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."

Catherine Vaughan - Teacher

Catherine has taught at various community-based early childhood centres around Wellington.  She lives in the inner city with her partner and three children who are grown-up and almost grown-up. In her spare time Catherine enjoys gardening, sewing and making things. She can often be spotted going for long walks around the local neighbourhood, exploring the inner city, hidden rivers and streams, the inner city green spaces and the waterfront.

"I am passionate about nurturing an ecological identity in tamariki and connecting them with nature - especially in urban spaces," says Catherine. Catherine enjoys children’s wonderment for the world and takes great delight working alongside children in their explorations and investigations. "I am most excited to be part of Enviroschools.  Children can take an active role in planning for and learning about sustainability, the local community and the people within it," she says. Catherine has a BA in Social Anthropology and a Graduate Diploma in Early Years.

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.