Manaakitanga Perseverance Integrity Responsibility

Our Staff

One of our best resources at Tamatea Intermediate is the quality of our Staff.  We have great blend of experience, enthusiasm and energy amongst both our Teaching and Support Staff.

A unique feature is that we have a 50/50 gender split of teachers, which provides positive role models for all our students.


Jo Smith

Jo Smith, Principal

Kia Ora,

As a past student of Tamatea Intermediate myself, I am extremely proud to be the  Principal of this innovative and supportive school. I have recently returned to Tamatea Intermediate after spending several years in Australia and it is great to be back in this fantastic, future focussed learning community.

Our motto 'Learning for the future in a supportive environment' reflects the way we guide our learners to achieve their personal best. Tamatea Intermediate has a dedicated team of teachers and support staff that are passionate about providing exciting learning opportunities for our students. 

Feel free to contact me by emailing


Jude Lineham

Jude Lineham , Deputy Prinicpal

Jemma Thorogood

Jemma Thorogood, Assistant Principal

My name is Jemma Thorogood. I began teaching at Tamatea Intermediate in 2004 as a beginning teacher and have not looked back!

I hold high expectations for myself and all learners. I expect learners to get out of their comfort zones, try new things, and take risks with their learning. I want learners to have fun while providing opportunities for them to investigate, create, connect, collaborate, communicate, participate, and contribute at school, community, and global levels.

Working together we can create life-long learners who are willing to question, explore and make decisions about their journey in life.

"They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel."

Carol Buchner

Dean Quate

Dean Quate, Room 17 (Year 7 Team Leader)

Ciao, Bonjour, Kia Ora and Hello. My name is Dean Quate and I am a Year 7 teacher here at Tamatea Intermediate. I don't have fancy slogans or favourite sayings, but I do have a passion for getting the best out of all children in my classes. Be that academic or socially, we strive to be the best 'team' we can be. I'm a firm believer in working as a 'Team' and accepting that we are all different, with different interests, different strengths and different opinions. Like any successful team, we need key people in different positions, and each child holds a special and valued position in my 'Team'. We care for each other, we encourage each other and we are all there for each other. 
I've taught at Primary level and can honestly say Year 7 is a great age to teach. This is the time when your child starts to develop into the young adults that they will grow up to become They start to see the outside world and develop their own opinions on current events. An exciting time. 
We work hard, we laugh a lot, I sing badly and we achieve a lot in 'Team 17'
Arrivederci, Au Revoir, Haere Ra, and Good Bye

Franz Groom

Franz Groom, Room 3

I enjoy teaching intermediate age students and Tamatea Intermediate provides many challenging and rewarding activities for students during their two year stay with us.I first taught at Tamatea Intermediate in the late 80’s for two years, returning in 2007. I especially enjoy teaching Social Studies and Science and watching students develop their knowledge and skills in these subjects. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, golf , aviation, travel and meeting new people.

Lejani Eksteen

Lejani Eksteen, Room 4

Hi there! My name is Lejani Eksteen and I am teaching year 7 students in Room 4. This is my second year at Tamatea Intermediate and I enjoy every moment of being here. I am quite an adventurous, competitive, enthusiastic and caring person, who always strives to get the best out of my students. I have a big personality and I encourage my students to take risks in all aspects of their learning. You will find me cheering on my students within every aspect of their education and learning. (Yes..I am that teacher next to the field, wearing a funny outfit, jumping up and down and cheering my school on!)
Some of my passions include: Photography, Painting, Netball, Softball, Mathematics, Reading, Writing and anything else I can compete in. 
My door is always open, so if you ever have any questions don't hesitate to ask. 

Meredyth Howie

Meredyth Howie, Room 9

I have taught intermediate age students for about 26 years, the last 6 years at Tamatea Intermediate. I enjoy working with this age group and no two classes are the same. I particularly enjoy seeing the students ability to form opinions and use reason develop with greater confidence. I have a passion for reading and  have read aloud to students all my career, although not always with success when the school day becomes crowded. 

Outside of school, I take a lot of pleasure in playing golf (not always well), reading and spending time with family and friends.

Kirsten Morrison

Kirsten Morrison, Room 10

Kia Ora. My name is Kirsten Morrison and I am part of the amazing Year 8 Team at Tamatea Intermediate School. This will be my 12th year at the School and I am as excited about this year as my very first!

I am married with 3 children, host 2 boys from Vietnam that attend Napier Boys High School, and have a 2 year old grandson to keep me extra busy.

My roles within the school include being the lead teacher of Mathematics and Rugby. I am passionate about both!

Each week you will find a Mathematical Mind Mover challenge that I encourage all of our learners to participate in - especially if they can solve this with whanau as it is great to hear them using these skills outside of the classroom. I also work closely with Sarah McPhee to offer ALiM (Accelerated Learning in Mathematics) classes to those that may need extra support within their mathematical learning. This is hugely rewarding to both my learners and myself as over a term a learner can totally change their mindset and skillset to develop new found confidence that spills into all learning areas.

I strongly believe in risk taking, goal setting and surrounding yourself with supportive people that will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and reach for all opportunities that excite you.

Damien Izzard

Damien Izzard, Room 12 Head of Sport and PB4L

Hello... My name is Damien Izzard and I am an Englishman recently moved to the Bay. We chose Napier as my partner grew up here and was actually a student of Tamatea Intermediate and it will be a great place to raise our son.
I have been teaching for 16 years within a large secondary school in South East London, where I taught PE and Geography and became the Assistant Head Teacher responsible for behaviour and safety. Within the school environment pastoral care is what I enjoy most. Helping students progress and engage regardless of problems they may be facing at home, or just in growing up, is for me integral to a successful school.
As Head of Sport I am passionate about increasing the opportunities our students have. I believe that sport is a fantastic vehicle to promote the virtues that we want our students to demonstrate. I want them to enjoy the competitive environment I will create, and to take a real pride in the badge they wear. As I am already incredibly proud to be a member of staff at Tamatea Intermediate.
Away from school I am a keen sportsman. I have played both rugby and football to a high standard in England and want to continue to play a more social standard of rugby here. I am excited to have the British Lions over this year and have my lions shirt ready to go. (I'll have my All Blacks shirt on underneath just in case things don't go to plan).
I look forward to working with you all.

Valerie McLeod

Valerie McLeod , Muriwhenua

Kia ora. I have been lucky enough to have been teaching at Tamatea Intermediate since 2016 and prior to this have spent eight years teaching at two other local intermediates. An 18 month stint at the primary school levels left me in no doubt that teaching intermediate age students is where my passion lies.


I love helping students learn how to become independent learners; making sense of the world they live in and seeing how they can be part of improving it for the future. Tamatea Intermediate is a fantastic teaching and learning environment. Students are given support as well as amazing opportunities to grow and challenge themselves. I am passionate about students being able to pursue a range of old and new interests outside the classroom. At school, I am involved with drama and dance, orienteering, netball, and book club.

In my spare time I enjoy being out and about with friends and family, the outdoors, shopping, and relaxing with a great novel.

Hohepa Cooper

Hohepa Cooper, Muriwhenua

Kia ora e te whanau! My name is Hohepa Cooper and this is my first year teaching at Tamatea Intermediate. I grew up in Napier attending Henry Hill, Wycliffe Intermediate and Colenso High Schools. I have 2 young children, which prompted the move back to Napier for great Hawkes Bay family lifestyle.

I have been teaching at the Intermediate level for the last 10 years with particular interest in Science, Maths and Inquiry learning.

Lauren Pitts

Lauren Pitts, Muriwhenua

Kia Ora.  My name is Lauren Pitts.  I am a co - teacher for Muriwhenua.

This is my first year at Tamatea Intermediate. I have been teaching in Hawkes Bay for the last 20 years, in many different positions and schools.  Most recently I have been a full time staff member at Tamatea Primary School. I am really looking forward to the change in teaching ages - relieving at this school has shown me that this will be an enjoyable and engaging time.

I love helping people learn and realise the potential that they have and can share with others.  My motto for teaching is “If you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t change yourself”. We all have our own personal strengths, I love to see the light-bulb flick on!

In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my family, friends and my three cats! A good book, a soft chair, a cosy fire, quiet music - my idea of relaxation.


Jude Cheer, Multi Materials/ Head of Technology

Jude Cheer, Multi Materials/ Head of Technology

Jamie James

Jamie James, Metal & Plastics

Originally from Auckland Jamie James spent 13 years in the boat building industry before deciding to make a career change and go teaching. Over the past 10 years he has taught all primary levels as a classroom teacher, but finds the intermediate years the most rewarding. Now he combines his past practical experience with classroom experience to deliver the Hard Materials Technology programme.

 "I enjoy empowering learners to explore their creativity and produce works that are genuinely useful."
When not teaching Jamie enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. He has recently become a certified Crossfit instructor and enjoys a fit healthy lifestyle.

Jill Kennett, Art

Jill Kennett, Art

Alister Gear, Food Technology

Alister Gear, Food Technology

Alastair Richards, ICT

Alastair Richards, ICT

Kia Ora. I am Alastair Richards and I have been at Tamatea Intermediate since 2009. I started my working life as a Surveying Draftsman then progressed to working in the ICT industry. It was while working in ICT that I discovered the enjoyment of teaching and so here I am. I enjoy teaching intermediate age students as they provide many challenging and rewarding moments as I like to encourage my students to think outside the square. I want t o be able to support students to become independent learners where they can explore and ask questions in a safe environment.  I have a saying - DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL. BE AFRAID NOT TO TRY! My interests at school are in the ICT fields with Green Screen technology and Coding along with becoming an Apple Certified Teacher as well as Maths. In my spare time I like to play football (come on the Spurs), cycle (semi competitive) and enjoy spending quality time with my wife and two young kids

Fiona Hay - Administration Manager

Fiona Hay - Administration Manager

Fiona can be contacted on

Vicki Strachan - Home Liaison/Pastoral care/Attendance

Vicki Strachan - Home Liaison/Pastoral care/Attendance

Vicki can be contacted on

Julie Polly - Finance Manager

Julie Polly - Finance Manager

Julie can be contacted on

Tracey Hall

Tracey Hall, Teacher Aide

Hi my name is Tracey Hall, I have been with Tamatea Intermediate for 9 years now.  First as a librarian and now as Teacher Aide for Technology.  I have a passion for Books, Art, Steampunk, Polymer Clay, Jewellery and PUGs.  I love to create anything handmade and get a kick out of helping our students create something unique.

Teaching & Learning

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. - John Dewey