Meet the team 2019-02-13T16:35:10+00:00

Meet the Team

Welcome to St Joseph’s, Orakei Catholic School, where our mission is to be a place of learning where everyone grows towards their full potential in a Catholic environment.

I have been an educator for over 25 years, most recently at the brand new Ormiston Primary, in FlatBush. I am delighted to be returning to the Catholic System and am looking forward to the next stage of my journey at St Joseph’s.

For me as the Principal nurturing our families and a building on a sense of community are the priorities, allowing children to feel comfortable and safe at school and to enjoy being part of the St Joseph’s family.

I am committed to consultation and to continuing to build a community that works together in harmony with respect and understanding.

As a staff we are all committed to ensuring our school is a safe place of joy and wonder where all children are afforded opportunities to grow and learn in a holistic manner. We have a curriculum that encourages innovation, and excellence through quality teaching and learning, encompassed in a Catholic education that provides inspiration.

I invite you to come and visit and see what we offer.

Yours in Faith,

Caroline Bush


Sue Bennett

Deputy Principal  |  Classroom Teacher – Room 7, Years 5 and 6

I first came to St Joseph’s as a reliever in 2007. During that year I taught Year 5/6 and occasionally Year 3/4.

In 2008, I returned to St Joseph’s as Deputy Principal and Classroom Teacher of Year 5/6. Prior to moving to St Joseph’s I taught mostly on the North Shore. Since I have been at St Joseph’s I have had the privilege every day of teaching children from different cultural backgrounds, this has enriched me as a teacher.

Nikki Ive

Classroom Teacher - Room 6, Year 4&5

Hi to all the wonderful families of St. Joseph's. I’m Nikki Ive and I come from the relaxed surfing town of Durban, South Africa and feel incredibly blessed to join the incredible St. Joseph’s family! My passions include surfing, the ocean, animals, traveling and of course, teaching. After gaining a wealth of experience from various schools in my hometown, I decided that it was imperative for both my career and personal growth to embark on a journey that would see me developing both of these aspects positively.  I married my passions of teaching and travelling through teaching at an International School in Thailand and subsequently embracing this wonderful opportunity here in New Zealand, where my husband and I now plan to settle; the people and landscapes are far too wonderful to resist (as well as the wine and potato skins!). The exposure to such diverse environments, both inside and outside of the school, is invaluable life experience which will serve to enhance my abilities, allowing me to serve our children in a greater capacity. I cannot wait to meet and get to know you all as I continue to grow in this beautiful community.

Mary Pithey

Classroom Teacher – Year 1&2

My name is Mary Pithey and I am very excited to be joining the wonderful Saint Joseph’s School and community here in Orakei. I have moved up to Auckland from Christchurch with my husband, Richard and son Ryan. We have been here for two years and love the beaches, warm weather and the friendly people in our neighbourhood. 

I have taught in both the junior and senior areas of primary school for nearly twenty years both here and overseas. I have a special interest in how boys and girls  learn differently and believe that "physical literacy" is just as important as reading, writing and mathematics. I also incorporate art and drama in my daily teaching. My other interests are in ICT and I am currently completing a Postgraduate certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning. I am so looking forward to continuing my learning journey at St Joseph’s School and helping the students be the best they can be!

Olivia Walker

Classroom Teacher – Year 2 & 3

After leaving school I initially achieved a bachelor’s degree in Film and Television then in 2018 completed my Masters in Teaching and Learning. Following my bachelor’s, I worked in film and television and the corrections sector for a couple of years, realising firsthand the wider impact of education and significance of becoming a lifelong learner. 

My strengths lie in the arts, literacy and health and well-being. I am passionate about empowering children to explore their interests and find their passions within the classroom, and believe in a learning environment where student voice is heard and effectively utilised. I am looking forward to becoming part of the SJO Community.

Therese Arahill

Classroom Teacher – Year 0 & 1

I grew up in Gisborne, I am from a family of six girls and a boy, between us we have 23 children with the next generation on its way, we are a social bunch, we love to get together and share family stories. My teaching career, which began thirty years ago, has helped me hone my skills as an educator, these skills and the stories shared with family and friends inform the way I teach today. I am proud of my three children, the oldest has finished university, the second is embarking on her next degree and my thirteen year old son, “a modern learner, a digital native" is someone who challenges the system. The change I see in the world they are growing up in and their stories in particular, keep me innovative in my approach to teaching and learning, constantly thinking and re-thinking what and how people learn. To quote the Blessed Cardinal John Newman, who the family claim as our own, To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” I have taught in both state and Catholic schools, I have an interest in Catholic education, the more teaching experience I have, the more potential I see within the treasures the Catholic system can offer. Thousands of years of knowledge and wisdom to draw from. As a primary school teacher I particularly like the one about the Prodigal Son, I try to be more like the loving father in my teaching practice and the one about the Lost Lamb, an inclusive and safe education where learners can look for happiness is for everyone, without exception. I look forward to learning even more about education at St Joseph’s.

Angela Babich

School Secretary

I have been working at St Joseph's for three year's now and I just love the children, the parents and the special community that we have here. It's a lovely school to work at and the Catholic Character that is instilled in our children shows in their kindness, empathy and compassion. Every day here brings something different and the children never cease to amaze me. It is wonderful being part of such a great community.

Lisa Cousins

Teacher Aid / Support Staff

Seti Kigitama

Meet our Board of Trustees