Helena Royden

Head of School and Teacher


Bachelor of Science

Graduate Diploma in Teaching

Montessori Leadership & Training

The founder of Golden Grove School, Helena brings over 20 years of experience in
the education sector to her very active, hands-on teaching and Head of School
role.  She draws on her time both here in New Zealand and from her childhood in Canada, to create a rich environment for students.

A passionate believer in a holistic approach to children’s education, she integrates peace and individualised progress into every aspect of the school.

In her own words, Helena’s vision for Golden Grove School:

Our goal is to ensure that each child feels that they are unique and to help them reach their full potential; we believe that every person is extraordinary. Helping children reach their potential is the first step to our world reaching its potential, a potential we believe is extraordinary.

Dave Mason

Teacher and Finance

Bachelor of Commerce

Graduate Diploma Secondary School Teaching

Diploma Outdoor Recreation Leadership

Dave provides an extended curriculum to the whole school in physical education, outdoor activities, mathematics, technology and a range of applied activities.

Dave is a highly experienced outdoor education specialist. He has taught at the high school level for 15 years prior to beginning at Golden Grove School. Before that, Dave worked as an adventure guide, personal trainer, accountant, and recreation centre manager, among other things.

He loves sports, the great outdoors, woodwork projects, plays the ukulele and meditates regularly.

Katrina Whitley



Bachelor of Education with Montessori Specialization

Diploma of Applied Computer Systems Engineer

Katrina is our junior class teacher. She provides a calm, gentle classroom environment for our year 1 to 4 children.

Every child is nurtured, encouraged to become independent and motivated to learn through the wonderful teaching experiences she provides.

Lisa Knightly



Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Media

Graduate Diploma in Primary School Teaching

Lisa is one of the teachers with the senior school students, and provides a kind, encouraging and creative approach to learning.

Each young person is fostered in an environment where their unique talents and personality can be expressed and acknowledged. Assisting these Year 5 to 8 students, in their learning across the curriculum, Lisa brings literacy, arts and social sciences to life in this Montessori setting.

Pasha Royden

Teacher’s Aide

Teacher Aide Certificate

Pasha is our all-around Teacher’s Aide and assistant.

A Golden Grove School graduate, Pasha grew alongside the school since its inception. Being among one of the first students at Golden Grove, Pasha has a unique style to learning, blending both a relatable attitude and a creative aptitude. Pasha delivers a fresh perspective on music and theatre activities, as well as circus skills and strengths in mathematics and writing.

Pasha has an inexhaustible positive attitude which he takes with him on regular overseas expeditions and communicates through his nascent music production.

Shvastanee Ballantyne

Accounts Administrator

Shvastanee is an experienced financial manager. She has been with Golden Grove school for many years now. In the past, she managed her own business for over 10 years and worked at BNZ bank. She now supports Dave with financial matters related to the school.

Her hobbies include cooking and traveling; however she is an avid follower of national and international sporting events.