Waikato East

Waikato East classroom

The focus of our Trust "No child left behind"


Life Education Trust in Waikato East was started when the founder Trevor Grice approached Garry Willacy, the then principal of Thames High School in 1996. Together they established a trust that has never looked back. After a lot of fund raising the trust was officially set up in January 1999 and our educator and the mobile classroom held the first session in the area at Ngatea Primary School in February 2000. The trust has built on strong local connections and we are lucky to still have two of the founding trustees with us.

Our region

We cover 70 schools in a challenging area, from the top of the rugged Coromandel Peninsula at Colville School to just south of Matamata. From the East, the Waihi beaches at the end of the Western Bay of Plenty across the Coromandel Range, Hauraki Plains to Motumaoho, Thames Valley and up the Seabird Coast to Mangatawhiri in the West. The council areas of Thames coromandel, Hauraki district , Matamata Piako District and part of Waikato District Council areas

Our team

Mike Budd

Our Star – Mike Budd –Educator               

Mike Budd joined Waikato East Trust in March 2016. He began his teaching career after graduating from the University of Waikato in the early 90’s, (shall we just say last century!).

After many years teaching, and swearing that I would never move into a management position, he found himself in the position of senior teacher at Te Kuiti Primary.  Mike then won a position as a Resource Teacher for Learning and Behaviour during which time he completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Resource Teaching.  This lead to his first principals position at Eureka.

A change of course resulted in him being appointed as Assistant Principal of Pekerau School in Te Awamutu.  After several wonderful years here, Mike once again became a principal, this time at Hora Hora School just south of Cambridge. After spending eight fantastic years there he changed course again and became an Educator for the Waikato East Life Education Trust.

"Outside of teaching, my interests include rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, fishing and home renovation.”

Mike loves his role at Waikato East Life Education and it shows in his classroom work and the feedback from both pupils and teachers. This has resulted in Mike assisting in training new starting educators for National Office.

 “The beauty of this job is that you actually get to teach!!!  No politics, staff meetings, parent interviews etc.  I get to see the wonder as students learn at an accelerated pace in a unique environment.  I get to have fun!  I also have the pleasure of answering to the name Harold!”


Keith Trembath

Keith Trembath - Chairman, Life Member Life Education

Keith joined the Trust in 2007 and was made a Life Member in 2019. He has lived all his life in the Hauraki area and been actively involved in his community for many years, including as a Councillor, Federated Farmers representative and Deacon.

Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith - Deputy Chair

Bruce has been involved with the Trust for 15 years and was awarded a Life Education Community Service Award in 2018. He  organises the substantial ongoing classroom maintenance and has driven major fund raising activities.

To Bruce, Life Education means:

“No child would be left behind and always be given the opportunity to attend the classroom."

Corinna Fairburn

Corinna Fairburn - Secretary

Frances Nicol Frances Nicol - Trustee
Chelsie Davy Chelsie Davy - Trustee
Tracey Adams Tracey Adams - Trustee
Graham Vincent Graham Vincent - Trustee
Gina Morrison Gina Morrison - Trustee


These are the key local supporters of Harold and Life Education that enable us work with our local schools:


Fonterra Service                               
Kerepehi Transport Limited (KTL)     
Murphy Buses                                   
Ngatea Panelbeaters                         
Valley Toyota                                  
Carley’s Transport – Te Kauwhata  
Carters Contractors – Waihi             


Thames Coromandel District Council
Hauraki District Council
Matamata Piako District Council
First Sovereign Trust
Morrinsville Lions
Paeroa Rotary
Valder Trust

Major Business Sponsors

Coombes and Associates
More FM
Richardson Real Estate
Stuff NZ Ltd – Hauraki Herald, Piako Post, Matamata Chronicle

Contact details

Chairperson: Keith Trembath, 07 862 6833, [email protected]

Educator: Mike Budd Phone: 027 438 8132, [email protected]

Postal address: Life Education Trust Waikato East, P O Box 144, Waihi 3641