Dan McGregor (Chairperson)
Dan McGregor is a senior advisor at Fletcher Building and has a legal background with a focus on resource management, public policy and strategy development. He is a member of the Resource Management Law Association of NZ and lives in Titirangi with his wife, two daughters and an assortment of cats and dogs.
“Bridging the digital divide grows ever more relevant as society becomes ever more dependent on technology and those with the skills to use them. All New Zealand kids need fair access to the digital tools they’ll need to build a prosperous future. I’m proud to be part of making that access happen.”
Elaine Niven, JP
Elaine Niven is Electorate Secretary to Michael Wood Member of Parliament for Mt Roskill. She was Electorate Secretary to Michael’s predecessor, Hon Phil Goff for 19 years. She is a foundation member of the Trust, a Justice of the Peace, Marriage Celebrant, the mother of 3 adult children and she is also a very proud grandmother to her little granddaughter.
“When I heard about the plan to form the Ako Hiko Education Trust I was really keen to get involved. Through the Member of Parliament’s office I see a lot of people who want the very best outcomes for their children but cannot afford the latest technology. I am passionate about providing an equitable learning environment for our young people by equipping them with the tools to embrace e-learning in this modern world whilst also providing training for educators to keep several steps ahead of their students. I am proud to be part of an enthusiastic group of people who are committing to ensuring that no child is left behind in our society.”
Giora (Gary) Barzilay
Gary has been living in New Windsor for the last 10 years and has been involved in helping the New Windsor school and community as a real estate salesperson over the last few years. He joined Ako Hiko as a trustee in 2016 after seeing the potential the trust has in influencing how students learn, and the impact it has on their education.
Jenny Merrington was a teacher for many years. While studying towards a Diploma in Educational Technology, she moved to Unitec where she initiated online collaborative programmes between eleven schools. Most recently she was employed by the University of Auckland as an e-learning and literacy facilitator working in a number of schools across Auckland. Now retired, she volunteers at the Mount Roskill Citizens Advice Bureau and enjoys spending time with family.
“Since the early days of floppy disks, I observed the power of technology to enable children to create, communicate and learn. It is a privilege to be part of the Ako Hiko Trust enabling all children in our area to have those experiences.”
A passionate believer in the power of education to create brighter futures, Diana Sharma has spent more than a decade in the education and training industry - developing, implementing and scaling innovative skill development models for global impact. Presently as Mission Director at Launchspace, she leads a specialist team pioneering a unique skill development model based on whole brain thinking to prepare candidates for careers in the technology sector.
In her previous role as General Manager - Alliances and Partnerships at Unitec, she was instrumental in the institution securing skill development partnerships with Australian, Saudi Arabian, and Indian business and education organisations. Diana also played an integral role in developing partnerships with Fortune 500 companies IBM and Concentrix and Unitec’s joint venture with The MindLab by Unitec and Tech Futures Lab.
Diana is also completing a Masters in Technological Futures, and working on an online platform, My Story Home.
“This is a cause that is close to my heart. I believe that education is the key to a bright future for humanity. And the next generation deserves better and more accessible education. Ako Hiko Trust is making education accessible, which helps prepare our young ones for a future that is yet to be created. I am truly honoured to be a part of this journey and to assist in unfolding a new world.”
A former primary school teacher in both London and Auckland, James has been a lead facilitator and education consultant with CORE Education since 2015. Having been part of the front line and in class delivery with Ako Hiko schools, James transferred into a national role in mid 2017 and returned as a trust member in early 2018. He has held multiple leadership roles in schools on Auckland’s North Shore and continues to be passionate about making a difference through the leveraging of digital technologies.
“When supporting learners in this area, it was fantastic to be part of their experience and passion as they worked with digital technology. To be part of the AHET and play a small role in providing equity and access is both humbling and incredibly rewarding.”
Sandy is a Deputy Principal at Lynfield College and has been a teacher for over 30 years. She taught English for most of that time at a decile 1 school in South Auckland. She has had significant experience as a school trustee and for many years has done volunteer work in the Mount Roskill electorate. Sandy joined the Ako Hiko Trust in mid-2018 because she sees technology as a powerful tool for improving student engagement and achievement and was impressed with the work the Trust was doing in Mount Roskill.
“As a teacher I was always looking for ways to improve educational outcomes for my students and remove barriers to their learning. Ako Hiko is doing that by levelling the playing field so all young people can access technology and see success. Having a device of their own supports student learning and collaboration. It also opens up whole new worlds for them.”
Originally from Kerikeri, over the last 35 years, Gavin has lived mainly in Auckland with a few extended periods in the UK. He is married to Vicki and they have 4 children aged 19 to 11 years who between them have attended 2 primary schools, 3 intermediate and 5 different secondary schools in both NZ and the UK with varying degrees of technology in the classrooms.
He is an electronics engineer with a passion for technology and learning and has helped establish and grow a number of successful technology companies.
He joined Ako Hiko Education Trust in 2019 after being invited to attend a trustee meeting and seeing the impressive results the students in their cluster achieved as the result of the trusts work.
Having seen first-hand the benefits technology provides to 2 of my children who are dyslexic, I understand the importance of its availability in schools. One of the UK schools had an excellent programme to enable all pupils of the school to have access to technology and this was incredibly successful – evident by their GCSE results, some of the highest in the country for a state school.
Darby Healey is a partner at KPMG and lives in Mount Albert. She is married to a secondary school principal and has 3 daughters who all attend local schools. Darby has lived in the area since 2002, and in her free time can be found watching her kids play a multitude of sports, or walking up Owairaka with her husband. Darby also volunteers with Springboard Trust, which provides coaching to principals and senior leadership teams of low decile schools.
“As a parent of a child who needs technology support to learn, I know first-hand how critical this can be to children’s achievement. We live in an age where we know many children learn differently, and not everyone has access to the tools they need. I am so proud to be part of Aiko Hiko Trust who are working to make learning equitable. The work they do is not limited to a session in a classroom, it encompasses children being engaged and involved in their learning, developing themselves, building their own confidence and feeling competent in a digital world. You can’t underestimate the outcomes and the impact they have to our society.”
Nigel Davis - Principal Representative
Nigel is the Principal of Wesley Intermediate School. He is the convener of the Principals group and as such is the Principals’ representative to the Ako Hiko Education Trust. Nigel is one of the last remaining original principals and is a highly experienced leader. He has worked in Mt Roskill for over two decades and is heavily involved in supporting the community.
Kaaren Holland-Kara - Executive Officer
Kaaren Holland-Kara is married with 1 adult and 2 teenage children and is a qualified Accountant. Originally a founding Trustee of Ako Hiko Education trust, was then appointed as the Executive Officer in April 2015. She has lived in Mt Albert for 30 years, with her children all attending local schools. She says “I love this community and have committed myself to the local education system.” She has 12 years experience as a School Trustee, having been both Treasurer and Chairperson for Owairaka Primary School, and Chairperson at Kowhai Intermediate School.
“I was already aware of the success of the Manaiakalani Education Programme and am very grateful to have been a founding trustee, and now Executive Officer, hoping to emulate this success in the Mt Albert/Mt Roskill area. To be part of an organisation striving to provide the best educational opportunities for students, and support the amazing work being done by our local Principals and Schools, is an honour.”