Sue Taylor

Tena Koutou Katoa

Ko tapuae-o-uenuku te maunga

Ko Te Tai o Marokura te awa

No Kaikoura ahau

Ko Sarah ratou 

ko Alyce, ko Callum, ko Bailey aku tamariki

Ko Taylor toku whanau

Ko Suzanne toku ingoa 

         No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

Greetings. I am Sue Taylor, the Principal of Omakere School. I come from a background of teaching and leadership in rural schools around the Bay of Plenty and spent 2018 working with Porangahau School.  I am a maths specialist teacher having recently completed my Masters of Mathematics Education. 

 I have 4 children and 4 grandchildren spread from Invercargill to Melbourne and working in fields from Healthcare to Farming.

I am excited to work together with  Omakere students, staff, whānau and community to develop Omakere to be a future-focused and student-centered  place of learning.

Sam Bell

Ruma Tupu Kaiako 

Kia Ora, my name is Samantha Bell and I am one of, the two lucky teachers to be teaching in our Junior Room at Omakere School.  I have been teaching for 17 years and have taught at a number of schools both in New Zealand and England. I began my teaching journey at Mahora School in Hastings where I taught for 3 years in the Junior and Middle school before heading over to England for a couple of years teaching in large primary schools in the London area.  When I came back to New Zealand I taught at Hastings Girls High School for a year, then at Arthur Miller in Taradale for 4 years before we started our family. During this time I have taught a range of year levels from Year 0 -10 and have enjoyed aspects of them all. I live in the Omakere community with my husband Gus and our 3 children, Monty, Fleur and Holly.  We farm sheep and beef on a coastal property on Pourerere Road. I grew up in Central Hawkes Bay and attended Flemington School for my primary years and appreciate how lucky our children are to attend a great country primary school. I love teaching and am driven to provide an exciting learning environment for all my students. My teaching passions include Literacy, Sport, Enviroschools and The Arts.  I love that being a teacher allows me to still be creative and that I get the opportunity to share my passions with our tamariki. 

Bec Humphries


Ruma Tupu Kaiako 

Kia Ora, My name is Rebecca Humphries, and I am proud to be a teacher at Omakere School.  I have held various teaching roles during my time at Omakere, most recently in a shared role teaching in the Junior Room.  I am passionate about teaching and learning and have always had an interest in special education. Recently I have taken on the roles as sports coordinator and SENCO at our school.  I enjoy sports and look forward to giving our students the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sporting events and codes. 

I am married to Mark and we have three children, Caitlyn, Toby and Millie.   All three of our children attend Omakere School. We live locally on a sheep and beef farm, that is farmed by Mark and his family.  I have a genuine interest in our community; I am a member of the Omakere School & Community Association (OSCA) fundraising group and have always been a strong supporter of our community.  I enjoy spending time at home with my family, being outdoors, gardening, traveling, reading and cooking.   I am also a Justice of Peace.  

Anna-Kate O'Brien

Ruma Pōhutukawa Kaiako


Kia ora koutou katoa, my name is Anna-Kate O’Brien, and I am very excited to join Omakere School for 2022 as the Middle Room Teacher. After spending a year as a Chef Tutor and becoming a mum, I decided to embark on a Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching. My degree is in finance, so I am very passionate about mathematics. I am also passionate about literacy, sports, and visual arts.

I am originally from Invercargill but left for Auckland at the age of 10 and then to Hawkes Bay at 14.

During high school I spent a year on student exchange to Denmark. Since finishing High School I have lived all over New Zealand as well as Yorkshire, England. After marrying my Irish husband Ted, we decided to settle in Tikokino to start a family. We now have two boys Tadhg and Oisín and three dogs – Titus, Indy, and Egbert. When I’m not running around after the boys (big and small), I love cooking, spending time in my garden and veggie patch, camping at the beach, reading and listening to music.

I believe learning is a life-long endeavour and I feel privileged to be a part of the learning journey of the tamariki at Omakere School. I look forward to meeting you all and becoming a beneficial part of your community.

Karen Barkle

Ruma Kahikatea Kaiako

Kia ora, my name is Karen Barkle and I am lucky enough to be working in the senior room with awesome students!

I have been married to Craig for 34 years and we live in Waipawa on a small lifestyle block with our dog Mooch.  We have three children, Jason, Alanna & Elise and also three beautiful grandchildren - our granddaughter Kayla in Wellington, and our two grandsons Mason and Tyson who live locally. 

Originally from Wellington, I spent my pre-children years working in many different corporate environments, in varied administrative roles.  When we moved to Hawke’s Bay in 1995, my passion for teaching was ignited through being a parent helper at our children’s school.  I graduated with my degree aged 30 and began my teaching career at Taradale Primary School where my children attended. I taught there for 8 years, teaching students in Years 1- 6 until our family moved to Tikokino.  I worked at Tikokino School before securing a position at Ongaonga School where I remained for eleven years, firstly as a teacher of Year 7 & 8 students, then Deputy Principal, and the last 2 years as Principal.  

My teaching passions include Mathematics, Writing, Digital Technology, Visual Art and my favourite, Performing Arts. I love seeing students develop their creativity and build confidence through performing on stage in front of an audience.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time here at Omakere School - there’s nothing like working in a rural setting! I am looking forward to getting to know more tamariki and their whanau as time goes on.

Nicole Nimon

Ruma Kōwhai Kaiako


Kia ora koutou,

My name is Nicole Nimon and I am one of the two teachers in Ruma Kowhai. I feel very fortunate to be part of the staff of Omakere School and to work with such amazing tamariki. I have been a teacher for 14 years now, with time off in between to have my three beautiful children, Oliver, Phoebe and Matilda. I am married to Richard and we live on a small rural block in the outskirts of Ōtāne.

I am passionate about Mathematics Education and completed my postgraduate studies in this area, becoming a Mathematics Specialist Teacher while working at Windley School in Porirua and Frimley School in Hastings. 

In my down time I attend Omakere Playcentre with my daughter Matilda, enjoy spending time in my kitchen baking, (especially trying out new bread recipes!), and explore our region with the family. 

I have a deep appreciation for Omakere School and the wider community, and I consider myself fortunate to be a member of it.

Jane Benson

Art Specialist Teacher 

My name is Jane Benson and I am the  very fortunate CRT and art teacher at Omakere school.

I have been teaching on and off, ( in between being a Mum!) for 25 years.

Originally from London, moving to NZ, Clive and settling in Tikokino.

I have a passion for the visual arts, having completed a degree in Textile design before gaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

I strive to create an environment where children feel safe to share, question and take risks. I use my specialism in the visual arts to encourage and foster creativity.

I love teaching at Omakere, both the staff and tamariki are awesome!!!!

Gayle August

Office Administrator

I have now been working for Omakere School as the Office Administrator for ten years.  I have an absolute passion for Omakere School and am totally committed to helping the staff, students, Board of Trustees and parents/ caregivers in any way I can to make a difference. Prior to this, I had been a member of the Board of Trustees for ten years and still attend the meetings as Minute Secretary.

I previously lived in the Omakere District for 23 years and supported the local Playcentre, Community Hall, Dog Trials etc. Both my son and daughter completed their Primary School education at Omakere School. I have recently moved into Waipawa but find myself still gravitating to the Districts events.

If I was ever asked what job satisfaction is about, I would answer - work in a school office!  Every day is different and exciting as one never knows what is going to happen! The children are the ones that make the day

Marion Harty

Teacher Aide

I'm  Marion Harty.  I am currently teacher aide between our 3 classrooms.  I started out as cleaner for our school after my husband passed away.  I also got to be Lochie Anderson's teacher aide and was with Lochie for nearly four years.  After a brief break I am back at Omakere School and am thoroughly enjoying it.  I consider it to be a privilege and pleasure to be amongst our children.  All three of our children attended our school and my husband was BOT chairman for a time.  I like crafting from time to time and enjoy my little dog.

Kirsty Beagle

Teacher Aide

Live life, have fun and what an amazing School to be able to do that in!

 Hi, my name is Kirsty Beagle and I am the luckiest lady in the World to be part of the lower school, working with the most amazing children of Omakere School. 

 I am originally from England but have lived in New Zealand since 2003.  Paul is my partner for over 20 years and we have two gorgeous kids Jackson and Leah.  We live in Tikokino and still have to pinch ourselves every day to make sure we're not dreaming.  

I have travelled some of the World, worked with the elderly, special needs, challenging boys but also been an IT trainer and recently owned a shop in Waipawa selling children's clothes and accessories. 

 I love people, and I'm lucky enough to smile and laugh daily.  Being part of Omakere School in this awesome community is a dream come true.  Working alongside passionate teachers, parents and of course the little people that amaze you every minute of the day.  Lucky lucky me.

Fi Strong

Teacher Aide

Kia Ora, my name is Fiona Strong and I am extremely privileged to be working at Omakere School with an amazing and passionate team.

I am from a farming background having grown up in Elsthorpe on a sheep and beef station after my family moved to CHB from Canterbury when I was young. 

I am married to Geoff and we have 3 children, Sophie, Jacob and Amy. Jacob and Amy attend Omakere School and Sophie is at CHB College and Jacob will join her there in 2022.  We moved to Omakere from Elsthorpe in 2020 for Geoff to take up a job opportunity that was offered to him.

For my role as teacher aide, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with children from all 3 classrooms on a daily basis and my passion is to help make a difference to any children that have to work a bit harder in their learning than their peers.  I am thrilled that Omakere School has taken on a structured literacy approach as I have experienced first hand just how important this is with my own children.

The students of Omakere School are a joy to work with and I am very fortunate to be given the opportunity to do so.

Jayde Voelkerling

Teacher Aide

Hi My Name is Jayde Voelkerling, I am extremely lucky to be apart of Omakere school as a part time one on one teacher aide for one of our incredible special needs students. 

I’m a farm girl who grew up in the Taihape high country. My Husband and I moved to Tikokino, Central Hawke’s Bay 10 years ago with our young family and have loved every minute of it. We have three boys Daniel 12, Liam 10 and Sam 6. 

I have done a lot of work in ECE but never worked at a school and I am thoroughly enjoying my position at Omakere!

The kids are great, the staff are great and the atmosphere is amazing!

Marie Davies


Marie and her husband, Phillip, have lived in the Omakere area since 2013. They were married at Pourerere Beach in October 2014.  Marie has five children Daniel, Cameron, Stephanie, Zariah, Irena. 

Marie enjoys the friendly staff and the great location of our school to her home and beaches.

Carol Burkin  

Caretaker & Shadehouse Coordinator

My name is Carol Burkin, Rex and I have lived and worked in Omakere for almost 30 years.  Our 2 boys, Bryce and Dion, both attended Omakere School.

 For approximately 12 years now I have been employed as the caretaker at Omakere School.  I get a lot of pleasure from gardening and am passionate about keeping the school grounds clean, tidy and green.  I also work voluntarily with the children growing native plants in the schools shade houses.  I enjoy working with the children, showing them how to grow native plants.

Juliet Revell

Digital Expert - Digital Circus

Juliet joined Digital Circus in 2019, with 8 years of experience as a classroom teacher, including working in an ILE. Having taught in the Junior School for much of her teaching career, Juliet brings practical knowledge of how we can ensure our youngest learners become Digitally Capable. Juliet thrives on connecting learners, and was involved with @KidsedchatNZ for 5 years. A Google Certified Innovator, Juliet continues to model lifelong learning, and has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative learning. Coming from a farming background herself, Juliet loves the feel of our little rural school.

Juliet has focused on many aspects of Digital Fluency in her time with us. She has introduced our teachers to digital tools that enhance the great learning that our teachers are providing. The first step in this process is to get to know a variety of tools, and then ensure that our tamariki can choose the right tool for the purpose. Omakere has moved from using technology for consumption and substitution into a space where our tamariki are constantly creating! This is in no small part due to the constant enthusiasm and growth mindset of your staff. Ka rawe Team Omakere!

Danny Priestley

Music Expert

“I’ve been involved in Music and Theatre for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for it”.

Danny has been involved in the performing arts for over 25 years, with countless theatre shows, performances in bands, duos and a solo music career, he is no stranger to the stage.

After a tour of Aotearoa with Australian Celtic band ‘Riogh’ in 2013 he met up with his future wife Kate and soon after called Hawkes bay his home. He now resides in Otane and focuses his time on music tuition for young people, giving them opportunities to really experience all aspects of music and providing them with skills for higher schooling and indeed for a lifetime.

“I strive to create the same passion for music that I have, in everybody I work with.”