Practitioner Profiles



Susan Rouse

My life at Awhina began with a relieving period of just 2 weeks in 2005 and here I am, still at Awhina and loving my work. During this time I made what was for me a major life decision and decided to embark on Early Childhood training.

I have two children Jessie and John.


I have carried a long interest in netball and rugby and in watching my children play sport. I am also a netball umpire.  I enjoy craft, especially weaving with flax and gardening.

Being at Awhina has given me new insights into caring for little children from a different perspective, one which truly gives respect to the child and his/her unique path of development

I graduated with a Diploma in teaching (Early Childhood) in 2011 and presently am working through my Teacher registration process.


Susan has a particular interest in children with special needs from a ‘broad perspective.’

Her endearing personality invites all children into her space while at the same time allowing them the freedom to engage in self initiated exploration.

A particular quality lies in her reflective practice.



Michelle Williams

I came to Awhina as a student at the age of 19 years.   Awhina was an environment I had never experienced before.

From this unfamiliar environment what I felt was the true love and nurturing for each child, the strong rhythm and routine, the thought and attention that went into absolutely everything, and the creative play from the children.

I soon came to realise I had walked into the right place.


I left Awhina three years later.  From there I did a lot of work as a nanny in various countries overseas, bringing into the families homes as much as I could of what I had learnt from the Awhina environment.

And now I step back into Awhina; a bit more mature, hopefully wiser and as a mother of two boys who both attend Awhina.

My life outside of Awhina is being at home with my husband and boys.  And bringing to them an environment as close as I can to my experiences I learn from Awhina.



Jo Niblett

I feel fortunate to live in Havelock North with my family, which includes our dog, chickens and bantams.

My children are growing up with a fantastic garden, complete with lots of fruit trees, vegetable gardens and their own special climbing tree.



Jo Niblett -CV pic



I do my best to ensure they have lots of time to freely explore and enjoy being children; our home is our haven.

All of these things are so important to me because I was lucky to have grown up with them on a larger scale myself as a child. As a Mother and a teacher, I know that the early years are such a crucial time in terms of lifelong learning and development.

As a qualified Early Childhood teacher, I feel very blessed to be part of Awhina because the importance of these things is recognised too.



Nadia Dykstra

I have recently made the big move to the sunny Hawke’s Bay and joined the team here at Awhina.

I thoroughly enjoy the sense of belonging you get as you walk through the gates at Awhina and the relationships made with the children and their families which are vital for children’s learning and development.


I love watching young children gain confidence as they explore the world around them through free play.

I graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Years) 0-8 and am working through my teacher registration process.




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