Born to a rebel in Hunterville and adopted at 6 weeks by a farmer and a teacher in Te Kuiti. On a farm there are no boundaries. You play, and explore, and I learned to be free and resilient and self-reliant. My career as an educator and a shit-shifter was well underway.


Age 10, mum had a stroke and I took over running the household. Didn’t know any different – that was just life.


Nuns caught me cheating on maths. Mum and Dad got called in. Freakn hate maths.


Boarding student at Sacred Heart in Hamilton. Bribed day students to bring booze to school and hide it behind the statue of the Virgin Mary. Definitely a principal in the making *wink*


Teacher’s College, stirring up sh*t in the Halls of Residence. Midnight skinny dipping in the uni pools. PE tutorials at the Hillcrest Tavern. The usual.


Hit by a car in Hamilton. Had surgery to put a rod in a shattered tibial – was awake but paralysed. Got told by a psychologist to get back on the horse. Bugger that. Learned how healing happens on a spiritual level. Became unbreakable.


Started teaching.


Fell for a go-getter-farmer. His vision, drive, and kind heart swept me off my feet.


Birthed two boys 13 months apart, WTF. It was like having twins but one of the buggers knew how to run.


Just kept on teaching. Never stopped. Had different roles but what never changed: He Tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. I always knew leadership was about the people.


Relieving Principal at Waitetuna School for a year. Freaking loved it. I was up for everything, and together, we delivered. When I left they literally put on a circus performance and made me hold a cigarette between my teeth while jugglers threw things at me to knock it out of my mouth.


Assessment Advisor at University of Waikato. Delivered National Standards to Schools with a flack jacket on each day. Learned about facilitation, coaching, and dealing with tricky shit on a whole new level.


Principal Kaihere School.


Poached to become a national e-Learning facilitator.


Marriage imploded messily. Walked away with nothing. Enough said.


The shaken-up life reawakened the rebel whakapapa. Pushing boundaries. Challenging self. Going to the next level, and the next. Backpacked solo through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Chile, Bolivia. Trekked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Did Everest Basecamp and Kilimanjaro. Jumped out of a plane at 16500ft, and drove hot laps in a supercar.


Wintec – our team shook the tree and a new way of teaching, learning, and professional learning fell out.  Blew my mind, which led to…


MAM takes out her whip and becomes YesMAM – cracking the whip delivering leadership and learning programmes for the Ministry of Education. DISCOVERED: I grow people. And for people to grow, we need to shift shit.


Masters in Educational Leadership (while running my business all over  the country – masochist. *cracks whip*).


Rebrand and cracking the whip on the corporate world. It’s not ok to sit in shit. Not our own, and not anyone else’s. Leaned into my truth so I could help everyone else do the same even more. I am the Whip-Cracking, Shit-Shifting Mistress of my own Destiny.

Contact Mary-Anne

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