National Executive

Theresa Dodd


Theresa has been on the ECC Executive since 2011 and was elected to the position of Vice-President in 2012.

As the oldest of six children, Theresa always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She first became involved in the early childhood sector as a school leaver by enrolling to study for a Teachers Certificate under the points system, as it was in those days. Over twenty years later she has travelled the world as a nanny, worked in both private and community-based services, and been co-owner of three centres. Theresa is currently overseeing Kids Kampus in Mt Eden, Auckland.

Theresa returned to study along the way and upgraded to her Diploma of Teaching at Auckland College of Education and later also completed a Graduate Diploma in Educational Management (ECE). She is still as passionate today about teaching and young children’s learning, and currently also serves on the advisory committee for ECE teacher education programmes at Auckland University.

She is married to Simon and they live on a lifestyle block in South Auckland with their fur-babies Aston and Coco; two over-indulged Dobermans. Theresa loves to travel, work in the garden and spend time with a large extended family

Maree Moselen


Maree has been a member of the ECC since 1992 and joined the Executive many years ago, currently serving as Vice President.

Maree graduated as a kindergarten teacher and continues to maintain Full Teacher Registration. After teaching in kindergartens she opened her own centre, Next Generation Childcare. Over the next 25 years Next Generation expanded to three centres, in Birkenhead, Auckland. Her story and background is similar to many in the field, a small operator, passionate about children's care and learning. It is this passion and experience that gives Maree the opportunity to put the small business owner’s perspective forward as Vice President on the Executive. A highlight of Maree’s achievements was receiving a Neita Award.

Tim Lainson


Tim has been on the ECC Executive for the past five years and is the current secretary, a position he has held for the past 4 years. He also serves on the Policy Sub-Committee.

Originally from the UK, Tim has been living and working in New Zealand for the past twelve years. Tim’s dual role as Property Manager for both the Living & Learning Foundation and for Kindercare Learning Centres gives him a broad perspective on current issues in the early childhood sector. His role in the development of the Living & Learning Foundation ensures that Tim has an in-depth understanding of the not-for-profit sector, where he is able to use his pro-active and creative problem solving skills effectively. Tim’s commercial background of over 20 years’ experience means he is fully conversant with the needs of service providers and the pressures they face.

Lonnie Parker


Lonnie has been on the ECC Executive for the last six years and has served as Treasurer for five years.

Lonnie became involved in the childcare sector when she and her husband Ashton purchased a centre in November 2005. Two years later, they extended that centre and built a new one. Both centres are now inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood Education.

Lonnie has worked for a variety of corporates - airline, meat processing and newspapers, in accounting, IT and senior management roles. She is a qualified accountant and has a Masters in Business Administration degree. Her qualifications and experience mean she can bring strategic thinking and good governance disciplines to the Executive Committee.

In addition to the childcare centres, Lonnie and Ashton are involved in other sectors, including residential private hospital care of the elderly. They have two young sons – Jackson and Henry and six grandchildren.

Dianna Jenkinson

Executive member

Dianna has worked in the ECE sector for 15 years. In 2006 she joined the YMCA Christchurch as the ECE Manager and established their small community based preschool. Having two children of her own during this time has only increased her passion for all children to be able to access high quality, affordable Early Childhood Education with no barriers. Dianna is able to offer a unique skillset, she has learnt to carefully balance the community aspects of running a profitable ECE centre with the everyday and not so everyday realities that an ECE centre experiences, while ensuring that children and their families always come first. Being part of a large charitable organisation such as the Christchurch YMCA has taught her to work with a commercial head and a community heart.

Living and working in Christchurch during the earthquakes, Dianna has witnessed a change in culture within the Christchurch ECE sector. ECE staff, Directors, Centre Owners and people in governance roles are more committed to sharing of information, and are invested in creating a collaborative community of learners to benefit our children. This is exciting and there are more and more opportunities to see this strengthened throughout ECE.

Mira Mautner

Executive member

My name is Mira Mautner and I live in Auckland on the North Shore. My husband and I have three preschools - Pukeko Preschool Mangere East, Pukeko Preschool Pakuranga Heights and our newest baby – Pukeko Preschool Treehouse in Hamilton. As the centre manager, I love working with the families and children in my neighbourhood. My two awesome managers in my other two centres are fantastic and we often get together, make plans, share knowledge and have fun.

I have over 20 year’s involvement in education on different levels. When my children were younger I did a lot of work for kindergartens, Playcentres and playgroup committees as well as extensively volunteering at our community arts centre. On the strength of this work I won a community scholarship which allowed me to get my degree in Information Technology. From there I went to teaching IT skills to beginner and intermediate learners; however I found a much happier life for me, studying and working in ECE.

While I enjoy teaching I also love the business element of owning and setting up preschools. I enjoy the challenges and twists and turns that comes with the job. It is in this capacity that I feel I can help and contribute to the Early Childhood Council.

Jill Oliver

Executive member

Jill was a member of the ECC Executive between 2008 and 2011 and after a short break re-joined the Executive in 2015.

When Jill's eldest daughter was three she went to the local playgroup. Jill helped out one afternoon and, as they say, the rest is history. Jill realised she liked working with children, and with other people's children. A couple of years later, while living in South Africa, a similar situation arose with her youngest daughter and she decided to do something about it. Jill gained a Montessori Teachers Diploma and when she came to New Zealand she upgraded to a Diploma of Teaching ECE. Jill has taught in childcare, kindergarten, was recently a Professional Services Manager for a large corporate childcare provider. She is now Centre Operations Manager at Toddlers Turf Childcare Centre Inc in Auckland.

Josie Ovenden

Executive Member

Josie is the Committee President of a community-based Preschool in Gisborne - Awapuni Under Fives Community Preschool. She is also a qualified primary school teacher as well as being a mother of two, and wife. She attended Waikato University and is originally from Devonport, North Shore City. Josie is passionate about ICT and innovation, sports as well as all things children.

She is pleased to be learning about and helping develop best practices in NZ ECE, and being involved in an Executive which builds up and serves New Zealand children. She is one of whom represents and provides insights from community-owned centres from one of New Zealand’s smaller cities. Josie welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people who share a passion for, and skills which can enhance an already thriving field.

Dr Darius Singh

Executive Member

Darius has over a decade of experience in executive management and five years’ experience in dealing with TEC (Tertiary Education

Commission) and MOE (Ministry of Education) on various issues via his previous position as Professor in Technology Management at AUT University. He is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors, is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management and serves on a number of Boards.

Darius and his wife, Nikeeta, jointly own and operate Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare in Tauranga and Magic Kingdom Childcare & Learning Centre – a purpose built centre set to open in Auckland in July 2012.

Darius is passionate about effective governance and best practices in education management, teaching and learning, and in particular - research on innovative techniques in these areas (as he has published in various journals in his career to date). He and Nikeeta have three beautiful children aged under 6, 2.5 and 1.

Darius Singh

Margie Blackwood


Margie has been in the early childhood field for over 20 years. She is a New Zealand General and Maternity Nurse, and worked for 10 years at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland. She attended Manukau Institute of Technology, where she completed a Certificate in Social and Community Work. University followed, with a degree in psychology and education, during which she married and had the first of four children (now all adults). After her husband became very ill, she began working for Barnardos, caring for children in her home. This evolved into early childhood training and the establishment of a childcare centre. Since then she has opened a second centre, completed Montessori training through London and an Intermediate Certificate in Counselling. Margie is also involved in a charitable work in the northeast of India. She has facilitated the establishment of a medical centre for the poor, which has been operating for over 10 years. Each month, hundreds of people (70% of whom are children), who would otherwise be neglected and remain sick, receive free treatment and vaccinations at this centre.

Allan Wendelborn


Brian Elliott


Brian Elliott