Our teachers


Heidi Greenwood - Principal

Moriah Kindergarten Principal Heidi Greenwood has led the kindergarten since 2002 and worked to develop a real sense of belonging – a place with a heart – at Moriah. She describes it as a family-based environment where everyone gets to know each other.

“I love seeing the children fully engage in our activities and I believe our successful outcomes are all due to our wonderful balance between free play and structured activities. I love that as a team we are valued and respected for our individual strengths and interests.”

Heidi was awarded a National Excellence in Teaching and Leadership Award in 2010. The award was recognition of her efforts to lead change at Moriah Kindergarten to create a sustainable, strong and special place with high standards and a caring community.

She holds a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood and is fully registered. Her passion for early childhood education was ignited while living on a Kibbutz in Israel for 10 years and working with children.

Heidi is Danish and married to a South African with their three children all born in Israel. “Having lived in various countries around the world I have a strong appreciation and respect for my own and other people’s culture and values,” she says.

Rochelle Kirby - Teacher

Rochelle started her career in ballet and dance, including teaching it to children. She enjoyed working with young children so much that she did her Diploma of Early Childhood through Wellington College of Education and she is a fully registered teacher. She then worked at various Wellington Early Childhood Centres and spent a few years as Supervisor at Storyplace, the Early Childhood Experience at Te Papa Tongarewa - the Museum of New Zealand.

When she had her own children she was lucky enough to stumble upon Moriah Kindergarten and recognised it as a place of quality childcare with lovely staff who valued family and had a real connection to a community. This appealed to Rochelle so both her own girls attended the Kindergarten and she became involved as an advisor, mentor and chairperson of the Parent Committee.

True to her belief in family first, she followed her own children off to Brooklyn Primary School where she worked as a Teacher Aide for over six years. In 2015 she returned to Moriah to work with the fabulous family there again - the children, the families and the wonderfully dedicated staff.

Rochelle believes, "Children want to learn most when they become inspired by things and people that they love and that truly interest them. A Kindergarten should be a place where there are opportunities for children to have plenty of social experiences in an environment where they can be themselves and feel comfortable about taking another step."

Tamar Jaquiery - Teacher

Tamar has spent her entire working life with children in many different capacities. She spent many years working with children with special needs and this is still a passion of hers. She has worked in childcare centres, schools, respite houses, holiday programmes, and in family homes. She chose teaching as a natural extension of her love of children and her strong desire to make a difference in their lives.

“I think it’s extremely important to talk to children on their own level and give them the respect and encouragement they need to grow into happy, confident people,” she says. She is particularly passionate about Jewish education and is a Jewish Studies teacher at the Centre’s after school Orot programme for primary students.

Born in New Zealand, Tamar has travelled the world and lived in many countries, experiencing many cultures and different environments. Due to this experience, she hasna profound sense of the importance of culture and its acceptance and recognition in an Early Childhood learning setting. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Jewish History and Literature in Melbourne, Australia and then moved with her Australian husband to Wellington in 2011 and completed her Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary) at Victoria University in 2013. She then finished her Grad Dip Teaching (ECE) in 2016 and is now fully registered.

She has two young daughters, Shir and Hallel.

Chandra Littlewood - Teacher

Chandra comes to us as a teacher after being part of the parent
committee for six years while her three boys were at Moriah. She believes
Moriah is a very special place for children and their families and is excited
to continue to be part of the Moriah family as part of the teaching team.

Chandra has a background in Environmental Education and Conservation.
After training as a Secondary School teacher she worked in Environmental
Education for the Department of Conservation, working with schools and
community groups across Canterbury and Wellington. She is very passionate about education and sustainability and feels that children, parents, teachers and their communities all have an important part in this.

Chandra enjoys working with children and loves the enthusiasm and surprises they bring to the world. She is excited about the opportunity to work in early childhood and as part of our amazing teaching team. Chandra is also very excited to be leading Moriah on its Envirokindy journey. The Envirokindy programme supports children and young people to plan, design and implement sustainability actions that are important to them and their communities. It means the regeneration of resilient, connected communities in which people care for each other and the environment. 

Mary Cull - Teacher

A Mainlander, born in Dunedin, Mary brought up a family of three children in Palmerston North before moving to Wellington. After falling in love with her first grandchild, Mary made a late-in-life career change from working as a management consultant, training and coaching adults in the workplace. This meant going back to University and completing a postgraduate diploma to prepare to teach in Early Childhood. During her studies, Victoria University of Wellington gave her the Teacher Education Excellence Award. Mary already had a MA in Latin and a Diploma in Business and Administration (Distinction). She is fully registered as an ECE teacher.

Since graduating from Victoria University Mary worked from 2011 for the Ministry of Health’s early learning centre. When the centre closed in 2014, relieving work in early childhood provided many opportunities to keep developing as a teacher.

“At this stage in my life, I am focussing my life-long interest in education to where it matters most -
with pre-schoolers. Assisting in the development of each child’s potential really motivates me.
University introduced me to the Māori learning concept of āko (learning from those we teach as
much as they learn from us), and I find this so true of pre-schoolers.”

Outside of work, Mary is fully absorbed with four grandchildren, spending time with friends,
movies, reading and walking. “I am very excited to be part of the teaching team at Moriah
Kindergarten,” she says.

Sam Treister - Teacher

Providing exciting creative experiences for the children at Moriah Kindergarten is one of teacher Sam Treister’s many strengths.

Sam has a Teaching Diploma from Wellington Teachers College, an English Literature Degree from Victoria University and is a registered primary teacher. She’s a strong believer in education, and in learning from children – “They are inspirational”.

“I like creating new things from old and it’s fascinating to see what the children can create when given the opportunity and inspiration.”

After teaching new entrants and year 5/6 children at Remuera Primary School, she managed ‘Weird & Wonderful’, a hands-on discovery centre at Auckland Museum, for
a number of years. There, she facilitated groups from early childhood up to tertiary level learning about natural history topics.

She returned to Wellington in 1997 and purchased the ‘Lily House’ a ceramic and gift store, before beginning her family. Sam and her husband now have three boys who have all attended Moriah Kindergarten.

While being a ‘stay-at-home mum’, Sam took on various part-time roles, including executive assistant for the Israel/New Zealand Information and Cultural Centre. She then returned to relief teaching in various primary schools and early childhood facilities around Wellington, including Moriah.