Te Awamutu Primary School - Kia Kaha - Be Strong

Timatanga Team (NE)

Maree Parkes

Teacher Room 3 (NE) - Team Leader



General Information

Kia ora, My name is Maree and I teach in Room 3.
I completed my teacher training at Auckland College on Education in 1986 with a diploma of teaching in Early Childhood. I taught for 16 years in Early childhood Centres before I had the privilege to work at TAPS in 2007.
I am Team leader and am passionate about working alongside children and their families who are transitioning into school. I love how resilient children are and how quickly they adapt to school life.
I am married to Chris who owns The Garden Shop and have 3 children all who attended TAPS.
I love watching my children participate in sport and cultural events and value family time at the beach.

Toni Densem

Teacher Room 5a (NE)




Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)

General Information

Welcome to Room 5A!
My name is Toni Densem. I started teaching in 2004 and have taught a range of year levels throughout my teaching career.
After having my own children my passion and knowledge for the early years of a child's life began to grow. I am passionate about the transition between early years into school and preparing students' for the start of their primary school learning journey.
I have had the pleasure of teaching our new entrant students here at TAPS coming up 6 years this July.
Their excitement, smiles and love for learning is infectious.
I am very excited to meet all of our new five year olds and their families, who will be joining TAPS this year.
I look forward to meeting you all soon!
Nau mai, haere mai

Karen Sykes

Teacher Rm 1B (NE)




Bachelor of Teaching and Learning, Grad Dip teaching, early years

General Information

Kia ora. My name is Karen and I am married to Richard, who some of you may know as he spent time at TAPS as a teacher aide. We have grown-up children, two of whom live in the Uk and two in Tauranga.
We left the UK in 2004, and two days later I started uni life, completing my degree in Teaching and Learning (Primary) by long distance learning through Christchurch College of Education.
I later completed a post-grad in ECE and have spent the last 14 years working across the age range, newborns to intermediate age children.
In 2013 I was lucky enough to secure a new entrants position at TAPS and have loved every minute of my time in Te Awamutu. The TAPS community are an amazing group of people. It’s great to be part of your childs’ learning journey.
My family and I love many different sports, but football is our passion, with all of us playing. I also enjoy swimming, walking, cycling and riding my motorbike.
We are also all involved with The Trillian Trek, which many of you may know as the Variety Bash. Joining teams driving across the country visiting schools in crazy vehicles, completing community projects and fundraising for children in need.

Caroline Jones

Teacher - Ruma Kōwhai (NE)




Bachelor of Teaching

General Information

Hello there,
My name is Caroline and I am proud to be a teacher here at TAPS in the fabulous Ruma Kōwhai this year. I am originally from Rotorua and made the move to TA in 2018. I love learning alongside our wonderful children and being apart of their journey with school.

I am excited about this year ahead and look forward to meeting all the new students and having fun with them while learning.

In my spare time, I love baking, spending time with my family and friends, and also having cuddles with my cheeky little kitten.

Nicola Edwards

Teacher - Ruma Kakariki (NE)




BSc, MA, Diploma Teaching - Primary

General Information

Kia ora!
I am Nicola Edwards. I love teaching the new entrant children, and I am proud to be in Ruma Kakariki this year, in my sixth year of teaching here at TAPS, after I completed the Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching at the University of Waikato.

I am really proud and inspired by the progress, the development and the learning journey that occurs at this age level. It is a privilege to be a part of such a precious time with the children and families within Timatanga, and to be amongst and working alongside such a strong team of inspiring teachers.

My own two children are both TAPS students; Jasper is currently in Year 4, whilst Thomasina has just ventured to TAI this year.

From way back in a former life, I have a background in Archaeological Conservation and material sciences. I have a passion for travel and exploration which is also combined with a love creating works of art in kiln formed glass.

My family and I have a love of spending time at the beach and outdoors. Coming from the north east of England, I must say I favour this climate and the opportunities that abound!

Lanah Gibbes


General Information

Kia ora koutou.
I am Mrs Lanah Gibbes.
I am an experienced teacher who has been teaching for 25+ years.
I am excited to rejoin the TAPS teaching community after having taught here for 10 years (over 12 years ago!).
I enjoy supporting and preparing children the best I can for happy school adventures and I am always amazed to see how quickly children can settle into school life and routines.
I am passionate about eye catching classroom environments and I get professional satisfaction from creating rich language experiences for the children.
I also relish using various forms of technology as effective classroom tools.
I am a mum to 2 gorgeous girls (Ashley-Jayne and Brylee-Ella) and I am married to Chris who is a very busy Super Rugby coach with the Hurricanes.
We value our family and friends and we like to enjoy everything that life has to offer.
Ngā mihi nui

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