Our Teachers

Vicky Arnold

Vicky Arnold

Ni Hao,

My name is Vicky Arnold, otherwise known as Mrs A and I am the Deputy Principal and Special Needs Coordinator here at Te Kura o Wairau. I also lead the ESOL team.

I am lucky enough to work with all of the tamariki at school and love being here at Te Kura o Wairau.


Pā Wes

Pa Wes

Kia ora, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei and warm Pasifka greetings to you all.

My name is Uesiliana Va'ai-Wells (more commonly referred to as Pā Wes).

I have been teaching for nearly 15 years, working closely with a range of students from diverse backgrounds.

I am very passionate about improving educational and social (where possible) outcomes for all learners and understand that for the best results, whānau, students and their teachers need to work together.

I am equally passionate about sport and coaching and can usually be found either on the court or on the field during break times. I am excited about having joined Somerset Crescent School part way through 2018 and look forward to meeting new whānau and faces.

Ia Manuia


Kayhla Cousins

Kayhla Cousins

Kia Ora koutou

Ko Kayhla tōku ingoa

I tipu ake au ki Rotorua

E noho ana au ki Papaioiea

My name is Kayhla.

I grew up in Rotorua.

I live in Palmerston North.

I have been teaching at Te kura o Wairau for three years now, and am lucky enough to be teaching and learning alongside my ākonga in Room 1. This is my first year in senior school and I have enjoyed the challenge! My curriculum strengths are language, science, and technology. Our kura is truly unique and I feel grateful and privileged to be a part of the journey.

I live with my cat and son. We often spend our weekends exploring the many places Manwatū and Horowhenua area have to offer. I love sport and exercise, so you'll probably see me running around when I am not at school.

Ngā mihi nui.

Melissa Day

Melissa Day

Hi, I’m Melissa Day and I teach Years 5 and 6’s in Room 2.

I have been teaching at Te Kura o Wairau for 6 years and before that relieved at Somerset while completing my Master's Degree in Education. I enjoy teaching Maths and Literacy and I ensure learning is relevant to the children's lives, interests and needs. In my classroom we use I.C.T on a daily basis as a tool to motivate, inspire and extent learning. I am also passionate about fostering creativity and developing a positive attitude to learning.

In my spare time I coach netball. I also enjoy running, swimming and doing classes at my local gym. I love watching a good movie or taking a walk with my husband and my 2 dogs and my cat.


Julie Etuale

Julie Etuale

Talofa! O lo’u igoa o Julie Etuale. Ou te sau mai Samoa ma Tokelau.

Te Kura o Wairau has the most amazing kids! I love teaching here and have taught across the school. I have enjoyed my time at each year level however, the Senior Team is where my heart lies. This year I am back ‘home’ with the Senior Team, in Room 4, and am Kahikatea Team Leader. I most enjoy teaching Reading, Art & Math. Teaching and learning alongside Pasifika Pride, is my passion!

I have three truly amazing sons; Caleb, Harley & Elijah. I am blessed to have my 4 siblings and most of our children, live in Palmerston North and spend a fair amount of my free time chillin’ and hangin’ with friends and/ or family. My aiga (family) are everything!


Mara Kean

Mara Kean

Kia ora Whanau,

I am Mrs Kean (pronounced Kane. Weird I know but it is from Irish descent!). This year I am alongside the students in Room 8 and feel very privileged to be a part of their learning journey.

I have taught all year levels at Te Kura o Wairau, all of which come with challenges and triumphs. Over half of my teaching career has been here. I was a part of the name change era from Highbury to Somerset and now Te Kura o Wairau (Gosh I’m getting old when I think of that!). I ventured away for a short time to teach at Feilding High and complete our family.

I am blessed to have a very supportive and very patient Husband, two very precious daughters, a fluffy bum cat, and a flemish giant rabbit! I love sharing yummy platters and having a primo cup of coffee with my family and friends at my favourite local cafes. I enjoy going to the Movies and I really like mowing lawns!


Lisa Kimura

Lisa Kimura

Kia Ora my name is Lisa Kimura (Whaea Lisa). I am the new team leader for our middle school, Rata Team. I am of both Maori and European descent.

I have been at Somerset for 15 years and have taught from Year 3 up to Year 6. This year I will be teaching Year 3/4 in room 9 (Ruma Iwa). I take Jump Jam as a performance group and love teaching Maths and Art.

I have a passion for PE & Sport within the school, which is right up my alley as I love playing and watching sport. I am currently still playing netball for Linton Army and enjoy working out at the gym.

I have three children (2 girls and a boy), they range from 26 to 30. I have 3 lovely grandchildren & one on the way, the eldest at Boys High and the 2nd eldest moving to Monrad this year and the youngest having just started at Te Kura o Wairau this year.


Ruth Alefaio

Ruth Alefaio

Talofa and Bula Vinaka

My name is Ruth Alefaio, I am in room 10 this year, teaching years 3 and 4. This year is my sixth at Te Kura o Wairau.

I love teaching maths and literacy. I bring my Pasifika flavour to my classroom.

I believe in teaching children to become life long learners

I am married with two boys and two girls. I like spending time with them, travelling and reading a good book.


Clare McIlhatton

Clare McIlhatton

Talofa lava! here! My name is Clare McIlhatton (aka Mrs M). I am in ruma tekau ma tahi and teach our amazing year 1 and 2's.

2020 will be my sixth year at Somerset Crescent School. I love anything arty and have an enormous passion for literacy and learning through play.

In my spare time I like watching my kids speed skate, scrapbooking, movies, gardening, reading and exploring Aotearoa with my whanau. We live on a farm with 2 spoilt dogs, 2 lazy cats, and 8 goldfish.


Raylene Johnston

Raylene Johnston

Kia ora my name is Raylene Johnston and I am the Kowhai Team Leader.

This is my forth year at Te Kura o Wairau and I am looking forward to getting to know the students, friends and families of the school. I am teaching year one and two students in Room 12 this year.

I have taught all year levels in the past and I enjoy coaching and playing netball, spending time with family and friends and travelling.


Darnielle Wright

Darnielle Wright

Tēnā rā koutou katoa

Ko Mataatua te Waka
Ko Matiti te Maunga
Ko Opeke te Marae
Ko Waioeka te Awa
Ko Irapuaia te Whare Tīpuna
Ko Ngati Ira te Hapū
Ko Whakatōhea te Iwi

Kia ora and hello, my name is Darnielle Wright.

This year I’m the bubbly teacher in the New Entrant class in room 14, also known as Ruma Tumeke Tekau ma wha. I have been working at Te Kura o Wairau for 8 years. A total of 13 years of education experience. I enjoy teaching all areas of the curriculum however, reading is one of my many strengths.

I am open minded and I live to inspire and be inspired.

My partner and I have four children, three boys and a baby daughter. We enjoy bike riding, swimming and singing.

Nā reira, wairua mauri ora.



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