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.

Nirvyaja Holley

Administrator and Enrolments

Bachelor of Education

Diploma of Teaching

Nirvyaja has been the school administrator since November 2015.

She is responsible for student enrolment, parent communication and the coordination of school events.

Her background includes teaching, community peace projects plus health and wellbeing work initiatives. She has a passion for creating a supportive peaceful environment for staff, children and parents alike.

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


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.

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.