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Te Puna Ako Learning Centre

Learning Centre staff profile

Margaret Evans (Ext 8623)

BSc (Auckland University), DipTchg (NZ Dept Education), CELTA (University of Cambridge)

Hello! My name is Margaret Evans.

My background is as a teacher of Mathematics and Sciences at secondary schools in NZ, England, Cook Islands and Botswana. Whilst in UK I took the opportunity to retrain as a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, followed by some years teaching in this field. My past decade of teaching has been in Foundation Studies at Unitec teaching various combinations of literacy, Maths, and Chemistry. Currently I enjoy sharing my teaching time equally between Te Puna Ako and Bridgepoint, teaching Mathematics. I am based at Mt Albert campus but also help with the Nursing Maths at Waitakere campus.

Lance Laulala (Ext 8657)

BSc (Maths & Physics majors), GDipTchg (Sec) (Ch.T/Col)

Early 1974, a group of 30 of us youngsters arrived from Samoa on scholarship to attend the 7th form and universities around the country. Six of us attended Waitaki Boys’ High School in Oamaru (incidently, Glenn Turner and Sir David Beattie are ex-pupils) for one year then to University of Canterbury. My studies often suffered due to my love of sports (rugby, volleyball, soccer and snooker) and ignoring the socialising that goes with sport was very tough. I worked in a variety of jobs during university holidays including being a farm hand on a sheep and cattle farm (Loudon Farm, 3500 acres, Banks Peninsula), a sanitation engineer (garbage collector), a building site assistant (labourer) and also played in a band at the local pub. Working with students over the past 35 years has fuelled my fascination with "how people learn", and I find reflecting on practices of some great teachers I had in the past an invaluable asset. The conversations I have with students are mainly on topics with a Maths, Physics, Mechanics, Chemistry or Statistics component.

Catherine Mitchell (Ext 6076)

PhD Candidate University of Auckland, MLIS (with merit) (Vic), PG Dip Education (Adult) with distinction (Massey), LLB (Waik), CELTA

Kia ora, my name is Cat and I have been working in the Learning Centre for over six years. I have been involved in tertiary education as a student and a teacher almost continuously since I was 17. In my time as a student, I have undertaken a variety of tertiary studies from law to information studies to language teaching. Studying in different disciplines has provided me with a rich variety of experience and a knowledge that can be very useful in working with students from a variety of programmes. Undertaking study towards different qualifications also confirmed my love of learning new things and led me to realise how much I wanted to assist others to successfully undertake their learning journeys.

I work with students from certificate to post-graduate level, with a focus on academic reading and writing.

Caroline Malthus (Ext 6077)

BA (Otago), Dip Tchg, DELE (Salamanca), PGDip SLT (Waik), MA (Applied) (Waik)

I teach academic writing, speaking and study skills to students from undergraduate to postgraduate levels.

Cindy Wee (Ext 8941)

BA (Hons) (Malaya), PGDip Ed (Malaya), Dip Montessori Teaching (London),M Ed (TESL)(Nottingham).

I ‘hopped’ from the Island of Borneo to NZ in December 2006 and have been working at the Learning Centre since March 2007. Prior to that, I taught English in the secondary schools and the MARA University of Technology in Malaysia for nearly 2 decades.

I am passionate about helping students develop their learning and it has always been rewarding for me to see students progress and succeed in their academic pursuits. I enjoy working with students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. If you’re concerned about your English, writing an assignment or how to cope with your studies in a Kiwi culture, feel free to make an appointment with me, I‘d love to see you.

Margaret Wilson (Ext 8761)

BA (Hons) (UCSB), PGDip SLT (Waik)., MA (Applied) (Waik).

Greetings! I was born in a small town in Southern California but have been living in New Zealand since 1982. I have been a student on and off for most of my life so I clearly enjoy learning. I also thoroughly enjoy working with students who are keen to improve their learning strategies and academic and literacy skills.

I originally began teaching English to speakers of other languages at Unitec in 1983 but in 2001 I moved to the Learning Centre where I work with students from certificate to under-graduate level on academic reading and writing and study skills.

Margi Grey (Ext 8681)

PGDip Ed, with distinction (University of Auckland); BA (double major in Education and Sociology) (University of Auckland); Certificate in Higher Education (Unitec); Certificate in Language Teaching and CELTA (Unitec); Currently studying towards Master of Professional Studies in Education (University of Auckland).

Warm Pacific greetings, I’m a NZ-born Pacific Kiwi of Tongan and Niuean descent (Mum, also NZ-born) and Samoan, Cook Island and Danish descent (Dad, Fijian-born). I started working as the Learning Centre's administrator in 1998 but realised soon afterwards that I wanted to become a Learning Centre tutor. In 2000 I began studying part-time towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Auckland. In 2008, an opportunity arose where I was asked to apply for the Pacific Learning Development Lecturer position at the Learning Centre so I applied and was successful. I was then able to finish my BA degree and graduated in May 2010. I am the first member of my family to graduate with a university degree.

I work with all students from certificate to degree level on academic reading and writing and study skills and I teach some of the Learning Centre’s workshops. I am also a PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) Coordinator at the Learning Centre. I also attend key events such as the Pacific students' orientation, fanau evenings and Pacific assignment retreats. I enjoy learning and I enjoy helping students develop their learning.

Maria Radic (Ext 8927)

Dip.H.Sc., (Otago) Dip.Tchg, (Auckland) Grad.Dip.L.T. (Unitec)

I am the daughter of immigrants from Croatia so I feel I have some insight into the difficulties faced by people settling into N. Z. I have travelled widely and really enjoy working with people from different cultures.

I have had many different jobs in my long career including teaching in secondary schools, working for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs as a Consumer Adviser, owning my own business and working as an English Language Lecturer specialising in Business English at Unitec.

I enjoy working with students who are new to academic study especially if English is not their first language.

Wilma Pinto (Ext 8611)

BA , MA Pol.Sc.(Mumbai)

I migrated from India in October 2008 and soon joined Auckland Regional Migrant Services as a volunteer. I got an opportunity to join Unitec in 2009 as the administrator for Te Puna Ako Learning Centre. I love the atmosphere here and truly believe you will love being here too.

Moira Hobbs (Ext 5623)

BA, MA (Hon), Grad Dip Language Teaching, Dip Early Childhood Teaching, Cert Community Work.

Hi - As you can see I've been involved in my own and other people's education most of my life. I started out studying at University straight after school, and worked at a range of jobs for several years both in NZ and overseas. Since having a family, I have found I needed to re-train a couple of times as I followed my interests and developed my career ... and I just love that I can assist others to enjoy the fun and benefits of lifelong learning as well!

Hua Dai (Ext 5156)

MA (Merit) in Applied Linguistics (Sydney University), BA in English Language and Literature (China)

I have a background in Second Language Acquisition and in teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language in New Zealand and overseas.

When making the conscious transition fromthe Chinese Academia to the English setting, I have developed a special set of skills to offer to students making a similar transition at Unitec.

I also offer Maths support to students doing a nursing degree.

Deborah Faaiuaso (Ext 5141)

BA (double major in History and English), MA (Hons) in History

Talofa Lava! My name is Deborah Faaiuaso.

I am proud to say that I am a Samoan. My mother is from Salani, Falealili, Upolu and my father is from Safai, Savaii.

I studied my Undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts, BA (double major in History and English) and then went on to Postgraduate level where I completed my MA (Hons) in History.

I have worked at AUT in student services. At University of Auckland I worked in multiple roles, I was with the Department of History as the Pacific mentor, worked with High School Pasifika mentoring programmes and as a Recruitment and Course Adviser.

Robyn Hutchins (Ext 5100)

NCALE, National Certificate in Adult Literacy Education,(Educator), CELTA, Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Graduate Diploma in Higher Education.

I am a Kiwi, born in the little town of Te Kuiti in the King Country, New Zealand. I ventured North to the “Big Smoke” of Auckland at the age of 17 to find employment.

In 2002 I left my career as an Office Manager to become involved in Tertiary Education at Unitec Waitakere Campus. My passion was to assist and support new immigrants learning English and settling in to life in New Zealand.

I have been at Unitec for 11 years. I am now a Learning Development Lecturer for Te Puna Ako at Unitec Waitakere. I specialise in support for EAL (English as an Additional Language) students at Unitec. I also have skills to offer in Adult Literacy development.

Having experienced it myself, I have respect and empathy for all adult students returning to study. I also have the greatest admiration for the EAL students learning the English language and endeavering to immerse themselves and their families into the Kiwi way of life.

Kelly Panapa (Ext 8698/5049)

Ngati Whatua,BPE (UofA), MProfSt Ed (UofA)

Kia ora I am Kelly Panapa and I enjoy working alongside students to develop the skills they need to gain the careers they want. Prior to working at Unitec I was a secondary school Physical Education and Te Reo Māori teacher. I have worked at Unitec for 8 years now mainly in the Learning Centre and previously with Maia Māori centre. I love learning and look forward to learning new things with and from the students I work with. In my time at Unitec I have developed a knack for assisting students to understand their assessments better, plan how to approach them, structure their ideas and communicate them well. I enjoy seeing students succeed.

Sarah Hangartner (Extn 8440)

Certificate in Adult Education, Diploma of Teaching (Primary), Diploma Operations Research and Statistics, BSc (Maths and Statistics)

I come to Te Puna Ako after five years with Bridgepoint (Foundation Studies) where I particularly worked on the Maths for Nursing course. I have been involved in adult maths education for about 20 years both in New Zealand and in the UK. Prior to that I trained as a primary teacher and before that worked in Statistics for a government research department.

I offer maths and statistics support, always focussing particularly on developing confidence and understanding.