New Zealand Kindergartens inc

Kindergartens – first choice early childhood education service.

About us

New Zealand Kindergartens Incorporated Te Pūtahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa (NZK) is the national umbrella group representing twenty five of the thirty  regional kindergarten associations throughout New Zealand. We are a not-for-profit incorporated society and registered charity.

NZK strategic goals

  • Growth and diversity

    Provide the environment to enable our member associations to increase the participation of children and whānau in early childhood education. 
  • Organisational robustness 

    Model effective and efficient business and governance practice. 
  • Best practice

    Model and promote best practice. 

NZK board

NZK has a seven member governance board and operates a national office in Wellington.

The board comprises a president, three independent appointed members, and three elected members, one of whom is an association manager and one, an early childhood professional.

The NZK board meets at least six times annually. NZK hosts a national meeting for members annually and a conference every two years. There is a national governance hui held in the alternate year to conference. NZK sponsors an annual managers hui and an annual hui for kindergarten professional teams.

Board members are:

Frank Bourgeois, Tauranga - President 

Frank was appointed to the NZK board in November 2009, elected as president in May 2011, and is now in his third term. Frank was a board member of the Tauranga Region Free Kindergarten Association from 2005 – 2011, and president for three years. Frank has a background the finance and commercial business sectors.

“We are in a time where change will come from our own need to be true to a vision of what we would like to provide for children, families, and whānau, what direction the government will determine for the sector and what families want from ECE services.”

Helen McNaughten, Napier

Helen was elected to the association manager position on the NZK board in September 2013 and is in her second term. Helen is the Napier Kindergarten Association (NKA) general manager, a roll that she has held for the past seven years.

“I am committed to the kindergarten movement and wish to ensure it continues to flourish into the future hence I am a strong advocate for quality ECE.”

Hilarie Nicoll, Whanganui

Hilarie was elected to the ECE professional role on the NZK board in 2015. Hilarie is a senior teacher with the Whanganui Kindergarten Association and has been in this role since 2005. During this time she has also held an ex officio role on the association board and participated in NZK meetings and Senior Teacher Hui. Prior to this she was an early childhood professional development facilitator for ten years with Massey University.

"I am committed to strengthening teaching and learning outcomes in in Early childhood. Proud of our rich history and kindergartens continued ability to provide high quality education for young children"

Claire Brown, Wellington

Claire was elected to the NZK board in 2011. She took up an appointed position on the board in 2013 and is in her second term. Claire has been a board member on the He Whānau Manaaki (formerly Wellington) Kindergarten Association since 2005 and vice-chair since 2009, and is also a trustee on the Cashmere Avenue School board.

“I am passionate about kindergarten and the benefits of quality ECE and believe that a good start prepares our children for life. I want to ensure that all children in New Zealand have the opportunity to participate in kindergarten.”

Maria Stockman, Tauranga

Maria was appointed to the board in 2015. Maria is an audiologist by profession but left clinical work to focus on business and leadership. She is the NZ Business Development Manager for HearingLife and is involved in a technology start-up company. Maria is on boards of the Tauranga Regional Kindergarten Association and the Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service and is about to start an internship on the board of Bay Trust.

“I’m inspired by how the founding philosophy of kindergarten has been weaved into a relevant modern practice which is centred on the whole child and encourages children to be children, transforming their natural curiosity for life into rich learning experiences and providing them with a safe place from which to explore, challenge and think for themselves.”

Grant Harrison, Northland

Grant was appointed to the NZK board in December 2015. He was elected to the board of the Northland Kindergarten Association in 2008 and is in his third term as board chair. Grant has a background in the education and sport industries and currently holds a senior management role in Sport Northland.

“I believe early childhood experiences lay the foundation for the development of well-rounded individuals that contribute to NZ communities. I believe I can play a role in supporting kindergarten to remain very highly placed to deliver the profoundly excellent opportunities to the tamariki of New Zealand."

Amy Weightman, Wellington

Amy joined the board of the Wellington Kindergarten Association in 2013 and has since enjoyed the transition to a new organisation in Whanau Manaaki Kindergartens. Amy was appointed to the NZK Board in January 2016 for a two year term. While Amy has an education degree and limited practical experience it is the influence of her teacher family members and her children that have focussed Amy’s views on ECE in New Zealand.

“I believe in the special character that sets Kindergarten apart and those precepts that underpin Kindergarten as a leader in quality. Any role I can play in supporting Kindergarten’s place in New Zealand’s educational landscape is one I fully embrace.”

NZK National office

National office staff are:


    Clare Wells                 Jacinta Blank              Joanne Newth
  Chief  Executive            Policy Advisor              Administrator


New Zealand Kindergartens Inc

Level 1, 32 The Terrace,
P.O. Box 3058, Wellington
Phone: 04 471-0775

E-mail Addresses