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Our presenters

Ha Nguyen

Ha came to New Zealand in early 2011 to pursue her post-graduate studies in Economics and Statistics after over 15 years as a university lecturer in Vietnam. She is a mother of 2 kids who loves cooking authentic Vietnamese cuisine every day. She has great passion to preserve Vietnamese culture for Vietnamese children in New Zealand.

She founded VietKidsNZ, a program to preserve Vietnamese language and culture, in 2014 and has been the leader so far.

She used to be a chef for a restaurant in Wellington and was responsible for creating the menus, ordering ingredients and cooking Vietnamese food; a head chef for huge lunar new year parties for over 300 Vietnamese participants organized by Vietnamese embassy in Wellington and a chef for the Vietnamese Food Stall in ASEAN festival in Wellington. 

Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Helen Vvienne Fletcher is a widely published children’s and young adult author, storyteller and award-winning playwright. She has written an impressive collection of books for everyone from preschoolers to adult readers. Her work has won and been shortlisted for numerous writing competitions, including being named Outstanding New Playwright at the Wellington Theatre Awards, making the shortlist for the Storylines Joy Cowley Award, and the finalist list for the Ngaio Marsh Best First Book Award.

Helen has worked in many jobs, doing everything from theatre stage management to phone counselling. She discovered her passion for writing for young people while working as a youth support worker, and now helps children find their own passion for storytelling through her work as a creative writing tutor and storytime fairy.

 She lives in Wellington with her disability assistance dog, Bindi – a five-year-old, playful Labrador who loves soft toys, cuddles, and can fit three tennis balls in her mouth at once.

 Overall, Helen just loves telling stories and is always excited when people want to read or hear them.

 You can find more about Helen’s children’s classes at and more about her writing at 


Hiro Ogawa

Hiro moved to New Zealand from Japan in 2017. In his spare time he likes to play computer games as well as learn how to cook new dishes. He has previously volunteered at the New Zealand Blood Service.

Though he is not yet fully fluent in English, he is still studying and tries his best to understand the people around him.

Hiro has experience teaching Japanese to students ranging from 7 years of age to adults. He strives to make his classes interesting and engaging for his students as well as keeping the lessons relevant to student needs and giving fun cultural facts about Japan.

Iain Watt

Hi, my name is Iain Watt and I have been a practising artist and designer for over 40 years. I have also been teaching Illustration and many other related art and design subjects both in New Zealand and the UK, I hold a Masters degree in adult education.  Drawing the human figure has been to me, a life times passion.

Issy Freeman

Issy is a passionate macramé artist who enjoys making pot plant holders and other macrame projects. In this “make and take” course she is excited to show you the basics and help you make your own pot plant holder to take home and enjoy.

Jan Rivers

Jan is a Wellington-based librarian and meditation teacher and makes her living with a mixture of both. She's been teaching meditation since the beginning of 2014 with the local company "mindfulnessworks" and before that occasionally led the meditation and discussion in a local group. 

She came to meditation about 20 years ago through a psychotherapy practice called Psychosynthesis and attended Psychosynthesis Institutes’ courses both in NZ and in the UK.

Like mindfulness practice, Pyschosynthesis uses a modern understanding of psychology coupled with ideas about mindfulness that are ancient.  Jan later used this training as part of a group of peers which met regularly for several years using meditation and other approaches as a way of addressing life’s big challenges.  She now meditates regularly with groups in Wellington and has attended numerous talks and full day retreats with a number of different teachers.

Jan like sthe fact that mindfulness meditation is secular and yet it inevitably directs us to the big questions of ethics, compassion and how we should live in a crowded world

She has found mindfulness and meditation to be a hugely positive and beneficial aspect of her life and is keen to share the simple benefits of mindfulness meditation with others.

Jaye Barclay

Jaye is a te reo Māori tutor who is highly passionate about te reo, teaching, speaking and learning it, and has been teaching at WHSCEC since July 2019.

They are particularly interested in structures in te reo, and communal learning spaces. They have just finished their degree at Victoria university, and are a proud descendant of Ngāti Apa and Ngāto Hauiti.


Jeanette Watson

Jeanette has participated in Scottish dancing from the age of nine, starting her dancing with a junior group in Wellington, and dancing in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Belgium, as well as throughout New Zealand. She has participated in demonstration teams in London, St Andrews, and Wellington.

Jeanette qualified as a teacher of Scottish Country dancing in 1998, through the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. She has been tutor for Island Bay Scottish Country Dance Club for the last 18 years, and guest tutored at other Wellington clubs, as well as teaching at national Summer Schools and regional classes. She has taught all levels of dance performance, from beginners through advanced to teacher training.

Her classes are known for their fun and relaxed informality. 

Jill Askew

 Jill loves creating something different. After working in front of a screen all day she adores supporting people to make something with their hands, knowing that they have created it from the beginning. Jill is passionate about mosaic tiling and beeswax candle making and she enjoys giving these things to friends and family.

 Jill has been a student herself of a number of adult education courses and she has extensive experience in training adults throughout her career. She enjoys helping people to relax and work with their hands enjoying the mindfulness and satisfaction that comes from making something to take away and enjoy.


Johanna Rush

Johanna has recently moved back from living abroad in Costa Rica where she gained her TESOL certificate and spent 15 months teaching English in both private and group classes. She has taught all different kinds of classes from children to the elderly, and some business classes too.

She is currently a student, studying TESOL, Spanish and linguistics as she feels they will help her to be a better teacher. She enjoys learning languages and studying linguistics - she calls herself a ‘language nerd’. Johanna already speaks Spanish at an advanced level and is learning Portuguese.

Johanna likes her classes to be both enjoyable and educational, she’s excited to start the next course!

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