2024 WRPPA Conference

Welcome to the WRPPA & Furnware Conference 2024

Thursday 4th and Friday 5th April 2024

Tākina Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wellington

Join us in defying gravity at our 2024 conference, where we explore the metaphorical challenges educators face and the unwavering hope, courage, and optimism that can lift us above them. 

The WRPPA Conference Committee is honoured to have the opportunity to host you, and we are committed to making the 2024 conference an unforgettable experience. 

The WRPPA 2024 Conference is proudly sponsored by our Platinum Business Partner: 

Te Radar

We are thrilled to announce Te Radar as the Master of Ceremonies for our 2024 Conference. His charming and captivating presence will undoubtedly elevate the quality of our event. 

Te Radar, is a multi-talented New Zealand comedian, television personality, writer, and documentary maker. With his unique blend of humor, wit, and insightful storytelling, Te Radar has become a beloved figure in New Zealand's entertainment industry. 

Our 2024 Keynote Speakers:

We have assembled an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, with the goal of inspiring you to leave with renewed hope, courage, and optimism, ready to return to your school with a fresh perspective.

Hamish Brewer

Hamish Brewer is not your typical principal. With his distinctive blend of tattoos, a passion for skateboarding, and an unrelenting commitment to educational excellence, he has redefined the role of a school leader. Through his unconventional approach to education, Hamish has become a source of inspiration for students, teachers, and educational leaders worldwide.

Hamish Brewer is a school turnaround expert who has turned around multiple schools – both at the elementary and secondary levels, working with some of the most at-risk students in America.  Sometimes you have to hear things you don’t want to hear to move forward, be better and get results.  Hamish will take you on a hard-hitting journey that will challenge you to rethink your practices, disrupt the norm, and change the game.

Michelle Dickinson

Michelle Dickinson, affectionately known as "Nano Girl," is a trailblazing scientist, engineer, communicator, and advocate for science education. Her remarkable journey from the world of nanotechnology to becoming a prominent science communicator and educator has made her a household name in New Zealand and beyond. Through her dynamic presentations and tireless efforts to make science accessible to all, Nano Girl has left an indelible mark on the world of STEM education.

Michelle is a shining example of how passion, innovation, and dedication can transform the world of education and science communication. Her ability to make complex scientific concepts accessible and exciting has inspired countless individuals to explore the wonders of STEM. She has paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse future in science and technology, leaving a lasting legacy of curiosity and inspiration.

Vitale Lafaele

With an impressive career spanning seven years in the SAS and later transitioning to a distinguished three-decade-long service in the police force, Vitale's journey is a remarkable one. Throughout his career, he rose through the ranks, holding pivotal positions such as the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) Commander, Special Tactics Group (STG) Tactical Commander, and Area Commander for Counties Manukau. Under his leadership, tactical units played crucial roles in responding to some of the nation's most significant events, including the Napier siege, the Urewera anti-terrorist raids, and the New Lynn hostage rescue.

Vitale's story is not only fascinating but also powerful and impactful. His story so compelling that he was invited to deliver a TEDx talk in 2021. Vitale's speaking topics encompass a wide range of subjects, including high-performance teams, leadership, motivation, resilience, wellbeing, and values.

Iain Saunders

Iain possesses extensive experience in guiding individuals and teams to reach their full potential across various high-performance settings. His expertise extends to collaborating with some of New Zealand's most successful sports teams, including the Auckland Rugby team, the Blues, and the Pulse Netball franchise. Within these partnerships, Iain has played a crucial role in crafting and implementing effective performance strategies, addressing mental barriers, and facilitating goal achievement.

Beyond his contributions to sports, Iain has served with the New Zealand Police as a member of the Armed Offenders Squad and as a psychological assessor for high-performance tactical police members. His profound understanding of the psychological demands in high-pressure situations has empowered numerous individuals to excel in such challenging contexts.

Arnika Macphail

Arnika Macphail will share her educational journey from a budding Primary School student to a completely disengaged Secondary student. This educational experience is what drives her passion for the vision of her and her husband's business impactED.

Arnika has always challenged the status quo, whether it has been good for her hauora or not, in the past few years she has learned how to drop the things that just don't matter. As with all experiences with Arnika, there will be some good laughs along the way.

Dr John Young

From 1993 to 2010, John Young served as the head administrator for Catholic schools in Wellington. In 2010, he transitioned to the field of international education, taking up a position in Libya. However, during the 2011 Libyan Revolution, amidst escalating armed conflict, the school staff had to be evacuated from the country. Following brief stays in Egypt and Dubai, John relocated to Australia, where he spent the next decade as the principal of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Thamurrurr Catholic College in the remote and deeply troubled community of Wadeye in the Northern Territory. 

After departing from Wadeye, John took on a national government contract in Australia, overseeing the implementation of structured English literacy programs in 42 schools with predominantly First Nations student populations. Dr. Young’s upcoming presentation will center on his experiences in school leadership during crises and his adept handling of emergency situations. Additionally, he will delve into the unique challenges faced by schools situated within socially disadvantaged communities. 

Our 2024 Inspirational Speakers:

Andrew Barker

Andrew Barker is a primary school principal with 15 years of experience in three Christchurch schools. In 2011 he led Lyttelton West School through the devastating earthquakes and is currently principal at Waitākiri Primary School. He has been a Kāhui Ako lead principal for 4 years. Throughout his time as a leader hope, courage and optimism have been necessary and intentional. He was born and raised in Southland and has a passion for the outdoors. 

Rose Kirkup

Rose is the artistic director of Everybody Cool Lives Here, a performing arts company, based in Aotearoa that brings the marginalised to the middle.  Rose will talk about inclusion and supporting young people's creative growth through theatre. 

Rose is passionate about shaping stories into challenging yet accessible shows for all. Trained as a performance designer, Rose has had many roles in theatre (directing, Stage management (World of Wearable Art), and as a Designer) and has collaborated with companies such as Capital E: N, Barbarian Productions and Taki Rua.



Aroha Tamihana

Aroha Tamihana is the founder and owner of Maimoa Creative, a brand based in Tauranga that is passionate about promoting the Māori language and culture through unique designs, products and resources. Her company aims to help normalise the use of te reo Māori in everyday life, empower tangata whenua to be proud of their māoritanga, and support learners on their journey. She has a background in graphic design and is passionate about using her skills to elevate kaupapa Māori. 


Conference Organiser:

Virtual Assistants
Ph: 021 066 4897