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Dedicated & Qualifed


We have a committed team of experience teachers who have served us for a long period of time. Our teachers value each child as an individual and provide many opportunities for them to learn. We are also committed to uphold a high percentage of qualified teachers. As a multi-cultural team, we bring with us a diversity, which has helped us design a rich teaching and learning programme, which is culturally rich and intellectually stimulating. A team that has put in years of experience into creating a home away from home, a place which fosters curiosity, a place of exploration, research and discovery. Developing meaningful relationships with children and families is something that is highly valued and what we strive to achieve.


Leah Boonzaaier

Centre Manager

Kia Ora

My name is Leah Boonzaaier and I am the Centre Manger of Rising Stars Henderson. I was born and raised in New Zealand, on the North Shore, but moved to the west after buying a house in Massey.

I hold a Bachelor Degree in ECE and I am fully registered. I have spent the last 13 years teaching and now am expanding my Leadership capabilities.

I am married and have two young children, Feenix and Daisy who are both enjoying their journey in Primary school. They keep me grounded and remind me why I love to do this job every day. I look forward to meeting you and your whanau.


Siksha Prasad

Room Leader

Dear Parents/ Whanau

My name is Siksha Prasad and I am the Room Leader for the Pepe room. I was born in Fiji and I moved to Auckland when I was 10 years old. I have now been living in New Zealand for 20 years. I lived in Mt Roskill for most of my time here in Auckland, however I have recently moved to Weymouth.

I studied at the University of Auckland and I hold a bachelor’s degree in ECE, and I am a fully registered teacher. I have been working with children for about 8 years now.

I have always enjoyed being around children, and I mainly had a passion being around babies. Therefore, I chose this field and I really enjoy what I do with the babies.

I live with my husband and my daughter who will be 5 soon.

I look forward to getting to know you all more.


Joisse Cueva

Room Leader

Hi Parents/Whanau

My name is Joisse Cueva and I am one of the teachers here in the Tuakana room. I was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up here in New Zealand and I am Filipino. I am the eldest of three girls and I live with my parents.  After finishing my studies, I went straight to university and got a job here at Rising Stars with the pre-school children. I have been working here for 6 years as a provisionally registered teacher and I hold a degree in Early Childhood Education.

Ever since I was young, I have always dreamed of being a teacher and thanks to all of you I am able to live that dream every day. I believe children are capable of doing things for themselves and I will often let them take the lead. I am also passionate about being kind and respectful to others. I love working with this age group and all the fun things we get up to such as DIY.

Come and say hi to me and I look forward to meeting you!


Valentina Soto

Room Leader

Kia Ora Whanau/Families  

My Name is Valentina and I am a fully registered teacher in the Teina Room. I was born and raised in Tāmaki-makau-rau/Auckland and come from a family of 6. I have been working at Rising Stars since 2013.

The fiery spirit of a toddler is where my passion lies. Coming into our room is an exciting and exhilarating day. Developmentally a toddler goes through many milestones in such a small amount of time and it brings me absolute joy to see their minds churn out new ideas of how the world around them works. This is where I come into place. Supporting, encouraging and extending toddlers with their new ideas and interests is what we in the Teina Room strive to do on a daily basis. We do this by providing provocations such as music and art, loose parts play, sensory play, and risk taking, just to name a few.

Rising Stars has been my place of work since I was a young university student, now that I am a fully registered teacher I have come to learn and grow alongside the tamariki/children in my care. The brilliant Nga Kaiako/Teachers here at Rising Stars have supported, encouraged, and have made me the Kaiako/teacher I am today.  I look forward to creating a beautiful partnership with you and your whanau/family, and together your child will have the most memorable time here at Rising Stars.


Kavya Pedditi

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora and Namaste Whanau! My name is Kavya & I am one of the teachers here in the Pepe room. I hail from the vibrant land of India. In 2018, my family and I embarked on an enriching journey to New Zealand, where we have since found our second home. Accompanied by my loving husband and two wonderful boys, we've immersed ourselves in the beauty of this country for six fulfilling years.


My academic journey commenced with the pursuit of Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Engineering, leading me into the specialized field of Embedded Engineering for a couple of years. However, a profound shift occurred when my eldest son started his daycare journey, igniting within me a passion for early childhood education and learning. Thus, we embarked on this journey together, as both a mother and a student of childcare. I completed my Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education, accumulating over two years of hands-on experience in the field.


For me, children embody the essence of the best teachers, constantly offering insights that reshape our perspectives. As a devoted mother of two boys, I deeply understand the significance of nurturing and supporting their growth and development. Every interaction with children reinforces my belief that they hold invaluable lessons, and it is our privilege to learn alongside them. Please come say and hi, and I look foward to meeting you.


Winnie Liu

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora

My name is Winnie Liu and I am one of the Kaiako in the Tuakana room. I was born in China and I moved to Auckland when I was 16 years old. I finished my high school and the University studies in New Zealand. I hold a bachelor of English and New Media Studies as well as a Graduate Diploma in ECE.


I believe children are capable of doing things by themselves and I am looking forward to supporting your tamariki through their learning journey towards primary school. I am excited by the prospect of my new position in my own growth as a new teacher. I am kind and respectful to others and excited to maintain partnerships with whanau and other Kaiako. I look forward to meeting everyone.


Andrea MacAnnan

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia ora, 


My name is Andrea MacAnnan. I am a new first-time mum of an 11-month-old, Annaliese. My husband and I bought a house out here in Massey moving from Mt Albert. I relieved at Rising Stars Henderson numerous times before I gave birth and went on maternity leave in 2023. I loved the family feel and wonderful spirit of the Rising Stars Henderson team and their environment. I am a qualified and registered Kaiako in the Teina Room. 


I was originally born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand in 1995. I come from a mixed background having a Pacific Island mum who came from a Catholic family and an Indian dad (Hindu background). This has shaped my upbringing and given me vast experiences to be able to better understand the world and the different walks of life. Mum and dad live in Hawke’s Bay (25+ years), and my younger sister lives and works in Wellington. I studied at Victoria University of Wellington for my undergraduate degree graduating with a double major in Political Science and Media Studies. I found my passion for teaching young children when I took the opportunity to live and teach in South Korea for one year. I came back and completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) from the University of Auckland in 2017. 


I strongly believe in respectful, authentic and reciprocal relationships with our tāmariki. Creating positive and memorable experiences with our tāmariki and whānau are very important to me. Teaching has been a rewarding experience for the past 6 years and I look forward to what the future holds. 


Penny Zhang

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia ora and Ni hao, my name is Penny (Meng Zhang).

I am one of the kaiako in the Tuakana room. I graduated from New Zealand Tertiary College with a graduate diploma of Early Childhood Education. I have a Master of International Business Management at Newcastle University in the UK and a Master of Tourism Management at Waikato University.

I was born and raised in China and moved to New Zealand in 2016. My favourite part of being an ECE teacher is being able to watch the tamariki learn and grow. I love the moments when a child learns something new or gains a new skill, and when they achieve a new level of independence and confidence to tackle problems on their own. Ever since I can remember, I have had young children follow me around, and have been repeatedly told that I am good with children. The people who know me best have often expressed how an ECE teacher would be the perfect career for me. My biggest goal as ECE teacher is to make the tamariki as happy as they make me.

In addition to my interest in children’s development, I also enjoy going for long walks, hiking, travelling and exploring new activities. It is a great privilege for me to work with and care for your little ones and to get to know your whanau. I look forward to meeting you in the Tuakana room.



ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia ora parents/whānau , ko Ngametua Tearii tōku ingoa.

I am one of the kaiako/teachers in the Tuakana room. I am also currently studying my Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) with Unitec. I am in my final year of my degree. I have been in the Early Childhood Education sector since I was 16 years old.

I am Cook Island Maori, Nz European and was born and raised in Auckland. I have three siblings and I am the second eldest out of my two brothers and one sister. I    also have a three-year-old son name Kabriel that also attends Rising Stars.

I am very passionate when it comes to fostering children's learning and development. I love to tautoko/support tamariki with opportunities to engage in meaningful learning experiences where they are enabled to problem solve, communicate, express themselves and foster positive whanaungatanga / relationships. I am also excited to build and maintain partnerships with the parents and whānau in the Tuakana room.

I love to spend some quality time with my son, family and friends. It is really important to me to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

It is a privilege to work with and alongside the kaiako, tamariki and parents/whānau in the Tuakana room. 


Lucas Rabold


Kia Ora, my name is Lucas Rabold and I was born and raised in Germany. In 2016 I started my journey to New Zealand and I fell in love with this beautiful country. After traveling through the whole country I moved to the North Shore to start my new life in Auckland. 

I studied and graduated my ECE Teaching Degree in Germany and I am currently working on my teaching registration. Since the age of 13, I have been working in early childhood centres building experience before I was able to join the workforce full time. 

Physical movement and art projects are two of my strongest passions. Learning together, side by side, is helping to build a good relationship for life. I am looking forward to working and supporting your tamariki. 

‘Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa.’ - Let us keep close together, not far apart


Maria Karla Alfante


Hi everyone! My name is Karla Alfante and I am one of the teachers in Pepe room. I was born in the Philippines and grew up here as a teenager. My journey in teaching started when I worked as a toy librarian at Children’s Autism Foundation. I have been passionate about psychology especially involving young children. I found the essence in connecting in the early stages with children to be vital in strengthening relationships and forming healthy bonds. Working at Rising Stars across all rooms has helped me grow and learn how to become a mindful teacher. I am passionate in teaching as it is being endlessly curious about experiences, physical movement, self-expression, well-being, kindness, and being creative. I am so grateful to have worked with children because I love seeing the instant spark on their faces when they are learning something new, and being given lots of hugs and cuddles! For me, working with children inspires me to connect through my heart, being aware of our community and reflect more on life.


Lana Olivier

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora,

My name is Lana Olivier and I am one of the teachers here in the Pepe room. I was born in South Africa, moved here when I was 9, and grew up here in New Zealand and I am now a citizen of this amazing country.  I am a provisionally registered teacher and I hold a degree in Early Childhood Education.

I am a mother of a little girl who inspires me to be the best teacher I can be, here at Rising Stars and at home.

I believe children are capable of doing things for themselves and confident in taking charge of their own learning. I am also passionate about being kind and respectful towards others and role modelling this in my teaching. I love working with this age group and all the fun things we get up to such as messy play and art, which I am quite passionate about.

Please come and say hello to me, I look forward to meeting you.


Annemarie Angus


Kia Ora Whanau, 

Hi I'm Annemarie the Rising Stars Centre Cook. I have been a Primary trained teacher with a Bachelor of Education. I have 2 adult daughters and 5 grandchildren. I have owned 2 busy cafes in my past which has given me the skills and knowledge to cater for our wonderful Tamariki. I cater to all children's dietary requirements and needs. My own cooking philosophy is to balance home baking with a range of nutritious meals that are full of love and care. 

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