Our Staff

Centre Manager

Kirsten Lassale | Centre Manager

Kia Ora koutou,

My name is Kirsten and my passion for early childhood has seen me as a teacher in preschool, the office administrator and now the Centre Manager. 

I love everything about The Village and feel blessed to be part of a Centre that aligns with my philosophy for early childhood.  Having grown up on a farm and run a farm for many years, I find the spacious, natural environment at The Village creates a beautiful outdoor space where I feel at home and proud to share with our tamariki and whanau.  In a world of technology, I love that we can offer an environment where our tamariki can form connections with nature through child led play. 

I look forward to meeting you and your tamariki.


Stella Nock | Office Administrator

Hi guys, my name is Stella!

I’ve worked in Early Childhood Education as a reliever since 2019 and after a break while getting married, I’m excited to be back here at The Village helping out with administration and relieving. I absolutely love working with children and watching them grow into beautiful little humans.

I grew up all over New Zealand, from Auckland to the bottom of the south and a few places in between! I am a musician and singer at heart, so when I’m not at work you’ll find me at home making and writing music or singing at my church. Other than that, fishing, lake days, eating good food with family and friends and going on adventures with my husband is what takes up the rest of my time.

You’ll see me in the offices and all round the classrooms so don’t be afraid to say hey.


Hannah Grainger | Team Leader

Bachelor of Teaching, Post Graduate Diploma in ECE

Kia Ora Tātou

Ko Hannah tōku ingoa

Ko Grainger tōku whānau

Nō Tauranga Moana Ahau

Ko Mauao te maunga

Ko Taupō-Nui-A Tia te awa

Hello everyone, my name is Hannah Grainger. I was born and raised in Tauranga. I graduated from The University of Waikato with a Bachelor in Primary Teaching and have over 6 years of experience in teaching all ages. I have recently returned to Tauranga after living in Taupō where I met my now husband. Our son, Charlie, is currently in the tots room. 

I love working in education and I have a passion for delivering the curriculum in creative and meaningful ways. I believe in our tamariki being able to succeed in this world by being the people they choose to be – allowing them to be courageous to explore the world around them through inquiry and curiosity.



Kim Audas

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Hello, my name is Kim. I have been teaching in ECE for seven years.  My passion for teaching young children comes from my love of play and a desire to encourage and support children to reach their potential.  Everyday offers so many promises and you never know what is going to happen next. This for me is the beauty of being with children.

My husband Craig and I have two teenage daughters, Hannah, and Emma.  As a family we love the outdoors and animals.  We have four rabbits, a ring-necked parakeet called ‘Cheeky’, and a cat called ‘Tigga’.  In my spare time I love going to the gym, walking, and spending time with my family and friends.  I am excited to get to know you all and your families.


Milla Hong

Bachelor of Arts (Russian)/ Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora the Village whanau. I am Milla.

I used to be a high school teacher in Korea many years ago, and my passion for teaching led me to be an ECE teacher after having my boy in New Zealand.

I am a passionate and interactive kaiako who values and shares our tamariki’s excitement.   

My philosophy goes with respect and relationship as well as inclusive practice.

I am so excited to join The Village team and look forward to meeting you all.

Aroha nui

Pat Duffin

Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)

Tēnā koutou

Ko Pat toku ingoa. I was born and raised in Christchurch and graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching and Learning (Primary). I have worked in primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch during my teacher training and moved to Tauranga in 2014. Before getting back into education, I was working in the building and hospitality sectors.

My passion for teaching and learning stems from my parents and being the oldest of 5. I feel that learning through play, fostering positive relationships with parents and guardians and creating a safe learning environment are essential for children’s growth and development. My teaching style involves a lot of child directed play with lots of open ended questions that allow the children to give me their thoughts, feelings and opinions on what is going on. This type of teaching style lets me get a good idea of the child’s level of understanding of what is happening and also gives me the information required to make any changes to ensure the child can process the information being presented to them.

In my spare time I enjoy boxing and going to the gym. I am also passionate about music, art, cooking and nature. I am really excited to carry on my journey in the education sector here at The Village.

Ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa.


Aimee Smith

Teacher in Training

Hi! I’m Aimee.

I just love working with children, watching them gain their independence and learn through play.

I am a mum of two children,aged 4 & 7.Their infectious energy and personality inspires me every day.

I am passionate about creating a nurturing, safe environment and building positive relationships with families and whanau.

I can’t wait to get to know each child’s personality and to learn what inspires their imagination.

Sarah Steedman

Teacher in Training

Kia Ora, 

I’m Sarah and I am one of the teachers here at The Village preschool.

Being a mother of my own 3 daughters, I still had so much more love and passion to give. I enjoy being there to nurture and guide the tamariki to be the best they can be and preparing them and there development for the big wide world. 

Baking being a passion of mine, it is something I love to do with the tamariki. Not only is it fun and delicious but it can tap into a child’s motivation and promote the development of learning, play, life skills, motor skills and social skills.


Catherine Bannister | Team Leader

Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
Kia ora, and tena koutou nga mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa
My name is Catherine, and it is a huge pleasure and privilege I have been given to care and support your tamariki,  on their amazing journey here at The Village. 
Over the past 35 years I have been employed in a wide variety of people focused industries, the last 10 years being in the teaching industry.  This experience has also included extensive work with children who have additional needs, and even today I still provide home support to whanau at the weekends, to families who have children with special needs.  
I have two awesome grown-up children of which my youngest son is now 16, and an amazing supportive partner who loves to share my passion of kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding and diving.   As you would say, I have real aroha towards our oceans and environment.  So whenever you get the chance, please introduce yourself, as I always love learning more about your wonderful whanau/family and the hopes and dreams you have for your delightful tamariki.  

Victoria Falemaka

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora, my name is Victoria but many know me as Vicky.

I come from Niue, born in Auckland and have lived there all my life before recently moving to Tauranga in February 2023. I moved down with my partner, step son Kaleb (17) and our daughter Qria (2), who is here in the Explorers room as well.

I have worked in ECE for 10 years, I started my teaching journey at the Village in March 2023. I was with my last center for almost 7 years since opening in 2017. I enjoy learning and teaching, going on a journey with children, their families, a new team and community. It’s wonderful to see a child grow, with all the many accomplishments and memories they make in the early years.


Harpreet Kaur

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)


I’m Harpreet, I migrated from India 17 years ago. I have been in ECE for the last four years as a qualified and registered teacher.

In my family I have two lovely boys and a husband. I love working with young learners and I am excited to be working here at The Village

Min Hoi

Masters of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora everyone!

I am Min, a Chinese Malaysian who was born and raised in Malaysia. I traveled to New Zealand in 2020 with my partner and decided to study early childhood education after being amazed by the outstanding child-led curriculum – Te Wharaki.

I like to explore children’s interests and extend their learning with them. It is a pleasure for me to witness a child’s growth and learn alongside them. I am excited to become a part of The Village Childcare family and start my teaching journey.

Maggy Ramirez

Certificate in ECE (Australia)

Hello, my name is Maggy. 

I am originally from Mexico, and I’m the third of four siblings, with two older brothers and a younger sister who is my closest friend. Though my parents have passed away, their influence on my life and career has been immeasurable. 

I completed a Science of Communication Degree in Mexico before moving to Australia, where I got my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

I have been living in New Zealand for a year and a half now with my boyfriend, who is a Kiwi. We met while I was doing my yoga certification in Bali, and we decided to live in Mexico for three years before moving to New Zealand, I have a deep fascination with different cultures and enjoy traveling to learn more about them. 

When I am not busy chasing children, you can find me experimenting in the kitchen, grooving to some tunes, practicing yoga, exploring nature, and indulging in some serious movie marathons on rainy days.

As a member of the Village, I will do my best to create a nurturing environment where children can thrive, learn, and have fun. 

I believe in treating each child with respect and kindness so that they feel valued and supported. 

Thank you for considering me as your child’s potential teacher.



Hannah Thomson | Team Leader

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

Kia Ora koutou

Ko Hannah Thomson tōku ingoa 

I have a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and am a provisionally registered kaiako.

I am originally from Palmerston North which is where my teaching journey begun 6 years ago, in that time I have had the pleasure of working with all ages and discovering ways I can encourage and support each child’s learning journey. 

I have a sweet little daughter called Harper who was born November 2020, she has reignited my passion for infant teaching and I am so excited to be joining the infant team at The Village.

Relationships are the heart of my teaching, so I look forward to forming these with whānau and tamariki. I have a strong passion for Te Ao Māori and enjoy giving tamariki opportunities to be authentically immersed in a bicultural environment. I also love supporting children to create connections with the outdoors, providing them with an understanding how the environment is the third teacher.

I look forward to meeting you and your tamariki!

Ngā mihi nui. 

Sam Green

Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)

Kia ora,

My name is Sam. I have a Bachelor of Teaching in Primary Education and have been teaching since 2015. I am passionate about working with children and helping to develop and grow young minds and supporting them to discover and follow their interests.

In October last year, my fiancé Soul and I welcomed our sweet baby boy Ryder into the world. Becoming a mum and seeing Ryder’s growth and development so far has inspired and encouraged me to begin my journey in ECE.

I believe that children learn at their own pace and in their own time, with the appropriate care, support, and guidance. I know how important the early years of a child’s life are and I am passionate about creating a warm, welcoming, safe, and nurturing environment where tamariki have the freedom to imagine, create and explore. I value warm, reciprocal relationships with tamariki and their whānau. Tamariki are constantly learning strategies for getting to know and work alongside and with each other, and kaiako and families are doing the same!

I look forward to getting to know you and your whānau.


Susanna Fiebiger

Teacher in Training

Kia Ora Parents and Whanau,

My name is Susanna.

I have a little girl, Ava, 6 months old and we look forward to be joining the team at The Village.

We live rural so Ava loves long outdoor walks in her stroller. I have been working with the under 2 age group for 6 years now and absolutely love it! I believe that children thrive in a nurturing environment where they are encouraged and supported to grow, develop, and explore at their own pace.

I acknowledge how crucial these first few years are in terms of babies’ rapid development and strive to provide them with a safe and warm environment where their needs are nurtured and supported. I look forward to getting to know you and your family!

Aneri Van der Berg

Bachelor of Teaching (SA)

Kia Ora

My name is Aneri. I am a South African trained teacher with a Bachelor of Education degree. I have been teaching since 2005. I have a true passion for working with children. I enjoy the energy they bring and being able to see them grow and develop new skills every day.  It is really important so me to create and foster good relationships with tamariki and their whanau and creating a positive, nurturing environment.

My husband and I have two beautiful children, a 3-year old boy, Philip and a 9-year old daughter, Zelri. We moved to New Zealand in March 2022 and have embraced every step of our journey. As a family, we love the outdoors, especially camping. In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach, going for a run and just to spend some quality time with family and friends.

I look forward to getting to know you and support your tamariki here at The Village.

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