Our People

Maggie.JPG (1)
Maggie Xu , Centre Manager

What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?

I’ve been working with young children for ten years now, and for me, it is always a rewarding journey. I enjoy every moment that they surprise me, challenge me, delight me and teach me more than I could ever teach them.

What do you love most about what you do?

Working alongside the families/whanau to support children to achieve their full potential.

What are three things that set your centre apart?

Our dedicated teaching team, our enriched learning curriculum, and our engaged families!

What is your favourite time of the year at the centre?

Almost every day is my favourite time at the centre, because it’s a joy to work with our wonderful teachers, lovely children and supportive families. 

Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood

Administrator- Susan.jpg
Susan Hewitt, Administrator

Hello my name is Susan - I am the Receptionist/Admin person at the centre! I have 2 daughters - 18 and 21 years old. After working around teenagers in my previous life, it is refreshing to be surrounded by little "explorers" now!

I am a self-confessed indoor plant hoarder and am learning about gardening and trying to grow my own chillies! In my spare time I also love cooking and anything that involves wine and cheese!

I'm a firm believer in gratitude and "paying it forward" and hope every day I can contribute to making someone's day a little brighter!

Look forward to watching all our children grow and become amazing young people!

Pre 2 HT- Vicki.JPG
Vicki Wang , Assistant Manager & Head Teacher - PreSchool Two

Nihao, my name is Vicki and I’m the Head Teacher of Preschool Two. I graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) and I have been teaching in early childhood settings since 2008. I am very passionate about this wonderful career.

I’m a mother of two children, Aiden and Ailsa and I am happily married to my husband Mason.

As a teacher, I always believe in a learning community which promotes respect and collaboration. I believe each child needs to be respected, in order to bring out the best in them. I am pleased and excited to be part of the teaching team at Active Explorers Ellerslie since 2016 and I can’t wait to meet and work alongside your child and your whanau.

Nursery1 HT- Rosie.JPG
Rosie Pukeiti , Head Teacher- Nursery One

Kia ora. Ko Rosie Pukeiti toku ingoa. 

I am of Cook Island descent born and raised in Auckland. I live locally to the centre, which makes me a part of the diverse community in Ellerslie. 

I have been teaching in early childhood as a qualified teacher for six years and I have worked at Active Explorers for over two years. My teaching philosophy is drawn from various philosophies, such as Pikler, Bronfenbrenner, Vygotsky and Reggio Emilia. I feel that it is important for children to learn at their own pace as each child is

unique in their character and personality. I also believe in building strong relationships with children and their families. A strong connection between the home and centre environment ensures a smooth transition into an early childcare environment.

Pre 1- Joan.jpg
Joan Ong, Head Teacher - Preschool One

Hello, my name is Joan and I have been working at our centre since December 2018.
I moved to New Zealand with my family when I was 12 and have attended intermediate, high school and university here. I am now a mom to three wonderful teenagers, a 17 year old daughter and 16 year old twin boys. I have always had a passion in teaching, hence I pursued to further my studies and have recently attained the Graduate Diploma in Teaching in Early Childhood Education. I strongly believe children learn and grow in their own unique and exploratory way. I also believe in working in partnership with the families / whanau to ensure they have every opportunity to grow and learn. I cannot wait to get to know your children and support them to gain skills essential for their own independent growth and to build their confidence to reach their full potential.

I graduated from Manukau Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Teaching (ECE). I am a fully registered teacher and had more than 9 years of experience working with young children.

I am passionate about meaningful, high quality early childhood education. I believe each child is unique and through respectful relationships, love and support they will grow in their own way.

Amanda Bowdler, Head Teacher - Toddler Room

Kia ora, my name is Amanda Bowdler. I have been teaching for over 13 years. Holding a Bachelor of Education in Primary, I did two years teaching in a Primary school before deciding that my passion is with Early Childhood Education and completing the Graduate Diploma in ECE.

Growing up in Auckland, I love being out in the fresh air while walking my dog, and gardening and spending time with my family. Being raised in Auckland I have a great appreciation for our multicultural society and enjoy supporting the tamariki to develop the skills required become competent and confident life-long learners.


Colleen Stuart, Head Teacher- Nursery Two

Kia Ora, my name is Colleen Stuart. I have over 20 years’ experience working with children. 

This began when I joined my local Playcentre with my two children. It was here that I learnt the value of the free play environment where children develop skills to become strong, capable and resilient, rich with wonder and knowledge. When my children went to school, I began my Early Childhood Teaching. Children have been and continue to be my greatest teachers in life and continually inspire me to be a better teacher.