Early childhood and support staff scholarships: previous scholarship recipients

Previous scholarship recipients have created a wide variety of valuable work, and in many cases have put the work towards their postgraduate studies.

See the previous recipients' work here.


  • Te Mania Gabel is a teacher at Te Kohao Kohungahunga Hamilton. Her project is "Nga Manukura a Hineteiwaiwa -the unique gifts of Hineteiwaiwa".
    A member of NZEI for the past 10 years TeMania is completing a Masters in Education degree. The scholarship will assist her with a research project looking at the current processing and practices for Maori children with special needs in Maori early childhood settings. 
  • Penelope Pokoati is a teacher at Brian Webb Kindergarten Tawa. Her project is called "Carving the Coconut- Growing Pasifika teacher leadership in ECE services and networks. She is the Komiti Pasifika representative on the Wellington Area Council. Her project aims to explore what influences teacher participation in leadership roles and professional networks.
  • Kathleen (Kat) Hall is a teacher aide at Newtown School Wellington. Her project is titled "Engaging, representing and expressing diversity - a model for oral language learning". She is enrolled in part-time study for a Masters of Arts in Applied Linguistics programme, her classroom based research project, involving the classroom teacher and English as a second language students, aims to develop a model for oral language learning.
  • Janice Smith is a teacher aide at Palmerston School. Her project is "Teacher Aides in SENCO roles". Her project is to generate interest in the SENCO roles and, through discussion and surveys, estimate the level of support for teacher aides in these roles. Support for forming local support networks for teacher aides/SENCOs to support each other and to share information would also be investigated. In addition she intends enrolling at a tertiary institution to study for a teacher aide qualification.


  • Michelle Simms - A library manager at Te Totara primary School since 2008.
    Michelle has a Diploma in Library and Information Studies. Her project is titled “How reading for pleasure can benefit students AND librarians”. She intends recording and disseminating the latest international research on the academic benefits and increased empathy skills that arise for students who are reading for pleasure; and, by considering the United Kingdom situation, investigate how this might impact on the working conditions of school librarians.
  • Karyn Anne Humphries - A teacher aide at Otama primary school.
    Karen has attended several courses on supporting learners with high functioning Autism, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, speech and behavioral issues. Her project is to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Autism Spectrum Disorder) through Massey University.  Through advanced theoretical and research-based study of specialist teaching, she will increase her understanding of providing for learners with autism. She will share the information with members of NZEI through regional network meetings and by providing a paper for the NZEI website.
  • Kate McAnelly - A teacher at Kindergarten South.
    Kate’s project is titled “Achieving citizenship for all: How do people in a kindergarten support the active participation of a child with a disability and their family?”  This will be her Master of Education dissertation during which she will critically examine how a kindergarten community of learners best comes together to support the active participation of a disabled child and its family. As a relieving teacher she has experience of a wide range of inclusive practice and has extensive plans for sharing her work.
  • Mary Hardiman - A pre-school manager at ACG Sunderland Preschool.
    Mary’s project is titled “We are Proud to say “I am an Early Childhood Teacher”.  She will carry out research at a post graduate level carrying out theoretical research and practical inquiry into the impact a qualified teaching team would have on the learning outcomes for children in ECE.  She will then develop strategies for teachers to communicate the importance of teacher training and knowledge for early childhood education.


2015 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipients (final reports due December 2016)

  • Josephine Turia: Promoting an intensive course “Dance with me in the Heart” primary care curriculum whole center approach, within our Pasifika centre”.
  • Helen McConnell: Completing a Masters in Education degree: investigating culturally responsive curriculum theories which support the engagement of students and their whanau in quality early childhood education programmes.

2015 Support Staff Scholarship recipients (final reports due December 2016)

  • Maryann Hainsworth: Feuerstein training to engage in further study at level two in the Feuerstein framework and eventually achieve the EI Standard Certification.
  • Kelly McGrath: Certificate in Learning Support through the University of Canterbury to gain further education, knowledge, skills and strategies to assist her work with students who have varied special needs.


Note: no scholarships were awarded for 2014 while the process was under review.


2013 Support Staff Scholarship recipients

  • Dipika Patel: Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as an Additional Language from Massey and to take up a Professional Development Course at the Open Polytechnic
  • Molly Kutia: “Time To Take Up the Cause!” The purpose being to “to extinguish a fire that constantly prevents Maori students from striving, achieving and progressing within the education system of today”.

2013 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipient

  • Andre Lahood: Professional development to complete a degree he had been working on part time for several years.


2012 Support Staff Scholarship recipients

  • Julie Storr: ‘Professional Development in Library Management and Digital Librarianship’ completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Studies through Victoria University.
  • Bonnie Campbell: Exploring new ideas, learning current best practice and attending the American Library Association Conference 2013 in Chicago.

2012 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipients

  • Tere Gilbert: ‘Pehea ra e ora ai toku Reo Maori’, researching and developing an alternative model of Immersion Māori Early Childhood Education.
  • Sheralee Moore: ‘How does the world of Te Ao Māori and modern technology make for successful Māori learners in the 21st century?’


2011 Support Staff Scholarship recipients

  • Kathleen Van Der Putten: ‘Professional Development in the School Library Sector’, included completing a Diploma in Information and Library Studies.
  • Mahoney Topia: ‘Pathway to Postgraduate Education’ Completing a Masters in Health Science (Occupational Therapy).

2011 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipient

  • Tanya Shorter: ‘Teacher Appraisal – its relationship to motivation, collegial relationships and pedagogical change in an early childhood context in Aotearoa’: a research project gathering data for an indepth exploration of teachers experiences and perceptions of two systems of teacher appraisal.


2010 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipients

  • Joanna Young: Research in to how best to ensure whakawhanaungatanga te reo Maori is integrated into her work as an early childhood educator, and developing teaching resources to support this in the outdoor environment learning context.

2010 Support Staff Scholarship recipients

  • Helen Tina: Learning New Zealand Sign Language to benefit her students, her colleagues, and the parents of the students who are hearing impaired focusing on the full participation of hearing impaired students and their families in the school community.
  • Karyn Ward: Complete a Master of Arts in History with the aim of increasing awareness amongst members of the importance of ongoing learning and in the importance as educators, in understanding our cultural foundation and history.


2009 Early Childhood Education Scholarship recipients

  • Gail Megaffin and Trish Walton (joint applicants): Looking at assessment practices in early childhood education, particularly in literacy, and develop better links between Te Whāriki and the New Zealand curriculum, to make the transition between early childhood education and school easier for children.
  • Carolyn O’Connor: To create a practical resource for the early childhood sector about Education for Sustainability in a New Zealand context.

2009 Support Staff Scholarship recipients

  • Sharon Kerebs: To consider the extent to which teacher aides support student learning and participate in school activities.
  • Ian de Stigter: To consider gender equity issues relating to school support staff and produce a practical resource for members.



Applications for the 2019 scholarships are open until 4 May 2018. Find out more about the scholarships and how to apply.