The Teaching Staff

My Treehut & Stepping Stones

The staff at My Treehut are passionate – passionate about life, about My Treehut and about every child at my Treehut. We all have a love of children and thrive in watching them grow and learn.

As a staff we also value our own Learning Journey and My Treehut values professional development and supporting the staff in their learning and interests.

Once a fortnight we hold a professional development evening where we eat and learn together outside of Treehut hours. This is a time to reflect on our practices and learn together sharing what we have learnt during the previous fortnight and form goals moving forward.

We are continually learning and often attend professional development training both at My Treehut and with a range of outside agencies.

2011 was a year of new experiences and learning at My Treehut, the beginning of our Learning Journey for everyone at My Treehut. In 2012 we undertook a centre research project focusing on biculturalism.

We take our role as the educators and carers of tomorrow’s young minds very seriously. We feel that we are creating the future citizens of our world. The early childhood years are key to the development of keen learners and responsible fun loving citizens who challenge their own and others ideas.

Kirsty Darvill

BBS, DipGrad Teach Ece, DipGrad Teach Primary, Post Grad Diploma Communications

It has been my dream for a long time to provide quality early childhood education for young children. A trained and experienced primary school teacher I had my first experience with under-fives while living in London. I have always been passionate about learning and feel that the early years are some of the most important – if your child develops a love of learning at this age they will be set for life. On returning to New Zealand I retrained through Massey University as an early childhood teacher.

I live in Kinloch with my husband Mike, our four little girls, Ella, Kate, Pippa and Charlie and our dog, Zinny.

Danielle Hackshaw


Servus, is the way to greet someone in Bavaria, Germany where I came from. I have lived in New Zealand since 2001 and love the outdoors here.

I am passionate about natural environments and enjoy working at My Treehut to learn and discover new things alongside our tamariki, as they see the world with magic, awe and wonder. I love creative technology to extend on children’s potential of using technology (ICT) and interactive media in ways that can optimize opportunities for their development.

Outside Treehut I enjoy hiking and I have a passion for photography. I can play the piano, guitar and Ukulele a little.

My Kiwi husband Brian and I have a beautiful son, Bridan who is growing up to fast.


Kerry Godden

B Ed (Tchg) ECE

Kia Ora parents and whanau. My name is Kerry Godden and I am thrilled to be working with Kirsty and her teaching team at My Treehut.

I am a fully qualified and registered teacher with a Bachelors Degree in Education (Teaching Early Years 0-8). I have taught years 0 to 5 years since 2007 and have leadership skills as an Assistant Supervisor for four of those years.

I am passionate about inspiring children to drive their own learning through their strengths and interests, problem solving and inquiry learning. I have one beautiful son and sometimes provide a homestay environment for international language students of all ages. My interests are in the arts, making my own clothes and crafty things.

I love to travel, camp and walk and am often renovating my garden and then taking time out to chillax in it. I also enjoy having conversations with parents and whanau and talking to you about your child(rens) learning and development.

Sarah Dempsey

DipTchg (Primary), B Ed, Grad Dip Tchg (ECE)

Kia Ora Whanau, I am Sarah and have been teaching in Primary and Early Childhood since 1998. I have been teaching at My Treehut since January 2013 after six years of teaching at an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. During my time there I taught 3 to 5 year olds as a classroom teacher and taught art as a specialist subject.

My husband, daughter Natalie, and I are loving living in Taupo close to family, and our eldest daughter Lily is very excited about moving to Wellington to study for a Bachelor of Design at Massey.

I love it how children at this age are so enthusiastic and interested in how their world works. It is a privilege to be one of the first teachers for a child who is beginning their journey of learning.

Paula Shaw

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE), Dip Photography

Kia ora koutou, my name is Paula Shaw. I shifted back to Taupo at the end of 2010 with my husband David and two delightful daughters, Bella and Aava.

I am a very fun loving, energetic, artistic person who loves to give anything a go. In my spare time I can be found mountain biking with my family and our little dog Lulu.

Lynda Arderne

Hi I am the Organic Homemaker on Thursday’s and Friday’s.

I have been in New Zealand ten years with my husband Richard, we have two beautiful children.

I have always worked in a kitchen in various restaurants, lodges and cafe’s. I love teaching the children about basic food and enjoy spending time on the floor with the children, when I have time.

Sue Arnold

Hi, I am the Organic Homemaker.

Previously I have enjoyed working in a kitchen environment in various restaurants and cafes. Here at My Treehut, I am enthusiastic to cook healthy fresh wholesome food for the children and have the pleasure of being able to harvest fresh vegetables from our organic garden.

I have four married children and 10 wonderful grandchildren. I love gardening, bush walks and catching trout!

BA Ed (Hons), Grad Dip Tchg (ECE)

I feel so lucky to be part of a team of inspiring educators, working in such a beautiful environment.  Supporting the children here at My Treehut as they discover what wonderful, creative, inquisitive human beings they are.   I feel passionate about children learning that they are the stewards of our environment, helping them to develop respectful relationships with the beautiful world around us.

In my ‘downtime’ I’m a busy mum of three rapidly growing children, Riley, Dylan and Rowen.  Myself and my husband Mark sold up and moved over to New Zealand in 2010 from North Wales, a move we have certainly never regretted making.  When I’m not being taxi driver, cook, laundry assistant or life coach to my children, I love to go for long walks with the dog, curl up in the sun with a good book or spending time with my lovely friends and family.

Hi, my name is Tayla and I am very excited as I have just started my journey to becoming a early childhood teacher. I have chosen this for my career as I have such a love for kids and the way of doing thing. I enjoy coming to work and seeing of their lovely little smiles.

I grew up in Taupo with my older brother spending lots of time outdoors on the farm, which I still enjoy in my downtime.

Ngā mihi manahau ki ā koutou te Whanau, a warm welcoming to all our Whanau and Friends. My name is Anehera Otimi and I am very happy and excited to be a part of the team at My Treehut here in the beautiful Taupo. I am currently in training to become an Early Childhood teacher.
Whilst doing my studies I also enjoy performing arts and creating music while surrounding myself with whanau and friends.