Abbott Heka

Preschool Support Teacher

Abbott is the second oldest in his family with five siblings and is New Zealand born, growing up in Manurewa.  Before joining Little Sparks in March 2015 he was an after-school care teacher and has remained a Youth Leader

Abbott, loves to explore different music genres, he is a bit of a movie goer and will happily watch any new flick as long as its at the movies on the big screen.

Abbott’s passion is to inspire any child to reach their heights, “I can’t” is never the answer, anything is possible.

Abbott Heka Little Sparks
Vanessa Hirst

Vanessa Hirst

Infant and Toddler Teacher

Vanessa was born in Pukekohe, spent her early adulthood traveling about Australia as a chef, then moved into teaching. She graduated from the University of Auckland in 2004 with a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE and has been fortunate to work with children from infancy to 8 year olds. Vanessa is also trained as a Specialist Teacher in Early Intervention. She has a passion for nurturing the mana and wairua of all tamariki as they learn through relationships and play.

Vanessa joined Little Sparks in October 2022 and works in our infant and toddler environment. Vanessa chose to move back to Pukekohe to be closer to her whaanau and has her own daughter Lilyana. Together they enjoy going for walks and appreciating nature in their spare time.

Naomi Clarken  Little Sparks

Naomi Clarken 

Preschool Support Teacher

Naomi completed her Bachelor of Education Teaching degree with Te Rito Maioha at the end of 2023.

She has two young children and is a very devoted mother.  Naomi loved developing her skills in arts and crafts and keeping physically fit.

Naomi joined Little Sparks in February 2023; her teaching philosophy supports children to nurture their creativity and supports them in their learning journeys.

Heather Watson

Heather graduated from Dunedin College of Education in 2003 with a Bachelor of Education 0-8 Years and has been fortunate to work with children from infancy to 8year olds since then.  Heather joined Little Sparks in December 2018.

Heather grew up in small town in Manawatu and has lived and worked all over the country. She has resided in Pukekohe for approximately 14 years. She is a self -confessed ‘geek’ and loves all things Doctor Who, Marvel, Sci-Fi in general. She keeps herself busy by crocheting in her spare time, when not hanging out with her friends and family.

Heather believes that children develop best in an environment where they feel comfortable and secure. Building relationships with each child and their whanau enables them to make the best of their learning journey. Heather loves having conversations with the children and finds it’s a great way to interact and get to know each child individually.

Heather Watson Little Sparks
Emma Maria Card  Little Sparks

Emma - Maria Card

Infant and Toddler's Teacher

Emma-Maria lives in Pukekohe with her wonderful partner Matt and our gorgeous little  daughter Amelia, who also attends Little Sparks.  Emma is the eldest of 5 children from West Auckland.

She is passionate about early childhood and engaging the minds and creativity of children. Having Amelia has been the biggest joy in her life and she is  so happy to be able to share my enthusiasm with your precious little ones too.  Emma is a heart led teacher who has lots of patience and calmness in her practice, this is reflected in her attention to detail and ability to meet the needs of  each child effortlessly. 

Jo Ah Ling

Centre Manager

Jo spent her formative years growing up in Taranaki, she graduated from Massey University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Education 0-8years Degree. Throughout her teaching career Jo has been fortunate to teach in Australia, England and rural parts of New Zealand. Jo purchased Little Sparks and became co-owner and Centre Manager in October 2017.

Jo has 3 young children who fill her weekends exploring all the wonderful outdoor spaces Auckland and its surrounds have to offer! She looks forward to meeting you all and building lasting relationships with your child and whanau.

She believes children learn best in fun safe and loving environments where they are encouraged to take risks and be creative. Jo has a vision of becoming more sustainable and working hard to help Little Sparks become so. She is enjoying this journey with the children to grow our environments in a more purposeful way.

Jo Ah Ling Little Sparks
Sissy Tainui

Sissy Tainui 

Preschool Teacher

Sissy graduated from Auckland AUT in 2016 with a bachelor of Pacific education.

A local to the community and lives in Pukekohe with her family.  Sissy is a proud mother to 5 children and four mokopuna. Sissy enjoys reading books, fishing, and spending time with her whānau in her spare time.

Sissy’s teaching philosophy supports tamariki in developing and enhancing their working theories, finding solutions, and problem-solving. She endorses this learning by inviting provocations from a child’s interest and helping them grow as creative thinkers.  Sissy joined our teaching team in August 2023.

Sunila Devi

Support Teacher and Cook 

Sunila was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand when she was 14 years old.  She studied at Kelston Girls High School and after finishing College got married and began her working career in customer service. Sunila joined Little Sparks in September 2016.

Taking on new challenges and trying new things is a passion of hers and she said that this career change has been her greatest experience so far! She has two children who fill her life with fun and laughter, whilst teaching her something new every day.

Sunila believes children learn best by having fun at the same time in a loving environment. Sunila looks forward to meeting you and developing strong relationships with your child and your family.

Sunila fills our bellies daily with delicious and nutritional food. 

Sunila Devi Little Sparks

Arnika Stillman 

Infant and Toddler Teacher

Arnika qualified in 2014 with a bachelor of education. Over her career, she has worked as a nanny and has plenty of experience with all age groups.  Arnika returned to ECE in 2023.

Arnika lives on a farm with her three teenage children, who all love animals; she spends her free time riding horses and being with her family. 

Arnika loves to let children be children and develop in their own way and in their own time, supporting them to reach their full potential.

Arnika Stillman  Little Sparks

Amelia Fiaii 

Support teacher and teacher in training  

Amelia is currently studying  her Bachelor of Education Teaching degree  with Te Rito Maioha. 

She is a busy mum to four children, in her spare time she likes to spend time with her family, and catching up on the latest movies.

Amelia joined Little Sparks in March 2022, she has strong beliefs in supporting and nurturing children in their own individual learning journeys, she has a passion for sharing music, art and cultural awareness and loves brining this into her teaching practices.