Counties Manukau


Life Education Trust Counties Manukau was formed in late 2012 as a result of a collaboration between three existing Life Education Trusts. The area covers a large portion of Greater Auckland and is home to over half a million people. Our approximate boundaries are from Mt Roskill and Panmure right down to Pukekohe and Waiuku in the South and coast to coast. We cover eight local board boundaries.

A young, highly diverse and rapidly growing population live in the Counties Manukau area. Sadly, some of New Zealand’s worst health and housing statistics are found here. With over 14% of New Zealand’s children living in this area there is a high demand for the Life Education programme.

We are very grateful for support of TR GroupOwens TransportRiordan & West, Gleeson & Cox and William Gill who all donate their services moving our mobile classrooms from school to school. Our offices are based at the fantastic Vector Wero Whitewater Park which is managed by Second Nature Trust and funded by The Joyce Fisher Trust.

Our Electrical compliance and safety are taken care of by DGE.

Our Classrooms are cleaned each school holiday by the team of A-Jet Services

As a charity the Trust is dependent on donations and grants to continue to deliver our service to our community through our highly skilled educators and unique learning environment.


Our Team


Carleen Craig - Educator

Originally from Christchurch, Carleen has been living and teaching in Auckland since 2004. She taught for 13 years in South Auckland before making the move to Life Education. When not teaching, she can be found working on stage or behind the scenes in community theatre or helping with events at Eden Park. If she's at neither of these places, you’ll probably find her at the gym. 

"I love having the opportunity to visit heaps of schools and see the faces of pure joy when they children see Harold. It’s mind-blowing to think of the impact I’m having on so many children’s lives with the variety of topics schools ask us to help address on our visits."

Daniel Garland - Educator

Kia ora, I'm Daniel. Ko Duke of Portland te waka, ko Aoraki te maunga, ko Waitaki te awa. Ko Waihaorunga taku rohe. Ko Tāmaki Makaurau taku taone e noho nei ahau. Ko Ngati Pakeha taku iwi. E ki ko Garland taku whānau. Ko Daniel taku ingoa. I have been a primary school teacher in Manurewa for the past four years. What I enjoyed most is seeing children's eyes light up when coming out of their comfort zone, being confident in who they are and really succeeding in their un-tapped talents. Before teaching I studied drama, music, live sound and events. And worked as a lighting technician. I have a passion for health and education, but on the side, I also enjoy doing the odd pull-up or two on the monkey bars or at the gym.

Lesley Payne - Educator

Kia Ora. My name is Lesley Payne, and my turangawaewae is New Plymouth - Ngamotu. After many transfers with Westpac Bank, I found myself in Auckland - my Mum's hometown. At that time I realised I needed a change in career, enrolling at Auckland College of Education as a teacher. 

Over the many years in the classroom as a Kaiako and school sports co-ordinator, I have had many happy opportunities to see my Akonga with Life Educators like Pip (ex. Auckland Central Trust ) and Ingrid (Nelson Tasman Trust). The kids were always engaged and excited by the ideas and concepts being visually and interactively shared with them. And now I'm the educator in the mobile classroom working with Harold. It's exciting and I'm loving it.

Holly Austin - Educator

Kia ora, I'm Holly! I am a hugely passionate teacher with over ten years experience teaching across various schools in Auckland. I thrive on challenges, obtaining knowledge to enhance my personal growth. As an educator, I firmly believe in providing every child with equal access to experiences that equips them to navigate life's challenges with confidence and resilience. This is why being a Life Ed Educator is so special to me because it offers just that.

In my spare time, you'll find me working on my online businesses and spending quality time with my whānau.  

Kelvin Ricketts - Fundraiser

I’m Kelvin, born in the UK I emigrated to New Zealand in 1989 with my Kiwi wife Mav and our seventeen-month-old son. Within two months of arriving in Auckland our second son was born. Now, thirty-five years on my wife and I are 'born again' parents raising our eight-year old granddaughter.

My involvement with Life Education goes back thirty years, which was when I first met Trevor Grice the founder of Life Education NZ. From that first meeting with Trevor I knew that in one form or another I would have an ongoing involvement with Life Education.

Once a sponsor of Life Education I now seek sponsors and endeavour to raise the money needed to keep the Healthy Harold programme active in Counties Manukau. I have never enjoyed a role as much as I am enjoying being part of the Life Education family.

My personal interests are family and friends, Rotary (I have been a Rotarian since 1991), cooking, cricket and rugby league.  

Robyn King - Operations Manager

Robyn has recently joined the Counties Manukau Trust, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience from her work over the last 15 years supporting a number of our regional Trusts in financial, fundraising and management roles. 

Robyn originally trained as a paediatric nurse, with a special interest in caring for kids who were not thriving due to neglect or extremely difficult family situations.

As a past foster caregiver for over 10 years, Robyn is passionate about making a difference to our tamariki, by empowering them to reach their full potential. She loves that she can do this behind the scenes, working with our Trust Board and staff to support our Counties Manukau Educators at the coal face, as they deliver our Healthy Harold programme in schools.

Contact details

Fundraiser: Kelvin Ricketts, 021 612 984, [email protected] 
Operations Manager: Robyn King, 027 286 9994, [email protected]
Facebook Page:
Postal address:  PO Box 276147, Manukau City, Auckland 2241 

Proudly supported by

Thank you to our wonderful Auckland Council Local Boards that support us each year: