Upper Valley Montessori and Mana Montessori before joining Wā Ora Montessori School in Lower Hutt in 1999, where she was the deputy principal. Cathy completed the Aperfield Montessori Diploma in 1998, Associated Montessori International (AMI) diploma in 2010, and worked as a tutor for Aperfield Montessori  2008 – 2015. Over the years she has delivered numerous workshops for the Early Childhood Council, Victoria University and MANZ and presented at Early Childhood Council and MANZ conferences.  Cathy represents MANZ on many Ministry of Education, Teaching Council and NZQA governance and advisory groups as well as providing support for member services and schools.

Aleks Zajac 

Aleks is an AMI teacher and school leader with over 20 years of experience in international education. Over the last 20 years, she has worked with many tamariki and their families in many cultural contexts.

As a mum to a child with learning differences, Aleks always felt that more needed to be done to support those children, their teachers and families. This is one of the reasons she is now forging a new path, as an educational psychologist in training.

Aleks contributes her knowledge and experience to various organisations and initiatives. Last November, she joined the staff of Victoria University Wellington Autism Clinic where she is a part of a research project investigating the effectiveness of Early Start Denver Model therapy in addition to parent coaching for young children with autism. She also cooperates with Evans Bay Intermediate School as part of their wellbeing-focused student support team.

Aleks is experienced enough to know that she doesn’t have all the answers, but she hopes that by sharing the tools that work for her, she will be able to help conference attendees carry out their own missions of helping tamariki with learning difficulties achieve their full potential.

Pauline Roberts

Pauline has been teaching at Ōrākei Montessori Preschool since 2008 and in 2016 became the owner. She is married to Mal and has 2 children and 3 step-children, all now have flown the nest! 

Before teaching at Montessori she taught at kindergarten which has helped her fuse Montessori philosophy with Te Whāriki. She believes tamariki who attend Montessori preschools have a positive, happy, fun start on their educational journey, 

She teaches in the younger Fantail Class at her Montessori because this age group (20 months to 3 years) is her calling. She has endless patience and a great sense of fun.

She is so grateful to have studied under Dr Nicola Chisnall at AUT and considers the mentoring advice and wisdom Nicky gave will remain with her always. Pauline remembers a discussion with Nicky where they talked about Pauline one day talking at a MANZ Conference, both agreeing she would know when she found something she was passionate about and for her, it is educative mentoring, She thinks Nicky had already adopted this style of leadership before it had a title and was waiting for the rest of us to catch up!

Tara Israelson

Tara has been a Montessori teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2008 and expects many more years of learning and growing together with children in the future.  Tara has an AMI Montessori qualification from MNW in Portland, Oregon and a Graduate Diploma obtained from NZ Tertiary College.  Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Tara grew up with plenty of opportunities to develop working theories about the world as she explored the forests and the sea surrounding her.  For Tara science is about seeking answers and finding more questions along the way. 


Sola Freeman

Sola has been involved in Montessori in NZ for over 20 years. Over that time, she has been President of MANZ, Chair of Wa Ora BOT, started a 0-3 playgroup and Mum to four children. She has worked as a lecturer at Victoria University in the ECE teaching programme. Since 2016, with a scholarship, she has studied for her PhD, completing it in 2020. Her research involved collaborative action research which allowed Sola to share her passion for science with enthusiastic teachers and together they investigated how to incorporate more science into their centres. For Sola science is being interested and finding out about the world around you, and gaining an appreciation and gratitude for all that is around us. She’d like to think wondering and a love of all that is science creates people who care.


Trade Exhibitors

It is with great pleasure that we introduce this year’s Trade Exhibitors:

Discover:  Their innovative software systems make childcare administration simple by providing smarter, easy to use systems that eliminate wasted administration time.  More information is available on their website


Starex NZ:   Produce high-quality Early Childhood Furniture for Kindergartens and Preschools throughout NZ.  They are 100% NZ Designed & Made in their factory in Mount Maunganui. Check them out at

Crystal Payroll:  Is one of New Zealand’s leading payroll system providers. A pioneer of cloud-based payroll, our software has been tailored specifically to New Zealand businesses and is frequently recommended by accountants and SME business owners across the country, thanks to our extensive range of clear and simple features designed to help streamline operations and make your working life easier. Learn more about them at

Maria Montessori Education Foundation:  The Maria Montessori Education Foundation (MMEF) is the official New Zealand teacher training centre of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), welcoming both New Zealand and international students.  Visit their website here

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ): specialises in early childhood teacher education, offering a range of diploma, degree and postgraduate programmes.  To find out more view their website here.

Barefoot Books: Explore. Imagine. Create. Connect. Give Back.  That’s what Barefoot Books is all about and you can explore all of their wonderful resources here.

Te Reo Singalong Books:  Have a great range of fun and engaging Māori language resources for children and teachers throughout Aotearoa.  To find out more visit their website.

Rubiix Accountants:  Has developed an accounting service package especially for Early Childhood Education (ECE) providers. Their system is designed to improve the performance of your enterprise by giving you more time to focus on your core business, better information for decision making, and improved compliance with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and IRD requirements.  Find out more on their website.

SafetyNest:  SafetyNest software system makes Health & Safety Compliance easy for New Zealand Early Childhood Education centres.  Developed specifically for ECE in New Zealand, we help to simplify H&S for your centre and ensure you are keeping up with compliance. Learn more here.

If you would like to reach the Montessori community let’s talk about your vision and how we can help you connect with early learning centres and schools nationwide. Talk to us about your ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

Email us at to receive a copy of the Event Prospectus or call Charmaine at 021 069 0092.

Accommodation Options at Wairakei Resort

Wairakei Resort, Taupō, 640 Wairakei Dr, Taupō 3379

The resort’s comfortable rooms and suites feature en-suite bathrooms and geothermal sourced heating. Twin Rooms accommodate up to 4 guests in 2 doubles or 2 queen-size beds. Suites offer king-sized beds for 2 guests and a separate lounge or sitting area. Family Villas feature a spacious open-plan living room, full kitchen and separate bedroom, and they all interconnect with adjoining Studio accommodation. The luxurious split-level Rangatira Suite offers 2 bedrooms and a lounge with a dining area. Most room categories offer views of manicured gardens and Wairakei Tourist Park from patios or private balconies. Disability rooms with wheelchair access are available. WiFi and 24-hour room service are available in all accommodation.

Click here for more information about the hotel.

Room types & rates:

  • Economy king room – $145.00 per room per night
  • Run of House studio, double, king and twin rooms – $175.00 per room per night
  • Tauhara Superior twin room – $185.00 per room per night
  • Suites and villas – $205.00 – $245.00 per room per night
  • Rangatira suite – $345.00 per night

To make a booking and to take advantage of these special room rates please click here.  Special group room rates cover up to two adults in the room and are valid for bookings made before 09 May 2021. To make any changes to your booking please contact the Wairakei Resort reservations team directly at:

Phone: 07 4749004

The special room rates are available up until the day of the conference subject to availability. These rooms are based on general availability; it is recommended that you book as soon as you can to ensure you don’t miss out.

Breakfast is available in the Pavilion Restaurant at a special rate of $25.00 per person. Breakfast is not required to be pre-booked.

Accommodation Policy:

Accommodation must be booked via the link provided above. MANZ is not responsible for any of your accommodation booking and payments. Please ensure you read and understand the hotel’s terms and conditions as they vary from one hotel to another. It is your responsibility to contact the hotel directly for any amendments or cancellation and all payments.

Find out more about visiting the beautiful lakeside resort town of Taupō.

Click here to view a map of Wairakei resort.

Click here to view the floor plan of the Conference rooms.


The MANZ team is happy to help, email us at or call Cathy on 027 448 5525 for any registration queries or contact Charmaine on 021 069 0092 for any sponsorship queries.

MANZ Conference 2021

Date: 10 & 11 July, 2021
Location: Wairakei Resort
Address: 640 Wairakei Drive, Taupo