New chairs appointed to the Teaching Council and Te Kura


Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced appointments to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Board of Trustees of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura).

“Robyn Baker ONZM has been appointed as the chair of the Teaching Council. She has considerable governance experience and is a former teacher, curriculum developer, teacher educator and education researcher,” Chris Hipkins said.

“She has worked in secondary schools, in teaching and management roles at the Wellington College of Education, as executive director of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and as an education consultant and advisor across a wide range of education issues. Since 2016 she has been the chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

“She is a great fit for the role and I look forward to working alongside her,” Chris Hipkins said.

The current chair, Nicola Ngarewa, will move into the role of chair of Te Kura in September when Barbara Ala’alatoa steps down at the end of her term.

“Nicola Ngarewa is a teacher and school principal at Spotswood College in Taranaki. She was previously principal at Tamatea High School and Patea Area School,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Her skills and experience make her the ideal person to lead the board of New Zealand’s largest school. Te Kura offers education and courses from early childhood to NCEA Level 3, mostly delivered through online and distance learning.”

In other changes, Ripeka Lessels has been reappointed and made deputy chair of the Teaching Council and Dagmar Dyck has been reappointed as a member.

New appointees to the Teaching Council are Hongyu (Carol) Cheng, a chartered accountant who was the former executive director at PwC New Zealand and partner at Grant Thornton China; Karen Coutts who is a director on the Board of Otago Polytechnic and Iwi Co-Chair of the Otago Regional Skills Leadership Group; and John Tait, principal of Kaikōura High School and a former Te Reo Māori teacher who has worked alongside Iwi guiding schools to connect with mana whenua.

“The incumbent members offer strong institutional knowledge and the new members will add diverse perspectives, further knowledge of teaching and education, of working with ākonga and iwi, and good governance skills,” Chris Hipkins said.

“I would also like to acknowledge the work of departing members, and thank them for their time and dedication to the education profession.”


The Teaching Council is an independent organisation representing teachers from early childhood education through to primary and secondary, in English and Māori medium schools and kura. It promotes good teaching practice and provides registration and disciplinary functions. Further information about the Teaching Council can be found at:

Te Kura is a state-funded distance education provider that offers a wide range of personalised learning programmes and courses, from early childhood to NCEA Level 3, which are mostly delivered online. Students can enrol for a few credits in a specific course or for a full-time programme. More information on Te Kura can be found at: