Meet our Staff

  • Fran MacNamara

    Manager of Remarkables Park - NZ Fully Registered Early Childhood Teacher

    I graduated from Dunedin Teachers College in the mid 70’s and began my teaching career in the Kindergarten service. In the early 90’s I opened my own Early Childhood Centre catering for children aged from birth to 6 years. I also owned two After School and School Holiday Care Centres. In 2000 I was lucky enough to participate in a study tour to Italy to experience the Reggio Emilia Centres and their programmes in action. This opportunity inspired me to incorporate this programme which builds upon the interests of children into the ZigZagZoo’s teaching philosophy. This has increased my belief in providing a child-centred programme based upon respect and empowerment. I was approached to open ZigZagZoo Henry Street at the beginning of 2011 and extremely enjoyed the challenge of establishing, licencing and then leading the teaching team. I moved from Henry Street to establish ZigZagZoo Copper Beech Ave in July 2013. I am very passionate about Early Childhood Education and believe in establishing awesome teaching teams, trusting relationships with all the families and advocating for the rights of every individual child. I love what I do and enjoy going to work every day!
  • Amy Packer

    Toddler Room Team Leader - Bachelor of Teaching (ECE)

    Kia Ora I'm Amy and I am originally from Dunedin where I studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Otago. After graduating in 2012 I moved to Queenstown to begin my career in Early Childhood Education and haven't left because I fell in love with the place. I've had experience with children aged 2-5 and I am currently working with the toddlers age group. This is where I have found my passion and the most joy. I have met some wonderful children and had some wonderful experiences. I base my practice and philosophy on positive guidance, reciprocal relationships based on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. I am constantly amazed by what children can do and achieve and I feel so lucky to be there to nurture and support them in their sense of belonging as they continue on their journey of learning.
  • Anna Nel

    Kindy Room - Degree in Early Childhood Development, South Africa

    Kia Ora! My name is Anna and I’m from South Africa. I’ve been working in ECE in New Zealand for three years. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of South Africa with a specialisation in the Foundation Phase (Early primary years). I am passionate about the holistic approach of Te Whariki, having a child-led programme and recognising and supporting the enhancement of each tamariki’s mana. I am a teacher in the Kindergarten Room and enjoy the process of supporting and observing tamariki prepare and grow as they prepare for their big, primary school adventure. I look forward to meeting you! Nga mihi nui
  • Amy Smithers

    Kindy Room - BA Honours in early years & primary education UK

    Hi, I’m Amy from the UK. I have a BA Honours in early years and primary education. I have been travelling to New Zealand and working at Zig Zag Zoo on and off over the last year. I believe that children develop at their best when in a safe and secure environment and through positive relationships.
  • Shihan Li

    Infant Room - Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education), Bachelor of Commerce

    Kia Ora, my name is Shihan, I am an NZ qualified and registered teacher. I have been working in ECE since 2017, and have experience with children from 3 months to 5 years old. I am passionate about working with young children and strongly believe in providing a calm, welcoming environment where children feel safe to explore. I am very lucky to be part of the infant team at Zig Zag Zoo Remarkables Park and sharing in these wonderful early years with you.
  • Harpreet Kaur Ahluwalia

    Infant Room Team Leader - Bachelors of Education (Primary), India; Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education, New Zealand

    Kia ora! My name is Harpreet Ahluwalia and I am a fully qualified and registered teacher. Originally, I am from India and I have been living in New Zealand for over 10 years now. I feel privileged to call Queenstown home and could not imagine living anywhere else more beautiful. My passion for working with infants and toddlers began when I first started working with this age group in Auckland in 2010. My image of children and notions of what quality childcare looks like forever changed and thus began another journey fueled by a desire to know about the works of Magda Gerber and Dr. Emmi Pikler. I completed the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood in 2011 and have worked with infants and toddlers since then. I am passionate about working with infants and providing an environment in which they can grow and thrive in their own individual time and space. My personal philosophy is one steeped in respect for all that we do for our children and their families. Children are capable of so much more than what we expect of them, therefore respecting them and their ability to do these things in their own time is a core part of my philosophy. I also believe that the environment (the third teacher) plays a huge part in our children’s learning and development, so I strive to create an atmosphere that is inviting, calming, engaging, full of sensory, rich and natural resources, which our children can explore freely. I started working at ZigZagZoo Early Learning Centre in March 2018 and was very grateful to attend the RIE® Foundations: Theory and Observation in February 2019. As the team leader of the Infant room, I am privileged to be able to advocate for our youngest tamariki. Through respectful practices and building relationships with both tamariki and their whānau, my team and I strive to create an environment where infant and toddlers can be active participants in their care and learning and where our aim is to raise capable, confident and authentic children.
  • Gisele Almeida

    Infant Room

    Kia Ora, my name is Gisele Almeida and I am a teacher in the Infants Room at ZigZagZoo Remarkables Park since July 2018. I graduated in Languages and Literature and worked as Primary School Teacher for about 5 years back in Brazil. I love working in the Infants Room and the connection I make with each child is unique and special. I believe that respect and trust in the children are the keys for the RIE philosophy which I'm entirely passionate. We are also evolving with Maori’s culture and language which is beautiful and also fascinates me.