At HIPPY, we recognise that parents are the first teachers in their children's lives. It's incredible to see how HIPPY positively impacts the community, starting with one family and inspiring future generations.

(Left side: Cherise, HIPPY Coordinator | Right side: Gayan, HIPPY Parent)


Tell us about yourself and what do you do at HIPPY Papakura?  

My family and I immigrated from South Africa five years ago. I have a beautiful son, Jack, who loves New Zealand, and we are embracing Kiwi culture to the fullest. I currently work as the HIPPY Coordinator in Papakura, and I feel very honoured to be at the heart of where HIPPY began in New Zealand. Big shoes to fill, as they say.

I have numerous qualifications in early childhood education and more than 16 years of frontline teaching experience. As the HIPPY Coordinator, I still get to teach, but in a more structured way—the HIPPY best practice way—which makes me feel at home, as structure is how we all learn. I will soon be completing my first year at Great Potentials, and I have learned so much from my amazing colleagues and the knowledge I have gained from the programme.


What do you love most about your role?

Working in the community daily, I get to experience firsthand the significant impact Great Potentials makes with their all-around services. At HIPPY, we recognise that parents are the first teachers in their children's lives. Building a bond with their Tamariki and helping them understand that each child has a place in this space is what we do best at HIPPY. 

Hearing those amazing, feel-good stories from families about how HIPPY has positively influenced both parents' and Tamariki’s lives by giving them a head start is incredibly rewarding. Seeing how this change affects the community, starting with one family and then paving the way for future generations, is truly inspiring. It is great to receive feedback from their primary school teachers about HIPPY, as they always tell us that children in the programme are achieving above expectations and more.


What are you looking forward to in HIPPY Papakura this year?

Graduation is always a major highlight for HIPPY, as we see families celebrate all the hard work and learning they accomplished. My plan is to reach more families, spreading the word about HIPPY and bringing this amazing programme into more homes.

We thank Dragon Community Trust for their recent donation to the HIPPY programme, enabling our team to make a meaningful impact in our Papakura and Takanini communities.