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Our staff

There are three key roles and responsibilities for the adults within our Bowen community.

  • Our dedicated team of nine qualified teachers who work with our children, families and whanau. We have two regular relievers (1 teacher in training and 1 unqualified teacher) along with our kai creator and Finance Administrator.
  • The adults who manage the centre on a day to day basis: our Centre Manager with the support of the Assistant Manager and the Finance/Office Administrator.
  • The adults who focus on ensuring the service meets the needs of the community and ensuring it can be sustainable over time is our Committee (governing group which is made up of parents, the management team and a staff representative). The Committee meets every six weeks to discuss the running of the centre, financials, health and safety, management report and any other topics brought to their attention.

Our centre prides itself on quality interactions with children and their whanau.  We maintain quality teacher: child ratios at a minimum ratio of 1:3 for children under two years old and 1:6 for children over two years old, which exceed the Ministry of Education requirements.  All teachers hold current first-aid certificates and all staff participate in on-going professional development.

Anna Lewis, Centre Manager – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) – Early Childhood

Kia Ora, I started here at Bowen in July 2010, and gained my BEd (Teaching) Early Childhood degree at Victoria University of Wellington at the end of  2010.  I grew up living on farms and my very first job was in the shearing sheds. I moved to Wellington in 2007, having found my passion for childcare from being a live-in nanny.

I am very passionate about ensuring children and their families develop a sense of security and belonging at the centre, showing respect to the cultures, beliefs, values and views that all individual families bring to our Bowen community. Establishing and maintaining warm, respectful, trusting and reciprocal relationships with children, their family, colleagues, parent committee and the wider community is at the core of my teaching philosophy.

I believe we are all learning together and bring valuable contributions. I believe in inspiring team members to be their best. Developing a shared vision and direction for the centre and positively influencing its culture. Creating an environment where each staff member feels valued, respected and supported and has the confidence to take on challenges. I am very blessed and grateful to be part of such a passionate community based centre.

Whangai ka tupu ka puawai – That which is nurtured, blossoms then grows

“The role of leader is not to get other people to follow but to empower others to lead” – Bill George.

Shelley Gainsford  – Assistant Manager-  Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Hi my name is Shelley and I have been working at Bowen ECE Centre since May 2010. I have grown up in Wellington and lived in the Northern Suburbs all my life. I live in Johnsonville with my Husband Matt and our two cats, Charlie and Gizmo

I completed my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in December 2014 and gained full registration in July 2017. I also hold a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) which I completed in 2009.

I enjoy working with all age groups here at Bowen and love getting to know the tamariki and their Whanau. I am passionate about working with all tamariki providing them with a loving caring environment where they have freedom of movement and can grow, learn and develop their sense of self to become competent capable individuals. All while growing strong meaningful relationships with Kaiako and their peers. When I am not working I enjoy going for walks, travelling, shopping, watching sport and spending time with my family and friends.

I call your children “My Children” because in our time together they aren’t just children on the class list they become part of my heart

Anneke Bhat – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood

My  name is Anneke Bhat, and I started at Bowen in August 2018. I am originally from Dunedin and I am also very proud of my Dutch heritage. I now live in Tawa with my husband Navin and our two children, Aari and Nyah. My Husband is from India and it is important to us that our children grow up with a strong knowledge and appreciation for their multicultural heritage. As a family we love Lego, Formula1 racing and getting out and about around Wellington and exploring this awesome city.

I completed my Bachelor of Education ECE at Victoria University and have been working in Early Childhood Education since 2003. Working at Bowen has been my first time working in a community childcare centre and I am loving being a part of a team that values children’s learning and builds strong partnerships between the centre and home.

I believe all children develop in their own time, and it is up to us as educators to support and encourage that development at every stage of a child’s learning journey. I value input from all members of a child’s extended family as we all have the child’s best interests at the heart of everything we do.

“I am not a teacher but an awakener” Robert Frost

Tegyn Duley – Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) 

Kia Ora, my name is Tegyn Duley and I joined the team here at Bowen in May 2015. I am the lead kaiako for infants and toddlers. I grew up in Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty, but I have lived in Wellington for the last 10 years, after moving here for university and falling in love with the culture and community that this windy city has to offer. I now live in Newlands with my fiancé Brett, our daughter Tahlia and our 2 cats.

I studied at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature. I have always had a passion for working with tamariki and whanau and have aspired to be in a career where I could work within the community to support tamariki and their whanau. Bowen has given me the opportunity to do just that. I completed my Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in October 2017 and gained my full registration in November 2020.

I am a strong believer in nurturing tamariki’s emotional wellbeing, creating a strong sense of belonging, building trusting and reciprocal relationships in order for tamariki to thrive, learn and develop. I am guided by qualities such as love, honesty, respect and communication, nurturing care, trust and patience. I whole-heartedly believe that tamariki need to feel these things to feel and grow a sense of belonging and sense of self-worth. Tamariki will thrive with a ‘full-bubble’ made of aroha, care and respect. I believe that to be a kaiako is to make an important investment in the future, and that it is a privilege to be able to do so.

“Let them be little, fill their hearts with laughter, help them grow wings, nurture their sense of wonder, inspire them to believe and love them like there is no tomorrow”

Greta Fitzsimons – Post Graduate Diploma (Early Childhood Education)

Kia ora, I have been working within the Early Childhood sector since 2015. I have a passion for working alongside tamariki and supporting their growth and development in these precious early years.

I gained my Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood in
2020 and am now proudly a Qualified Early Childhood Kaiako. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University in Media and Film Studies, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Therapy from Whitecliffe College. These different academic backgrounds guide me in my teaching practice, particularly my interest in using creative expression as a tool for tamariki personal growth, healing, connection and learning. I have an interest in using a Reggio Emilia inspired approach, which, similar to Te Whāriki , focuses on the child’s own discoveries and learning within the context of relationships with people and materials.

I grew up in Auckland with my lovely family; my mum, dad and brother who are very important to me. I moved to Wellington straight after I finished high school and have been living here ever since. I love Wellington city and am particularly drawn to its creative arts and music scene. In my own time I enjoy practicing my own art, catching up with friends and finding time to connect with nature and going on adventures. I am looking forward to working alongside the like minded Kaiako at Bowen and contributing towards your vision of collaborative relationships between whanau, tamariki and Kaiako.

“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes, and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours” – Loris Mallaguzzi

Sage Waerea-Adams – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood

Kia ora, My name is Sage I have lived and grown up in the Windy Wellington since I was tiny, in fact I use to live just around the corner in Karori. I have since moved to Churton park where I live with my dad and on the weekends, I typically mind my younger siblings, nieces, and nephews too.

I completed my Bachelor of Education ECE in 2020 at Victoria University, I fell in love with teaching approximately 5 years ago and decided to pursue teaching as a career and I truly couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. I couldn’t be any more excited to finally get my registration underway as a part of my growth as a kaiako. My personal teaching philosophy is one inspired by aspects of Reggio Emilia, Montessori and RIE. I value environments and teaching strategies that allow children to be respected and unrushed, where they are granted freedom of movement, have access to loose parts and opportunities to create a circle of security within the centre environment.

I view learning through a holistic lens, a lens that views and considers the various aspects that make up each individual child. I believe looking through such a lens supports developing strong and healthy connections with tamariki and whānau, fostering relationships and communication. In my spare time when I’m not minding children, I enjoy opportunities to go to the beach, cook, bake, watch a good movie or series and just anything creative really.

“A kind of magic happens when you trust, respect, and honour the ideas of children” ~Kellee Nelson

Noe Soames  – Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) 

Kia ora! Ko Noe Kukupa Kamira Soames ahau, kua tino hiamo mahi Bowen ahau! Hi, my name is Noe, and I am thrilled and excited to be teaching and learning here at Bowen. I have been teaching since 2016 and have just recently graduated in 2023.

My personal teaching philosophy envelops the relationships and respect. Building both from experience, and taught learning development through study. I am an enthusiastic person, who is a huge fan of supervised risky play, self-identity, self-efficacy, nature, open ended questions and responses, and all about utilising the spaces we have available. My favourite resource is time. My Love is food. My passion is music. My whanau is first.



Grace Ohlsson – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) – Early Childhood

Kia ora, ko Grace toko ingoa. My name is Grace and I am a qualified ECE Kaiako. I have been working at Bowen since June 2021. I completed my Bachelor of Education Teaching ECE at the end of 2023 through Victoria University.  

I have grown up running on the hills of Wellington and lived at the bottom of Mt Kaukau my entire life. I am currently living at home in Johnsonville with my mum, dad, and twin sister. I come from a large catholic family, which has taught me the importance of our connections to our mind, body, and spirit.

I am passionate about working with children and providing a caring, warm, and safe environment where children have the autonomy and support to grow, learn and become confident and competent individuals. I strongly believe in the importance of embracing each child and their family, respecting and valuing their beliefs, cultures, traditions, and routines and implementing them in our practices and daily lives at the centre. I am very much an outdoor person and love to get out on a classic windy, wet Wellington day. We can learn so much from our amazing backyard and the learning opportunities are endless. The outdoors is a unique, challenging, and beautiful environment, which I love to incorporate into my teaching practice. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing sports, cooking, baking, and going for runs with my mum and sister.

“Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu – Adorn the bird with feathers and it will fly”  

Lizzy Agnew  – Bachelor of Education (Teaching) – Early Childhood

Kia ora, I started here at Bowen in May 2024 and completed my Bachelor of Education Teaching ECE through Victoria University graduating in 2023.I have grown up and lived in Wellington my entire life, spending most of my childhood nestled within the hills of  Wadestown. From a young age I always wanted to be part of a profession where I could help others and give back to the community. This and my love towards being with children lead to my decision to pursue a career in childcare.

My approach to teaching is grounded in my deep understanding that every child has their own unique abilities, ideas and beliefs and believe these should be respected, fostered and enhanced within their learning environment and development. Building a strong sense of identity and belonging within the world is incredibly important to me and support this by creating an environment that encourages tamariki agency to pursue their own interests and ideas, building upon these at their own pace.

In my downtime, you can often find me exploring the many incredible nature trails that surround our city or getting creative with different art mediums. Spending time in nature, keeping active and exploring creative outlets have incredible benefits towards our mental and physical wellbeing and I encourage this within all aspects of my practice.

Edie Wood – Kaiako in training/Reliever 

Kia Ora, I’m Edie and I started at Bowen in March 2023. I started working with kids when I was 16 as a baby sitter and haven’t stopped since then. I love working with young children and helping them to explore the world around them.

I was born and raised in Wellington, growing up in Lower Hutt. After high school in 2022 I went off to study Fine Arts and Arts in Auckland where I did some papers in Education which I loved. In 2023 I moved back to Wellington as Auckland and being away from family wasn’t for me. I decided not to go straight back into studying and starting working at Huia Pool as a swim instructor and then I was lucky enough to get the chance to start relieving at Bowen. I am now studying Early Childhood Eduction at Victoria University of Wellington and am very excited to be on the way to becoming a qualified teacher.

I feel so lucky to have found Bowen and am grateful for all the whanau, tamariki and Kaiako I have met. I am still learning and developing my own teaching philosophy but I value giving time getting to know and learn about individual children and forming connections with them. I think as a teacher, especially to our youngest tamariki, we can only teach them when we have built trust and a positive, nurturing environment. I also enjoy helping children to develop their own creativity and individuality. It is important to me that all children at Bowen feel welcomed and safe to explore their environment and form meaningful relationships with their kaiako and other tamariki. I am also interested in the Montessori philosophy as I attended a Montessori preschool and primary school which I value as being part of my education and background.

In my free time I’m usually up in my studio in my flat making collages, doing water colour paintings, sewing or playing guitar. I’m very creative and love making art. I also like spending time outside, baking or going op shopping.

I love working at Bowen and getting to be apart of our amazing tamarikis lives.

“He taonga to mokopuna, kia whāngaia, kia tipu, kia rea” A child is a treasure to be nurtured, to grow, to flourish

Nicky Brabant – Unqualified Kaiako/Reliever 

Hi my name is Nicky and I have been working in ECE for over 20 years.

I started working full time at Bowen in 2010, leaving in 2018 when my son turned 5 and we moved up to the Kapiti Coast.  I came back to Bowen as a reliever later that year and have been relieving at Bowen ever since.

I love working at Bowen as I look forward to seeing familiar smiling faces when I am here.





Andrea McAndrew – Kai Creator (food Safety NZQA Unit 167)

Hi, my name is Andrea and I joined the Bowen team as their Kai Creator in 2019! I have been cooking for early childhood centres for over ten years. Food and children are a passion of mine, so putting them together works out great for me. 

 I love it when I get to see children enjoy delicious nutritious food. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, gardening and spending time with family, including my two children, Lauren and Sean, Husband Joe and Dog Chassis. I also have a large extended family that I spend lots of time with. 


“The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love for those you are cooking for” – Sophia Loren

Suzanne Dawe – Financial/Office Administrator

Hello, my name is Suzanne.  I started here at Bowen in May 2023 and am enjoying being amongst an amazing group of teachers, children and their families.  I work Tuesdays and Thursday and am responsible for all things finance related.  It is a challenging sector to be involved in financially and I have learnt a lot since starting at Bowen.

My partner and I have lived in Northland for the last 30 odd years, so I know what a great community it is to live in.  We have three grown children, two in the UK (one being Joanna who was a teacher here at Bowen) and one in Wellington.  The rest of the week I look after accounts and payroll for a primary school in Miramar and a hi-fi shop in Thorndon.  I enjoy the variety and working with a cross-section of people.