Room 5, Year 2


Teacher – Jill Holmstead

I love teaching at Houghton Valley School in Harakeke with Year 2 students and co-teacher Mary Smith. I also teach Reading Recovery to a few students daily, to give them a boost in reading and writing. I started teaching in Year 0/1- Pohutukawa in 2010. As HVS is an Enviroschool, I lead the Enviro-Leaders group ‘Green Geckos’ and can be found planting or picking up rubbish around the school with our ‘Kaitiaki Green Mean Team’ and Dave MacArthur our Caretaker.

I have been teaching most recently in Wellington, and previously in London and Auckland. I love learning and find time to either study or explore the wider world for new ideas, experiences and to meet new people. I enjoy creating through sewing, knitting, music and dance. I relax by going to art galleries and in natural world especially by camping, walking and skiing. My family shares similar interests and I have been lucky enough to travel in many interesting countries.

I enjoy learning alongside the students who ask so many interesting questions and are eager to find out more…we want to explore everything. My students are always so keen to come up with new ideas and have the confidence to follow their own inquiries.

Please feel free to come and see the students learning displays and I’m happy to discuss your child’s interests or concerns before or after school. I can arrange times to meet via email and the children are sending interesting news items via email or using a USB to show the class. Ngā mihi nui!

Mary Smith


I have taught in many schools in the eastern suburbs of Wellington in a variety of roles. I am Reading Recovery trained.  I enjoy sharing Harakeke with Jill and teaching literacy is my passion. The progress children make in their first two years at school is truly amazing. HVS is a great school to teach in with its special environment. Hard to believe it was once a landfill that I used to visit many decades ago!

I am married with 3 adult children, and 1 grandchild. At present we all live and work in Wellington. My husband and I love living in the eastern suburbs, and enjoy the changes that have taken place over the last couple of decades, making it a vibrant and popular part of Wellington.

My other passion is travel. We have been to Europe quite a few times over the past ten years while children were living in London. More recently we have had several holidays in Hawaii to support our daughter Natalie at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Natalie recently won her age group in Taupo which means another trip to Kona is a possibility.

As a teacher, I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues to deliver the best possible programme to the children. At year 2 the children make rapid progress and it is always exciting to watch them develop.