Our trustees

Diti Hill-Denee


Diti recently retired as Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. She continues to be involved at the University of Auckland as Honorary Research Fellow and also continues to supervise post-graduate students.  For over forty years Diti has been actively involved with a wide range of early childhood services and organisations as parent, teacher and teacher educator. She attended Playcentre with her four children and, over 20 years, was involved at the national level for several years. She is currently national president of OMEP Aotearoa New Zealand and the external monitor for three early childhood degree programmes. Over the past 24 years Diti has facilitated and co-facilitated professional development, conversation groups and conferences, drawing on the intellectually-engaging philosophy and pedagogy of Reggio Emilia. She has attended 5 professional learning opportunities in Reggio Emilia and is a trustee of REANZ (Reggio Emilia Aotearoa New Zealand). Diti is passionate about inspiring teachers to explore and debate the nature of the teaching-learning process and to reflect on the effect that personal pedagogical practice has on their own lives and the lives of the children they teach.


Helen Aitken


Helen has been in early childhood education since 1994 in the capacity of teacher, leader, facilitator, and more recently Senior Lecturer. She has returned to live in the Waikato and has also recently returned to working with young children again – and loving it! She is passionate about pedagogical documentation and celebrating and learning te reo Māori and our unique bicultural heritage.  

Helen has been interested and inspired by things Reggio since 2001 and in particular how ECE teachers and centres in Aotearoa can be challenged in ways which ‘fit’ with our own (bi)cultural context and curriculum.

Pam Wilson


Pam Wilson is the Treasurer and Trustee of REANZ and has been interested in the Reggio Emilia approach since the early 1990s. Her visits to Reggio Emilia have continued to keep her searching for deeper meaning into her work with children and teachers. Pam has recently retired from the role of Senior Teacher with Kindergartens South. 

Glenys Waller

Primary Schools Respresentative and  Network co-ordinator

Glenys is the primary representative on the REANZ trust and teaches the New Entrant class at St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland. She has been interested in the Reggio philosophy since participating in a study tour to Reggio Emilia in 2005. The principles of the Reggio philosophy   underpins the pedagogy in the Junior School at St Cuthbert’s and several staff have participated in study tours to Reggio and Melbourne. Glenys’s thinking is continually challenged by the other members of the Trust  and participating in all Professional Learning available. Listening to Children and The Image of the Child are two of the principles that have enhanced her teaching.

Lorraine Manuela

International Network Representative

Lorraine and her team at Tots Corner have been inspired by the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia as a provocation interfaced with Te Whaariki for onwards of 13 years. They believe the Reggio Approach has offered a new paradigm for early childhood education, to be places and spaces for political and ethical practices, not places of technical practice and the transmission of knowledge. They continue to be challenged by the Pedagogy of Listening and creating environments that both challenge and inspire children and teachers to share understanding and interpretations. Lorraine is the Reggio Children International Network Representative for REANZ.

Wendy Lamar


Wendy Larmer is a retired Early Childhood Teacher, past Chairperson of REANZ, and worked in the MInistry of Education supporting early childhood teachers.

Michelle Doherty


Michelle is a primary representative on the REANZ trust and teaches in one of the Ngā Kākano classes at Beach Haven Primary School. She has been teaching there since 2008. She has a background in Early Childhood Education. Her interest and passion for a Reggio Emilia approach to learning have underpinned her teaching philosophy for many years, thinking that children and teachers learn together as Kairangahau of their own learning to deepen their knowledge and enquiring minds.

Sandy priestley


School. Her background is kindergarten teaching, and recently returned from teaching early years foundation stage in London for four years. Sandi became interested in the Reggio philosophy when given the opportunity to participate in a study tour to Melbourne in 2004. While living in the UK she was thrilled to visit Reggio and the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre. She is passionate about providing and creating learning spaces that both challenge and inspire children and teachers alike.  Working with children has always been an absolute joy and privilege that has never diminished over the years.Sandi  is an Early Years teacher, currently teaching Year 0 at Kristin  

Rachel Denee


Rachel has worked in various roles and contexts across the early childhood sector since 2000. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Victoria University Wellington, and a pedagogical leader and co-owner of Daisies Early Education & Care Centre. The team at Daisies is inspired by Reggio Emilia pedagogy, continuously reflecting on what we can learn and weave into our own context. Rachel discovered Reggio Emilia pedagogy in the early 2000’s and has been a member of the REID committee in Wellington since 2012, providing and engaging in professional learning to explore Reggio Emilia principles and practices. She was thrilled to attend a study tour in Reggio Emilia in 2019.

Lis Lewis


Lis is a primary teacher, currently working in the upper years at Sunnyhills Primary School in Auckland. She engaged with the Reggio Emilia philosophy and pedagogy during her early years of teaching at St Cuthbert’s College in 2005, and continued that learning through the 13 years of teaching Years 1 and 2, then Years 5 and 6. The journey of discovery and being brave to challenge paradigms in her own teaching and learning practice through collaborative, reflective conversations has been a passion. In 2009, Lis joined the Melbourne Tour that included visits to primary schools, as well as hearing Margo Hobba and Chris Celada  share their valuable insights. The many conversation evenings and REANZ conferences have fuelled the journey – the inspiration is limitless and the exploration unending. There is still so much to learn and to be enlightened by.

Chris Bayes


Chris teaches three and four year olds in the Foundation Class at Diocesan School for Girls. Her background is kindergarten teaching, working with children and families with special needs children, and working for the Ministry of Education as a Senior Advisor and as a Facilitator for Professional Learning. 

She was first introduced to the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia in 1994 when the Hundred Languages Exhibition and conference was held in Melbourne. After visiting Reggio Emilia in 1998, she began an adventure that continues to inspire and challenge her today. Chris is grateful for the friendship and mentoring that Jan Millikan has given REANZ and herself over the years. Chris says “Every day at school is a day blessed with possibilities for seeing the work I do with children through new eyes. Eyes that are not alone in listening to children. What are they telling us? What are the possibilities? How can we find new ways to think alongside children? To stand next to them and wonder and question? What a privilege”.Chris spends a lot of time with her two gorgeous grandsons who have enriched her life. “What a delight to be greeted with a running hug and a big smile as I pick the boys up from preschool (one of the best in Auckland may I add!!!). These delicious boys provide us with so many wonderful moments. Lucky, lucky us!”