Our People

tania 1.jpg
Tania McMahon, Centre Manager

I have worked as a teacher for over 25 years. I live in Southbridge with my husband, we have 3 daughters.

I believe children are all unique individuals who need positive relationships and a safe nurturing environment to grow, learn and develop into confident and competent lifelong learners. 

I have a Diploma of Teaching ECE 

Kara Bain, Team Leader : Explorer Class (Under 2year old class)

Kia Ora, my name is Kara Bain. I have working in Early Childhood since 2004 and enjoy working with all the differing age groups of early childhood. I value building strong and positive relationships with tamariki and whaanau for the best outcomes for tamariki.

I live in Leeston with my husband Pete, two children and our dog Mack. In our weekends we love exploring the Selwyn district, going on walks, bike rides and spending lots of time at the river.

I look forward to getting to know you and your family while supporting your child on their learning journey. 

I have a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education.

Claire Stephens, Teacher - Enquirers Classroom

I live in Doyleston with my husband Jeremy and our three lively children, Bryon, Samuel and Charlotte-Rose. I have been teaching preschool aged children for over 20 years. I have a passion for under 5s, as I believe these are their most important learning years.

I have a special interest in music and sport, which have been a major part of my life growing up.

Diploma in Teaching and Learning (ECE)

Andrea Loveridge, Teacher

Hi, my name is Andrea and I live in Doyleston with my partner Shane and our son Jay. Our daughter Grace has left the nest and lives in Lincoln. My working background is in accounting, but I’ve always been interested in helping and working with young children. After becoming a mum myself,  I became even more passionate about helping young children learn and achieve.

The opportunity came up to do some relieving work here, and 18 months later I was offered a permanent position. I love that no single day is the same, it is rewarding, challenging and always interesting. I love being around the children and admire their endless energy, honesty and resilience.

Dianne Simkin, Support Teacher

I’ve had many years of experience working with children. Prior to joining Active Explorers Leeston, I worked at Westport Daycare as a reliever and then full time in their nursery. I’m a mum to two grown up children - a daughter Michelle who lives in Leeston and a son Timothy who lives in Australia. I also have five gorgeous grandchildren.

I look forward to meeting and working alongside all the children and families here at Active Explorers.

Emma Knights , Teacher

Kia ora my name is Emma. I have been working with Active Explorers Leeston for a year.

I haven a Bachelor in Teaching ECE and I live in Leeston with my 2 sons and partner. I enjoy sunshine, the beach, family time and walking my dog.

I value an environment that supports children-led exploration and learning.

Nga Mihi.

Kimberly Hill, Teacher - Explorer Class

I have worked at Active Explorers Leeston for 6 years teaching a range of aged children.

I am a mother of 5 boys and live locally.

I have always been around children and really enjoy their energy and company.

Hayley Trushell Bryant, Head Teacher Explorer Class (0-2yr olds)

Kia ora, my name is Hayley

I live in Southbridge with my husband Matthew and I have an adult son named James and 2 school aged children Max and Emily. I have been teaching for  20 years and have a love of the growth and development of all children but my passion lies with working alongside infants and toddlers.

I am a big believer in the environment as a third teacher and this is reflected in my calm, nurturing teaching practice. Our nursery is an unhurried environment that encourages and supports freedom of movement and independence.

Originally from England, I emigrated to NZ in 1989 with my family. After spending many years living in Auckland and Christchurch, we finally settled in this amazing community which we love!

Walking, painting and spending quality time with my family are just a few of the things I like to do during my free time.


Bachelor in Teaching and Learning (ECE)

paige Fea.jpg
Page Fea, Teacher - Discovery Class

Hi my name is Paige, I am excited to join Active Explorers Leeston to build on my passion of working with preschool aged children.

I feel a close connection to preschool aged children and have a strong commitment to support them in their development and learning to reach their aspirations.


I am going to start a Bachelor of Teaching ECE in the near future.

I live locally, in my spare time I enjoy a variety of sports and spending time with family and friends.

Tash Steven , Teacher

Kia ora, I’m Tash.

I’m Leeston local and live here with my two children. I’ve been working in education for the last 12 years, primarily in early childhood.

I believe that all tamariki need roots and wings - a strong sense of belonging and a sense of joy in exploring to ignite wonder and passion.

In my spare time, I enjoy upcycling furniture, pottering in the garden and running with my little terrier.

I have a Bachelor in Arts - Educational Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE).

Lucy the cat
Lucy the Cat, Qualified Cuddlier

Lucy is a very special member of our team here at Active Explorers Leeston. Lucy chose to become a team member in 2019, and his special gifts are in meeting and greeting our teachers and families.

He is known to be a great player at hide’n’seek and likes to explore and play in our big outdoor space.

Lucy is a friend to all and offers everyone that homely feel to our centre.