Our People

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Melissa Hall, Centre Manager

Kia ora, I’m Mel and I am the Centre Manager here at Active Explorers Greenmeadows.  I have been a part of the Active Explorers whānau since January 2023. I have always had a passion for teaching, and it wasn’t until I had my son Hunter that I decided to take a leap of faith and give it a go and I haven’t looked back!

What I love about teaching is building relationships with tamariki and whānau and being able to share in their learning journey. It is an amazing feeling watching tamariki succeed and being able to celebrate their success alongside them.

A little bit of information about me: I come from a small family, I am the oldest child and I have a younger sister. I live with my husband Brendan and our son Hunter who is 14. We also have Brendan’s 17-year-old son William who lives in Havelock North so we see him often. In the weekend I enjoy spending time with whānau and friends and listening to music. I also enjoy going for walks along the beach or amongst nature and collecting crystals.

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Julia Bridges, Certified Teacher - Team Leader Pōhutakawa, Kowhai & Kauri Rooms

I have been in the ECE sector since 2007 and qualified since 2011. I have 3 children of my own and since having my first this was the inspiration for my career path in ECE. I have had various management and teaching roles over the years and thoroughly enjoy all aspects of teaching and being part of a team.
I value all cultures and strive to embrace these values and beliefs in my teaching

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Lisa Opie, Certified Teacher - Pōhutukawa Room

Kia Ora my name is Lisa. I'm a mum to Alethea, Ayla Rose and Hazi.
I have many years experience working alongside tamariki of all ages but my passion is to work with tamariki aged 3-5 years. I value strong reciprocal relationships with whanau so that together we support their tamariki to achieve the goals that they have.
In my spare time I like to read, play netball and catch up with my best friend for coffee and dessert.

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Robyn Shaw, Team Leader- Pōhutukawa Room

Kia Ora my name is Robyn, I am a fully registered teacher in the Pōhutakawa Room and have been at Active Explorers Greenmeadows since I was a student teacher. Throughout my time at Active Explorers Greenmeadows I have gained experience working in all rooms before finding my passion working with Over 3’s. I enjoy providing engaging learning environments for children, supporting children in developing their independence and helping children to build a love of learning.

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Penina Ria, Certified Teacher- Kauri Room

Tēnā koutou

Ko Ōtatara rāua ko Puketapu ōku Maunga

Ko Tutaekuri rāua ko Ngaruroro ōku Awa

Ko Takitimu tōku Waka

Ko Waiohiki rāua ko Omahu ōku Marae

Ko Ngāti Paarau rāua ko Ngāti Hinemanu ōku hāpu

Ko Ngāti Kahungunu tōku Iwi

Ko Curtis rāua ko Sharron ōku Mātua

Ko Penina tōku ingoa

Kei Ahuriri ahau e noho ana

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa


I'm Penina, and currently a Provisionally Registered kaiako in Ruma Kauri. I completed my Bachelors in Teaching ECE in 2022 through Te Rito Maioha and have recently moved to Active Explorers from one of our sister centre's, which I had been teaching there for close to 7 years. 

I believe in supporting tamariki to become successful, lifelong learners, which I believe starts in ECE! 

I am the eldest of 4 and grew up in Te Matau a Maui. In my spare time, both myself and my tāne are involved in local Musical theatre, either being on stage, working behind the scenes, or playing the best role, audience member.


"Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu"

"Although it is small, it is precious."

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Ariana Simmonds, Unqualified Teacher - Kōwhai Room

My name is Ariana. I live with my partner Jody and my son London (3) who is at one of our sister centres Little Wonders. I have a background in Naturopathy and Nutrition and am excited to blend this knowledge with my current Early Childhood Studies and join the Active Explorer’s team as a student teacher.

Early childhood education has been a passion of mine for many years and this interest naturally evolved and was emphasized after having my son London.

I feel especially grateful to be in our Infant space, an ever-evolving space for our pēpi which has a strong emphasis on key teaching, freedom of movement, tuakana-teina relationships, and free play.

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Ashleigh Ramsay, Unqualified Teacher - Kōwhai Room (Currently on Maternity leave)

Kia Ora, I'm Ashleigh, Lachlan and I have been apart of the AE whanau since April 2022. 

Early childhood education has been a passion of mine since 2014. Most of my experience was gained through relief work in a wide variety of centres across Christchurch. This passion evolved and was emphasized after having my son Lachlan. 

I feel privileged to be a part of our AE whanau and I enjoy teaching tamariki and helping support their personal growth and learning journey. I feel especially lucky to be in our Infant space, an ever evolving space for our pēpi which has a strong emphasis on key teaching, freedom of movement, tuakana-teina relationships and free play. 

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Alanna Longstaff, Teacher - Kōwhai Room

My name is Alanna as a teacher I find it a privilege to be part of your child’s learning journey while they are here in the Kōwhai room. I enjoy being apart of their development and assisting them to explore new interests and above all providing a safe and nurturing environment. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with you and your family so myself and the team can make your whanau time here as fulfilling as possible

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Teresa Orbell, Centre Chef

My name is Teresa, I have over 25 years of experience as a Chef. I am passionate about creating and providing healthy food options for the children, I have worked at Active Explorers Greenmeadows since Feb 2022.

I enjoy the environment with the tamariki, learning alongside them and working together with the team. When I am not in the kitchen I enjoy getting in the rooms, building and maintaining relationships with the children and supporting the other teachers whenever I can.

 I have 3 daughters and 9 grandchildren who I enjoy hanging out with in my spare time.