MEET THE TEAM



Naomi Hughes – Grad. Dip. Econ., BMS, MMS
Ngāti Maniapoto
Managing Director, Lead Editor, Programme Manager

Naomi is one of the two founding directors of Aotahi and manages operations in the Te Kuiti office. In addition to her management role, Naomi is the lead editor for all education programmes and publications produced by the business. Through to 2016, she was also the primary author for these resources. In addition, Naomi is currently the Roll-out and Relationship Manager for the education programmes Aotahi is contracted to assist in managing.

Originally from Piopio, Naomi completed her tertiary studies at the University of Waikato. She graduated in 2003 with a Masters in Management Studies with First Class Honours in Economics, a Bachelor of Management Studies with First Class Honours, majoring in Finance and Māori Resource Management, and a Graduate Diploma in Economics. She also holds the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (NCALNE) qualification, having completed this in 2015.

In regards to other business interests, Naomi is also a director of Around Twelve Limited. This is an online shoe business that she and her sister, Kimberley Cody, established in 2005 to cater to men and women with large feet. She also owns and manages a number of rental properties, and is currently a Director for Te Kupenga o Maniapoto, the Asset Holding Company of Maniapoto Iwi under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004.

Naomi resides in Te Kuiti with her 15 year old son, Tremaine, her 4 year old daughter, Alexi, and her nephew, Tyson. Tremaine also works for Aotahi on a part-time basis as the Office Junior.

Miriana Stephens – BA, LLB
Ngāti Rarua, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui
Founding Director

Miriana is a founding director of Aotahi and is based in Motueka where she carries out the company’s contract with Wakatū Incorporation (Wakatū), its subsidiaries and various committees. Also a director for Wakatū, Miriana is currently coordinating their innovation and research & development programme across the group of Wakatū. The mission of this programme is to create high value science food and beverage applications to address nutrition, health and wellness challenges for consumers – a mission which is aligned with Te Pae Tāwhiti, the 500 year intergenerational plan of Wakatū.

Miriana was born and raised by her grandparents and has four children. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (NZ History) and a Law Degree and she was awarded the 2016 Aotearoa NZ Māori Woman Business Leader award in recognition of outstanding success and excellence in business.

In regards to other activities, Miriana is a trustee on Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka, a co-opted trustee for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua, and has recently taken the role as vice chair for the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa NZ.

Erin Gray – BBS (HRM)
Ngāti Te Puta, Ngā Rauru
Assistant Programme Manager

Erin holds a senior position within the Aotahi team, assisting with programme delivery management, and building and forming relationships with external stakeholders. A long-time resident of Piopio, Erin is passionate about people and has a strong community focus. She completed her Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey University, where she majored in Human Resource Management. Now Erin applies her skills to her husband’s rural contracting business as well as in her role at Aotahi.

Erin and John’s children Ngakau and Mahlee-Jaye both attend Piopio Primary School, and Erin takes an active role within her children’s school community. She is currently Secretary for the Reo and Tikanga Action Group, on the Board of Trustees, and actively supports the school Kapa Haka rōpū. In her spare time, Erin pursues her interest in triathlons and looks forward to challenging herself further.

Ariana Te Huia
Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Kāi Tahu
Programme Administrator

Ariana Te Huia has been working for Aotahi Limited for approximately 10 years. She has a background in banking as well as administration. Ariana assists in managing the programme delivery contract Aotahi Limited currently holds with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

In 1996 Ariana returned to New Zealand after living in Sydney for two years, and her desire to learn Te Reo Māori led her to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. After completing a Diploma in Te Tohu Mātauranga i Te Reo Māori, Ariana had a brief period as a kaiawhina (teachers aid) for the Te Ara Reo programme, then held a student administration position for two years before joining Aotahi Limited.

At present, Ariana is based in Te Kuiti. She has a teenage son who currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Tim Wilson – Grad. Cert. TESOL, Grad. Dip. Pols, B. Soc. Sci., Post Grad. Dip. I.R.S.S
Kāi Tahu
Resource Developer, Editor

Tim comes to Aotahi following a career in education. Following time in the NZ Army and studies in international relations, Tim lived and taught in Japan. Upon returning to New Zealand, he began working with both ESOL students and children with learning disabilities. Now, for Aotahi, Tim brings his passion for language and a sharp eye for detail to his role as editor.

Currently based in Te Kuiti, Tim is enjoying the chance to spend time with his family and engage with the local community. In his spare time he pursues his interest in history and societies, and tries to learn more about the ideas that shape our world. The effective use of language is important to Tim, so he also helps others improve their writing and presentation skills. His next overseas holiday will probably take him back to Japan – the sushi in New Zealand just isn’t the same.

Dr Lee Churchman – MA, PhD
Resource Developer, Team Leader

Lee is from the central North Island, having grown up in and around Taupō. He holds an MA with first class honours from the University of Waikato, and a PhD from the Collaborative Programme in Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy at the University of Toronto. At Aotahi, Lee is responsible for leading and co-ordinating the writing teams, as well as being a contributing writer himself.

Prior to working at Aotahi Lee taught philosophy for many years at Universities in New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada. He has extensive experience in course design and delivery, as well as the writing and production of textbooks and other course materials.

Lee has been married to Bernadette for nearly 20 years. They have two sons: Serge and Hal. He is interested in effective design, business ethics, cultural pluralism, and the use of information technology in education.

Matthew Collins – BA
Resource Developer, Writer

Matthew graduated from Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in English Studies and Media Studies. He is currently studying towards a Diploma in Proofreading and Editing through the New Zealand Institute of Business Studies.

Matthew was born and raised in Masterton and now resides in Cambridge with his wife, Brieanne, and their son, Lucas. He currently works as a resource developer and writer at Aotahi Ltd. He has previously been a Board of Trustees proprietor’s representative.

Jennifer Currie – BA
Resource Developer, Writer

Jennifer is a recent graduate from the University of Waikato where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Psychology. Her role at Aotahi involves writing content for the education programmes Aotahi is contracted to develop. While studying, Jennifer has had a variety of part-time jobs. She has taught speech and drama at a primary school, as well as designing and programming music for live theatre shows in Wellington.

Jennifer, a first-generation Kiwi, grew up in Hamilton. She enjoys scuba-diving and fishing, especially for marlin and snapper, and looks forward to her annual family holiday in the Bay of Islands during the fishing season. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys photography, board games, and reading.

Monica Palmer – BA
Ngati Maniapoto, Waikato (Waiora, Mahuta)
Resource Developer

Originally from Piopio, Monica comes from a background in mental health and student support. Monica has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Massey University, and has lived in Palmerston North and Auckland for the last twelve years. She has recently returned home to Te Kuiti, to be closer to whanau and to raise her son, Ari.

Monica has worked in various roles relating to the support and advocacy of Maori and Pacific rangatahi. These roles have included student support at the University of Auckland and clinical work within the Counties Manukau DHB. Monica has also assisted in the research and development of Talking Therapy guides for clinicians throughout New Zealand.

Dr Blair Nicholson – MA, PhD
Resource Developer, Writer

After growing up in Rotorua, Blair moved to Hamilton for his final year of high school and for tertiary studies at the University of Waikato. His qualifications include a Master of Arts with First Class Honours in History and a PhD in Literary and Cultural History. While studying, he worked as a research assistant and sessional assistant/tutor, during which he gained an appreciation for well-designed and well-written course material, and learned to deal with the alternative.

In his spare time, Blair pursues his interests in reading history and science fiction, gaming, writing history, and trying to force his hobbies on friends.

His role at Aotahi involves developing resources and writing content for the education programmes Aotahi is contracted to produce.