Spotlight on Staff – Rowena Rooney


Ni sa bula vinaka to all parents and caregivers!

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.

My name is Rowena Rooney and I am the Visual Art Specialist at Matipo Primary School. You can find me at school on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the pottery room and sometimes I may be asked to do relieving in the classroom.

A bit about me…

I was born and bred in Te Atatu.  My husband who is also local was a foundation pupil of Matipo Primary School, I attended Matipo as a child, as did my children and now I have two grandchildren attending.

My family originates from “the hidden paradise”, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji hence my love for the ocean and being in the water.

I am a current practicing artist.

Last year I exhibited as a Fijian artist at the Auckland Museum celebrating the artefacts of Fiji and I have art works in galleries around NZ.

This year I am gearing up for three exhibitions within Auckland.

I have been running after school art classes for children and adults in Te Atatu Peninsula called Blue Turtle Design for the last 11 years and have two classes  running at the moment, one at Matipo and one at Te Atatu Intermediate.

I was a Visual Art lecturer at Auckland Teachers College and have taught in all of our Te Atatu Peninsula Primary Schools as well as all areas of Auckland as a Visual Art Specialist. I taught at Matipo during the years 1996 until 2000.

My last full time position held was at Te Atatu Intermediate School where I was their art specialist from 2006 – 2016. I still work there on a Tuesday as an art specialist.

My responsibilities at Matipo involve creating an exciting, fun, learning art programme that specialises mainly in the media of clay/ceramics, mosaics and glass.  I also teach painting in the enrichment programme teaching students the process from sketching to a finished piece of art work.

I work with small groups of children to explore, experience, appreciate

and create art work through using a range of media.

I absolutely love working with all students across the school and always look forward to seeing their creations.

Vinaka vaka levu

Rowena Rooney

Visual Art Specialist

Matipo Primary School

Spotlight on Staff – Sarah-lee Oto

Malo e lelei fâmili

I am privileged to have worked at Matipo for over 10 years. This has meant I have watched students join us at the age of 5 and then move on to Intermediate to their next journey of schooling. I get to see our kids out in the community, especially on the sports field and netball courts and cheer them on.

I have a wonderful partner Lani who has been part of my crazy life for over 22 years! He is a foreman for a Spray painting company in Kumeu. Together we have 2 gorgeous children, Kaiya who is 13 who attends Te Atatu Intermediate and Cruz who is 10 and is with us at Matipo. We are an active family who are always on the move. We love to keep fit, go camping and exploring the outdoors.

My fâmili live in Tonga, so when we get the change we love to go and visit. The island life brings a refreshing break to the hustle and bustle of Auckland. Here we are all in our element – basking in the sun, exploring hidden caves and beaches and just ‘chillaxing’.

Teaching provides a platform to turn every child into a Champion and to explore their curiosities. I can’t wait to be a part of this for you and your child!