Andrew Becroft 2

Judge Andrew Becroft, Children's Commissioner

Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed the Children's Commissioner for New Zealand for an initial two year period from June 2016.  Prior to that he was the Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand from 2001 to 2016; and was appointed a District Court Judge in 1996.

After graduating from Auckland University in 1981 with a BA/LLB (Honours) degree, he practised in Auckland until 1986 when he then assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre and worked there until 1993. He then worked as a criminal barrister in South Auckland until his appointment to the District Court in Whanganui, from 1996.

Judge Becroft is a former council member of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society. He is the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc., which assists those with various forms of speech impediment, and is the Chairperson of the Board of the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (NZ) Inc.

Judge Becroft is married with three children, aged 23, 21 and 17.


Speaker's Handouts:

Being Child-Centred

Children's Commissioner's Education Priorities 2018-2019

Children's Commissioner's Top Priorities

Brian Nathan3

Brian Nathan

Brian specialises in health and safety litigation. He regularly acts for insureds on instructions from insurers in relation to workplace health and safety matters. He works with insureds throughout the WorkSafe investigation process, advising employers and their staff from the day of the accident. He has successfully defended health and safety prosecutions and appeared as counsel for numerous sentencings. He has frequently acted for schools and other public sector organisations in both health and safety and general employment issues. He will talk about how the Health and Safety Act 2015 applies to schools and talk through both school and other workplace case examples.

Fiona Gower

Fiona Gower

Fiona Gower is a true "rural woman" having lived and worked in the rural sector most of her life.

Fiona is the National President of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ), an NGO and Charitable Organisation whose goal it is to support and strengthen rural communities

Much of Fiona's career has been in the rural service industry,   she could see the importance of being encouraging and educating to both clients and fellow staff members to understand the pivotal role women play in the rural sector, especially around decision making.

Fiona saw the potential in RWNZ to make a difference. She recognised the opportunity to join and use the transferable skills learnt in employment and to learn further skills in the roles on offer

Her leadership journey through RWNZ has taken her through many roles and opportunities, including attending Kellogg Rural Leader Programme and the Agri Women's Development Trust Escalator Programme, giving her both experience and training to grow her leadership potential and have the confidence to take up new challenges such as her present role with RWNZ.

Along with being National President of RWNZ, Fiona sits on the Rural Communities Trust and is the NZ Landcare Trust Chair. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Waikato Conservation Board and has many other community roles, including being a surf lifesaver and instructor at Sunset Beach, and a Scout Leader for the Waikaretu Sea Scouts

When not busy with these positions, she is very much at home on the farm where her partner works, caring for and supporting her two children and helping out in the local community and at Onewhero Area School where her children have attended.

Sir John Jones 2

Sir John Jones

"There is no moral purpose greater than to leave your legacy in the life of a child, and to do this with a real passion for wanting to make a difference in every one of their lives so that they have ticket to anywhere."

Sir John Jones has worked as an educator in many schools throughout England, and also held three principal positions in some of the toughest schools within the United Kingdom.

Sir John has a real passion of learning - he believes that through learning we can open the doors to many opportunities for those young people who end up in our schools and education organisations. He believes education is about social change, never just about ticking the boxes, or meeting targets.

He believes that we need passionate teachers who have a righteous indignation to ensure that these young people have the opportunities they deserve to realise their dreams.

Sir John will challenge us to re-think our mental models of ideal students and encourages us to move away from our comfort zones if we are to engage successfully with all our students.  Being aware of the influence of pre-conceived ideas and how our sub-conscious affects our attitude to students is important of we wish to change.

Lynda Stuart

Lynda Stuart

Lynda has been a teacher for more than 30 years and is currently the President of NZEI Te Riu Roa.

She is a passionate advocate for the needs of Pasifika and Maori communities, equity and special education.

Having held a number of senior leadership positions in primary schools in Auckland, Lynda's most recent role was Principal at Mt Roskill's May Road School.  She will return to that position in 2019, when her two-year term as NZEI President concludes.

Lynda has been a member of the newly formed Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and before that the New Zealand Teachers Council. She has served in a number of positions within NZEI both regionally and nationally. Until the end of 2016 she was the Principal's Representative on the National Executive of the organisation. Lynda is involved in a number of advisory groups on behalf of NZEI.

Photo of Paul Goulter

Paul Goulter

Paul is currently National Secretary of NZEI Te Riu Roa in New Zealand. Amongst his earlier roles he has worked as General Secretary for Finsec, the New Zealand finance sector union, Secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Director of the Organising Centre at the Australian Council of Trade Unions.  He moved back to New Zealand ten years ago to his current role.

Paul also works at an international level with global unions, assisting them with moving into global organising and campaigning.

Picture by Tim Cuff - 25 November 2015 - Absolute Wilderness directors Andrew and Grant Macdonal and Nathan Fa'avae, Nelson, New Zealand:

Nathan Fa'avae

Nathan has been a semi professional and full time professional athlete for 18 years. During that time he has represented New Zealand at 4 different sports, attending 15 World Championships. He has captained the New Zealand Adventure Racing team to 5 World Championship victories. He has competed in 28-countries.

Perhaps what makes his sporting career quite extraordinary is he has battled with a Heart Condition 'Atrial Fibrillation' throughout his adult life. He has had three corrective surgeries to manage the condition.

He spends a significant amount of time in the wilderness with his children doing adventures.

He lives in Tasman Bay, near Nelson with his wife Jodie and their 3-children. He is half Samoan.

Workshop presenters


Cathie Johnson

Topic - What survey, what purpose and some thinking about analysis

Evaluative Capability
Rural and teaching principals are just plain busy so you need your use of data to be purposeful, to be focused, and to make a difference. Saying it is one thing, knowing how to do it is another. This workshop will challenge your thinking about your focus for improvement while highlighting the characteristics a good leader needs to be effective. The purpose for assessment is improvement - spending some time looking at the 'how' of that statement.

Cathie Johnson is an Education Adviser with NZCER. Her role is to build the assessment capability of leaders and teachers to ensure that their collection and analysis of data is focused on improving teachers' teaching and students' learning. Cathie was a teaching principal for eight years and understands the need for every word you write, every document you produce to be useful.

Images belong to Nikki Anglesey

Noreen Melvin

Topic - Appraisal

Noreen Melvin is a Lead Adviser for the Teaching Council in the area of Teacher Capability and Development. She is responsible for Initial Teacher Education in the South Island and part of Wellington. Her current work is in the development of new requirements for Teacher Education programmes and the embedding of Our Code, our Standards/ Ngā Tikanga Matatika, Ngā Paerewa into programme and assessment design. To support this mahi, Noreen does workshops on Our Code, Our Standards with a focus on appraisal as a learning tool across the profession. She has been involved with the development of materials and resources for Principal and Teacher appraisal on the Teaching Council website. Noreen is passionate understanding the Standards as a way to look at high quality teacher practice and the impact on outcomes for learners.

As a past Deputy Principal , Acting Principal , Curriculum Adviser in the Ministry, mentor of beginning teachers, Coordinator of a Secondary Teacher Education programme and classroom teacher; Noreen brings an array of perspectives to this critical work around our Code, our Standards.

Simon Ashby

Simon Ashby

Topic - Practical and effective tips for G Suite users in the classroom

Simon Ashby is a Google Certified Innovator and regularly trains teachers in the use of G Suite for Education across New Zealand and Australia. In 2018, Simon spent time at Google's HQ in San Francisco. He is a knowledgeable and entertaining facilitator.

He is a year 3/4 Primary Teacher at Hampden Street School in Nelson.

This session will focus on the use of simple but effective apps and extensions, Google Earth and visual design tools.
Make sure you bring your laptops, this will be a practical session.


Kirk Milligan

Topic - Teacher as Learner - The (r)evolution in Maths Pedagogy

Numeracy Project, ALiM, MST, Jo Boaler, DMIC, Digital Technologies. Maths classrooms are not what they used to be……and for good reason.
In this workshop we'll briefly explore what "normal" teaching and learning in Maths could look like and our agency in transformational change.
Kirk is a math teacher at Nelson College and a Across School Teacher in Kahui Ako o Whakatu. He is leading the Kahui Ako in Mathematics development and his presentation skills, enthusiasm will bring Mathematics to life.

Pip Grey

Pip Grey

Topic - Spirals of Inquiry to lift student achievement

Having had over 10 years experience as a Deputy Principal and four years experience as a Principal in a small rural school. I understand the many hats that you are required to wear as rural principals.
My passion is around the Spiral of Inquiry process and how you can utilise the tool to make shifts for your learners. During my time in Marlborough my school was part of the Piritahi C.O.L, and during our C.O.L work, I was lucky enough to meet and work with Helen Timperley and strengthen my understanding of the tool.

Anjela Webster

Anjela Webster

  • Taking a look at the strengths and gaps in what we're already doing around online safety, citizenship and wellbeing.
  • Familiarising ourselves with the Harmful Digital Communications Act and what this means for schools.
  • Understanding steps in managing online incidents from the minor to the serious.
  • Looking at some of the resources available from Netsafe and beyond for use in schools.

Anjie Webster, Education Advisor for Netsafe will be facilitating this presentation. Anjie has been in education for over 25 years, and recently completed her M.Ed. looking at the online space and what's needed to support young people. Weaving research and knowledge into sessions, Anjie provides current information alongside pragmatic strategies and tools for educators to use as experts in their own context and community.

Karen Cooper

Topic - Impact of Trauma and support for students who have experienced trauma

After completing training as an Educational Psychologist at University College London in 2012 I developed a special interest in working with children who had an acquired brain injury and those who had experienced early trauma. This led onto overseeing psychological support for children in the care system across the region and subsequently embarking on post-graduate training in Paediatric Neuropsychology at Great Ormond Street Hospital. On moving to New Zealand I worked for two years for the Ministry of Education Behaviour Service and for the past year with the Nelson Bays RTLB service. I was also the principal author on the MoE guidance for schools called Supporting Children in Care.

Workshop overview
The impact of early trauma on brain development
As Principals you are more than likely to have a child within your school who has experienced early trauma. Understanding how trauma can impact on brain development, and the subsequent influence on behaviour, is a fundamental part of effectively supporting a child or young person.
During this workshop you will learn about:

  • The overactive fight/flight response in children and young people who have experienced ongoing trauma;
  • The effects of toxic stress on the developing brain;
  • The impact that early trauma can have on executive functioning skills and memory capacity;
  • How these factors will influence learning and behaviour in the classroom.