Te Kauwhata Staff

Linda and Evan Ward (Director)

Linda is the owner and manager of the Reach Forward Early Learning Centres. Right from the very start she knew she would be involved in teaching – as a young girl she would line her dolls up and proceed to show them all how to read and write. From these humble beginnings she has soared in her career.

For the first 11 years of her work life she taught primary aged school children both here, in New Zealand and overseas. And then before moving on to owning and operating her own businesses she spent a further 11 years working in a church developing their children’s enterprises. Previous experience in opening six children’s facilities led to this stage of her career. But owning and operating Childcare Centres is not all Linda loves to do. She has a passion for training teachers to be effective and gifted professionals. She has published several professional education articles. Her collection of books continues to grow as she buys more and more to assist those under her care.

Travel features high on her goals in life. She has already travelled to over 39 countries – Europe, Africa, America and Asia but she still longs to see more.

Her husband, Evan, spent his teenage years (from 10 to 20) in the middle of the Borneo jungle whilst his parents shared Jesus with the local Dyak people. Evan speaks fluent Indonesian, Dyak and English. Both Evan and Linda support many mission ventures. Having spent many years in the jungle Evan is a practical man – the centres property manager. Spending his young formative years working with people who had very little in the way of material possessions has influenced Evan’s thoughts and actions; he is constantly grateful for the life he has, here in New Zealand. His days are filled with maintenance work, building, carpentry and technology; making him a valuable member of our team.

Both love belonging to a local church. They relax by cooking up a storm and having theme dinner parties with family and friends.

Linda leads by example, works with all her might and has the vision and capacity to grow Reach Forward into a place where children, teachers and families develop and flourish.

Anette van Rooyen (Te Kauwhata)

Anette’s passion for children led her and her husband to open up their home to many children from a local South African Children’s Home; offering foster care to children over weekends and school holidays. They quickly became popular foster care parents for previously abused children and were able to give these wonderful children the urgently needed love and support they required.  Anette immigrated to New Zealand in January 2009. After experiencing the Christchurch earthquakes, they didn’t hesitate to move to North. Since then, they have toured through most of New Zealand. Anette loves the outdoors and with her children now grown up, she and her husband can enjoy the freedom of being able to pack their bags on a Friday afternoon and set off for their next adventure. The growing number of grandchildren is also keeping her young and fit!

Anette works with our young children and Reach Forward Early Learning Cnetre is so blessed to have her work for us as she is enthusiastic, energetic, cheerful and full of creativity.

What our parents say