Celeste Hastings - Principal

Tēnā koutou katoa. I feel truly blessed to be part of such a wonderfully diverse community. I love the work I do, the people I meet and the students who bring us joy each and every day. How lucky is that?  

We have an incredible team here at Holy Cross: staff, students, board, whānau, parish and the wider community. I believe we can make a positive difference for every learner in our school, and I strive to make this a reality.

I consider myself to be a big picture thinker, committed and open to ongoing learning and opportunities. I love to talk with people, hear of new ideas and facilitate change that will help us to move forward.

I am a Wellingtonian born and bred. I love our city and all it has to offer. My passions include: reading, music, outdoor sports, travel and spending time with family and friends.

Classroom Teachers

Virginia Blewman - Room 7 - Year 2/3 Teacher

Hello there. Our family has a long association with Holy Cross School. There has been a Blewman family member (including myself) here at the school, every year since 1959. My three sons were here from 1990 until 2004. I have been employed at Holy Cross since 1995, starting as the school librarian, then as a teacher aide, school secretary and finally a teacher! I love the children at Holy Cross and enjoy getting to know them, and especially like break times when I get a chance to talk with the older children.

Tim Carson -  Assistant Principal/Senior Syndicate Leader - Room 3 - Year 5/6 Teacher

Kia ora koutou. Ko Tim Carson taku ingoa. No Maniototo ahau. I was very excited to have made the decision to move to Wellington in 2017 and become part of the Holy Cross community. I have worked in a variety of schools in the UK and NZ and I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the classroom. I am passionate about music education and am always looking for opportunities to enhance students’ learning using digital technologies. I enjoy fish and chips on Fridays and roast on Sundays.

Ashleigh Walsh - Room 5 - Year 4/5 Teacher

Kia ora. My name is Ashleigh Jackson and I am very excited to be teaching in Room 5. I am originally from Taranaki but moved to Wellington in 2017. My background is in Nutrition and Exercise so I am really excited to be working at Holy Cross to be able to promote Healthy Living through the Garden to Table and Bikes in Schools programmes.

Michaela Jensen - Room 6 - Year 3/4 Teacher

Kia ora my name is Michaela Jensen and I am very excited to be teaching in Room 6. I am a born and bred Wellingtonian and am an old student of Holy Cross so am thrilled to be coming back to the Holy Cross Community. I look forward to seeing old and familiar faces so if you are around school, feel free to come and say 'Hi'!

Tala Moemai - Sports Coordinator / Numeracy Leader - Room 1 

Year 7/8 Teacher

Tälofa lava and Kia ora, My name is Tala Moemai and I am excited to join the teaching staff at Holy Cross this year. As a previous student of the school, it is nice to come home and make a difference in the community I grew up in. I enjoy a range of activities like performing arts, sports, reading and learning new things. I am an advocate of keeping the mind and body active. As a kaiako (teacher) I feel it is important for tauira (students) to engage in a diverse range of experiences and I hope to offer this to our tamariki (children). I look forward to engaging with families and students whilst leaving my mark at this awesome school. 

Brenda O'Hare - Reading Recovery / ESOL -  Room 11 NE / Year 1 Teacher

Hello, I am proud to have had a long association with Holy Cross School as my three sons (who are now adults), completed their primary schooling here. I work in the classroom and also as a Reading Recovery teacher. I find it very rewarding to work alongside a child in their learning journey and see it come to fruition, especially when they are learning to read. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, seeing great movies, travelling, walking and exercising at the gym.

Nik Solia - DRS - Room 2 Year 6/7 Teacher

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

Talofa lava. My name is Nikolai Solia (aka Mr Sa). I have been teaching for over 14 years now and still enjoy what I do! I have particular interest in sport, music and learning. Currently, one of the key roles I hold at Holy Cross School is the Director of Religious Studies but I also work collaboratively supporting school development in other areas including: Sport, Numeracy and the Arts - especially the development of our Holy Cross cultural group.


Susie Sumner - Deputy Principal  / SENCO Room 8  Year 1 Teacher

Kia ora koutou katoa! I migrated from the UK to New Zealand with my family in 2010 and have been part of the Holy Cross since 2011. I have the best job in the world welcoming the new students and their families into our community. I am passionate about learning and igniting the love of learning at Holy Cross School.  Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family exploring the Wellington's biking and running trails.

Lucy Wooles - Literacy Leader / Reading Recovery - Room 11 / NE / Year 1 Teacher

My name is Lucy ("Miss Lucy Wooles" to some) and I teach in Room 7 with Brenda O'Hare. We have a composite Year 2/3 class. I really enjoy working with juniors; they are all so full of energy and eager to learn new skills and information. Our classroom is an exciting place to be! This year I am doing lots of new learning myself, as I am training to be a reading recovery teacher. I look forward to sharing my learning with students, staff and whanau.

Release Teachers

Robyn Duignan - CRT Release Teacher

Hi there - my association with Holy Cross starts way back in 1962 as a 6 year old when I was a student here right through to intermediate. The changes I have witnessed since then have been immense but the character and the ethos of the school has remained the same. My strong links have continued through my teaching here both as a classroom teacher and deputy principal. After a short break I have once again returned to the fold of this wonderful community. I am now a relieving teacher, working with the children across the school. I love the cultural diversity, the inclusive nature and the christian values within both staff and students which reflect the Catholic faith which I truly value.

Amanda Hood - Release Teacher for Room 5 

I love working at Holy Cross and enjoy the wonderful diversity in the Holy Cross community. I live on the peninsula and feel privileged to be able to teach in my local community. I have two children and enjoy spending time with my family and going on mini-adventures.

Eleanor Stefandis - Release Teacher for Room 6 & 8

I am born and bred in Wellington -  love Italy and speak a little bit of Italian. My passion is the sea, the marine environment and sailing. I have been a release teacher at Holy Cross for years (since Virginia was a first year teacher!) and have taught in most areas of the school. I love the community and the fact that I get to teach the kids as they progress through the school. I have known Celeste since I was a trainee teacher working in her classroom.

Julianne Stroombergen - Room 11 -  NE Teacher (Term 3)

Greetings. I first joined the Holy Cross School community as a parent in 1989 when my eldest child started school. I joined the teaching staff in 1995. Although I have had periods of time away for study, I keep returning as I really enjoy working with the children, their families and fellow staff members and I am looking forward to joining Room 12 in term 3. In my leisure I enjoy walking, spending time with my family and travelling.

Patsy Wooles - Release Teacher for Room 7

Kia ora and Talofa lava. I am very pleased to be doing a job share with Virginia Blewman on Fridays. I have had a long association with Holy Cross and I love the spirit of the school and openness of the kids. It is great to have three generations of the Wooles at this school - myself, Ms Lucy Wooles and Billie-Rose.

Support Staff

Maria Anstiss - Support Teacher

I work at Holy Cross as a specialist outreach teacher. I work with teachers, families and teacher aides to support the inclusion of children needing learning support. I enjoy the warm and welcoming culture at Holy Cross and have made some good friends here. I am studying through Massey at the moment and really enjoying it. When I'm not working or studying I love to run in the bush and hills with friends. I run at night with a headlight during winter too. I have two daughters with one who is still at home.

Olivia Boyd - Garden Co-ordinator for Garden to Table


Tēnā koutou, I have been running the kitchen as part of the Garden to Table programme since mid 2017 and have recently transferred to the role as Garden Coordinator. I also support the GTT programme at other Wellington schools. The community at Holy Cross is generous and positive and I really enjoy being a part of it. My husband and I have three active daughters and together we enjoy sport, walking with our dogs, biking and gardening.

Kate Caseley - Teacher Aide

Kia ora koutou. I joined the wonderful staffing team last year but my whanau have been apart of the Holy Cross School community since our eldest son started school here in 2013. We now have two, soon to be three tamariki attending Holy Cross. In my spare time I love exploring different bush walks with my whanau and kuri(dog). I feel extremely lucky to be working in a school that is so passionate about learning and always encouraging our tamariki to be the best version of themselves. 

Suzanne Dawe - Finance Officer

Hello, I work in the school office on Tuesdays and Fridays taking care of the school finances I love what I do and always come to school with a skip in my step. I love the rich cultural diversity of the school community and the variety in my role here in the office.

My interactions with the wonderful families, students and staff make my job a very rewarding one. 

Karin Graham - Teacher Aide

Kia ora I am Karin Graham and some of you may recognise me from around Miramar. I have been associated with Holy Cross since 2003 as an active parent and hung around a lot longer and they finally employed me. I am a born and bred Wellingtonian. I have three beautiful children and wonderful husband John (who also happens to be the plumber here) who have instilled in me the importance and the passion for education. I love working with the children here and the staff are fantastic.

Vicky Holben - Teacher Aide

Kia ora. I am Vicky Holben and I enjoy being a part of the Holy Cross community. I am passionate about supporting children with special needs. I am really excited when I can make connections with children through singing and playing the ukulele. 

Kathleen O'Connor - English Language Assistant

I have been at Holy Cross for several years in the role of English Language Assistant. I feel extremely lucky to be part of school that is so passionate about children's learning.  I can remember the warmth and respect of the school when I came for my interview.  I am proud to be part of the Holy Cross school team. 

Malisha Patel - Teacher Aide

Hello, my name is Malisha and I have recently joined the amazing team at Holy Cross.  My family and I immigrated from the UK 23 years ago and we became part of the Holy Cross community when my siblings went to school here.  I love learning more about the students that I work with and discovering how to help them along their individual learning journeys. Outside of school, I love reading, travelling, and spending time with my family and friends.  I look forward to getting to know you all.

Kirsten Puddick - Librarian

I have been at Holy Cross for over 3 years and love my job as school librarian here because of the wonderful children and school community.  I worked for many years as a picture editor before becoming a teacher in the UK.  My husband and I moved here ten years ago and we now have two kiwi children.  As well as reading I enjoy surfing and walking.

Jimmy Stokes - Caretaker

Hi. I have been at Holy Cross for 3 years  and feel like I am part of the furniture (mainly because I have fixed most of it). I support Manchester United and am a life member of the Seatoun AFC. I have been in New Zealand for 40 years in various jobs and have ended as caretaker at Holy Cross which is a wonderful job because of all the beautiful people here.

Ala Tuiloma - Cleaner

Ala (centre of picture) is our much loved school cleaner. She is very much in our thoughts and prayers and we look forward to her rejoining us soon!

Ameera Yokhanna - Bilingual Tutor

مرحبا، انا اسمي اميرة يوخنا، انا اشورية من العراق. اقيم في نيوزيلندا منذ ستة سنوات و اعمل في مدرسة هولي كروس منذ اربع سنوات كمساعد معلم. يسرني ان اكون كادر من كوادر هذه المدرسة او بالاحرى جزء من هذه العائلة الكبيرة التي فتحت لي بابها و ضمتني بين ذراعيها و اشعرتني باني فرد منها.

  احب مدينة ولنكتون كما احب مدينتي نوهدرا. ساحل سيتون هو ملاذي عندما يتوق بي الحنين الى اهلي، تلك الافق الواسع الذي تأخذني الى عالم اخر اجد فيه ذكرياتي الجميلة و التي تمنحني الهدوء و الراحة النفسية رغم عنفوان  البحر حين يثور.

Hi - My name is Ameera Yokhanna. I am Assyrian from Iraq, I have been in New Zealand for six years and I have worked at Holy Cross School for the last four years as a Teacher Aide. I am glad to be a member of this school, in fact part of this big family, which opened its door and held me between its arms, making me feel as a part of school staff. 

I like Wellington as with my city Nohadra. Seatoun Beach is my sanctuary when I am always eager to be with my family, with the wide horizon that takes me to another world where I find beautiful memories which give me the peace and comfort even when the sea is rough.

Aleece Hunter - Kitchen Co-ordinator for Garden to Table


Leanne Chote - Office Manager