Ko tō mātou tirohanga matara | Our vision

“All ākonga are provided with innovative, connected and responsive teaching, learning experiences, pathways and environments. These will enable Māori to achieve success as Māori and all ākonga to thrive as culturally located learners and as citizens locally, nationally and globally.”

Ko tō mātou ingoa | Our name

Grow – the intention to collectively grow and transform.

Waitaha – the abbreviated Māori name for the Canterbury area.

Ko tā mātou mahi | What we do

Our mahi is designed under four pou, which we use to guide our impact. 


  • Ākonga are future-focused and demonstrate global citizenship.
  • A broad definition of success is widely understood and implemented.
  • Learners have increased agency over the direction of their learning. 


  • There are smooth and seamless pathways into, between, and out of schools.
  • A connected, collaborative, coherent and learner-centred schooling system.

Equity and Inclusion

  • Authentic, rich curriculum and pedagogical approaches reflect our bicultural nation.
  • As Te Tiriti partners, schools actively collaborate with mana whenua/rūnanga to support Ngāi Tahu aspirations.
  • Inclusive education practices are used to identify and remove barriers so that learning is accessible for all.


  • Kaimahi and ākonga have a sense of identity, belonging and place.
  • Ākonga and teachers are empowered to support their own wellbeing.
  • Collaborative leadership is grown, enabled, and informed.

Ko wai mātou | Who we are

Governed by Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education, Grow Waitaha is a partnership between its governors, three education providers (Tātai Aho Rau | CORE Education, Evaluation Associates Ltd | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga, and Leadership Lab), kura and their communities.

Garry Williams, Te Mahau – Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Garry Williams is a member of Puaka, supporting the overall direction of the Grow Waitaha initiative. He enjoys exploring how systems can work better for users and builds commitment and enthusiasm for change. Garry brings flexibility to different situations and a knowledge of how collaborative partnerships can utilise strengths together.

Verity Tamepo, Te Mahau – Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Mutunga

Verity’s role at Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga supports the mahi of Grow Waitaha as part of Garry William’s Renewal team. Career highlights and experiences include teaching across early years, primary and secondary, as well as supporting systemic change for equitable outcomes in tertiary education. Verity brings a commitment to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and aspirations of hapū and iwi for positive educational outcomes for ākonga and their whānau.

Helen Cooper, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Helen Cooper is a member of Puaka, supporting the overall direction of the Grow Waitaha initiative. Helen is an experienced educational leader committed to collaborative governance and working in partnership to innovate and foster new opportunities for ākonga.

Dr Cheryl Doig, Think Beyond 

Dr Cheryl Doig coordinates the Puaka and Deciding groups and supports all other workstreams in their combined mahi. Cheryl co-leads the Futures impact area. She has wide-ranging experiences in futures/foresight, education, health, leadership, and governance. Cheryl's great sense of curiosity and collaboration helps her to explore future possibilities and influence others.

Ray Burkhill, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Ray co-leads the Future impact area and is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups, supporting the overall direction of the Grow Waitaha initiative. Ray has worked as a teacher and school leader locally and has supported several Waitaha schools to develop their education briefs as a Navigator.

Steve Edwards, Evaluation Associates | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

Steve Edwards has a range of roles across the Grow Waitaha project. He leads the Pathways impact area and is a member of the Deciding and Puaka groups. In addition, he helps allocate support for schools undergoing ‘build projects’. He has also supported schools to develop and/or review their education brief documentation. 

Janelle Riki-Waaka, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Janelle co-leads the Equity and Inclusion impact area and is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups. She is a highly experienced leader and consultant specialising in areas such as developing cultural competencies, Te Tiriti o Waitangi education and digital technologies. She has considerable teaching and leadership experience in both English Medium and bilingual education settings and has developed extensive experience in supporting the engagement and success of all ākonga. Janelle is passionate and committed to empowering ākonga Māori to live, create and innovate in ways that re-indigenise and revitalise our reo and tikanga for future generations.

Dr Chris Jansen, Leadership Lab

Chris co-leads the Equity and Inclusion impact area, is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups, and facilitates various initiatives across Grow Waitaha including the Ōtautahi Secondary Change Leaders Network. He also works in a variety of schools and Kāhui Ako and is passionate about culturally sustaining leadership. Chris is co-director of Leadership Lab which is focused on growing equitable and thriving communities and organisations.

Kerry Hall, Evaluation Associates Ltd, Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

Kerry leads the Wellbeing impact area, is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups, and facilitates Grow Waitaha initiatives across the impact areas. She has supported a number of schools across Waitaha with their education briefs and as they transitioned into their new learning spaces.

Helen MacGougan, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Helen leads the Storytelling team and is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups. Helen has worked as a kaiako and a middle leader in secondary education and as a facilitator of adult education. Helen’s passion is storytelling and supporting learners to be creators of their own stories through visual storytelling.