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Our Why

Our vision for Ministry of Inspiration is to provide access to STEAM learning to those who are isolated either through geographic location, socio-economic status or any other barrier.

We aim to:

  • To inspire today’s youth, through STEAMS education, with the joy of lifelong learning .
    To show every young person that they have the potential to achieve great things, and to grow their confidence and belief so that they can take advantage of the endless opportunities the future holds.

We are a charitable trust and receive grants, sponsorship and donations to support our work.

Our People

Amy Cornelisen

Chief Inspiration Officer

When Amy is not building life size inflatable blue whales with her students, or dissecting brains with her after school science class she can be found lounging on a beach reading historical novels. Amy is an innovative teacher and motivator who strives to promote STEAMS education to the community. Amy is the co-founder of Ministry of Inspiration.

BS Oceanography, Humboldt State University
MS Education, Pepperdine University
Award in Excellence of Teaching Science-National Association of Gifted Children, Award in Excellence of Teaching Mathematics-New Zealand Association of Maths Teachers

Alan York

STEAMS Kit Engineer

Before arriving in NZ Alan thought he had retired from the IT industry, but a chance encounter with ‘The Ministry’ quickly disabused him of that idea.

Prior to his un-retirement, Alan spent his free time on his many different hobbies. Now he doesn’t have any free time at all. Well, alright, maybe that’s not strictly true, but when he’s not dreaming up new electronics experiments and ideas for the STEAMS kit, he spends his free time on a little woodwork, some computer fun, virtually no DIY/Decorating (his wife no longer speaks to him – at first, he thought he’d gone deaf) and playing the guitar (VERY badly).

BSc Mechanical Engineering - Brunel University, UK

Jessica Cathro

Managing Director, North Island

Jessica Cathro is Managing Director for the North Island. She has worked in industry as a Marketing Analyst, Business Analyst and Project Manager both here and in the UK. She taught High School Business Studies, Digital Technology and Maths and started the Westport Code Club and Buller High School Robotics Club. She has been a Technology Educator at the Rotorua Library and supported NZ Aquabots for 9 years. She has worked with students from primary schools to high schools including Te Maioha o Parekarangi and taught English as a second language.

Mike Rayson

STEAMS Educator

Mike Rayson is a senior class STEAMS teacher with the Ministry of Inspiration. Originally from Somerset in England, he has lived in the Tasman region for the last 20 years. When he is not teaching or planning a new super-villain base, he builds miniature models and takes part in real scale military re-enactments.

Erin Mintrom

STEAMS Educator

Erin grew up in Invercargill (don’t hold that against her), where she developed a passion for sport, as she quickly learned that being really good could lead to travel and a chance to expand her horizons beyond ‘Invers’. Erin represented New Zealand, at various levels, in water polo.
Erin’s interest in teaching sparked from swimming instructing and organising school holiday programmes; Teachers’ College seemed a natural progression. Erin loves seeing kids make connections with the real world and having fun while learning.

Now living in the sunshine capital of NZ, Erin and her family take full advantage of the natural world and can often be found camping, tramping , kayaking and outdoor adventure.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (B Tch Ln); Diploma of Teaching. (Dip Tchg)

Nardia Allan

STEAMS Educator

Yaëlle Pochon

STEAMS Educator

Hamish Scoggins

STEAMS Coordinator

Jess Ellis

STEAMS Educator

Jess is an unschooling mum in sunny Marlborough. She has strong family connections and is an avid community builder. Jess loves to be outdoors and can find beauty and learning opportunities from the minuscule to the massive. You'll often find her engaged with a group of children wondering and observing and reflecting; the keystones of good science. Combining skills of communication, creativity, collaboration, and chaos, Jess believes a STEAMS classroom full of science is her ideal job.

Jess is a leader in the local homeschooling community, an occasional relief teacher at local schools, and a member of the Pine Valley Outdoor Centre.
Qualifications: B.Sc. (Geol) postgrad dip tch (primary)


STEAMS Educator

No Mawera ahau engari no Waiharakeke kainga ineianei. Born in Greymouth but now living in Blenheim (with a few places in between), Rachel is a mum with two decades of teaching experience in Early Childhood Education and Primary School. Rachel’s teaching philosophy is founded on the relationship between teaching and learning, knowing the learner well, teaching through interests, and developing dispositions that sustain life long learning.
With a great passion for the environment Rachel is interested in Earth Sciences, local history, indigenous cultures, Māori tikanga, kawa, and purakau (practices ways and stories). She is a friend (volunteer) of Pine Valley Outdoor Education centre and the Blenheim Forest and Bird, involving herself in wetland restoration and native planting projects.

Rachel also enjoys yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, and pursues a healthy and active lifestyle. Rachel is excited about being part of the Ministry of Inspiration and STEAMS school in Blenheim.

Our Board

Sacha MacDonald


Keiron Northfield

Board Member

Arpit Joshi

Board Member

Master of Education Leadership (Med, LD.), (Level 9), Auckland University of Technology

National Certificate in Project Management (Level 4), Southern Institute of Technology

National Certificate in Electric Vehicle (Level 5), Otago Polytechnic

Graduate Diploma in Higher Education, (Level 7), Unitec Institute of Technology

(Specialisation in Andragogical concepts and Mātauranga Māori)

Advance Trade Certificate in Automotive Engineering, MITO, Auckland

Advance Trade Certificate in welding Engineering, ITI, India

Chris Rodley

Board Member

Mark Unwin

Board Member

Jacob Stallard

Board Member

Stephen Waters

Board Member

As an experienced consultant Stephen has had varied assignments including, merger & acquisition support, strategic support to Not for Profits at Board / CXO level, strategic planning and execution support. Stephen has worked across a range of industries including vocational education and training, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and IT, for over 25 years. This included working in central government on transformation projects. Now back to his consulting roots (since Jan 2021) in the Marlborough region, working with a diverse set of clients (SMEs) on pro bono and chargeable basis. Sits on the Angel Investors Marlborough board, (Treasurer, Founder portfolio), Marlborough Chamber of Commerce board and is a Business Mentor in the community. Has been working with Omegaflex NZ and is their Executive Chair. Also a mentor at Tech Stars Startup Weekends, run by Business Trust Marlborough, Angel Investors Marlborough and Marlborough District Council.
As a business leader, with a comprehensive background in business, IT operations and management, Stephen brings unique insight into strategy, integration, and operations. His experience across the various industries in transformation consultancy and business performance is of great value to any client.