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!


Nila Thanaraj

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora, Hello, Wannakam and Ayubowan.

My Name is Nila and I am a registered teacher in New Zealand and the room leader in Teina Room. I was born in the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka and call New Zealand/Aotearoa home for the past 25 years of my life.  I have two sons who are young adults.  One lives over in Australia where majority of family lives.  My younger son lives with me while studying towards an Engineering degree. I have a passion for travelling, cooking and history.  I like living in peaceful New Zealand.  

I have been working at Rising Stars since 2013 and enjoy every minute of it.  I believe in providing children with the best start in life which led me to choose a career in teaching after going through the similar journey with my own children.

Every child is unique and each has their own strengths and needs, and my aim is to provide an environment for them to shine while develop their skills, interests and attitudes.   I strongly believe when a teacher works in partnership with a child’s family/whanau and their community their Mana and self-esteem is lifted which helps them develop into confident and competent learners and valuable members of their society.  It is a great privilege and responsibility to work with children and I have an amazing team of teachers who support me to help our children in Teina room.  Nga mihi nui. 


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.


Ronaclaire Totanes

ECE Qualified Teacher

Kia Ora and Kumusta!

My name is Ronaclaire Totanes. I've been in the Pepe room for almost 5 years now and I absolutely love and enjoy it here.

 I am originally from the Philippines. It has been 10 years since my family and I moved to New Zealand and called it our new home. The things I like to do are painting, drawing, playing instruments, travelling and taking photographs.

In 2018, I've completed my degree in Bachelor of Teaching in ECE and got my registration in 2019.

One of the things I strongly believe  in as a teacher is the importance of building respectful and genuine relationships with the tamaraki and their whanau.

I look forward to work with your child and your family.




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 and ni hao, whānau! My name is Ruby, I was born and grew up in Beijing, China. I went to a boarding kindy since I was 2 and half years old, in a Chinese Navy school, and lived in the there from Monday to Saturday till I turned 6. It was a very challenging but rewarding experience for me.

I came to New Zealand in 2006 on my own when I was 16 years old. I went to Avondale College in 2007 and studied ECE (level 3) as one of my elective courses.  I obtained my Bachelor degree (level 7) in 2012 through M.I.T.  Now I am a full time single mother of 2 energetic boys, Jake and Jordan who come to work with me everyday.  

I believe that children have unlimited potential and they always surprise you in their own way. I also believe that each child is an individual and as an educator I will value and develop each child's strengths, interests, skills, abilities and knowledge to extend their learning. I believe that children learn through play. I will provides opportunities for children to explore, discover, create and imagine.

I am very passionate about gardening, playing games (on Ps5 or Nintendo), travelling (explore different cultures, languages, foods and places)  etc. 


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.