Meet our PLD team

Professional Learning & Development (PLD) Facilitators

Pedagogical Lead

Kara Daly

Ko Kara Daly tōku ingoa, nō Waikato ahau.  I am the Pedagogical Lead on the National Management Team and support mātauranga (adult learning) across Aotearoa through Playcentre Education and Playcentre PLD. 

I have been involved in Playcentre as a parent since 2005, as a tutor since 2008 and a PLD Facilitator since 2013.  

Since the late 1990s I have worked in the adult education sector in various facilitation and curriculum development roles, and have combined this with my passion for children’s learning and whānau support to move into ECE.

I work from home in the Waikato and regularly travel throughout NZ (when COVID levels allow) to support adult learning in Playcentres across the country.  

My passions with early learning include outdoor education, maths and supporting tamariki nui (big kids) at Playcentre.


Professional Learning & Development (PLD) Lead

Lucy Sheppard

Tēnā koutou 

Ko Lucy Sheppard ahau, no Tauranaga ahau. E ngakau nui ana ahau ki te tākaro. 

I lead the PLD team, developing PLD programmes, facilitating PLD and supporting PLD facilitators across the motu. I have been a part of the Playcentre whānau for nearly 8 years. I began tutoring the education programmes in 2018 and moved into my current role in 2021. I currently still attend Otumoetai Playcentre with the last of my three tamariki. I have a passion for teaching and learning and love working with both kaiako and tamariki to develop their potential to be confident lifelong learners. 

Tēnā tātou katoa 


Upper North Island (UNI) Facilitators

UNI Facilitator

Helen Casey



UNI Facilitator

Amanda Phillips

Nō Ingarangi, nō Kōtirana ōku tūpuna 

E noho ana au i Te Raki Paewhenua. 

Ko Amanda Phillips tōku ingoa.  

I love Playcentre! I went to our local centre myself as a child, and was excited to be able to attend again in recent years with my own tamariki. Although they have finished their Playcentre haerenga, I am lucky enough to be able to stay on and work as part of the PLD and the education team.  I have a background in health and wellbeing and adult education, and am passionate about supporting parents in their role as Playcentre kaiako! I love the philosophy that we are all learning and growing together – te whānau tupu ngātahi! I enjoy getting lost in the play and having adventures with the tamariki on session – and I especially love a good waiata and kanikani!  


UNI Facilitator

Stacey Balich



Central North Island (CNI) Facilitators

CNI Facilitator

Karina Hart

Tēnā koutou katoa 

Ko Karina tōku ingoa 

Playcentre has been a huge part of my life, I am a playcentre child and have been a playcentre parent since 2001, being a part of the PLD team for the last 8years has given me the opportunity to see, hear and feel what Playcentre looks like for individual Centre’s all-over New Zealand, I feel privileged to have been able to and continue to share this journey, support and also encourage empowerment, all the while learning something from every Centre I visit, there is so much value in tuakana teina. 

I have a huge passion for music and love to sprinkle this joy wherever I go. I believe Playcentre is the most amazing environment to foster inquisitive tamariki who are empowered to guide their learning journey. 

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini. 

I come not with my own strengths but bring with me the gifts talents and strengths of my family tribe and ancestors. 


CNI Facilitator

Judy gore

Tēnā koutou 

Ko Judy Gore ahau, no Tauranga ahau. 

Playcentre has been in my life for a while now, starting back when i joined with my first boy in 2001. When my youngest left Playcentre for school, i found i carried on with Playcentre, both as a volunteer at the WBoP Playcentre Association, and as employee (CSW, Facilitator, Tutor, and Session Support) and now with the PLD Team.  I love being part of the Playcentre Community and believe that Playcentre provides a perfect environment in which whanau thrive together.


CNI Facilitator

Amelia Meertens

Tena koutou 

Ko Amelia tōku ingoa, nō Waikato ahau. 

As a member of the PLD team I really enjoy visiting centres and having a chance to work with centre members both kaiako and tamariki. I joined Playcentre 9 years ago as I had fond memories of being a Playcentre child myself. I have held many roles in Waikato including tutor, commentor, education team member as well as many different roles at my own centre. I have been a member of the PLD team since 2020 and I enjoy being a part of this fantastic and inspiring team. 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!  

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people! 


Lower North Island (LNI) Facilitators

LNI Facilitator

Faith Tupou

LNI Facilitator

Kathleen Moriarty

LNI Facilitator

Liz Neill

E koekoe te tūī, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kererū. Appreciate the many voices of the forest. 

Kia ora koutou, 
I tipu ake ahau ki Tāmaki Makaurau. 
E noho ana ahau ki Te Awakairangi. 
Ko Liz Neill tōku ingoa. 

Tokowhā āku tamariki, all grown now. 
I have been involved in Playcentre since 1990, when my first son was a baby. We started in Auckland Association, including being one of the founding families of the Auckland Playcentre School, later moving to the Hutt Valley. I’ve held various Playcentre roles over the years such as volunteer centre and Association roles, Education tutoring and marking, Space facilitation, Centre Support and three years in the LNI Regional Office. I’ve been a part of the Professional Learning and Development Team for well over a decade now. My passion is Play, and the Outdoors, sharing the importance of unstructured and uninterrupted Play for our tamariki as they learn and grow. I’m loving exploring some of this through pūrakau and story telling. 
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. 


Upper South Island (USI) Facilitators

USI Facilitator

Viv Butcher

Kia ora koutou. Ko Viv Butcher toku ingoa.  

I live in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. I have been involved in Playcentre in many roles locally, regionally and nationally. I have always been passionate about the adult education on offer for Playcentre parents and have tutored the Education programme for many years and joined the PLD team in 2018. 

I also enjoy creating with fibre –especially wool and harakeke and love to spend time in my workshop felting, dying, weaving, spinning, knitting, making, fiddling –ie playing! 


We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing 

George Bernard Shaw 


USI Facilitator

Erana Rattray

Waikato taniwha rau, he piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha. 

Kia ora e te whānau, Ko Erana Rattray tōku ingoa. My passion is to provide Te Ao Māori professional development to kaimahi o Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi, this year I have been focusing on delivering Pepeha workshops and one on one mentoring to empower mihimihi -introductions using te reo Māori.  

I look forward to working with you soon! 

Toi tu te kupu 

Toi tu te mana 

Toi tu te whenua. 


USI Facilitator

Bridgit Knowles

Lower South Island (LSI) Facilitator

LSI Facilitator

Helen Thomlinson

Kia ora e te Whānau  

Nō Wānaka ahau. Kei Ōtepoti (Dunedin) tōku kāinga ināianei. 

Ko Helen ahau. 

 When I became a Whaea (Mum) in 2005, I knew I would take my Tamariki to Playcentre! I had such very fond memories of my own time at Wānaka Playcentre with my Mum being the supervisor. 

While being at Playcentre with my sons, I went through the training, and started as a paid Facilitator at my own Centre (Mornington, Dunedin). 

I found my time as a member, and an employee, very inspiring and when the new role of Centre Support Worker (CSW) was initiated, I took on this role for some of the Ōtepoti (Dunedin) Playcentre’s. 

What I loved the most about this mahi were the strong nga hononga (relationships) I was able to grow with my Centre Whānau. They all taught me heaps! 

I stopped working as a CSW at the start of 2021 and joined the PLD team. 

I am currently attending Sawyers Bay Playcentre in Dunedin with my mokopuna, Juni, who is 16 months. That is keeping me pretty busy. 

Ka kite ano. 


LSI Facilitator

Elaine Thompson