Ruahine Kindergartens

RKA Board

The Ruahine Kindergarten Association Governance Board is elected by our kindergarten community. 

The Association is an Incorporated Society operating within our Constitution.  

The Board is responsible for setting and monitoring Ruahine Kindergartens' strategic direction and goals and employs the CEO. Board members take responsibility for all aspects of governance and stewardship.  You can read the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Strategic Plan for 2014 - 2020 here.  

Penny Smith - Chair

Penny has been involved in the early childhood sector for the last 30 years.  She trained as a kindergarten teacher, working in Taranaki and then within Ruahine Kindergarten Association.  She then lectured in the Bachelor of Teacher, Early Years at Massey for 15 years before taking on the role of Leader Education Delivery at the Palmerston North base of Te Rito Maioha/Early Childhood NZ.  Penny is working towards her PhD, investigating NZ early childhood teachers' beliefs about peer learning.  She has a number of other governance roles and was elected to the RKA Board in May 2017. 

Juliette Darnley

Juliette has worked in HR for over a decade, half of this time in the education sector, including 4 years at NZEI Te Riu Roa. She has served on a high school Board of Trustees and strongly believes in the importance of education.

 Board Member  
David Sheppard

David has four young children, all of whom have attended or will attend Hokowhitu Kindergarten. David is a solicitor at Fitzherbert Rowe in Palmerston North specialising in dispute resolution. David holds a number of governance roles in various organisations, including being a member of the board of trustees at College Street Normal School.  David was appointed to the RKA Board in June 2018.


 Board Member  
Anaru Himiona

Pa Anaru of Ngāti Kauwhata is our Association kaumatua.  He has been invaluable in providing cultural support for our teaching and support staff and promoting understanding of Te Ao Māori.  Pa Anaru is playing an increasingly significant role in the tikanga and kawa of RKA ceremony and was appointed to the RKA Board in June 2018.

 Renee Wood - Board Member  
Renee Wood

Renee is a busy mother of two children, one of whom currently attends kindergarten, with her younger sister attending in the near future.  A former member and Chair of Hokowhitu Kindergarten Committee, Renee was elected to the RKA Board in May 2016.  Prior to motherhood, she was a practicing Registered Legal Executive.

Jo Budd - Deputy Chair   
Jo Budd- Deputy Chair 

Jo is a former parent at Campbell Street Kindergarten and has seen first-hand the value of kindergarten in the development of her two children.  Jo is currently studying for a Bachelor's in Accounting at Massey University.  Prior to this, Jo worked in the UK's financial sector.  She has brought a good financial understanding to the RKA Board since her appointment in 2017.

Debbie Gardiner - Board     
Debbie Gardiner

Debbie is a stay at home parent, whose child attends Parkland Kindergarten. Prior to motherhood she has worked in Contracts Management within the Education Sector also has experience in Human Resource Management and personal leadership.  Debbie was appointed to the RKA Board in May 2019.