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.

Cara Lindsay

Centre Manager
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.

Angela Whittam

Assistant Manager
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.

Haley Chapman

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. Haley is currently on maternity leave.

Rebecca Dickens

Registered Teacher
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.

Sarah Weddle

Registered Teacher
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. Sarah is currently on Maternity Leave.

Kirsty Le Couter

Registered Teacher
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.

Chelsee Dovey

Registered Teacher
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.

Tracy Palmer

Registered Teacher
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.

Emily Brunker

Registered Teacher
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.

Anna Hall

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora, I’m Anna. I live with my two girls Dawn and Alexis, who you will see here in the centre. We live here in Tikipunga and I grew up in Onerahi with my family. As a child I spent a lot of time outside riding bikes and exploring with my friends. We would often go fishing and spend time gardening. Our family holidays were often spent visiting family in New Plymouth.
I started my teaching journey with the completion of my Bachelor of Education specialising in Primary Teaching. I then took a year's break to have Dawn and spend time being a mum. Since returning from maternity leave, I did a fixed term role at Educare Norfolk Street working with 0-2 yer olds which quickly became my passion.

Kerri Thomas

Registered Teacher
Kia Ora! I have been teaching since graduating in 1988. I have 3 boys who have left home and are embarking on their own adventures, but return home regularly when they are hungry! Apart from teaching, my passion in life is animals. I feed and care for 48 animals daily and the majority of these have been regular visitors to the different centres where I teach! Animals can teach children to be caring, kind, gentle, responsible, and to gain an understanding about empathy. My teaching philosophy is to know your child’s interests and to extend them in every way possible. I love woodwork and spend most of my weekends creating educational equipment for tamariki. I am so excited to be walking alongside your child as they embark on their amazing learning journey.

Karmen Reid

Teacher in Training
Tena koutou katoa!
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 tamariki. Karmen is currently on maternity leave.

Jamie Patauawa

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.

Christein Oberholster

I am the proud mother of Lara and Daniel and the grandmother of Eli.
I was born in South Africa and immigrated to NZ in 1994. Teaching children is my passion, I have been involved with children all my adult life and I will graduate with a Diploma in Teaching ECE this year.
My other passion is ensemble, acapella singing. I am a vocal coach and a musical director.
As an educator of young children, I believe that learning should be play based, and teachable moments will present themselves when working alongside the child. Acknowledging diversity and the dual heritage of Aotearoa, New Zealand and working to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi provide me with a strong foundation for ongoing partnership with kaiako, parents, caregivers and whānau.

Andrea McKenzie

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.

Stephanie Wood

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.