Mary Woods Matahui School Principal

Principal | Mary Woods

My name is Mary Woods and I feel very honoured to be the principal of Matahui School. I have been teaching for 16 years and bring to Matahui school experience in teaching students who have a diverse range of learning styles and attributes. I have specialised in teaching Gifted and Talented. I have worked in the Bay of Plenty all of my teaching career mainly at our largest Intermediate Schools. During my teaching career, I have led many areas, these include IT strategic planning, implementing digital programmes, Science, Future Problem Solving, Literacy and Mathematics. During this time, I have taken groups of students to the United States of America to represent New Zealand at the Future Problem Solving Internationals which is an amazing experience. Science and Future Problem Solving are areas of passion for me, often within these areas students gain an understanding of real global issues and how they can play an important role in improving a situation for humankind.  I enjoy seeing children flourish in a supportive environment in which they can develop their specific gift and talent.

I have recently moved to the Pahoia area with my husband Jim and we are loving the warm community. We have 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. We enjoy camping and outdoor experiences. We also love growing our own food and planting New Zealand native trees.

Christine Matahui School Primary Teacher

Year 0 & 1, 2| Christine Croskery

Hi. My name is Christine Croskery and I have had the privilege of teaching at Matahui School for the last 28 years! It’s been a family affair for us, with my 2 children, Eve and Niko, both spending all their primary years at Matahui and my husband James very involved, especially in the wonderful camps throughout, and now attending to the maintenance of the school. So as a parent and a teacher I can vouch that Matahui is a place where very special memories are made! It’s a very creative and exciting place to be and I enjoy that every day is different. I love the hands-on approach and the warm family environment. I am now enjoying team teaching with Donna McDonald.

Donna McDonald Matahui School Primary Teacher

Year 0 & 1, 2| Donna McDonald

Hi. My name is Donna McDonald. I joined the staff here at Matahui School in May 2018 to team teach with Christine Croskery. I enjoy being a mum to Ella who is four and Louis who is two. We live on a beautiful property right here in Katikati. We love growing all our own produce and have started our own blueberry, strawberry and raspberry farm. Prior to teaching at Matahui, I taught at a wonderful school in Tokoroa for four years.

Matahui is a safe, warm and inclusive family environment. The staff at Matahui work well as a team to met children’s individual needs. The small class sizes are wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy working along Christine in creating a coherent, warm and engaging learning environment.

Elaine Garrett - Matahui Private Primary School Teacher

Year 3 & 4 | Elaine Garrett

I am Elaine Garrett. Since 2009 I have been teaching part-time at Matahui School and I am thrilled to be teaching the Year 3 & 4 class this year. Prior to coming to Matahui School I taught at Ngatea Primary School for 20 years and was Deputy Principal there, before moving to the Bay of Plenty. I live in Athenree with my husband Keith, who teaches Chemistry part-time at Hauraki Plains College. We both enjoy the quiet, relaxed lifestyle in Athenree.

I love teaching at Matahui School. The children, parents and staff work together as a caring family community, where individuality is respected and valued.

Ali Chissel Matahui School Primary Teacher

Year 5 & 6 | Alison Chissell

Hi, I am lucky to be married to my dear husband Dave and we have two energetic boys. We currently live at Te Puna and love spending time on the water, especially kayaking. I am an avid reader who often finds it hard to put down a great book. Gardening and home renovations are huge interests and I love working on new projects. It is inspiring to be part of an energetic and highly innovative team. I believe in fostering warm positive relationships with every individual child so they feel safe in our creative learning environment.

Mr Evans Matahui School Primary Teacher

Year 7 & 8 | Paul Evans

I am married to Nicola, with two lovely girls named Ruby and Lisa. We live on a lifestyle block with avocados, lambs and chickens. I describe myself as a lifelong learner who enjoys sport, the outdoors, languages and exploring other cultures. In our classroom, we create a stimulating student-centred environment, underpinned by conceptual inquiry learning and a wonderful outdoor education program, with a strong emphasis on leadership and team building. There are many aspects of our school that exemplify my ideals of a full primary. Our small class sizes and the real-life experiences Matahui brings to the students, results in them knowing themselves and connecting effectively within their communities.

Christine D Music Teacher Christine Deschamps

Music & French | Christine Deschamps

In 2006 I moved back to NZ with my family after 12 years of living on small French islands.  I have taught music for many years and my path led me back to Matahui where I had been involved since the very early days. I have a classical piano background and am a qualified primary teacher. My style of music teaching has been very influenced by both the Yamaha and the Orff pedagogy, through which I have developed a belief that everyone is musical and that we are all better off if we have music in our lives.

I am also a fluent French speaker now so have the role of teaching French to most of the Matahui students. I am also responsible for organising a Tahitian exchange offered every 2 years to our year 7 and 8 students, an experience they learn from and enjoy.

Gail Admin Matahui School Primary

Administration | Gail Thomson

Hello! Originally from the United Kingdom, we emigrated to Christchurch in 2007.  We then moved to Tauranga in January 2014.  We live in The Lakes in Tauranga. My  husband is a Physics Teacher and works  at Katikati College.  We love it in the Bay of Plenty and felt at home straight away and really enjoy the ambience of the place. I began working as a Business Administrator at Matahui School at the beginning of Term 2, 2014 and it is a fantastic place to work. Everyone is very welcoming and kind and the school has a lovely family feel which is wonderful!

Trish Admin Matahui School Primary

Business Administration | Trish Rankin

Hi – I’m Trish and I really enjoy working as the Business Administrator for Matahui School with such awesome colleagues’ and in an amazing environment, it’s like working in a park. I was educated in Tauranga from the age of 8 at St Marys Convent then at the Tauranga Girls College and left Tauranga to find work in Auckland where I worked for Fernz Corporation for 35 years as their Employee Benefits Manager.  The call of the Bay was too strong and in June 2015 Robert & I relocated back here and live in Omokoroa.  I come from a large close-knit family and we do a lot together and are all very competitive and love camping and the outdoors.  I have run 5 marathons, love walking the dog and really enjoy playing table tennis at the local Omokoroa Club.  The children who attend Matahui School are really privileged to be part of such an amazing learning environment.


Board of Trustees

  • Jonny Reay – Chairperson
  • Samantha Ogden
  • Suzanne Greaves
  • Ruth Butter
  • Danielle Ellis
  • Mary Woods – Principal
  • Paul Evans – Staff Rep