My upbringing provided me with a lens through which to view my own educational practice, and a desire to improve education outcomes for young people.

I have learnt through my research and experience as a tumuaki (principal) the truth of the whakataukī: “Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini – Success is not the work of one but the work of many.”

Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch

PLD Consultant - Christchurch office

Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch is an education consultant for Evaluation Associates. She is an experienced researcher, evaluator and change manager for kāhui ako. Prior to joining Evaluation Associates Melanie was the Tumuaki (principal) of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi, a year 1 - 13 Māori immersion school located in Christchurch. In 2018 Melanie completed a secondment to the Education Council | Matatū Aotearoa facilitating English and Māori-medium workshops about Our Code Our Standards and Appraisal.

Melanie is an appointed member of the Ngārimu VC 28th Māori Battalion Scholarship Board and the Competence Authority of the Teaching Council | Matatū Aotearoa. In 2017 she was a judge for the Senior English section of the National Ngā Whakataetae Manu Kōrero speech competitions held in Taranaki.

Melanie has worked throughout the education sector in schools, kura, for iwi (Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) and the Ministry of Education. For nine years she trained secondary school teachers at the Christchurch College of Education.

Melanie has a PhD in Education awarded by the University of Canterbury in 2015. Her doctoral research investigated iwi-school communities of practice and their contribution to Māori student achievement. Prior to her doctorate Melanie completed two Ed.D. papers in Education Leadership and Change through Griffith University, has a Master of Education with Distinction (University of Canterbury), a Bachelor of Education specialising in Physical Education and a Secondary Diploma of Teaching.

Recently retired from netball, Melanie now lives vicariously through her five children aged 9 – 18 who are active rugby players, netballers, gamers and gymnasts. 


“Anyone who has the good fortune to attend a workshop facilitated by Melanie Riwai-Couch will take away a kete of rich and relevant learning. Melanie presents in a calm and inclusive manner adapting the workshop to meet the needs and responses of the audience. She has 'walked the talk' and uses relevant examples from her professional experience to provide a realistic platform of learning. Melanie is an inspiration.”

Maureen Allan - Manager - Te Paeroa RTLB