Office Staff

CASSIE FITZSIMMONS (left) and DENISE GABITES (right)

untitled (104 of 126) CASSIE — FINANCE & PAYROLL OFFICER — cfitzsimmons@mapua.school.nz

I started working here in June of 2013.

I was born in Australia and moved regularly between Canada and Australia while growing up. My husband is a Kiwi and we have lived in London, Tonga, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. We have been living here in New Zealand for the past 6 years.

I have three young boys so my spare time is spent trying my best to keep them happy and somewhat under control … when this gets to be too much I like to go mountain biking, camping, fishing and travel. I think music is essential to life so I try to incorporate that into as many aspects of my life as possible – but I am only a listener rather than a creator of music.

My personal dislikes are bad drivers, rudeness, narrow mindedness, ISIS but I guess in general I live a very lucky life in a very lucky country so I don’t have a whole lot of dislikes….

I absolutely love the culture in our school. The kids, teachers and staff are generally all very happy and full of life. We aren’t smothered with PC’ism but balance that with a general respect for others. This is a wonderful work environment made better by my wonderful work colleague!

DENISE — OFFICE MANAGER/PRINCIPAL’S PA — denise@mapua.school.nz

I started here on 26 January 1996. Then it was a much smaller school with only 6 classes.

I am a Nelsonian – grew up and did my schooling here. I moved to Wellington and have also lived in Ashburton, Greymouth, Timaru, Queenstown and then returned back to Nelson to live as it is the best place in New Zealand.

I have two lovely adult daughters – Rebecca and Amy, and a grandson, Oliver.

I am a passionate gardener and my garden is primarily flowers but I also grow a few vegetables as it is great being able to get a salad from what you have grown yourself.

My hobbies are reading, craft work and listening to music. I love to catch up with friends and family as much as possible – usually over a good coffee or walking along the beach.

To work at the same place for a long time one has to enjoy it… I am part of a great staff team here at Mapua and we are a caring, professional group who love to have a good laugh together. Also, we are extremely fortunate that our students are what make our school so special – they are kind, considerate, well mannered and welcoming of others.


BARBARA PHIPPS – Office support

briar-12I started working at Mapua School in 2009, working with special needs children.

I came from a farming background. The last 23 years before we shifted here were in the Inland Kaikoura Road, and before that we were across the lake from Queenstown and the Danseys Pass in Otago.

In my spare time I like gardening and making children’s toys. I also enjoy getting out and about exploring Nelson’s many treasures.

I am married to Peter and we have three children. Debbie is a teacher, Kathryn is a nurse practitioner, and Nick is an aircraft engineer. We have six gorgeous grandchildren.

The things I like about working at Mapua School are that the children are great- friendly and well-mannered. The working environment is supportive and friendly, and I love all the things that are available for the children to do here, it is a great school to work in.

We are enjoying living in Nelson, the climate is great and there are so many recreational opportunities.