Meet Our Team

Leanne Berkers


Marsden Childcare has been the dream of Leanne’s for many years & it is so exciting to see her dream now becoming reality.

Louie & Leanne are all about whanau & community. We have two beautiful daughters, married to two amazing men & 4 delicious Grandies.

Leanne’s dream & passion behind Marsden Childcare is to create a beautiful homely place where everyone feels welcome, loved & encouraged, a place of honour & respect, where children have the freedom to learn & explore, where they challenge themselves and begin to develop who they are.

Louie & Leanne love living in the one tree point area where there is such a great feeling of community & family, and it is exciting to see so much growth in the area.

Michelle Whitehead

Head Teacher Waiwarawara Room 2-5 yr olds

Michelle’s career in Early Childhood spans over twenty-five years. Michelle’s love of early childhood education saw her undertake five years of study obtaining a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching in ECE and a diploma in infant care 0-1years and multiple-birth care.  In the past twenty years, Michelle has taught in both Kindergarten and Childcare, including a mobile Kindergarten in rural central North Island. Michelle loves being a mum to her two teenage children.

Michelle’s vast experience and passion for ECE flows from her, the moment you meet her. Michelle is fun loving, dynamic, creative & passionate. Always fascinated by how children see the world and the innocence of childhood.

“I love hearing a child ask ‘why’, it tells me, they’re thinking deeply about the world around them and trying to make sense of how it all connects.  My role is not to answer the ‘why’, but ask a ‘how or what’ question in reply. It is to promote more thought on the matter and extend their curiosity to create their own hypotheses in their own time. This strengthens their minds, to test and research their own knowledge. I see children as being very competent and capable learners who just need time to explore their developing understandings.

This time in a child’s life is an extraordinary period of physical and cognitive growth. When young children are offered a ‘home away from home’ environment that is loving and supportive, children thrive on a thirst to learn and discover all that they can, especially through their play. This is what I love to see happening through a thoughtfully scaffolded environment enriched with loose parts and caring teachers. It truly is a magical time that I am honoured to be a part of.”

Heather Pitcher

Head Teacher Hiwa Room 0-2 yr olds

Heather is a passionate and inspiring early childhood teacher. Heather is motivated by her drive to provide children with an outstanding early childhood experience, an experience in which she is confident will foster a passion for lifelong learning and curiosity.

Heather brings with her a vast 10 years’ experience, and carries a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. Her vision is to provide children with a ‘home away from home’ which fascilitates learning through play, exploration, discovery and intentional teaching moments. She is a strong child advocate, and believes in providing a credit-based, child-led environment developed upon children’s interests and play urges; therefore, empowering children’s sense of rangatiratanga (leadership) in their own educational journey.

Heather is passionate about providing a Tiriti-based curriculum experience with an emphasis upon whanaungatanga (relationships), manaakitanga (caring) and kotahitanga (unity) with children, whanau, kaiako (teachers) and our local community.

Melissa Antony

Teacher Waiwarawara Room 2-5 yr olds

Melissa and her family moved to the area in 2018. Melissa is passionate about early childcare and has been teaching for 25 years and has held her diploma since 2000.

Melissa’s son and daughter both attend Bream Bay College, and loves spending time with family friends, running, playing hockey and touch.

Melissa is looking forward to meeting you all and getting to know your child/children.

Katy-Sue Murrie

Teacher Hiwa Room 0-2 yr olds
Kia ora koutou.

Hi everyone I’m Katy and I am so excited to be joining the amazing team at Marsden Childcare. I have been a teacher for approximately 14 years and I just love working with children, as it is so rewarding each and every day. I am married to Alex who is a teacher at Waipu primary and we have two lovely children together. Violet is 7 and attends the bilingual unit at Ruakaka primary and Reade is 3.5 and will join me here 🙂 I have been both of my childrens teacher and I feel so lucky to be around for their early years.

My philosophy is based on love and respect and I believe children, given the opportunity to experience this, will blossom into wonderful people ready to take on the big wide world. I cant wait to meet everyone and get to know all the beautiful tamariki.

Diane McKinstry

Teacher Waiwarawara Room 2-5 yr olds

Diane thinks it is wonderful to be on the teaching team at Marsden Childcare Centre.

“I consider open ended exploratory play to be important. It’s exciting to encourage children to develop their own interests and abilities and to observe them making new discoveries. Each child is unique.” 

For 30 years she has been walking alongside children and their families in various settings. These include early childhood & primary teaching, parenting coaching, music & movement facilitating, being on various boards & committees, sports’ coaching, chaplaincy and facilitating play groups. 

Diane has a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching, a Teachers’ Trained Certificate in Primary Teaching and is currently studying part time towards a Graduate Diploma in Applied Theology in Children & Families.

“I value and respect parents and like to listen to, interact with and walk alongside children and their families in meaningful and respectful ways.”

Sian McGregor

Student Teacher

Sian is a twenty-year-old, second-year student studying with Te Rito Maioha. She is passionate about becoming an Early Childhood Teacher and nurturing the young tamariki we have here in Aotearoa.  Sian is a friendly and positive person and thinks it is important to have a sense of humour as “we should always find the joy in life when working with tamariki so that we can create a fun environment for tamariki to be in”. 

It is important to Sian to make sure that Te Whariki is shown through her practice, to help provide tamariki with a safe and comfortable environment where they can grow and learn with confidence. She is a big believer on making strong relationships with tamariki and letting them learn through play and curiosity.


Cheryl Peeters

Teacher Hiwa Room 0-2 yr olds

Hi my name is Cheryl Peeters, married to Joe, and we have three adult sons. I have a real passion for children, family, its values, and the impact it has on our children and society. Having been a full-time mother to our boys I have thoroughly enjoyed my ‘dream career’ over the years!

 The early years are a very special time in a child’s life with so much development happening from a new born to a toddler. It is at this time, I believe it is so important for children to be in a loving, caring, supportive, family atmosphere as they embrace the many learning skills available to them in this new world of discovery. 

 Everything is new and exciting, so having fun is of upmost importance. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful journey with your child.


Interested in Enrolling Your Child?


Let us know if you’re interested in enrolling your child into Marsden Childcare Centre in 2019!
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5 Waiwarawara Drive East
Ruakaka 0171

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri 7:30am to 5:00pm