We have a strong belief that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential.


Our team is very focused on creating a culture that enables all students, parents and teachers to be engaged in a learning and teaching partnership.


We have a very talented and enthusiastic team of teachers who are extremely passionate and are just waiting to unlock and unleash the full potential of every child.


We believe it’s our role to ensure all of our students are well prepared academically and socially for the next step in their education.


Our school has an amazing history and our community is a big part of this.  We would love for your child to be part of our exciting future.


The Board of Trustees consists of five members elected by parents of children attending the School, the Principal and a Staff Representative. 


The term of office for the Board of Trustees is for a period of three years. Next elections will be in September 2022.


The Board of Trustees is responsible for governing the school by formulating and reviewing policies that efficiently and effectively help achieve school  goals for student learning and achievement.  Students, and their learning are our main focus!  The Principal is responsible for the day to day management of the school.


Board of Trustees meetings are usually held twice per term at 6.30pm in the School Staffroom.  The date and venue are advertised in the School Newsletter. Parents and Caregivers are welcome to attend these meetings. Please email if you would like to attend a board meeting.

To contact the Board of Trustees you can email 



Caine Webster (Principal)

Libby Tuite (Presiding Member)

Simon Jones (Finance)

Rosie Clement (Fundraising)

Anita Press (Property)

Sophie Mexsom (Communication)

Kate Excell (Staff Rep)

Manuela Hodgson (Secretary)






Principal – Caine Webster

Kia ora, my name is Caine Webster and I have been the Principal at Pāuatahanui School for nearly a year. I absolutely love being the Principal here because we have such an amazing staff, and community and the students are pretty awesome as well. I joined the Pāuatahanui School team in 2021 after being the Deputy Principal at Papakōwhai School and before that, I taught at Korokoro School in Petone and Fergusson Intermediate in Upper Hutt. My whānau plays a huge part in my life. My wife Lisa is also a teacher and is currently teaching at Fergusson Intermediate. My whānau gives me perspective on life and they help me achieve a healthy balance between home and school life. I have two adult stepdaughters, Leichelle and Kelsey and I have two sons, Billy who is 13 years old and Max who is 12 years old. The boys keep me very busy with activities like coaching weekend sports, bike riding, walks around the local area and to various parks. Sport is a passion of mine and I am often watching and supporting local sports teams across a variety of sports during weekends.

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Deputy Principal – Kate Excell

Kia ora, my name is Kate Excell, I joined the Pauatahanui team in 2019 and I  love working with an amazing team in such a supportive community. Before working at Pauatahanui I spent much of my career as a teacher and team leader at Plimmerton School. In 2018 my husband and I returned to Te Anau for a year where I took up the position of Assistant Principal. We live locally and have two awesome adult children who we are very proud of. In my spare time I love running trails, biking, fishing and reading.


Room 1 Teacher –  Clare Layfield

Kia ora, my name is Clare Layfield. I was a part time teacher at Pauatahanui School for a number of years from 2010, then I began my full time journey at Plimmerton School in 2017. I rejoined the Pauatahanui community in 2020 and it's an honour to be part of such a fabulous team and village.  

I am originally from the UK and I emigrated with my husband in 2007. We love living in beautiful New Zealand and are now locals to the Pauatahanui Inlet. We have three children so weekends are spent following and supporting various sporting events! I love to walk and am passionate about the environment and love working alongside children, watching their creativity and adventures.

Room 2 Teacher – Tracey Mills

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Room 3 Teacher - Maddy Bain

Kia ora, I'm Maddy Bain and I'm the teacher in Room 3. I am originally from the sunny Hawkes Bay and moved to Wellington when I attended Victoria University. I have really enjoyed being a teacher at Pauatahanui School over the last 4 years in the junior school. In my spare time I love reading, cooking, exercising, and spending time with family and friends.

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Room 4 Teacher - Rochelle Kearney

I have been involved with Pauatahanui School for over 12 years, firstly, as a parent and then as a teacher. Family adventures with my husband and three awesome teenagers are at the top of my things to-do list in the weekends and holidays and we enjoy getting outdoors, walking, biking and swimming. I also enjoy pottering in my garden and reading a good book in the sunshine.

Room 5 Teacher - Kayleigh Peach on Parental Leave

Room 6 Teacher - Eryn Street 

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Hi, I am Sharon Gibson and I am the teacher in room 5. 

In my holidays, I enjoy spending time with my family - my husband and two daughters, travelling both here in NZ and overseas to learn about new places and new cultures.  During the term we can be seen out walking, biking and kayaking locally here in Pauatahanui.

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Rm 7 Teacher - Claire Jolly

Kia Ora,  My name is Claire Jolly and I'm so happy to be part of the Pauatahanui School Whanau.  I have been teaching for over 20 years and I've been fortunate to teach in Thailand, London and Wellington.  I am the proud Mama of two boys who are 8 and 4 so in my spare time we swim, travel (when possible) and try our best to wear them out!  I love teaching at the Year 5/6 level and co-teaching with Becky is a lot of fun too!  In my spare time I love reading, eating and try to fit in some exercise - life is all about balance, after all!

Rm 8 Teacher - Jen Cooze

Kia ora, koutou. I’m like a boomerang, returning to Pauatahanui School after a lengthy gap, which has included wonderful opportunities teaching in the UK and Kuwait. This gave me perfect opportunities to travel (a passion), particularly throughout Europe and the Middle East, where I picked up a smattering of Arabic.

I have taught all levels from New Entrants to Year 8 in a number of schools.

My adult children have all flown the coop, and I have three delightful grandchildren.

Interests include: reading, gardening, photography and painting. I enjoy running and cycling for fitness.

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Rm 10 Teacher - Bradley Johns

My name is Bradley and this is my first year of teaching. I have lived in Plimmerton my whole life and I am excited to be at Pauatahanui school in Whitireia hub. In my spare time, I love being outdoors, running, playing sports, and walking my dog.


Teacher - Kansas Davis (on parental leave)

Hi I’m Kansas Davis and I am the teacher in Room 9. Before moving to Pauatahanui School in term 3 2020, I taught at Plimmerton School in the junior syndicate. 

I grew up in Plimmerton and went to Plimmerton School until my family moved to Wanaka in 2004. I moved back to Wellington in 2011 to attend university. I live locally with my partner Kieran and our two cats Luka and Meeko. In my spare time I play a lot of netball, I enjoy reading, baking and pottering around in the garden at our home. 

I’m really looking forward to teaching at Pauatahanui and getting to know all of you.

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Executive Officer – Manuela Hodgson

I have a girl here at the school in year 8 and my older daughter went to Pauatahanui school right from year 0 - 8. I have loved being involved at the school as a parent for several years and I'm really enjoying my role here in the school office. 

You can contact me through

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Learning Coach - Vicki Judd

Kia ora I have been at Pauatahanui School for about 10 years  and loving every bit of it. I have two older children who attended Pauatahanui School.  My children were the second generation to attend the school. I am looking forward to working with all the children and getting to know new faces.        

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Learning Coach - Mel O'Hagan

Hi I'm Mel and I've had the privilege of being part of the Pauatahanui School community for over 10 years, initially as a parent, then in the school office and currently as a learning coach for years 4/5/6.  In my spare time I love to go adventuring with my husband and two teenagers, ride my horse, attend to my garden and spend time relaxing with family and friends.    


Learning Coach - Donna Hegan

Hi, my name is Donna Hegan, I joined the awesome team at Pauatahanui School in 2020 after volunteering in by boys classes for a few years. I have two boys who attend the school and a husband who works in town. Before I had children I was an HR Manager at Sport and Recreation NZ and I still have a keen interest in Employment Law.

Outside of school I make cakes and cupcakes as a small hobby business and I love reading, doing HIIT workouts and travelling.

Our weekends are spent mostly outside with the boys sports, walking and on picnics.

I love living and working in this area which has always been my home.


Libby Tuite - Presiding Member

Kia ora e te Whānau, my name is Libby and I have one child at school, my son Braxton is in year 6. I feel honoured to be part of the Board of Trustees at Pāuatahanui school. 

It’s important to me that all children receive a quality education and that the school is run with transparency and trust, and staff are supported in their jobs and can focus on our children. 

Always happy to chat, so please do approach me for a chat if you see me around!

Ngā mihi

Simon Jones - Finance

I’m pleased to be serving on the board for a second term. My children are now in years 4 and 6. I would like to continue to contribute to making Pauatahanui School the best it can be so that they continue to get the best possible start to their education. I would also like to ensure the school continues to be a fun, safe and engaging place for children to learn.

I am an engineer and work at a renewable energy company based in Wellington.

Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help you with at the school.

Anita Press - Property

My name is Anita Press, and together with my husband, Fraser and two children, Hunter (Year 3), and Lucy (Year 2) we have lived in this awesome community for the past 8 years.

In our short time with Pauatahanui School - the supportive community, awesome teachers, as well as strong values and history of the school community, really aligns with our family values.

 The governance role of the Board is about ensuring great values are held, but also ensuring the school continues to challenge and develop in such times. I agree with and support the curriculum at Pauatahanui and the current governance.

 I believe that a strong curriculum, combined with high-quality leadership at all levels of the school, good teacher morale and a board that is supportive of the principal, senior management and teachers’ especially with professional development are fundamental to Pauatahanui’s continued success.

 A little about myself. I have a masters degree from Massey University in animal nutrition. I am a territory sales manager for Dechra NZ, a veterinary pharmaceutical company. I also run a small animal product  business-out of the garage. As well as ensuring Fraser, Hunter and Lucy are watered, fed and housed- otherwise known as keeping home. We run 20 in-lamb ewes, 14 head of heifer cattle, too many ponies and a flock of chooks. Not to forget, Frank the Jack Russell dog- that could be counted as the fur child.

My aim as a Trustee- should I be elected, will be to bring the rural aspect of our community to the table. As well as maintain the importance of a quality education at Pauatahanui School. I also feel it is important to be a part of Hunter and Lucy’s education and contribute to the wonderful community we belong to by being on the Board of Trustees.

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Sophie Mexsom - Communication

Tēnā koutou katoa, I’m Sophie. My husband Steve and I have one child at Pauatahanui School – Arlo, currently in Year 2. We live in Judgeford on a 5ha block, where we plan one day for there to be more native bush than gorse. I started my government career in Wellington in 2001 working for the Tertiary Education Commission, and I’m currently the Deputy Chief Executive at Crown Law. My role is mainly about strategy, accountability, and governance. As part of the Board of Trustees, my focus will be on ensuring Pauatahanui School has a clear future direction, a plan to get there, and the resources we need for the school to continue to deliver excellent education to our community.  Hei konā mai, Sophie.