Our Team


Belinda Sydenham, Co-Programme Manager

Belinda has worked in schools in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, teaching Japanese, French, and ESOL to students from primary to upper secondary level for over 25 years. She enjoys working with teachers to develop their language teaching pedagogy, to make their lessons fun and engaging, and to enhance the learning outcomes for their students. She brings an understanding of the huge challenges faced by language teachers as they deal with multi-level classrooms, assessment, and the ever-increasing busy-ness of the school curriculum. As well, she brings a passion and enthusiasm for language teaching and an understanding of its huge value for New Zealand students.

Stephanie Mortimore, Co-Programme Manager

Stephanie has experience as a HOD Languages, a teacher of Japanese, and most recently as a Senior Leader in Deaf Education where she also learnt NZ Sign Language.   Her personal educational philosophy has always been focused on improving outcomes for all students.  She has a wide variety of professional interests including: language teaching pedagogy, e-learning, assessment, equity, culturally sustaining practice, and leadership.   Stephanie is looking forward to working with teachers across all sectors of the language teaching community.  
She is based in Auckland.

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Lydia Thomson, Service Delivery Lead

Lydia has been working in project/programme environments for the past five years and is glad to have joined the Future Learning Solutions team. She has enjoyed the challenge of attempting to learn new languages both at school and before overseas travels. When Lydia is not at work, she is most likely to be found at home pottering about in her garden.

Esther Hall, Programme Coordinator

Esther joined UniServices in 2017, working at the ELA (English Language Academy).  In 2020 she joined the Future Learning Solutions Centre for Languages team as a Programme Corodinator, and now holds this role across both Centre for Languages and Centre for Educational Leadership.  Esther has a background in media, communication and office management and worked for almost ten years in the corrections industry. Originally from Yorkshire, in the UK, Esther relocated to Auckland in 2011 with her husband and three children.  Since then she has mainly worked within the education sector, in various roles including marketing and development, pastoral care, senior leadership team support and communication.




Neena Raniga, Programme Coordinator

Neena has been with UniServices since 2007 and with the University of Auckland since 1994. She has been part of Future Learning Solutions, Centre for Languages as a Programme Coordinator for the past five months. It's been exciting and lovely for Neena to work alongside members of FLS colleagues and the team of language professionals.

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Kath Doody, Programme Coordinator

Kath joined Uniservices in August 2019 and is originally from Dunedin. With a background in marketing, tourism, sales, and customer service,  she brings a variety of skills to the role. Kath speaks beginner level Spanish and is currently studying languages at the University of Auckland part-time. 

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National Language Adviser – Chinese

We are awaiting the appointment of a new Chinese National Advisor and will update this page once this appointment has been made.
The Ministry of Education funds their work through Future Learning Solutions and its role is to support the development of Chinese language education in New Zealand. 

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Alexandra Toeniges, National Language Adviser – German

Alexandra arrived in New Zealand from Germany in September 2019. She was born in Germany and has spent most of her life in Cologne, a vibrant, friendly city in the western part of Germany. After her degree at the University of Cologne, Alexandra went to the United Kingdom to do her teacher training with a focus on Modern Foreign Languages. She used to work at different types of schools such as Grammar Schools and Colleges as a teacher of foreign languages.

Alexandra is very much looking forward to her time in New Zealand and to be cooperating with New Zealand teachers. She is keen to share her knowledge of the German culture, language and education system with them. 

Kaori Fukazawa, National Language Adviser – Japanese

Kaori Fukazawa is the National Japanese Advisor at Future Learning Solutions (currently based in Saitama, Japan and working online).
She has been involved in language education in different contexts.  She has taught English at secondary schools (Years 8 to 10) in Japan
and then shifted to being a Japanese language teacher.  She completed a Masters of Japanese Language Teaching (Professional) at Akita International University.  During her study at AIU, she was interested in the course design based on the learner-centred approach as well as the Japanese prosody.  As a Japanese language teacher, she has worked for different learning purposes in Japan and in Egypt.  She has studied both Egyptian Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic.  In Romania, she has worked as a Japanese language education specialist, dispatched from the Japan Foundation.  

Learning a language is challenging at times but she believes that it enriches the learner's life and promotes intercultural awareness.  
She is looking forward to working with teachers in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  

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Clara Gómez Jimeno, National Language Adviser – Spanish

Clara has been an ESOL and Spanish teacher for many years in Great Britain, Spain, and the USA. She also has experience in education leadership. She is passionate about languages and culture, bilingual education and education in general, as well as traveling. She believes that everybody can be culturally proficient in a culture he or she is interested in and although learning a language can sometimes be hard, it is a great and rewarding experience. 

Simon McGinley, National Language Adviser – French

Simon is an experienced teacher of languages having been involved in education for ten years. He completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching at the University of Auckland and worked on the North Shore for several years before heading overseas. He has taught French, Spanish, and ESOL in a number of different countries. He has lived in Australia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Spain, and the UK. 

One of Simon’s key interests in language acquisition is improving students’ cultural knowledge. He thinks that language learning should be accessible to all students and that multilingualism should be commonplace. As well as English, he speaks French and Spanish fluently. Simon strongly believes that French is an important subject for students to learn and is looking forward to working with teachers of the language.


Annelise Borger, Facilitator 

Annelise has been based in Wanaka for two years working part-time for Future Learning Solutions – Centre for Languages. She spent six years establishing and growing the Chinese language programme at Middleton Grange School in Christchurch. During her time at Middleton Grange, she was the lead ALLiS coordinator for a cluster of four Christian schools in Christchurch where she established and grew the Chinese programmes across the schools. Annelise has had the opportunity to participate in the TPLT programme, Chinese Immersion programmes and also received the NZ Chinese Distinguished Teacher Award (Early Career) in 2017. Annelise is passionate about learning and loves to share her experiences with others. She has specific expertise in developing resources for the Chinese classroom, Flipped Learning, eLearning, especially in regard to using Microsoft tools in the classroom and she is also keen to explore what the new Digital Technologies Curriculum looks like in the language classroom.

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Hyun-Joo Kim, Facilitator

With her academic background in languages, linguistics, language teaching, and education, Hyun-Joo Kim has been an educator for nineteen years working nationally and internationally to promote Korean language learning and teaching. She has been teaching Korean to learners of a wide range of backgrounds and cultures in both secondary and tertiary educational settings. During her twelve years of service at Korea University as a lecturer, she has developed and delivered Korean language courses of all levels, from beginners through advanced, as well as intensive immersion programmes for adult learners for professional development purposes. She looks forward to continuing to work closely with primary and secondary teachers of all languages to ensure that Learning Languages remains a viable and sustainable curriculum area in all schools in Aotearoa.


Janelle Wood, Facilitator

Janelle taught languages to Year 7 and 8 students. She was an In-School Support Facilitator for the TPLT/TPDL programme for 8 years. For two of those years, she was also the Language Study coordinator for TPLT. In addition to studying the languages she taught, German and Japanese, Janelle has studied Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

Kara Morrison, Facilitator

Kara’s passion for Spanish started back in the 90s as an AFS exchange student to Costa Rica. Living as part of a family for a year and being fully immersed in Spanish at school and in the wider community enabled a whole new world view. After completing a Masters in Spanish in Auckland, she realised her interest lay in teaching and has spent the last decade teaching primary through to secondary levels. The travel bug has taken her to many locations in Latin America and the thing she enjoys most about having a second language is the ability to talk with normal people about their everyday lives and experiences, from taxi drivers to shop attendants. Kara is enthusiastic to support and work with teachers from around New Zealand to facilitate the development of stimulating and authentic learning environments for the teaching of culture and language.

Paula Kasper, Facilitator

Paula Kasper joined in March 2021 and is based in the Hawke’s Bay. She has a background across all sectors of language teaching
in Primary and Intermediate levels. Focusing on Japanese Languages and Culture, for which she achieved her Masters of Applied Linguistics
in 2016. Paula is also experienced in te reo Maori o me tikanga and several Languages Other Than English (LOTE). 
From her extensive overseas travel experience she is passionate about all languages and cultures and the teaching of these transferrable skills and knowledge. She is keen to share and support you particularly in our diverse, multi-cultural society, in becoming global citizens with your language and culture development.


Siliva Gaugatao, Facilitator – Centre for Languages and Pacific-led Education Solutions

Siliva is an experienced language and literacy facilitator. In his role as languages facilitator, Siliva has helped to establish and sustain the success of the Cook Islands Māori, Lea Faka-Tonga, and Gagana Sāmoa language clusters. He coordinated the writing of the Senior Secondary Guides for Cook Islands Māori, Lea Faka-Tonga, Gagana Sāmoa, and Vagahau Niue and helped language teachers to fully understand the expectations of the NZ curriculum in practice. He was also part of a research team of four that reviewed and redesigned the inaugural Samoan Reading Assessment Tool (SRAT) for an Auckland Samoan Bilingual Cluster. Siliva is passionate about improving outcomes for all students, especially Maori, Pasifika. Key to achieving successful outcomes include the deliberate utilisation of students’ identities, languages, and cultures in their learning. He is also a doctoral student investigating the engagement of Samoan fathers and male caregivers in the education of their children at secondary schools. 

Tracey Dykstra, Facilitator

Tracey is an experienced educator having been a teacher of Japanese, Head of Languages, Deputy Principal, Principal, and a facilitator with Team Solutions. Tracey is a life-long learner and is currently completing papers towards a second masters degree.

Dr Yan Yang, Facilitator

Dr Yan Yang has more than ten years of experience in teaching and researching second/foreign languages. Yan has a profound understanding of second language acquisition and its application to classroom pedagogy. For the past ten years, she has been working as a lecturer at Xi’an International Studies University in China, and a research assistant and doctoral candidate at The University of Auckland. Her Ph.D. research conducted at The University of Auckland focused on “The Effects of the Second Language on the First Language”, which has enhanced her understanding of the intricacies of language learning, especially written language acquisition and its related pedagogies. She has a good range of experience in teaching Chinese as a second language in New Zealand schools, having worked at the Confucius Institute of The University of Auckland and Auckland secondary schools as a teacher of Chinese language and culture. She has published research papers and textbooks, reviewed manuscripts for SSCI-indexed journals, and undertaken various research projects to sustain her teaching and to enrich her as a young, upcoming scholar.