Early Childhood Advisory Committee

ECAC Early Childhood Advisory Committee - the OFFICE OF ECE

On this page we introduce the Early Childhood Advisory Committee – ECAC. But first, here’s just a very quick overview of the OECE and ways people and groups can be involved.

The role of the Office of Early Childhood Education – Te Tari Mātauranga Kōhungahunga (OECE) is to focus on the care and education of infants and young children.  We place the interests of children and their parents, family and whānau in early childhood education at the centre of our work.  Our work involves driving high-quality ECE provision. We communicate need-to-know information to the public and provide the sector with updates by way of emails, newsletters, and our website.

Did you know that our members can comment and discuss issues with other members and with us, helping to shape knowledge, understandings, and future directions?

And, everyone (non-members included) can have their voices heard by participating in our surveys. We also have an advisory committee, known as the ECAC.

About ECAC

ECAC is the advisory committee of the Office of Early Childhood Education.

Members represent themselves and the people and groups they work for and with. They are highly respected people, who bring to ECAC a wonderfully rich range of experience, thinking and insight. They represent diverse backgrounds and voices in and around the ECE sector. All hold a strong commitment to working toward the best for children, and quality ECE for children, families and communities.

  • Telesia Alipia, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) – a leader in Pacific ECE. Former national coordinator for the Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY). Former director of the University of Auckland Pacific Centre delivering the Diploma of Teaching with a Pacific specialisation pathway to the Bachelor of Teaching. An advisory group member in the development of Te Whariki and also the Samoan Language Taiala curriculum. Current Role: Manager of an Auckland Pasefika ECE centre, Rosebank Early Childhood Centre.
  • Heather Te Huia, Queen Service Medal (QSM) – involved in the establishment of two Wellington community-based ECE centres, one a teen parent unit. National president of Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa from 1992 – 1999. Current Role: Manager of a Wellington community-based ECE centre, St Mary’s ECE centre.
  • Dr Sarah Gerritsen – ECE child health and nutrition expert. Former senior advisor at the NZ Ministry of Health and research manager for a cross-party think tank at the Royal Society of Arts in London, The Commission on 2020 Public Services. Co-Editor of the NZIRECE Journal 2021 Special Issue on child health and wellbeing in ECE. Current Role: Associate Director of Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Population Health, University of Auckland.
  • Stacey Dunn – Over 30 years experience in home-based ECE and advocacy. Current Role: National business development manager for home-based services Edubase – Home Grown Kids and Kids at Home.
  • Russell Ballantyne – Former kindergarten senior teacher. Current Role: President of EC-Menz (representing male teachers). Also the co-owner of a Dunedin ECE centre, Early Childhood on Stafford.
  • Rachel Pratt – Experienced ECE teacher and centre manager. Current Role: Professional leader and kindergarten teacher in Wellington.
  • Dr Lauren Porter – Clinical Director of the Champion Centre, early intervention centre in Christchurch. Co-founder of the NZ-based Centre for Attachment, an agency supporting infant mental health. Lifetime member of the Infant Mental Health Association Aotearoa New Zealand and Scientific Advisor to The Brainwave Trust.
  • Bonnie Henare – Over 25 years working in diverse roles within mainstream, bilingual and immersive Māori ECE settings. Awarded the 2019 New Voice and Vision in ECE award in Leadership by the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. Member of United Nations Women Aotearoa. Current Role: Director and Principal Consultant for AHO International who provides ECE recruitment, consultancy and education.

What ECAC does

The ECAC helps to inform the work and outputs of the Office of Early Childhood Education in NZ.

Meetings are held every 2 months. The Chief Advisor of the OECE may call impromptu meetings at other times should an urgent issue arise. When there is a particular concern or topic that needs a lot of work and mahi, ECAC members may choose meet specifically for that.

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