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Our presenters

Camilla Watson

Camilla has 25 years experience as a corporate trainer in the field of personal development and is a Licensed “Heal Your Life” Coach, counsellor and stress management expert specialising in assisting individuals with life changing strategies. 

“My journey to wisdom began many years ago when I began a regular meditation technique for managing stress, and I continue to grow and learn. My purpose as a facilitator for learning is to help others understand themselves and create pathways and plans for healing, change and empowerment." 

Camilla runs a variety of workshops, courses and seminars through Community Education (Tawa, Naenae and Hutt colleges and for the Kapiti and Lower Hutt WEA) as well as privately and for the corporate sector and is actively involved in promoting Community Education through women's groups and the annual Community Education Week.

Her courses are regularly filled with people referred by their friends, family and workmates and in 2006 and 2009 she received awards for Outstanding Adult Educator. As a contributor to 'Rainbow News' and the Southern Cross magazine 'Alive', Camilla is able to reach people all over New Zealand with her life changing strategies.

She lives with her husband in Wellington, and is also an award winning textile artist and quilting tutor who exhibits nationally and internationally.


Carole Hirst

My training in floristry in the 70s has given me a good eye for colour and design. I have been a dressmaker for many years, more often making and designing costumes, although with no formal training.

Decoupage is just one of the many art forms I practise, my first piece being a chair decorated with Peg Maltby faeries. I was encouraged when this ultimately won first prize in the Margaret River (WA) A@P show.  It sold soon after and I subsequently continued creating more wonderful pieces using this technique.

I have taught a number of private workshops and have also taught art and craft to Idea service users. 

For more information, visit website which will also take you to my Facebook pages and my Redbubble proflile.

Carolyn Bates

Carolyn has taught community education classes to a variety of adult students during evenings and weekends for a number of years at both the Wellington High School and Tawa College adult programmes.

The majority of courses have mainly focused on software up-skilling and expertise, as well as Xero.

She has also conducted a diverse range of other courses such as accounting, administration skills, family budgeting, event management, genealogy and meeting preparation.

Cat Connor

Cat Connor is a crime thriller author, New Zealander, and instigator of trouble. By day she’s a warm body in Writers Plot Bookshop in Upper Hutt, NZ where she spends time answering questions from authors (budding, new, and established) and sharing the joy of kiwi authors with kiwi readers, she also teaches writing classes via the book shop. By night she writes crime novels; wrangles teenagers; enjoys the company of Bucky Barnes & Timmy the guinea pigs and wrestles Patrick the kitten. She flourishes on coffee, tequila, travel, knitting, reading, binge watching Netflix series, and a lot of music - not necessarily in that order and usually not all at once.

For the last fifteen years Cat has been writing The Byte Series: Which follows FBI Special Agent Ellie Conway on her journey as a member of an elite FBI team that functions on dark humor, close relationships, and strong coffee. Each book is a standalone story with the same core characters. 

Cat was published by Rebel ePublishers in the USA for 10 years and her short stories appeared in many ezines, journals, and magazines in the UK and USA. In late 2018 her publisher closed and she (with two other Rebels) formed 9mm Press.
Cat hosted a large writing workshop every fortnight at Upper Hutt City Library from 2012-2015 - that group produced three collections of short stories that were published via Writers Plot Bookshop.



Charlotte Hird

Charlotte is an experienced watercolour artist based in Wellington. She regularly exhibits at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, with Watercolour New Zealand and all over New Zealand.
Charlotte loves the way the water and paint move on the paper to create magic. She enjoys teaching techniques with watercolours.
In 2017 Charlotte worked as an architectural drawing teacher at a University in China. She now teaches drawing and perspective workshops to artists all over New Zealand to help create spatial depth in their paintings.
Check out her paintings at
follow charlottehird on Instagram
or follow Charlotte Hird Artist on FaceBook

Claire Matheson

Claire Matheson is the owner and Chief Operating Officer for Co-Ed Coffee Educators, Lower Hutt

Claire has been working in the international coffee industry for the past 20 years. From 2000 – 2008 she was based in the UK and taught baristas throughout the UK, Europe and South Africa. During that time she worked with some of the most recognised coffee professionals in the world, developing her passion for ethical sourcing and the skill of the barista.

Currently she runs a Café and Barista Training Centre in Lower Hutt. From soft brew to latte art, she lives and breathes all things coffee.

Claire's motto is “practise what you preach and preach what you practise”.  Come into Co-Ed in Lower Hutt to see her and her team in action.

Craig Thomson

Craig has been teaching Photography courses at Wellington High School since early 2010 and feels great satisfaction passing on his knowledge to students.  

Daniel McCarthy

Daniel knows pretty much all there is to know about boning and using meat products. He is passionate about teaching others to have the skills he has spent a lifetime learning and using. He believes if people learn to bone out their own meat then they'll learn how to save money, make healthy food and use these skills for themselves.

Daniel has trained apprentices, owned his own business and has been working as a butcher for his whole life.

Darryn Woods

Darryn has been telling stories since he could string a sentence together, and role-playing for nearly as long! Introduced to Dungeons and Dragons when he was eleven years-old (in the turgid days of Advanced D&D 2nd edition), he took to Dungeon Mastering like a vampire takes to darkness, going so far as to generate his own systems for running games. His love for D&D 5E - both as a player and as a DM - grows daily.

 As a creative writer he has developed his own world in which to set both his fiction and games of D&D. This world called “Valn” is one in which the powers of Fate and Chance are highly prominent, shifting the balance of power in the ongoing conflict between Light and Darkness. His heaviest fantasy influence is definitely JRR Tolkien, but he has also found inspiration for Valn in the worlds of Warhammer and Warcraft, and the various works of David Gemmell, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb and George RR Martin (among others).

 He has a History degree and a professional background in the performing arts, both on and off the stage (and in front of and behind the camera). Having made a career in telling stories for nearly twenty years, the shift to educating others how to tell stories of their own seemed a natural progression. 

He proposed running this course because of his firm belief that playing D&D makes one a better person, and that therefore everyone should have the opportunity to do so.

Davey McGhie

Davey McGhie, a Bay Sculptor and Art Educator, has exhibited widely across many of the country’s major sculpture symposia. He has artwork in public and private collections.

Significantly self-taught, he also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art from Elam, University of Auckland and a Diploma of Teaching.

Full of warmth and robust humour, his visual language has emerged bold, elegant and organic.


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