2020 - who are we?

Introducing the Board of Trustees


Leanne Heaps - Chairperson

Hi, I became Chair of the Mataura School Board of Trustees at the start of term 4 2016. I am mum to Max (9) who is in Room Kererū, Zoe (7) Room Pūkeko and Lachlan (5) who is Room Kiwi. My husband Mark and I live on his family sheep farm in Ferndale. I have a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Rural Studies both from Massey University. I have previously worked in the Rural Servicing industry in Fertiliser Sales and in more recent years as an Agri Finance Manager with ANZ Bank. Locally I am currently the convenor of the Mataura Junior Rugby Club and have previously been in roles on Mataura Plunket, Gore Kids Hub and Gore Toy Library. Our board's focus is on great outcomes for all our students and I enjoy seeing the progress being made by our students. I meet weekly with Mrs Dennison with updates on what is occurring in the school to ensure I am always informed, during these meetings we also continue our work to ensure we are on target to achieving our schools goals. If you would like to contact me please either email leanneh@mataura.school.nz or call me on 0272038867 or 2038867.


Brendon (Moe) Murray - Deputy Chair

Hi my name is Moe Murray, I am married to Christine and am also a father to Tom, Anna and Leah, with Leah attending Mataura School. I, myself, was also a pupil many years ago at Mataura School. As a parent I enjoy being on the BOT for the benefit of the pupils and the school. I am a engineer and business owner of Gore Sheetmetal and Engineering. I'm also deputy chief fire officer in the Mataura fire brigade as well as being the local Mataura Licensing Trust board member for the Mataura township. So if there is anything you would like to talk about please don't hesitate to contact myself or leave a message at the school office to be passed on to me.


Anah Solomon

Kia ora koutou. Ko Putahi tōku maunga, ko Omapere tōku roto, ko Ngatokimatawhaorua tōku waka, ko Ngapuhi tōku iwi, ko Anah Solomon tōku ingoa.

Hi I am Anah and Mum to Sela Kaufusi (10) in the Bilingual Class, Ruma Ruru, with Whaea Laura. I am a Registered Nurse currently pursuing my love of te reo me ona tikanga Māori at Kia Ngawari Te Kōhanga Reo where I am one of the Kaiawhina (Childcare workers). I am into my fourth year on the Board and am the Māori/Community Liaison as well as contributing to Documentation and Secretary. I am enjoying the ongoing challenge and learning experience of the Board, and the chance to assist in providing great opportunities for all our tamariki.

Please feel free to contact me directly or via anah@mataura.school.nz ngā mihi.


Amy Bartlett

Hi I’m Amy Bartlett. I am married to Luke and have two children at Mataura School. Bella is 6 years old and is in Room Pūkeko and Jesse is 5 years old and is in Room Kiwi. We have been in Mataura for two years and own and operate Mataura Four Square. I joined the board mid 2018 and manage the finance portfolio. I also sit on the Four Square Executive Committee for the South Island and help out as a volunteer for the school garden. If there’s something that you would like to chat about then feel free to contact me at amy@mataura.school.nz or 021405111.


Renee Kells

Hello, I’m Renee Kells. My husband Matt and i moved into the Mataura district in 2013 when an opportunity came up for us in the dairy farming industry. We have four young children, Maddison (7) Room Takahe, Hannah (5) Room Tui, and the youngest two (Indie 3 & Hunter 2) are at Hope Preschool one day a week. I have joined the board at the start of 2019. I have a passion to ensure our children are given the best opportunities possible. If there is something you want to bring to the boards attention please feel free to get in touch with me directly or email me at renee@mataura.school.nz


Shona Willis - Staff Representative

My name is Shona Willis and I teach Room Pūkeko. I have taught at Mataura School since 2015, and this is the fifth year that I am on the Board as the staff representative. I am also responsible for the Health and Safety portfolio, and I report to the Board on this at every meeting.

I was born and raised in Singapore. I left in 2003 to go to university in Scotland, where I completed undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Economics. I also have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification, and have taught English in Cambodia. I moved to New Zealand in 2011 with my husband, who is from Dunedin, and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in primary teaching. I have lived in Gore since 2012, and enjoy rock climbing and going to the gym.

If you would like to contact me, then you can either email me at shona@mataura.school.nz, or make an appointment to see me at the school office.


Susan Dennison – Principal

Kia Ora, I began here as principal in 2006. I am married to John, and we have 1 child at St Peter’s College, Albert in Year 11. Tom has recently left and is an apprentice builder. Our oldest, Louise, is studying Environmental Science at Canterbury University. We spend weekends on family adventures, at football, in the garden, or socialising.

I studied at Otago University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Education, and a Diploma of Teaching. I come from a teaching family as my Mum was a teacher and one of my sisters is. My teaching career started in Greymouth, then Christchurch, and then at Longford Intermediate and St Mary’s in Gore.

My goals for our school are to find ways for all students to make progress in their learning and to learn how to be a great person in our community, for some this will mean looking at interesting ways for us to engage and motivate them. Engagement is where students have a real connection to their learning, can make the decisions, and know when they have had success. We often do that here through using the natural environment and the resources that we have around us. We also try and have a real variety of activities going on so that our learners have plenty to talk about.