Our Staff

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Puketapu te māunga (my mountain)

Ko Arai-te-uru te awa (river)

Ko Horouta te waka (waka)

Ko Rongowhakaata te iwi (tribe)

Ko Lipscombe te whānau (family)

Ko Ross tōku matua (father)

Ko Ann tōku whaea (mother)

Ko Raymond tōku tāne (husband)

Ko Keita, raua ko Kahurangi oku tamariki (children)

Ko Kathryn ahau


I was born and raised in Mt Roskill and attended St Therese School in Three Kings before heading to Marist College for form 3 - 7 (years 9-13).


My teaching career commenced here at St Mary’s and it was where I first really realised my passion for teaching in a Catholic school.  From St Mary’s I headed to London where I worked as a supply teacher which gave me the funds to travel extensively around the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond.  Upon returning from London at the beginning of 2002 I took up the role of Associate Principal at Marist Catholic School in Herne Bay. In 2004 an overseas experience presented itself and I left Marist to take up a consultant's role for an education reform in Doha, Qatar.  Marist welcomed me back at the end of the 15 month contract where I spent several more years before being appointed Principal at St Joseph’s, Orakei in 2010. After two and half years at St Joseph’s I left to have a family and over the past 6 and half years I have spent time at home raising our two daughters and working part time, most recently at St Francis School in Pt Chevalier.

I have many fond memories of my earlier years at St Mary’s and it’s warm and supportive community,  and it is a great privilege to return as principal. As a teacher and leader, I am passionate about utilising my skills and knowledge to motivate and inspire students and colleagues to reach their full potential.  I strive to encourage excellence in myself, colleagues and students to ensure success for all.


St Mary’s is a very special place, and the staff and I appreciate the trust that you’ve shown us by sending your children here every day.  I will work hard to ensure we provide the best for your children, to develop their hearts and minds.


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I am looking forward to a great school year together.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini...

My successes are not mine alone, they are ours - the greatest successes we will have are from working together.


Deputy Principal

Teaching is my passion. Growing up in a home of ten people in South Africa, I knew from the age of four that I wanted to be an educator. After graduating with a Diploma in Teaching in one of South Africa’s best tertiary colleges, Bechet Teachers College of Education and a Bachelor of Education Degree in New Zealand, I began my diverse teaching career in Natal, the home of “The Sharks”. During my time as an educator, which extends over 35 years, I have taught a variety of subjects to a wide array of learners, ranging from pre-schoolers to year  8. However, the one thing that has remained a constant in my career is my love for teaching Writing, Mathematics, Drama and Science. Writing is fundamental in understanding all subjects as well as being the key to understanding and expressing one’s self. I am loving every minute of teaching my adorable, kind, loving, respectful and enthusiastic year 7 and 8 children in room 11. They are the reason for my season of new growth and development in 2019.

Geraldine Malgas
St Bride's Syndicate leader
Years 7 & 8 Teacher
Director of Religious Studies




Hello, my name is Avida D’Souza and I have been a teacher at St Mary’s School since 2006. I started as a New Entrant teacher and have taught years 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 students since. I am the Director of Religious Studies (DRS) at St Mary's and also responsible for the fantastic children in room 10 (Years 7 and 8).


 I am passionate about teaching, and feel privileged to be in a position to influence the thinking of our lovely children. I strongly believe that the classroom should be a place where children’s minds are stimulated and are encouraged to reach their potential.  When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, dancing, singing and travelling.




Hi there!


I’m Sandra Fernandes and I teach a New Entrant / Year 1 class of students. I have been teaching in catholic schools for most of teaching career and have been at St Mary's since 2007.


I am very passionate about what I do. I love interacting with young minds, working with them, learning with them and from them. I believe that children need a strong foundation to their school life that ensures they are on right track to reaching their full potential. I know that I am working with the most precious material in the world- the minds of young children and I try my best to make sure that they have safe, happy and enriched time at school. I love being at St Mary’s because of the friendly, family type atmosphere, the lovely children and the supportive parent base. I welcome you parents into our class any time.


 “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” - Walt Disney

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Sandra Fernandes
McAuley Syndicate Leader
New Entrant /Year 1 Teacher
Avida D'Souza
Years 7 & 8 Teacher

Syndicate Leader

Moetoto Isara - Room 5, Year 1/2 Teacher

I have been a teacher at St Mary's School for a long time as it gives me an opportunity to work with all the families and their children and to know them well. It is very special to work with people I trust and who help me to strengthen  my career in every way. I have learned a lot about the Catholic Faith through my teaching at St Mary's School.
It's a great pleasure to teach in St Mary's with a team of supportive colleagues and a wonderful school community.
Thank you.

Lina Faiilagi - Room 3, Year 2/3 Teacher +  Reading Recovery Teacher

Talofa lava! My name is Lina Faiilagi and I am a New Zealand born Samoan. I have taught here at St Mary’s School for 3 years and as well as being the teacher of Room 3 I am also a Reading Recovery Teacher. I was an ex-student here at St Mary’s School and I’m so proud to come back as a Teacher. I love that I am able to teach and share my love for God here at St Mary’s School and work alongside great educators who share the same passion too. My main goal is to not only teach our children but to touch their hearts and make a difference in their lives so they can be confident learners who embrace their faith, culture, sport and academic abilities, and also be the ‘Face of Christ’ in serving others. Alofa atu and God bless.

Brandon Kumar - Room 8, Year 4 / 5 Teacher

Kia Ora,


My name is Brandon Kumar and I am a third year teacher at St Mary’s. I am definitely no stranger to the school as I am an ex-St Mary’s student who decided to become a primary teacher.  It had been one of my goals to teach at St Mary’s. I am passionate about helping children reach their full potential and prepare them for the real world, which as we all know, is fast-changing. Hence, the reason why I chose to be a primary teacher. I was born and raised in Fiji, I’m part Filipino and part Fijian-Indian. Other things that I am interested in outdoor activities, sports and automotives. 

I teach in Room 8 which has the best class of Year 4 and 5 children.

Meleane Tu'ima - Room 9, Year 5/6 Teacher

I have always been passionate about God, music, learning and children and being a teacher embraces all my loves.  Being at St Mary's Avondale allows me to strengthen and share my faith and love for music by teaching my students what I know.  I learn new exciting things from my students, my learned and very experienced colleagues and the whanau that is St Mary's everyday. 

"Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn." (Benjamin Franklin) 

Sonia De la Cruz - Release Teacher

This is my 22nd  year of being an educator at  St Mary’s School. I truly believe that a successful education is a joint effort between the school and the home.  We are striving to prepare all students to be 21st century thinkers and problem solvers. I look forward to continuing my educational journey at St Mary’s School and to serving our students, staff and families. I am privileged to be a  mother and a grandmother, and enjoy working with children and their whanau.


My years of experience as a SENCO  have taught me the value of tolerance, patience  and encouragement. I work closely with learning support  children  providing the individualised support and praise they require.

I also make sure to stay connected with family members and any specialists involved, to encourage the success of each student, both in and outside of the classroom.

 I have truly appreciated and learned from every child and every family I have worked with; I cannot imagine having any other job.

Part Time Teachers:  Georgina Barnes (Reading Recovery), Katherine Kelly (Leadership Release)

Learning Support Staff

Alavina Pomana

Ngalu Lavemai

Pesio Tevaga

Office Staff

Elaine Colaco

Quins Colaco

I have been working in this school’s office since 1999.

I have been living with my husband and son in Avondale for the past 22 years. My son studied at this school up to year 8.  I love cooking, gardening and being with my family which extends to the Avondale Catholic Parish & School Family.


Monday-Friday 8:40am - 2:45pm


Monday-Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm


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Contact Us

2136 Great North Rd, Avondale 0600

Auckland, New Zealand



(09) 828 5599