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Our presenters

Andy Whittle

I’ve been upholstering since I was about 11 years of age when I would spend the school holidays in my dad's upholstery business stripping furniture and finding all the hidden treasures.

Fast forward 30ish years later and I still love upholstery!

In the past I’ve worked on many interesting jobs including a chair for the Queen to sit on during a visit to Liverpool Cathedral, plenty of jobs for Weta Workshop as well as upholstering theatre seats for Peter Jackson’s personal home cinema. 

Angela Robertson

Angela is an experienced people development manager, coach, facilitator, speaker and consultant. She has worked in complex and geographically dispersed organisations across all sectors; Government, Higher Education, the private and not-for-profit sectors, and in the community, and recently re-established her own consultancy business. 

Her portfolios have included strategic organisational development initiatives, change leadership, leadership development, team development, employee engagement, career development and talent management and facilitated staff conferences and forums.

Angela inspires and supports individuals and organisations to identify, develop and capitalise on their greatest talents, to maximise individual and collective potential to achieve their goals and aspirations.  She takes a strengths-based approach to her work and, in partnership with clients, explores and applies practical solutions to develop and retain talent, initiating and embedding frameworks to achieve these outcomes. She regularly coaches and mentors’ individuals and teams to make conscious choices to achieve their aspirations and enrich the quality of their lives, work and relationships.

Angela is tertiary qualified (PhD, Masters in Education Hons, Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Tertiary Teaching) and accredited both as Strengthsfinder Coach, and Team Management Profile Facilitator.

Together, Angela and Sandi Shillington have put together a workshop to enable people choosing not to retire, but to rejuvenate. 

Anke Szczepanski


Guten Tag. Ich heiße Anke Szczepanski. Ich komme aus Deutschland und wohne seit 15 Jahren in Wellington. Ich bin Deutschlehrerin von Beruf. In meiner Freizeit koche ich gern und ich gehe gern ins Kino. Und ich liebe Schokolade!

 If you want to know exactly what the above means and want to learn how to say things like this yourself, enrol now in German - Introductory 1!

 In addition to being a native speaker of German, Anke also has a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University and has been teaching German to adults for 18 years and also occasionally tutors ESOL. 

 She has taught German at WHS Community Education Centre on and off since 2010 and currently also teaches German classes at the Goethe-Institut.  Anke goes to Germany on a regular basis to visit her family but also to stay up-to-date with current language and cultural developments. She's also a very keen baker!

 In 2013, she lived in Berlin for 11 months and taught German to people from all over the world (sogar aus Neuseeland!)

Anne de Geus

Hi there, my name is Anne and, initially, started out my career in the fashion industry. This I pursued for 10 years in Christchurch in the employment of fashion designer: Rosaria Hall (considered the Karen Walker of the ’80s). I then entered the theatre industry and was employed in the wardrobe at Downstage Theatre for four years. After that I studied at the Academy of Art and in Amsterdam and attained a Teaching Degree in Art, majoring in Textiles.

On return to New Zealand I was contracted to teach at Massey University in the fashion department and also the Technical department of the New Zealand Drama School/ Toi Whakaari. Alongside teaching at these institutes, I completed a Masters in Design on costume designers and design principles in New Zealand. Since then I took over a haberdashery shop in Island Bay from which I operated a dressmaking business for 7 years. The dressmaking I continue to pursue along with teaching and costuming for various theatre companies.

I have various interests including: distance walking, tennis, yoga, cycling and am taking up the ukulele.

Anne Haddon

Anne is a computer tutor with over 30 years’ experience and has taught both in the Corporate Market and at different training organisations. 

She holds a Teacher’s Diploma from Massey and has enjoyed imparting her computer knowledge as she has  practical skills in office work and teaching. Anne's other interests are dancing, playing a musical instrument and biking. 

Anne Troy

Anne Troy joined the Community Education Centre in 2012.  She has been a qualified ESOL teacher since 2004 and graduated in 2014 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching.  She also holds a Masters in TESOL Leadership.

Her teaching career has taken her all over the world with various teaching positions in South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the Czech Republic, Italy and now in her home country of New Zealand.

She has taught people from over 30 different nationalities and believes that this experience has given her a better understanding of her students and their unique cultures. Her classroom is a friendly and comfortable learning environment where students can feel confident speaking English, and are able to ask questions freely whatever their level of English.

"I love my job, and teaching at WHS allows me to take an active interest in the learning and well-being of all my students, both in and outside the classroom".

Annette Atkins

I began repairing my own and my family’s jeans (and other clothes and fabric household items) early in the 2000s, mainly out of reluctance to waste otherwise great clothing.  It is especially hard to give up on a favourite pair of jeans!  I chose repair, rather than replace. 

My work has been influenced a lot by one of my other interests, quilting, and by Japanese Boro.  Boro literally translates as “rags” and is an example of how everyday clothing and household items are given a new beauty by being repaired, effectively creating a ‘new’ item.  I am largely self-taught. 

Since 2016 I have been documenting my work on an Instagram account (see below).  I have been sewing and knitting since I was a child, initially learning the habit of Making from my mother.

 To learn more about me, see my Instagram account:

 Instagram: atkins_annette

Instagram hashtags: #dopemending

Anthea Grob


Anthea Grob (MFA RMIT) is an experienced ceramicist and tutor and has taught classes, workshops and courses at many levels, from preschool age to to tertiary level courses, as well as specialised workshops.

 She began working with clay as part of art classes at high school and later majored in ceramics at Otago Polytechnic School of Art as part of a Diploma of Fine Art. She has been selling and exhibiting since then and until recently edited the New Zealand Potters' Ceramics Quarterly magazine.

 Anthea has an MFA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) and some will know her work from other media such as fabric design. She loves the way community classes offer the opportunity to be creative and strengthen community.

Ariki Spooner

Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kurahikakawa

 Toitū te reo! Ariki is a passionate reo revivalist, which he has been since gaining fluency as a second language learner more than 20 years ago. A graduate from Te Pīnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Ariki continues to expand his own academic pathway while making time to tutor at CEC.

 Along his reo journey Ariki has been privileged to learn under some of the most highly regarded teachers, and practitioners of te reo today. His first-hand experience with the likes of Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, Wharehuia Milroy, Te Haumihiata Mason, to name a few, affords him a strong insight into effective teaching and learning methods, which he employs in his own classes.

Ariki has worked extensively over several years as part of a team creating high quality reo Māori learning resources, and brings those skills to his lessons and students.


Atsuko McCallum

I learnt cartonnage while living in Brussels, Belgium, completing a 40-lesson diploma course in 2014-2017.  I have previous experience teaching Japanese and maths in New Zealand, and English and maths in Japan.

While living in Japan in 2006-09, I learnt contemporary doll-making, using clay papier-mache, and have since occasionally taught doll-making in a private capacity.  

What I especially enjoy about cartonnage is the ability to create something both practical and artistic in a single sitting - which can either make a special gift, or something to brighten up the home or work-place.

Once you have the basic box construction skills down pat, you can let your artistic flair show through the choice and application of the fabric.

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