National hui 2019 key note speakers

We are pleased to have the Minister of Education, the Honourable Chris Hipkins, open our 2019 Hui.

Hon. Chris Hipkins


Chris Hipkins is Member of Parliament for Rimutaka. He is ranked seventh in the Cabinet and is the Leader of the House and Minister of Education and State Services. He is also the Minister responsible for Ministerial Services.

Chris passionately believes that every New Zealander deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential in life. He is a staunch advocate for and defender of our public education system. Chris believes that a free, quality education is the right of every child.

Born in 1978, Chris has worked in both the public and private sectors. Chris is passionate about the Hutt Valley, his home, a place that he believes is “bursting with energy and potential”. An outdoor enthusiast, Chris is particularly keen on mountain biking, tramping and swimming. Chris currently lives in Upper Hutt.

He attended Waterloo Primary School, Hutt Intermediate and Hutt Valley Memorial College (later known as Petone College), where he was the Head Boy in 1996. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and Criminology at Victoria University.

After completing his study, Chris worked in the industry training sector. Before becoming an MP he also worked at parliament, first as Senior Advisor to two Education Ministers and later in the office of the then Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Chris entered Parliament in 2008 and became the Spokesperson for Education at the beginning of 2013. He places a strong emphasis on social justice and believes that every New Zealander should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Tina Porou


Tina is of Ngati Porou, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Ngati Rakaipaaka descent and founded Poipoia, a kaupapa Maori company committed to providing environmental services to iwi, local, central government and corporates. These services are derived from the holistic principles of kaitiakitanga.

Tina has worked as an environmental planner and a tangata whenua advocate in the sustainability space for over 20 years on projects that have included developing papakainga houses for social well-being, facilitating environmental restoration programmes in large corporates and for hapu, engaging in national policy interventions on water, climate change and biodiversity while working with iwi and councils to enable stronger decision sharing relationships.

Tina holds board governance positions on the Lake Taupo Forest Trust, Akina, Wharerata Forests and is based in Turangi. Tina was the recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Environmental Leadership Award and was awarded the NZ Order of Merit for her contributions to Maori and the Environment.

Leadership- enablers, barriers and getting real when the going gets tough

Leadership is, for most, a reluctant burden, but there are some people, who see something in others, a spark, a particular work ethic, a set of experiences that triggers a thought. “I see something here, how can I support them into leadership, how can I be the rock in the ocean for those who will have great responsibility in the future?” This korero focuses on great enablers, their characteristics and their sacrifices for others, to support the leadership gifts in others and through this conversation, what creates resilience in this new generation of young leaders?

Simon Breakspear

SB_headshot_1to1__002___002_Dr Simon Breakspear is a researcher, advisor and speaker on educational leadership, policy and change. He is the Executive Director of the leadership development organisation Breakspear Learning, and Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Gonski Institute for Education. 

Simon is passionate about supporting school leadership development at scale.  He is the creator of Teaching Sprints, an open-source teacher learning approach, and serves as an expert advisor to the NSW Department of Education School Leadership Institute and the AITSL Leadership Steering Committee. 

Simon earned his PhD in education from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, and a MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford as a Commonwealth Scholar. Simon holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Teaching, and began his work in education as a high school teacher. Simon lives in Sydney with his wife and three young children. 

Dr Hana O'Regan

Hana O'Regan

Dr Hana O’Regan (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is the General Manager of Oranga/ 

Wellbeing for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Hana’s career has been largely focused on the areas of Māori language revitalisation and Māori educational achievement whilst also being an active advocate and driver for her own tribal language revitalisation strategy within Kāi Tahu.

Hana has previously held the position of lecturer at the University of Otago and management positions in the Māori Language Unit of Ngāi Tahu, The Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, CPIT. Hana is also currently a New Zealand Fellow on the International Centre for Language Revitalisation, ICLR and a member of Ngā Kaituhono.

A proud mother of two children, Hana is committed to te reo in the home and intergenerational transmission of the language.

Urzila Carlson


South African born Urzila Carlson is a multi-award-winning Stand-Up comedian who appears regularly on television shows in New Zealand – 7 Days, Super City, Road Madness and Australia – Have You Been Paying Attention. She lives in Auckland, with her wife and two kids.

Urzila’s natural cheeky, straight up style will have you eating out of her hand* the moment she takes the stage and you’ll want to be her friend. Internationally and locally she is becoming a sought-after act, both as a stand-up headliner and as an MC.

Current work

Comedian Since taking the comedy stage in 2008 she has had 5 sold out seasons at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, television appearances on Spicks and Specks, Dirty Laundry, Have You Been Paying Attention, The Great Debate with Barry Humphries, Comedy Up Late as a guest and a host, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Galas. Urzila has also done sold out festival shows in Perth, Sydney and Adelaide Comedy Festivals, and performed for Just For Laughs at The Sydney Opera House. In New Zealand she has sold out every solo show she’s had since 2009.

Urzila is a very popular regular panellist on the hit show 7 Days and has appeared in TV shows such as `A Night at the Classic’, ` The Comedy Christmas Cracker’ with Rhys Darby, AotearoHA!, and The Jono Project.

She is a recognisable face not only on the comedy circuit in New Zealand and Australia, but is also a celebrated author, columnist, presenter, sports enthusiast and a DIY expert**.

* Please note there might not be anything in her hand to eat.

** Not a real expert.