Hannah Pia Baral

Hannah was born in the Philippines and immigrated to New Zealand with her family in the late 80’s. Since earning a BA in English and Politics and an MA in Politics from the University of Auckland, her career path has seen her take on a variety of leadership roles in the health and education sectors in both New Zealand and Australia. During her 14 years in Australia she also earned her MBA from the University of Newcastle, and held volunteer roles with a number LGBTIQA+ organisations, including a board position and expert advisory roles. 

Hannah has a wealth of adult education sector experience. Along with past roles with ACE Aotearoa, she has completed ASPBAE's Basic Leadership Development Course (BLDC) and maintained connections with ASPBAE for over a decade. 

Hannah has gained recognition for her exceptional skills in transforming and modernising organisations, spearheading strategic change, successfully collaborating with government agencies and funders, and growing strong workplace cultures. It is with great excitement that she returns to New Zealand and ACE Aotearoa, to continue supporting a sector she is very passionate about. 


Tai Samaeli

ACE Sector Capability Manager
Tai Samaeli is a highly recognised figure within the Adult and Community Education (ACE) sector. He has been an integral part of the ACE Aotearoa team for over a decade, and his extensive experience in education spans more than 20 years across various levels, including early childhood, primary, and tertiary education.

With a demonstrated track record in both governance and operational positions, Tai has also proven himself as an effective trainer within the ACE sector. He possesses the ability to inspire and motivate others, making a significant impact on the learning and development of his learners.

Beyond his work in education, Tai has a keen interest in the performing arts, social media, and communications. His passion for these areas has enabled him to bring a unique perspective and creative flair to his work within the ACE sector.


Vivienne Reti

Office Manager / Ngātiwai
Vivienne comes from the small Northland town of Whangaruru and has worked in administration for eight years mostly in Auckland. She has also worked in sales and hospitality. Her first involvement with the ACE sector was in 2015 when she supported the team at the Hui Fono. She now runs the busy ACE Aotearoa office and supports the wide range of events that make up the ACE calendar. This year Viv is continuing to learn te reo.


Adele and Kenzo

Kenzo has more than 10 years experience in business, financial support and accounting. She has a Business degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Previous roles have been with Quotable Value, Vehicle Testing New Zealand, Public Trust and other private companies. Kenzo joined ACE Aotearoa in late 2019 and is working with Adele in the finance team.

Adele has worked in banking, the public service, large multinationals, and medium and small New Zealand companies. Over the last 10 years she has specialized in accounting and auditing for small not for profit organisations. Adele has a NZCC (Public Administration) and is a qualified accountant. Both of these qualifications were earned whilst working full time and have given her a strong belief in practical, post-school, lifelong learning. In order to maintain her professional status, Adele is continuing her learning journey.


Mary Gavigan

Communications Advisor, Conference and Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga Project Manager
Mary has over twenty years experience in secondary education, in roles which include Assistant Principal, HOD English, full time Teacher Librarian and classroom teacher. She also has an extensive background in print production, media, communications and event management in the arts, education and the community and voluntary sector. She has recently completed a Masters in Literacy Education and works part time at Marsden Collegiate running the Arrowsmith Programme for students with learning difficulties. This year Mary is learning about composting and increasing her guitar repertoire.


Jennifer Leahy

ACE Teaching Standards Advisor
Jennifer is a dedicated educator with expertise in delivering educational workshops to enhance learning experiences. She also is the Sector Services Manager Southern for Ako Aotearoa. Jennifer is passionate about lifelong learning and loves to connect with various tertiary providers and educators in her role. Jennifer's experience extends across the tertiary sector, the prison system, corporate training, and community groups such as Pillars. Alongside her experience, Jennifer has achieved two master’s degrees in adult education and learning. A personal highlight for Jennifer was to be awarded the ACE Aotearoa Educator of the Year Tangata Tiriti award in 2020.
Jennifer has a strong commitment to community involvement having actively participated on the ACE Aotearoa Board, the Festival of Adult Learning committee as well as Christchurch Women’s Centre, Books in Prison Trust, and Literacy Christchurch. Currently, she is on the Canterbury Workers Education Association Council, Community Research Board, Graduate Women Canterbury Board, and the Celia Lashlie Trust.
Jennifer loves learning and values the opportunities that ACE Aotearoa and Ako Aotearoa have provided for her to learn Te Reo Māori me ōna tīkanga.


Analiese Robertson

Executive Officer Business Development (AA Focus Ltd)
Analiese Robertson has been seconded to the position of Executive Officer Business Development with ACE Aotearoa Focus Ltd (AA Focus), the organisation’s subsidiary company. Analiese has held the positions of Professional Development and Networks Manager, and Director for ACE Aotearoa for 13 years following two years as a co Chair to the Board. She is a current Director for AA Focus Ltd. She comes with considerable governance and strategic leadership, stakeholder engagement and reputation, with attested business acquisition record of securing long serving external contracts and grants.