totara3.jpgAbout Te Whare Totara

The name Totara was chosen for our pre-school room because it symbolises respect.  Respect for our children, whanau and teachers is a cornerstone  of our centre values. Just like the creatures of the forest, we aim to empower our community of learners to learn and grow.


When your children come to Totara Pre-School, they will encounter teachers with passions in a wide range of areas.  Through planning and review our teachers consistently strive for excellence in our programme  so that we extend our children's knowledge and interests while respecting our whanau's aspirations for their children's learning.


We have a strong Transition to School programme.  This involves encouraging literacy and numeracy knowledge, independence and respect for others.  We received very positive feedback from the schools about our children's knowledge and willingness to learn, and their general readiness for school.


 We recognise our children's interests and skills and promote their sense of personal achievement. We aim for them to have a sense of "who they are" and a perception of themselves as capable learners- able to acquire new interests and abilities.


 We have a really awesome natural outside environment which is designed to extend children's physical skills, and let them have adventures and make discoveries.We always have lots of fun while learning.

Whare Totara Staff
Kia ora, I am Joanne Fukuda. I have been teaching at Surrey Park Early Learning Centre Inc since 1997 and have a Diploma of Teaching (ECE). I am married to Tatsuya and have 3 children, Corey who lives and works in Dunedin and twin girls, Ally and Emma. We regularly take trips to Japan so we can visit Tatsuya's family and to experience Japanese culture. My interests include Kendo, camping, bush walks, running, walking the dog and spending time with my family.
Hi, I’m Justine. I have been teaching for 17 years at Surrey Park ELC and I am in the Totara Pre-school room. My interests include reading, gardening, walking my dogs and the odd bit of Zumba. I am passionate about helping children develop numeracy and literacy skills and working with them to learn from their interests.
Hi, I'm Mike and I am one of the teachers in the Totara Room. I have been teaching In Early Childhood since 1997. I am married and have five children. I am a dedicated, energetic and passionate teacher and the focus of my teaching is, it has to be fun! Lots of laughter, nonsense and happiness. Story-telling and drama are very important to me and I enjoy delivering stories through many different fun ways.
Kathy O
Kia ora,
Ko Kathy toku ingoa and I joined SPELC in August 2011. When I completed my Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education in 1998 I began working in the Playcentre environment. Transitioning from there in 2011 I found to my delight the same family atmosphere at SPELC. I love working with the 2 and 3 year olds, as the days are busy with a variety of happenings creating some amazing learning. Another bonus is all the wonderful friendships I have made and will continue to make as I share learning journeys with the children and their whanau.
Hallie D
Ko Hallie toku ingoa,
I have been working at SPELC since 2005. I have had an awesome stint in Dubai which I really enjoyed before returning to SPELC. My interests include, hunting, fishing, car/motor bike racing, hanging out with family and friends, working around my house, my car and music, I love music!
Hi, I’m Sharon. I enjoy working at Surrey Park with the children helping with developing their skills and having fun with them. I have worked at Surrey Park for three years. I have two daughters, Imogen and Mae so I am kept busy with them as well. In my free time I enjoy walking, gardening and catching up with friends and family.