Boards members have a stewardship role that involves planning for and acting in, the interests of the school and its community.  Student learning, wellbeing, achievement, and progress are the board’s main concerns.

Successful boards work in partnership with school leaders and staff for the benefit of students.  Each has their respective roles and responsibilities but is dependent on working cooperatively with the other to be able to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Good communication is an important part of being on a board, as members need to be able to talk to one another, share information, ask questions, and discuss important issues.  In doing so, you develop relationships based on trust and work effectively together as a board.

A board’s main responsibility is to ensure that all students at their school are achieving well.  This includes making sure that the Principal and staff are supported and resourced to achieve high-quality teaching and learning.  To do this, members need reliable and detailed information from school leaders about the learning and wellbeing of children at their school.

A board member is part of a governance team. All boards include up to three school-based members: the Principal, a representative elected by staff, and, for schools with students in Year 9 and above, a representative elected by the students. The majority of boards have five member elected by parents and caregivers but the board can decide to decrease the number of parent elected seats to three or to increase them to a maximum of seven. Boards of state schools can also co-opt additional members, up to a maximum of one less than the number of elected parent seats on the board. Boards decide to co-opt for a variety of reasons, usually to ensure a good balance of skills, experience, gender, or ethnicity.  At Hillmorton High School we have five elected parent representatives, two co-opted representatives, and three school-based members and we would like you to meet the team.

Board Members

Born and educated in Christchurch with a BA from Canterbury University and a Master of Education in Educational Administration (M.Ed.Admin) through Massey University. I have taught English and Japanese at Burnside High School with two years of studying at a university in Japan.  I became the Assistant Principal, then Deputy Principal then Principal here at Hillmorton from 1995. I am passionate about education and individuality. I also love skiing, swimming, walking on the beach with my dog, and spending time with my family and friends.

Tena Koutou, I am a parent of 3 students at Hillmorton High School and soon to be 4. I have enjoyed being on the board of West Spreydon School for the last 12 years and on the board at Hillmorton for the last 3 years. I am finishing up at West Spreydon at the June election and if re-elected to Hillmorton I look forward to continuing to help make a contribution through the work of the board. I believe Hillmorton is a great school and I am excited to see our vision and values continuing to grow and our young people, families, and communities thrive.

I have a background in sport, youth and community development, education, governance, and leadership. For fun, I enjoy sports and outdoors, adventures, lively conversations, and the odd community project. Nga Mihi.

Hi, my name is Suzie Sauer, I am married to Peter who Manages Auto-body, Automotive, Panel, and Paint for Ara Institute of Canterbury. We have 3 daughters and have lived in Hoon Hay for over 13 years. I love our city and suburb and am dedicated to the health, wellbeing, and connectedness of our local community.

I have a background in Organisational Development, Change Management, Training & Development, and Human Resources. I am currently a staff supporter for Workplace Support, an EAP provider.

I am pleased to have been elected onto the Hillmorton High School Board as I want to give back to the school and community that has given me so much to help me become the person I am today. I started at Hillmorton High School in 1983 and left in 1987 and while at the school I got a great education, made lifetime friends, and met my wife of 27 years. I enjoy giving back to the community and currently co-coach the Hillmorton High School 1st 15 rugby team as well as coaching rugby and on the executive board at the Canterbury University Rugby Club. I have lived in the local area all my life and our son now goes to Hillmorton and we want him to learn the values of a safe and supportive learning environment Hillmorton High School gave to his family.

I have many years of experience within business development, operations, and leadership management which I believe will support the board to achieve the goals, vision, and culture of the school. I look forward to being an active member of the board and networking with the students and community to ensure we are all having a voice for the future of our school and its students.

I am married to Amanda and have three children; Leah (14 years old), Taine (13 years old), and Sophia (10 years old). Taine is attending Hillmorton in Year 9 and Sophia is due to start in Year 7 next year. I work for Air New Zealand as a Senior Aeronautical Engineer in the Liaison / Repair Design team.

I have had previous board experience at Somerfield Te Kura Wairepo primary school. My desire to be more greatly involved in my children’s education prompted me to first apply for board appointment and it was a natural progression to follow my children into their high school education. I am passionate about young people being given every opportunity to contribute to a healthy community and before having children was heavily involved in youth work at Southwest Baptist Church. I am an avid sports fan and shares my love for sport by being involved in coaching young people in cricket and rugby.

My name is Chad and I have two young daughters, one of whom will be starting at Hillmorton next year for Year 7.

I joined the Hillmorton High School Board because I’m passionate about the school and want more people to see the amazing work being done here by teachers and students alike. I’m also on a few other boards, including the Tourette’s Association of NZ, Sydenham Rugby League Club, and the Hoon Hay Community Association.

My name is Simon-Pierre Mbonyinshuti, I am married to Sonya Mbonyinshuti with 3 beautiful children. I have lived in Christchurch since 2002, originally from Rwanda. It is a great honour to be on the Hillmorton High School Board and I am looking forward to using my skills and experience to contribute to the future of the school

I have a background in finance, accounting, business advisory, governance, and education. I am currently the Director of SPM Consulting Ltd.

My name is Mamaitaloa Sagapolutele, a retired teacher.  I have 3 children – my oldest daughter has 5 children; my son has 3 children, and my youngest daughter is studying at the University of Canterbury.

I have been a member of the Board of Trustees as staff rep, at Rowley Avenue School for 3 terms and I have been involved in the Hoon Hay community for more than twenty years.  Although I am retired now, I still have great interest in education for our young people especially with our Māori and Pasifika students.

Kia ora.

I am the Hillmorton Staff Member. Born in England, I was raised between England, Ireland, and France. Leaving school I spent ten years in the British Army, retraining to be a teacher at the age of 28. My specialist subject is Digital Technology with history as a second subject. I moved to New Zealand in 2007, teaching at Geraldine High School and then becoming an IT consultant in Christchurch. I have worked at Hillmorton High School for six and a half years.

I enjoy traveling and have visited 41 countries around the world so far and plan to visit lots more. I enjoy reading, photography, and exploring New Zealand.


As a board, you need to understand your full range of responsibilities to perform well.  The good news is the key work areas of every school board are set out in law and cover important governance-related areas such as strategic leadership and setting the vision for your school, legal compliance, policy development, and defining the delegations of your Principal.

In a nutshell, you are responsible for school leadership and strategy and for having the policies and processes in place to monitor and report on your school’s progress and to engage with your school community.

How to become a Board Member

NZSTA is working very hard to encourage parents and whānau participation on school boards in order to help share and support the education of their children. To that end, NZSTA has rolled out the Korari Programme for anyone interested in finding out about standing for the school board elections and having a say in the education of their children. Attached are links to the resources for the Korari programme for those interested in becoming a member and the Community Member Guide to the Role of the Board.

Korari Form

Community Member Guide