Our Board

Like face-to-face schools, we have a Board of Trustees responsible for ensuring the school is governed and managed according to the relevant legislation and the National Education Guidelines. However, unlike other schools our Board is appointed by the Minister of Education.

Our Board members are:

Barbara Ala'alatoa (Chair)
Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai
Stuart Middleton
John Chemis
Ruma Karaitiana
Mele Wendt

Barbara Ala'alatoa

Barbara is the Principal of Sylvia Park Primary School in South Auckland, and was appointed as the Board Chair in September, 2019. Barbara was the inaugural chair of the Education Council and a member of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce. She has more than 30 years’ experience in teaching and working throughout the education sector. Announcing her appointment, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins described Barbara as an outstanding educational leader who will take forward Te Kura’s plans to lift achievement, wellbeing and a sense of belonging for all of our students. She brings to the board a wealth of experience in governance, primary education and teacher training, as well as her cultural knowledge and understanding of the diverse student body enrolled in Te Kura. Her experience includes lecturing at Auckland College of Education and co-ordinating schooling improvement at the Ministry of Education.

Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai

Maxine is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a background in the dairy, telecommunications, health, justice, education and local government sectors. She chairs Te Kura’s Risk Assurance Committee. Maxine is an accredited Environmental Commissioner and has sat on a number of resource consent hearing panels. She is currently the Chair of Waikato Tainui’s iwi authority, Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, Chair of the Upper Central Zone Board for New Zealand Rugby League, Chair of the Central Waikato Catchment Committee for Waikato Regional Council and Trustee for the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards Trust. In the past, Maxine has sat on the boards of the Waikato Institute of Technology, Chaired the Proprietors of Taharoa C Block Inc and is a past member of the Maritime Authority.

Stuart Middleton

Stuart is the Director of External Relations at the Manukau Institute of Technology, where he has responsibility for educational pathways/transitions and Pasifika development. Stuart is a member of the Ministerial Cross Sector Forum on Raising Achievement and the Youth Guarantee Advisory Group. He has worked as a consultant throughout the Pacific and taught at many South Auckland schools, including as Principal of Aorere College, as well as at the Auckland College of Education. In 2010, Stuart was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.

John Chemis

John was appointed to the board in September 2015 and reappointed in 2018 for a further three years. Sadly, he died at the beginning of 2021.

John, who had recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Eastbay REAP, covering the Eastern Bay of Plenty region, was highly committed to meeting and supporting educational need in rural communities and was determined to make a difference. At Te Kura he had a strong focus on working alongside Māori community and learner aspirations.


Haere atu ki tua o te arai i runga ano i te karanga o Hinenuitepo.

Ruma Karaitiana

Ruma is an experienced company director with a long career in management, consultancy and business. He has recently retired after over ten years as Chief Executive of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation. Although most of his working life has been in commercial management Ruma has maintained an active involvement in education through governance roles and part-time teaching. He has held governance and teaching roles in both the tertiary and compulsory education sectors and has a particular interest in pedagogy in a digital and distance learning environment.

Ruma currently chairs the commercial arm of his Iwi post-settlement as well as serving on the boards of Education Services Ltd and The Central Energy Trust. He also represents Iwi interests on the Lead Group of the economic development initiative, Accelerate25.

Mele Wendt

Mele Wendt has 17 years of leadership/management experience and over 20 years of governance experience. Her roles have included being a high school teacher, the founding Pacific Islands Liaison Officer and manager of the student recruitment office at Victoria University of Wellington, and Executive Director of Fulbright New Zealand for ten years. In the last few years, Mele has been doing a mix of consultancy work and governance. She currently serves on the Te Kura board and the Wellington Community Trust. She recently stood down as Chair of the Pasifka Education Centre in Auckland.

Mele is Samoan (Malie, Vaiala, Lefaga) and palagi (NZ/Britain), and lives in Wellington. In January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.