Dr Darius Singh
Dr Darius Singh has over 20 years' experience in executive management including 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. He is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors, is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management and has previously served on a number of private and public Boards.
Darius and his wife, Nikeeta, own and operate the multi-award winning Chrysalis Group, which among other services such as business mentoring, governance and innovation management, comprises a handful of childcare centres in Tauranga, Auckland Central, Auckland CBD, and West Auckland. Since they founded the Group in 2011, they have won several prestigious awards to date, including "ECC/Telecom Innovation" award for their patented invention - “Roots & Shoots”, "Gold NZ Commercial Building" award, "Preferred ECE provider" award to several multi-national companies, and "Best Emerging Business" award. Darius says "..these awards are easy compared to raising three young children!"
Darius is passionate about effective governance and best practices in education management, teaching and learning, and in particular, innovations in these areas. Over the past ten years, he has brought much of these learnings of best practices to the ECC committee and wider membership through network meetings and hosted events.
Michelle is an experienced ECE operator, with two Auckland-based centres. Michelle has a strong mix of both education and business experience, initially as a fully registered Primary teacher, followed by 15 years as a Human Resources consultant, serving a variety of business and government clients. Having always had a love of education, Michelle decided to retrain 10 years ago, completing a Post Graduate Degree in ECE, with the aim of combining all her career strengths and interests; business and education to become an ECE Teacher and centre owner. Michelle is married to Adrian, who is actively involved in the business. They have three children, who regularly help out during the weekends in the ongoing battle of maintenance and improvements! The family are active outdoors people and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Since becoming a centre owner Michelle has used the ECC’s services regularly and strongly believes in the value the ECC gives centre and business owners.
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.
Di has worked in the ECE sector for 17 years. For the majority of that time she has worked for a community based organisation as the ECE Manager. In 2016 Di and her husband, Darren purchased two centres within the Christchurch area. Di is hands on with the day to day running of the centres, supporting her Senior Leadership Team, while Darren is behind the scenes, building and extending the environments for the children.
Living and working in Christchurch during the earthquakes, Di 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.
BEd | Massey University | Wellington
MEdL | Auckland University of Technology | AUT Auckland
Grad Dip Tch | NZTC | Auckland
Appointed to the Executive Board of ECC, in 2019, representing Pasifika and ECE services across New Zealand.
Fully committed to advocating for a fair opportunity for all ECE Centres to be successful and provide an authentic learning experience for the benefit of all children of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Current ECE involvement:
- Director / Owner, five (5) ECE services in Auckland and Wellington
- Contributor to ECC Pasifika and Policy Focus
- Ministry of Education, member of Curriculum Voices Group (CVG)
- Professional learning, engagement webinars and workshops
Teaching and research interests:
- Pasifika indigenous leadership – co-design role in research project with Dr Maria Cooper (University of Auckland)
- Philosophy of education and leadership
- Early childhood education policy and research
- Advisor on ECE Teaching qualifications to a private Tertiary Provider
We began our journey, with one purpose-built ECE service at Taita Central Primary School grounds, licensed for 32 children, which we have grown to a 50 children licensed service. Over a 20 year journey, we have worked with several Mama’s to retain their legacies of establishing Pasifika ECE services to transition to a new generation of Pasifika leadership, engaged with managing five (5) successful Pasifika ECE services. We have a vision to foster a strong emergent leadership in the ECE sector and employing Pacific indigenous knowledge to mobilise leadership in Pasifika ECE in Aotearoa New Zealand.
E vave taunu’u le malaga pe tātou alo va’a fa’atasi – our destiny is within sight when we paddle our canoe together!
I live in Christchurch with my husband and five teenagers.I own eight centres soon to be nine, all within the Canterbury Region.I am a trained Early Childhood Teacher with a Diploma of Teaching and current registration.My career started 30 years ago in a privately owned centre in Christchurch, from there I moved on to run a community centre in Darfield for eight years.I am passionate about Early Childhood Care and Education and have since established many more centres to reflect the community each one is situated in, ensuring high standards of quality are maintained for children and their families/whanau.
I thrive on new challenges and have set myself many over the past 30 years, my journey is still evolving and I am in a growth phase with my own business which will continue for many years to come.
The Davidson family owns and operates, Puddleducks’ Nursery & Preschools and Puddleducks’ Montessori School in the Manawatu and Taranaki and for the last 21 years Puddleducks’ has had over 2500 children through their doors. A true family business with all family members having had or currently having active roles in the operations, and governance, caring for over 600 children daily over 9 magnificent sites (old and new), and employing over 140 passionate staff. Hamish has a diversity of governance experience, including membership of the Institute of Directors and an understanding of the business challenges we all face day-to-day. Married to Natalie, Hamish has two children, Archie (13) and Mac (11). He enjoys coaching kids sport, being passionate about supporting their education, further educating himself, restraining the couch when any NZ sports team is on the TV, as well as enjoying New Zealand’s great outdoors. Hamish also enjoys meeting people and hearing their life stories, challenges, and achievements. Hamish is young at heart, hard-working, enthusiastic, ready to listen and learn and commit to the ECC Executive.
An experienced ECE operator Aimee alongside her partner John own and run 3 centres in Hawkes Bay. Initially working in advertising and marketing - a 6month sabbatical in Thailand - ignited a passion for Education in particular Early Childhood, Studying and living in Thailand for the next 5 years, returning to NZ 14 years ago, Aimee completed her ECE degree, Post Grad and Masters in Education. Aimee has active governance experience - sitting on several local boards as trustee, this experience, alongside previous work with Te Wananga o Aotearoa and Plunket has enabled Aimee to gain a deep understanding of the role of governance and compliance in this sector.
Being supported by the ECC as an owner / operator and making use of the many resources, PLD opportunities and advice has certainly helped Aimee's organisation, and with the many challenges, uncertainties and changes that are facing the ECE sector, Aimee feels it is time to offer support back to the ECC. The family enjoy the beautiful Hawkes Bay weather by cycling the bike trails, Zahara (12) and Zakir (11) also keep Aimee involved in local sports, dance and school activities.
Emma NorrieExecutive Member
As a New Zealand trained and registered early childhood teacher Emma has over 25 years experience in ECE in both New Zealand and Australia. Enma has worked in stand alone services, large organisations, consulted for community services and owned her own services for over 8 years which she sold when she started my her family. While growing her family she worked in large organisations holding senior and national leadership roles, before deciding to start up her own company again in 2022. She has been part of the sector advisory groups working with MOE and ERO over the past 2 years. This has given her an understanding of the aims and aspirations these bodies.
Emma is an experienced owner/operator who is passionate about making high quality early childhood education accessible to all tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand.
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.