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 the financial and technical support of our principal sponsor Auckland Airport, who have been supporting Life Education since 1988. We are also fortunate to have the assistance of TR GroupOwens TransportRiordan & WestNZ Post Angel Transport 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 vehicle is kindly sponsored by the team at Manukau Toyota Group. 

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 five highly skilled educators and modern learning environment. If you would like to learn more about how you can help Life Education Trust - Counties Manukau please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Our Educators



Natalie Coyle-Smith

Natalie has three lovely boys, two of whom are at High School, and one who is studying in Christchurch. 

She qualified as a Photolithographer before she did her Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching Primary, training in NZ and then travelling overseas. She working in London for a few years, and then returned home to continue working in her trade here. After having children she decided to retrain as a teacher. She worked in the Early Childhood Sector for 15 years and have been working for the Life Education Trust, and with Harold, since 2017. 

"Harold is a joy to work with! He is always the star of the show. It is very rewarding working with someone who has such great values and inspires the children to work towards being the best version of themselves they can be!"

Carleen Craig

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."

Mari Hechter

Mari immigrated to beautiful New Zealand in 2008. With only two suitcases and her hubby by her side, together they took on the new challenge.

Mari has two very adventurous boys and with her family spends weekends often by the beach, outside on their bikes or taking care of their veggie garden.

She started her teaching career in South Africa as a Maths teacher. On moving to NZ she started a job as a Junior school teacher. She loved working with the little ones but after 7 years she wanted a new challenge. She became an RTLB and after 3 years then took on the job of being a full time Mum.

"Even though I don’t have the childhood memories of Harold, I am very excited to be part of this team. I love the excitement on their faces while waiting to enter the classroom. I love the fact that Myself and Harold can make a difference by equipping children with life skills."


Brittney Knight

After completing a bachelor of Education, Brittney was a new entrant teacher for a country school in South Auckland. Her feet became itchy after a few years she decided it was time to do an O.E. The day she returned from America, she saw Life Ed had a teaching role vacant. This was Brittney's dream job growing up and she feels it's even more special to be teaching in the community she grew up in. Last year Brittney and her partner were blessed with the arrival of their son Joey. Juggling work and becoming a mum has been Brittney's favourite challenge.

"I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and eventually transition into helping children with their mental health. This role has the best of both worlds! Visiting and getting to know different schools add an exciting factor to the role. Harold is the best work colleague too!"

Contact details

Chief Executive: Linda Thompson, 021 919 182, 
Facebook Page:
Postal address:  PO Box 276147, Manukau City, Auckland 2241 

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