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Our presenters

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.

Bob Griffin

Bob Griffin started Tai Chi at a Community Education Class in 1998, learning the same forms he will be teaching you.

With 17 years in Tai Chi, and 7 years as an instructor at Wellington School of Tai Chi Chuan, Bob has a wealth of experience and patience in helping students learn Tai Chi.

He also has an interest in Metal Fabrication, Wood Working, Electronics and languages and has a number of projects underway in his garage (one of which is building a car from scratch).

Brenda Crooks

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Paparoa ngā pae maunga

Ko Māwheranui te awa

Nō Māwhera ahau


I grew up on the West Coast and have called Wellington my home for most of my adult life. I have always had a drive to learn te reo, but for a Pākehā there was nowhere to learn it in the 80s in Greymouth.

After many short courses as an adult I eventually committed to a degree course in Māori Studies at university. Since gaining my BA I have been involved in the modernising the format and putting macrons in te Paipera Tapu (Bible in Māori).

As a second language learner I have been able to help others with their te reo learning as I understand the learning process and some of the traps that English speakers fall in to.

I’m aware of my privilege in being able to kōrero Māori when so many tangata whenua have missed the opportunity to speak their mother tongue, and the pain that surrounds that.

It’s so encouraging to see the massive interest that non-Māori are having in learning te reo. It can only help in our ability to see the world through another culture’s lens, and to help in the journey of reconcilliation.

He waka eke noa.

We’re in this together.

Brenton Hodgson

Brenton is a senior trainer and performer with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT), and is currently WIT's coordinator. 

He has ten years of improv experience, and has performed in improv festivals in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in Fringe and Comedy Festivals in New Zealand. 

Brenton has trained with some of the best, including Loose Moose in Canada and the Maydays in the UK 

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.



Cathie Anderton

Catherine Anderton has been sewing for the past 40 years and has worked in costume departments for film, opera, TV and theatre.

Catherine spent two years working for Sally Eagle Bridal and has two years experience tutoring sewing for Whitecliff Fashion Tech.  She is qualified to certificate level in Adult and Tertiary Teaching.

Catherine loves to create a warm and friendly class environment, embracing what learners bring to the classroom and helping them to achieve their best results!

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