The Totara Park Team
This is our team of teachers and staff at Educare Totara Park. Scroll through to find out more about our teaching team.
Kia Ora, I'm Cara Lindsay. I have been involved in early childhood since leaving school. I graduated from Auckland Teacher’s college with a diploma in Kindergarten Teaching and a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood.
After 7 years of working in Kindergartens, I built and owned my own centre in Kamo.
In 2001 I sold the centre and went home to be a full time Mum to our three children and to help run our Dairy farm. Now with my children grown up, it is time to return to my passion of teaching.
I believe in providing a quality, caring and learning environment for all children in our centre.
I have a passion for the outdoor learning environment and music.
Kia ora, I have been involved in early childhood since 2008. I graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor in Teaching specialising in Early Childhood, and gained my full registration in 2018.
I grew up in England and emigrated to NZ in 2007 with my husband Darren and children Madeline and Ellinor.
I began working outside and gardening which led to my love of the outdoors. I enjoy spending time at the beach with my family, gardening, watching my daughters play sports and walking my dog.
I am an advocate of messy and wet play as tamariki learn through different experiences gained whilst using their senses.
I look forward to getting to know you and spending time with your tamariki to watch them learn and grow.
Team Leader - Registered Teacher
Kia ora e te whānau
Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua toku waka
Ko Pouerua toku maunga
Ko Waitangi toku awa
Ko Te Tii toku marae
No Waitangi ahau
Ko Haley Chapman ahau
Ko Jamie taku tane
Ko Jorgiah, ko Locklynd ratou, ko Kelly aku tamariki
I have been in Early Childhood Education since 2012, and in 2016 I completed my degree in Early Childcare Education. I am passionate about working with our tamariki who are our future, and am working towards building a stronger understanding of Te Ao Māori! I love to see their pride as they achieve milestones and goals they have set for themselves, it makes my job that much more meaningful.
My name is Rebecca Dickens, I was born and mostly bred in Whangarei and moved to Auckland to pursue my studies.
I graduated with a Diploma of Teaching from Te Tauri Puna Aoteroa, a year later returning to do a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood and have since obtained my full registration.
I have been working in early childhood for several years and have a passion to watch children grow and develop. I believe children are confident and competent and have the freedom to pursue life to the fullest in whatever they choose to do. I am here to guide them through this journey.
In my spare time, I enjoy dancing, movies and being an amazing aunty to my two nephews and niece. I have a passion for travelling to different parts of the world. Rebecca is currently on maternity leave.
Kia Ora, I’m Sarah. I have recently moved to Whangarei from Auckland with my husband, and am originally from the UK. I love to explore and get to know different cultures and countries.
When I finished high school, I went straight to AUT to study Early Childhood Education and have enjoyed it ever since. My passion for Early Childhood stems from growing up with my mum being an ECE teacher. I would always be around young children and it was always something I knew I wanted to do.I love art, messy play and engaging with children while they learn and make sense of the world around them. In my spare time I enjoy photography and spending time at the beach. I really look forward to getting to know you and your children.
Kirsty Le Couter
Kia Ora, I’m excited to be teaching at Educare Totara Park Educare working with the over twos.
I’ve been teaching since 2012 when I graduated with a diploma in teaching at Waikato University.
I spent 7 years teaching full time in Hamilton and moved up to Whangarei in 2019.
I have a passion for incorporating creativity and dramatic play into my teaching, and working alongside 4 years olds to prepare them for their transition to school.
I enjoy keeping fit, playing piano, hiking and spending time with friends and family.
I look forward to getting to know all the kaiako and whānau at Educare Totara Park.
Kia ora whānau
I’m Chelsee, and I have lived in Whangarei my whole life, living the beach life on the east coast (Ngunguru).
I have always wanted to be a teacher originally as a primary teacher however; I managed to stumble into early childhood discovering my love and passion in teaching and learning about the world alongside tamariki.
I began my journey in 2011 with Educare, eventually studying and gaining my Bachelor in Early Childhood Education in 2015, now I plan to gain my full registration. I have a strong interest in implementing Te Ao Maori and I would like to strengthen my practice and knowledge, which is why I have joined the amazing team at Totara Park Educare.
I really look forward to getting to know you, your child and whānau on this amazing journey.
I live in Whau Valley with my partner, my two children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, skinks and spider! I also have a step-daughter in Whangarei.
I grew up, and have spent most of my life here. I can’t think of a better place to live and bring up children.
I have always had a passion for working with children and left high school to attend Nanny Academy; 22 years on I still have the same passion for working with children. I graduated with my Early Childcare Teaching Diploma in 2002 and plan on working toward getting my teacher registration.
I have passions in art & craft, nature and being ecologically aware. I can’t wait to share these passions with the kaiako and tamariki at Totara Park. After being a relief teacher here, it’s wonderful to finally call Totara Park home.
Kia ora, I’m Emily and have lived in Whangarei all my life. My childhood was spent travelling around Whangarei, surfing and camping with my family. We also were very fortunate to travel overseas including Australia and my favourite, Bali. These holidays taught me a lot about myself and the world we live in.
Outside of work, I love being in the Far North. My Mum's family were from there, and I feel strong connections to the land, air and sea there. Relationships are a huge part of my teaching philosophy and I am passionate about working with children to help them learn about themselves, others and the world around them. I love singing, dancing, reading stories and building things outdoors. I look forward to building relationships with you all at Totara Park.
Teacher in Training
Tena koutou katoa!
My name is Karmen Reid and I am excited to be a part of the Educare Totara
I have lived in Whangarei for most of my life, and have two handsome boys
Conner and Lincoln.
Becoming a mum and babysitting for many years has naturally inspired me to
choose this career path and I have just begun my journey with Open
Polytechnic to gain a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.
I am passionate about providing messy play and art experiences for tamariki,
and enjoy games that get the imagination going. One of my goals is to
strengthen my use of Te reo Māori, by speaking it more when interacting with
I look forward to learning alongside your tamariki and getting to know you all
better. Karmen is currently on maternity leave.
Teacher in Training
Kia ora, I’m Natasha and I have two young sons. I live in Maungakaramea with my husband, Who owns his own floor sanding business. I love animals and baking, and working with children. I am currently doing a Bachelor Degree Teaching ECE at Te Rito Maioha, as of 2019.
I am passionate about working with children under 5 as a vital part of their learning and development happens in these years.
I got into early childhood because of the awesome connections and relationships made not only with the other teachers but with the children themselves while I was on placement at school. I found it was the only subject that I really enjoyed and committed 100% to. I feel like I can really get down on their level and make their time in childcare fun and rewarding.
I look forward to meeting you all.
Kia Ora whanau, my name is Jamie Patuawa.
I am very excited to be a part of the Educare Totara Park team helping your tamariki develop the skills and knowledge they will need for school.
I am a mother of two beautiful girls, Lilly-Rose and Millia with my husband Nathan, and we love to get out and about as a family and explore new places like parks and beaches etc. So if you see us around please don’t be shy come say hello I would love to get to know the whānau as well, after all, you are who the tamariki look up too.
Kia ora koutou
I'm excited to be a part of Totara Park Educare.
I am Andrea Mackenzie I live in Tikipunga with my partner Steve and two boys James and Ryan.
Before taking on the nutritionist role I was reliving for Educare cooking and teaching for the last year.
I have lived in my whole life on the east coast (Ngunguru) on a small farm. I always have wanted to be a chef. I study my first year at North Tec then moved to Wellington to finish my diploma in Cookery and Culinary Arts.
I think it is important to teach our tamariki about food, healthy eating and where our food comes from.
I look forward to getting to know you, your child and whānau.
Hi my name is Stephanie and I am the administrator at Totara Park.
I live in Maungatapere with my husband and young son.
Having my own son attending Totara Park I see things from both an administrative point of view as well as a parents point of view and am here to help and support parents with any queries and generally help in anyway I can to make things easier.
I am very excited to be part of the Educare Team and looking forward to meeting you and your families and assisting in making things as easy for you as I can.
Stephanie is currently on maternity leave.