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Congratulations 2013 winners!

Nominations were judged based on the qualities of dedication, creativity, enthusiasm and drive.

We are proud to announce the winners for NZ’s Most Inspiring Teachers 2013 are:

Early Childhood

Francesca Bunting City Impact Church Care & Education, Albany >

Nominated by Liz Gailer


Teacher Fran is a very special early childhood teacher who cares deeply about the children she teaches. We are in awe of her enthusiasm and energy with our daughter. She is a ray of sunshine in the childrens day and has been so kind and accommodating to our daughter who has a heart condition and has struggled with many learning related issues as well as health issues.  Teacher Fran took on the challenge to help our girl put on weight before her open heart surgery and would take her to the kitchen to get extra food, she would bend over backwards to help our girl. She greets the children with such enthusiasm and makes every day at Kindy a fun exciting experience. It will be with great sadness when our daughter leaves at the end of the year. They are best buddies and our daughter told another teacher very nicely Teacher Fran is my Favourite.  Teacher Fran oozes happiness life energy kindness and creativity and passes this onto the children. Nothing is too much and even a birthday invite to our daughters party in her own time is relished by her.  We wish we could bottle her up and take her to school with our daughter at the end of the year.   Our daughter may go to kindy grumpy but we can always rely on Teacher Fran to send her home very happy.  This is why teacher Fran is such a special inspiring example of what a teacher should be. Our family owe a great deal to this young teacher who always makes me feel happier when I drop my little girl off to her and my little girl comes out of Kindy having loved the day.  When teacher Fran asked our daughter what she wanted for her 5th birthday our daughters reply was I want a Teacher Fran doll.  That sums up how much Teacher Fran means to her she has inspired and helped our child so much she wants a doll of her. Love you teacher Fran.


Primary School

Mr Micah Hocquard – Medbury Prepatory School, Fendalton

Nominated by Sam Howard

Mr Hocquard

Mr Hocquard is the most inspirational supportive and dedicated teacher I’ve ever had In my schooling life so far. I have had Mr Hocquard as my teacher twice both years were amazing with him bringing his own humorous and creative twist to all of his classes. He has taught me to strive to do my best in everything I do and to never give up. He shows these values himself as he has a brand new baby daughter named Matilda or Tilly for short and has persevered with his job as a teacher with teaching a homeroom class plus Year 4, 5 and 6 science and Senior school Maori. He has many reward systems in his class including Hocquard dollar and class jobs system where every boy in his class is encouraged to either own a company or have a job for a company. to begin a company you must write a detailed letter of your business description and fees, he will either decide to accept or decline this job offer. If you are accepted Mr Hocquard pays you the decided amount of Hocquard dollars. These can be used to purchase items at the class auction such as chocolate bars school stationary and drinks. Mr Hocquard also has a homework system that the boys love, he gives all of the boys in his class a sheet at the start of the week and are expected to have completed it by the end of the week, on this sheet there is various choices of activities for the boys to partake in and each activity has a point value by the end of the week you are expected to have reached a certain total of points. Many of the boys around the school all love Mr Hocquard in fact I have yet to meet a boys that does not enjoy being taught by Mr Hocquard. He brings enthusiasm when teaching by making many jokes and inventing creative methods to teach the boys. I cannot imagine a world without Mr Hocquard but sadly I and many other boys will have to as we are moving off high school I would love for Mr Hocquard to win the inspiring teacher award to reward him for his effort he put into teaching the boys every day and never giving up no matter how tough times get. I believe he really deserves this award.


Secondary School

Mrs Asha Kumar – Birkenhead College

Nominated by Kaitlyn Collins


Mrs Kumar is the HOD of Maths at Birkenhead College and has a fierce passion for her subject. She is completely selfless in devoting her time and resources to all of the students at Birkenhead College not just those in her own classes.  If you ever need help with maths Mrs Kumar is always available. Her class is open to all students of all levels at morning tea and lunch every day of the week all year round. She initiated our weekly after school help centre where senior students and maths teachers give up their time to help anyone struggling with maths. One of the biggest impacts that Mrs Kumar has made at Birkenhead is the creation of peer tutoring. Through the peer tutoring program students are paired up with an older student to tutor them whenever suits them. This program has been a huge success with students of all levels being tutored or being a tutor.  As well as providing the time and opportunity to help, Mrs Kumar is always offering extra study material to those who want it. She sources extra text books and practice questions as well as writing her own tests for us and marking anything that we want feedback on. This year Mrs Kumar also created the Maths Council, a group of year 13 students inspired by her passion and willing to help out in the maths department in terms of marking junior test papers for overloaded teachers running Maths Week and helping run the peer tutoring program. As well as her work outside of class hours Mrs Kumars infectious personality and love for maths creates an exciting atmosphere during lessons. With an emphasis on truly understanding what we learn Mrs Kumar teaches us not only what to do and how to do it but why we do it and where the methods come from. Mrs Kumar teaches many classes and has many students but she treats each and every one of us as individuals and of all the teachers at BC. Mrs Kumar has the most past students coming back to visit her. With her constant motivation all of Mrs Kumars students succeed in ways they never thought they could. Despite her truly inspiring personality and passion Mrs Kumar refuses to believe that she is as extraordinary and outstanding as we all believe and know her to be.


View our winners – as seen in Woman’s Day>


Early Childhood

  • Jodi Currie - Hunterville Mobile Kindergarten, Hunterville

  • Dawn Haora - Big Steps Valley, Tikipunga, Northland

  • Shelley Cruickshank - BeachKids, Waihi Beach

  • Pauline Withers - Naval ECE Tamariki House, Devonport

  • Indrani Hapugaskumbura - Kamo Kids Educational Childcare Centre, Kamo, Northland

Primary School:

  • Sara Watchorn - Discovery School, Whitby, Wellington

  • Deb Dennes - Central Regional Health School, Newtown, Wellington

  • Douglas Choong - Mellons Bay School, Howick

  • Jan Bradley - Kohimarama School, Auckland

  • Nisha Sahid – Otahuhu Primary School, Auckland

Secondary School:

  • Mario Williams – Rangiora High School

  • Rebecca Swanson – Kaiapoi High School

  • Putere KoiaHamling – Goldfields School, Paeroa

  • Sheryll Martin – Hawera High School

  • SeYe Chan – Northern Southland College, Lumsden, Southland


Thanks again for helping us find New Zealand’s Most Inspiring Teachers 2013. We hope you’ll take part next year too.

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Congratulations to all the winners!

We have had another fabulous year with New Zealand's Most Inspiring Teacher!

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Thanks for helping us find New Zealand’s Most Inspiring Teachers.  The 100 teachers with the most votes in each category now progress to judging based on the qualities of dedication, creativity, enthusiasm and drive.