Board of Trustees (BOT)

The Board of Trustees of Houghton Valley School is responsible for the governance of the school. The Board’s role is a strategic one, focussed on the big picture and employing the Principal to manage the school.The BOT is made up of the School Principal, a trustee from the school staff, several parent trustees who are elected by the parents and other members who are appointed by the BOT.

The board’s role is set by the Education Act and the BOT is required to ensure the school meets the government’s National Education Priorities. These are:

  • Success for all
  • A safe learning environment
  • Improving Literacy and Numeracy
  • Better use of student achievement information
  • Improving outcomes for students at risk
  • Improving Maori student outcomes
  • Reporting

HVS Board Governance Manual version 0.5

The Board (see personal statements below)

Kevin Hales  – Chairperson

Raewyn Watson – School Principal

Peter Holmstead – Staff Trustee

Jill Gower – Parent Representative

Renee Riddell-Garner – Parent Representative

Geoff Hume-Cook – Parent Representative

Andrew Downes – Parent Representative

Minutes of BOT Meetings

February 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

March 2013


Andrew Downes

I have two children at Houghton Valley, Cathryn in Monica’s class and Lucy in Lara’s class. I was co-opted onto the previous board for the last year and a bit and therefore was able to be part of the process to recruit Raewyn as the new Principal.

Being on the Board of Trustees plays an important part in how the school works and develops. I’m keen to play my part in this to ensure Houghton Valley continues to be a great school for our children at what I believe is a critical stage of their educational life.

Raewyn Watson

As a parent of three daughters, all adults now, I have also been through the school system as a parent. I understand the importance of an effective Board of Trustees and enjoy working in a team to continually improve and enhance the school for the benefit of the children and staff who work with them. 

As the Principal of Houghton Valley School I am automatically a member of the Board of Trustees. It’s my job to manage the school’s day-to-day administration and ensure the school is managed effectively according to the strategic direction and policies set by the Board. We work together to set the strategic direction of the school and I work out how to get us there. Together, our most important focus is enhancing student achievement.

Peter Holmstead

I am one of the longer serving members of the school staff, having been at HVS since 2002. I have been the Year 6 teacher for half that time and I really enjoy the challenges of teaching the senior class, preparing them for intermediate. I have had a number of specialist roles including managing sport and I am currently the ICT/e-Learning Leader. I have been on the Board of Trustees for two years and I feel my role is to provide insight into the education system and the character of the school in order to assist the decisions of the Board.

I have a teenage daughter and son (who I taught at HVS in 2008). I am an avid fisherman and volleyball player, and I am also very keen on music and being a musician.

 Geoff Hume-Cook

Tena koutou katoa,

Parent representative roles on the BOT are one of those ways we say we are part of the HVS community.

I have been actively involved in our two boys (Maatai year 5 & Manawa, starting at HVS 3rd term 2014) lives, since 2006. My experience in the tertiary education sector here and in Australia gives me a good understanding of educational administrative and institutional processes, and limitations. In my roles at WelTec (Staff representative on Council and Prog. Director, Media Production) over nearly 7 years, I was active in governance & programme management. Through the knowledge that we’ve gained from one full cycle of primary-school life there are things that we wish we’d known about in the first few years. I hope that the new BOT, in conjunction with the staff of HVS, can increase effective communication on relevant topics, with the HVS and wider Houghton Valley community catchment.

Since 2006, I have been self-employed, running my own business from home in order to allow our family to have the benefit of one parent available for after-school & holiday time care. I have been actively involved in the Home & School committee over the last 4 years and took on the Treasurer role in 2012. I will stay on in the Treasurer role until changes initiated in 2012 have been bedded down and a replacement found. From my investigations of the requirements of legislation applicable to both entities, there are no technical reasons why an Officer of Home & School should not be on the BOT and the reverse. This does however mean that there is a need to be aware of potential conflicts of interest. I have confidence that with the other members of the BOT we can navigate these matters ethically and responsibly.

Assisting the new principal of HVS and the BOT in the next stage of HVS’s life is something I feel positive about. As our second son enters the schooling environment next year, all of these experiences give me a comprehensive view of family and institutional issues, which I look forward to sharing with other parents/caregivers.

Nga mihi,


Kevin Hales

My name is Kevin Hales and I am new to the Houghton Valley School Board of Trustees this new. I enjoy living here on the South Coast with my wife Caz, my children Lukas and Caitlin, and Elvis (our dog). Lukas is in his second year at the HVS and Caitlin will be joining at the start of next year.

I love mountain biking and snowboarding, and am a regular squash player as well which helps reminds me that I’m not 18 anymore!

My background is in customer service and training. I have previously owned and operated a national training provider, and have been involved with a number of hospitality outlets around Wellington. I’ve sinced moved into financial management and IT, and are currently a Team Leader at Xero working in the fun world of online accounting.

What I feel I bring to the board is my culture of always trying to do the right thing by our customers. I’ve found that if your customers are happy, your business is usually happy as well.

I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to representing you on the board as a Parent Trustee.

Jill Gower

Mum to Rubin (that kid in year 6 last year who walked everywhere on his hands) and Emma-Jane, who is in year 4 this year.
My professional background spans accounting/commerce and business systems in a small business / not-for-profit context right through to government. I work full time at Sport NZ where I’ve been involved in organisational capability development and performance monitoring/evaluation.  Translated that means I have a fair idea what a healthy, strategic, vibrant and high performing organisation looks like at a governance level.
Why am I here?  A bit of a girlie swat, I’ve always placed education on a pedestal but, I have to confess, having a child with dyslexia has given me a whole new perspective. Now I’m really passionate about protecting and cultivating curiosity, courage, compassion, esteem and good humour in our little ones so they all get maximum value from all the years they spend in school.  
As well as inspired teaching I believe that a diverse curriculum and a connection with the environment and the community are must-haves.  It’s strength in all these areas that make HVS such a special school.  I feel very fortunate to be in a position to contribute.
Renee Riddell-Garner
Kia ora tatou katoa
I’m a born and bred Dunedinite, although my iwi is Ngati Maniapoto, and I’ve been living in Wellington for the last 13 years. Brooke, my husband, and I have two daughters: Sofia (6) who is at HVS, and Isabella (14), who has  been right through HVS and is now at Wellington East Girls’ College. My career has been spent mostly in the law, mainly as an in-house lawyer in the public sector (which is where I am now).
I’ve always appreciated the time and effort parents have put into the school. It seems my time has now come, and hopefully I can contribute positively to our school and community in this role.