A Force to be reckoned with
The newest addition to Auckland’s PPTA field office is a Star Wars loving, cross stitching, rock’n’ roll grandma with a passion for looking out for members.
Kylee Houpapa joins the PPTA field service after teaching for almost 11 years and representing members on the association’s executive.
Kylee came to teaching from a varied career background, including working as a chef, bartender and event manager. She taught English, media and social studies in two very different schools.
"My degree was in history and politics, but once I was in an English classroom I was hooked. Teachers are pretty much the best kind of people, and English teachers are pretty much the best teachers IMHO," she said.
Becoming Darth Vadar (or Han Solo)
Kylee lives in Auckland’s inner city with her fiancé and a black cat named Blixa. She has two daughters and two grandsons and is thoroughly enjoying the rock’n’roll grandma lifestyle. She enjoys record collecting, going to live bands, cross stitch, pottery, baking and sitting and watching her cat do cool things. "Star Wars is also a pretty big part of my life. Big enough to build my honeymoon around the new Galaxy’s Edge theme park," she said.
Once Kylee started teaching she became involved with PPTA almost instantly. "I started with a branch role and then took on a regional role (as ward chair in East Auckland and then Auckland women’s representative) and then went on to executive for a few years.
"Through those roles I came into contact with the impressive Auckland field office team. Basically I wanted to be them. It was like meeting Darth Vadar (or Han Solo, if you prefer.)"
Ensuring members get treated fairly
Kylee is looking forward to ensuring that members get treated fairly. "I love that I’m still working in the realm of public education. My colleagues are a wonderful group of people – all around the country – and they have all been incredibly supportive and helpful. I can only hope to emulate them and the work they do," she said.
One of the biggest challenges of the role she thinks will be working with people in stressful situations. "Helping people see the big picture (or a different version of the picture) can be helpful. Good communication is essential and keeping those lines open in times of stress even more so."
"I can only hope to do what the job says on the packet – to advance the cause of public education in Aotearoa New Zealand, represent and support members, and to affirm and advance Te Tiriti O Waitangi," she said.