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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.


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!


Nigar Ansari

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia ora
I am Nigar Ansari, one of the teachers here in Pepe room. I am a fully qualified registered teacher with many years of teaching experience including early childcare education.
I was born and raised in India. In 2018, I moved to New Zealand along with my husband and my son. Now I am a permanent resident in this wonderful country.
I have a passion in identifying and resolving the challenges with the holistic development of the children of young age. I strongly believe in providing an environment where children develop a sense of belonging. As when the children have a sense of belonging, they are more confident,
feel more secure, are more creative and more likely to explore the world of learning easily.
I encourage child learning by incorporating creative learning areas, hands on activities and fun manipulatives. I also like to work hard to ensure that the children are mentally and emotionally prepared for advancing to the next level of their education and learning journey.
I would enjoy the opportunity to say hello to you. Looking forward to hear from you soon.


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.


Prudence Jenkins

ECE Qualified Teacher

Hello, Kia Ora! My name is Prue 

and I was born and raised here in Auckland. Earlier this year I had my young daughter called Daisy who is my only child. We have two rabbits called Ziggy and Cupid and we also have a cat named Chip. 

I hold a Bachelor of Education in Primary school and have worked mainly with students from the ages of 5-7 years old. After I studied my Bachelor of Teaching I went over to the UK to work as a reliever in Primary and ECE. I stayed there for 3 years and when I returned I worked in a Primary School for just over 5 years. I was working with New Entrants to Year 2. 

My passion is teaching and seeing children learn. I love getting to know my akonga (students) and see their interests/passions shine through. I love working with tamariki (children) and seeing their thirst for learning. I enjoy helping to prepare students for their transition to Primary school and helping them learn essential life skills such as being independent and relating to others.

It is a great privilege for me to work with and care for your little ones and to get to know your whanau.


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.


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.



ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora Parents/Whanau,
My Name is Swastika Singh but everyone calls me Rosie. I am one of the teachers here in the
Tuakana room. I was born in Fiji Islands, and I am Fijian Indian, in my later teenage years I grew up in New Zealand. I mostly grew up in west Auckland.
I love to dance, listen to music, read mystery books, and write mystery stories. I enjoy swimming, watching thriller, action, and comedy horror movies. My favourite drama to watch is K-Dramas and watch anime. I studied at Unitec and after my graduation I moved to Brisbane. I was a Head Teacher in a Kindergarten, and this was I first official Teaching Job. I moved back to New Zealand and worked in different centres to gain my teaching experience. It was quite fun and knowledgeable experience I had. Now I have settled in and wish to work in Rising Stars for many years to come. I look forward to meeting everyone.


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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