Our People

Karmin Marchbanks, Centre Manager

What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?

I was inspired by mother who was a kindergarten teacher.  I spent many hours in kindergarten as a child and then later working voluntarily as an untrained teacher before I became trained teacher. I’ve been working in the sector for 30 years now!

What do you love most about what you do?

The relationships that are built with children and learning that takes place in early childhood education. I value relationships between whanau, parents, caregivers and children that are built on trust and respect. Children learn in an environment that allows uninterrupted play with flexible, child driven routines that support them to become competent, confident and capable learners.

What is your favourite time of the year at the centre, and why?

I love summer time, it is a great time of year to be able to fully make use of the outside area and explore the learning opportunities that take place outside.

Qualifications: Diploma of Early Childhood Education, Current First Aid Certificate.

Holly Murray, Assistant Manager

Kia ora everyone my name is Holly, I have moved to beautiful Nelson from Auckland with my two teenage children to be closer to my whanau. I am the Assistant Manager of Active Explorers Richmond and I have been with Lollipops Educare for over 8 years. I have been teaching for over 20 years and have worked in a range of roles. Working with children is such an important and integral role to have and I really enjoy making connections and building relationships with whanau and tamariki.  Wider community is also important to me, and I strive in my teaching to make those strong connections. I love to watch children develop and grow at their own pace in a nurturing and fun environment.


Nga mihi

Matalena Lata, Team Leader

Kia ora, Talofa Lava and greetings.  My name is Matalena.  I am married with two teenage children.  I am originally from Auckland and moved to sunny Nelson in 2012.

I started my career in ECE teaching in 2013.  By 2017, I completed my training and studies with Te Rito Maioha in Nelson.  In 2018 I graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).  I am a fully registered and qualified teacher who have worked in a range of educational settings and age groups.  I am passionate about working with children and teachers in a respectful, safe, and fun environment.

Inspired by Te Whāriki, Tapasā, and the Pikler/RIE approach, I believe in creating a home away from home to ensure that I am supporting children to direct their own learning/interests and to reach their full potential.  I also believe in building a dedicated team of teachers, maintaining relationships with tamariki and parent partnerships is important in forming authentic connections, and promoting positivity in our centre culture and community. 

I am committed to exploring diverse cultures, enriching relationships, and fostering a culture of equity. Every child has the right to participate, feel a sense of belonging, contribute, and create wonderful friendships to feel empowered, loved and valued.

At the heart of our work, my aspiration for every child is to feel part of the team and to richly explore an ECE curriculum of arts, literacy, maths, and science that respond to their perspectives.  This will also support children be school ready for their next adventure in education.

My interests outside of work are food, taking our kuri (dog) Ranger out for walks, swimming and going out on family adventures exploring our beautiful Aotearoa. 

Children are the future, and it starts here.

Kim Howat , Team Leader

Kia ora, my name is Kim.  I was born in Nelson and have lived here for most of my life except for a six year stint in Dunedin and a year in Australia in 2009.  I have two grown children aged 21 and 17.  I have worked in the early childhood sector for the past 15 years.  During this time I worked as an education support worker for children with special needs and as a teacher aide for the Kindergarten Association.  After a gentle nudge from one of the head teachers I finally decided to study to become an early childhood teacher.  I studied at Te Rito Maioha in Nelson and completed my Bachelor of Early Childhood Degree in 2015.  In April of 2016 I was offered a full time position here at Active Explorers and became the Team Leader of the Tuakana Room in November 2017.

I believe that all children have the right to experience an environment where their well-being is nurtured.  Each child should be supported, by their families, whanau, teachers and the wider community to enable them to grow to their full potential.  I believe children are taonga, they should be valued and respected as individual and kept safe from harm.

Bachelor of Early Childhood
Current First Aid Certificate.