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Our presenters

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".

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.

Anuradha Mangalpalli

Anuradha earned her masters and doctoral degree in psychology from premier institutions in India. She has worked in the field of public health for twenty years with health education as a focus. She has taught various subjects of psychology at University level and conducted workshops on stress and anxiety management. Anuradha believes in an interdisciplinary approach to tackle physical and mental health problems and overall wellbeing of individuals.

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.

Ayla Blair-Smith

Ngāi Tahu, Tainui, Maniapoto
Ayla is passionate about Te Ao Māori and Te Reo Māori. She is currently learning more about this through a double major at Te Herenga Waka (Victoria University) of Development Studies and Cultural Anthropology. 
She has studied in Te Reo Māori and is excited to teach people about this beautiful language, customs and culture unique to Aotearoa. 

Babu Ranchhod

Babu Ranchhod is a qualified Bespoke Tailor holding a Trade Certificate in Clothing.

He has previously tutored at Wellington Polytechnic at all levels of production, from pattern making to final garment.

The aim of his "Clothing Alterations" course is to expand your skills in clothing to teach you how to alter different types of apparel correctly and confidently using a sewing machine or by hand, giving you a better understanding how garments are made.


Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson completed his MA in Scriptwriting at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2016.

His first play, "I’ll Be Fine", was produced and performed when he was eighteen years old at BATS Theatre, Wellington in 2014. The paly then travelled to Auckland’s The Basement Theatre in 2015, where it was nominated for 2015’s Playmarket’s Playwrights B425. 

His second play, "Call Me Bukowski", premiered at BATS Theatre in 2015 and was nominated for the 2016 Playmarket’s Playwrights B425 award. 

In 2016 his third play, "Fred is Cold", was produced that year at BATS Theatre. His radio play "Plain Crazy" was also produced and broadcast that year by Radio New Zealand. In 2016 he was also nominated for the Peter Harcourt best new playwright award at the Wellington Theatre Awards. 

In 2017 his play "Super Clean" was produced at Victoria University as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival and later that year his play Satisfied Customers was also produced at BATS Theatre. 

In 2018 he wrote and starred in his ensemble play "Almost Sober", which was produced at Wellington’s Nightclub 121. 

In 2019 his play "Post-It Notes" was produced at BATS Theatre as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival which was nominated for the Playmarket’s Playwrights B425 award.

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