Matahui School Principal

Principal | Max Muller

Hello, I’m Max.   I am privileged to serve the exciting Matahui School community as principal.  The students and parents at Matahui inspire me to continually learn and lead by example.   Prior to 1994 I worked in a variety of New Zealand schools ranging from primary, intermediate and secondary schools. During this time I held various positions of responsibility, the last of which was Head of English at Waihi College. In 2011 my wife and I made the decision to return to New Zealand having completed 17 years working in international schools across Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong. During this time I had the opportunity to help found and establish two international schools.   Everyday presents a unique challenge at Matahui and keeps me coming back for more.

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Year 0 & 1, 2| Christine Croskery

Hi. My name is Christine Croskery and I have had the privilege of teaching at Matahui School for the last 22 years! It’s been a family affair for us, with my 2 children, Eve and Niko, both spending all their primary years at Matahui and my husband James very involved, especially in the wonderful camps throughout, and now attending to the maintenance of the school. So as a parent and a teacher I can vouch that Matahui is a place where very special memories are made! It’s a very creative and exciting place to be and I enjoy that every day is different. I love the hands-on approach and the warm family environment.

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Year 0 & 1, 2| Donna McDonald

Hi. My name is Donna McDonald. I joined the staff here at Matahui School in May this year (2018) to team teach with Christine Croskery. I am wife to Fin McDonald and mum to Ella who is four and Louis who is two. We live on a beautiful property right here in Katikati. We love growing all our own produce and have started our own blueberry, strawberry and raspberry farm. Prior to teaching at Matahui, I started and sold my own florist business and prior to this, I taught in a wonderful school in Tokoroa for four years.

I believe Matahui is a safe, warm and inclusive family environment. The staff at Matahui work well as a team and with parents to met children’s individual needs. The small class sizes are wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy working along Christine in creating a coherent, warm and engaging learning environment.

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Year 3 & 4 | Elaine Garrett

I am Elaine Garrett. Since 2009 I have been teaching part-time at Matahui School and I am thrilled to be teaching the Year 3 & 4 class this year. Prior to coming to Matahui School I taught at Ngatea Primary School for 20 years and was Deputy Principal there, before moving to the Bay of Plenty. I live in Athenree with my husband Keith, who teaches Chemistry part-time at Hauraki Plains College. We both enjoy the quiet, relaxed lifestyle in Athenree.

I love teaching at Matahui School. The children, parents and staff work together as a caring family community, where individuality is respected and valued.

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Year 5 & 6 | Alison Chissell

Hi, I am lucky to be married to my dear husband Dave and we have two energetic boys. We currently live at Te Puna and love spending time on the water, especially kayaking. I am an avid reader who often finds it hard to put down a great book. Gardening and home renovations are huge interests and I love working on new projects. It is inspiring to be part of an energetic and highly innovative team. I believe in fostering warm positive relationships with every individual child so they feel safe in our creative learning environment.

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Year 7 & 8 | Paul Evans

I am married to Nicola, with two lovely girls named Ruby and Lisa. We live on a lifestyle block with avocados, lambs and chickens. I describe myself as a lifelong learner who enjoys sport, the outdoors, languages and exploring other cultures. In our classroom we create a stimulating student-centred environment, underpinned by conceptual inquiry learning and a wonderful outdoor education program, with a strong emphasis on leadership and team building. There are many aspects of our school that exemplify my ideals of a full primary. Our small class sizes and the real-life experiences Matahui brings to the students, results in them knowing themselves and connecting effectively within their communities.

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Music & French | Christine Deschamps

In 2006 I moved back to NZ with my family after 12 years of living on small French islands.  I have taught music for many years and my path led me back to Matahui where I had been involved since the very early days. I have a classical piano background and am a qualified primary teacher. My style of music teaching has been very influenced by both the Yamaha and the Orff pedagogy, through which I have developed a belief that everyone is musical and that we are all better off if we have music in our lives.

I am also a fluent French speaker now so have the role of teaching French to most of the Matahui students. I am also responsible for organising a Tahitian exchange offered every 2 years to our year 7 and 8 students, an experience they learn from and enjoy.

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Administration | Gail Thomson

Hello! I arrived from Christchurch late January this year and have settled into a lovely little rental on the outskirts of Katikati. My husband has already been here a year and is a Physics teacher at Katikati College. He loves it in the Bay of Plenty and kept telling me how nice the area was and how warm it is here – and he was right! I feel at home already and love the ambience of the place. I started at Matahui Road School at the beginning of Term 2 and it is a lovely place to work. Everyone is very welcoming and kind and the school has a lovely family feel which is wonderful!


Board of Trustees

  • Jonny Reay – Chairperson
  • Samantha Ogden
  • Suzanne Greaves
  • Ruth Butter
  • Max Muller – Principal
  • Paul Evans – Staff Rep