Exceptional teachers receive National Excellence in Teaching Awards


The 2022 Awards received a record number of almost 2000 nominations across Australia and New Zealand.

Five early childhood, primary and secondary school educators from across the motu, each demonstrating outstanding teaching practice and leadership, have been honoured with National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA).

The awards, which are in their 28th year, are supported by Futurity Investment Group.

The 2022 Awards received a record number of almost 2000 nominations across Australia and New Zealand.

NEiTA Chairman, Allen Blewitt, says this reflects the enormous respect and gratitude felt by the wider community during these exceptionally difficult Covid, and post-Covid periods.

“Teachers being the superheroes they are, have contended with heavier workloads than ever before, as well as increased student anxiety and disengagement due to the pandemic.

“All five winners are highly-experienced educators, averaging 19 years in the profession, each demonstrating the importance of life-long learning.

“These teachers manage dynamic classrooms where students are challenged to think outside the box to solve real-world problems; they display a passion for building an inclusive culture in the classroom; and their nominations acknowledge their extraordinary work to support the learning of children from families in social and economic disadvantage.

“Each of this year’s recipients stood out for their unrelenting drive for equity in their kohanga. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The 2022 National Excellence in Teaching Awards winners are:

Angela Walters of Fairfield Intermediate School (Hamilton) – NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership ($10,000 professional development grant).

Shea Bowden of Manurewa West Primary School (Auckland) – Apple Award ($5000 professional development grant)

Jane Jarman of Kerikeri High School (Northland) – Apple Award ($5000 professional development grant)

Corinne Pinguet of Ngahina Kindergarten (Paraparaumu) – Seed Award ($5000 professional development grant)

The Kererū Team at Kids’ Domain Early Learning Centre (Grafton, Auckland) – Seed Team Award ($5000 professional development grant)

Honorary mentions were also given to Kiwi Iti Early Learning Centre, Putaruru (Waikato) and Richie Miller of Newlands College (Wellington)

Fairfield Intermediate School principal Angela Walters won the NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership. When Walters was appointed principal three years ago, the school was in trouble. It had declining enrolments and was under government review.

Under her leadership, the school received a positive ERO review in 2021. The school roll has increased from 550 to 820 students, which, according to Walters’ parent nominator Annelle Botha, is due to the positive school culture created since Walters resumed leadership.

“Fairfield is a school where parents want to send their tamariki now. Come rain or sunshine, Angela will be at the gates every morning to greet each child by name with a warm welcome and a beautiful smile.

“Angela is leading the teachers to specifically support the educational aspirations for Māori learners. Te ao Māori is strongly promoted within the kura and they are always working towards equity and excellence for all.

“Thanks to Ms Walters, the school is uplifting its entire community and every child, parent and whānau that is part of the school feels grateful for that,” Botha says.

Blewitt says the judges recognise the considerable achievements made by Walters as a careful and thoughtful principal.

“Fairfield Intermediate School’s transformation under her leadership is exceptional and we are delighted to honour her with this award.”

Shea Bowden, a teacher at Manurewa West Primary Schoolwon a NEITA Apple Award for her outstanding curriculum innovation and her passion demonstrating that school is a place where everyone can achieve.

She stood out from a strong field of primary teacher nominations for rewriting the standardised maths assessment to better reflect the real-life contexts and cultures of her school’s community. As a result, the school’s student achievement in maths moved from 42% to 79% in 2021.

Bowden’s teacher nominator Kogie Naidoo, said she is an outstanding example of passion, generosity, high capability, determination and an advocate for equity and change.

“Shea is genuinely and contagiously enthusiastic about education for marginalised communities,” Naidoo says.

Blewitt said Shea’s philosophy – that everyone gains from a more diverse and inclusive environment – is to be applauded.

“By championing mixed ability student collaboration, she has opened the discourse of how we can all learn from each other. Her unerring focus on equity, and changes to the maths curriculum have led to outstanding improvements in student achievement.”

Jane Jarman, Head of History at Kerikeri High School, won a NEiTA Apple Award for immersing te ao Māori into the history curriculum; supporting Māori students to use their own cultural toolkit to achieve success as Māori and encouraging non-Māori learners to understand events from a Māori perspective.

Blewitt said the student who nominated Jarman called her the “best dean ever” and someone who always looked after the students and was always there to talk to them and motivate them.

“Jane’s extensive use of mātauranga Māori in the classroom promotes engagement and achievement for all learners. She is unfailingly passionate and enthusiastic about teaching history and supporting students in using the past to decipher the present and to develop their critical thinking and writing skills.

“Ms Jarman knows the importance of building positive respectful relationships with her students. She incorporates powerful examples and anecdotes that resonate with learners to help them connect with history.

“A teacher for 20 years, Ms Jarman  is an outstanding example of a life-long learner and innovator,” Blewitt says.

Early childhood educator Corinne Pinguet of Ngahina Kindergarten in Paraparaumu was honoured with a NEiTA Seed Awardrecognising the importance of her work in laying the foundations for lifelong practice and enjoyment of learning.

Nominator Malinda Shepherd-Harris says Corinne is calm, patient, loving and really seeks to see what makes each child tick.

“Corinne’s connection-centred approach supports the diverse community we serve, including the many that have extra challenges and lead complex lives.

“Children at the kindergarten really respond and learn about trust through Corinne’s approaches.”

Blewitt says Corinne’s inclusive and skilled approach means that children feel connected and can then develop positive views of themselves as competent learners.

“Teaching young children that they are valued and that they have a voice is of fundamental importance. Corinne really walks the talk. She is a very worthy award recipient.”

Kids’ Domain Early Learning Centre in Grafton Auckland’s Kererū Team won the NEiTA Seed Team Award. It is the first time this honour has been awarded in New Zealand.

The team’s nominator, Bridgette Towle says not only did the Kererū Team achieve excellent learning outcomes in a year of extraordinary challenges caused by Covid restrictions and lockdowns, they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to nurturing the well-being of their community.

“Their inquiry project brought them together with tamariki and whānau to explore the regenerative learning potential of an everyday natural material – leaves from Tī Kōuka – Cabbage trees.

Through games, stories and art, pēpi and toddlers learnt that Tī Kōuka has a circular life force (mauri). Together with whānau, they learnt about connection, resilience and their own place in an interconnected world,” Towle says.

Blewitt says the Kererū Team engaged in a hugely successful and innovative project during a challenging year.

“Not only did the team achieve excellent learning outcomes, they devoted themselves authentically and wholeheartedly to nurturing the wellbeing of their community.”

Futurity Investment Group CEO, Ross Higgins, said each of these educators has displayed outstanding resilience, passion and creativity.

“These teachers and principals, by their professionalism, enthusiasm and care, continue to shape the lives of countless young New Zealanders.  We warmly congratulate each of them and all of their hardworking colleagues,” said Mr Higgins.