Meet Our team.

Debbie McCabe

Owner and Director


I have worked in the early childhood in both New Zealand and Australia since 1986.

I completed my original diploma in 1995. I finished my Degree in education in 2015. I hold a current practicing certificate as a registered teacher.

I grew up in Christchurch, my husband Ian and I with our two daughters, Georgia and Madison, moved to Hanmer Springs in 2006. Tree Bears was the reason for our move, it fulfilled my dream to own a small boutique family orientated preschool.


My personal teaching philosophy has been strongly influenced by Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum. For me it reinforces my belief about reciprocal relationships, as being a very important tool which supports our children’s learning. 


I enjoy being apart of both the Nursery and Preschool, getting to know children and families..

I wear many hats supporting families, teachers and managing the centre but for me the best part is being actively involved and engaged with children. 


Tony Wang


My name is Tony. I moved to Hanmer Springs at the start of the year with my wife, Yifan. I previously worked in Christchurch at an Early Childhood Centre. I have completed my level 5 in Early Childhood papers. While I lived in China, I also worked in Early Childhood and before that I helped build rocket ships!


I believe that the children should always come first. I believe that we must listen to the children and take their lead on their learning journey. I am also a huge believer that learning should be fun and inviting for all

Chloe Turton
Head Teacher
Hi, I am Chloe. I am the Head Teacher and part of the management team at Tree Bears. I am a qualified Primary School Teacher. I am originally from the North Island. My partner and I moved to Culverden once we both had finished studying. 

My teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by the children. I believe it is my role to understand and cater for each child’s learning needs. I believe that it is vital to build strong and effective relationships with all children, families and the wider community.

I enjoy working alongside the team at Tree Bears and seeing the development that your children make.
Yifan Jia
Preschool Teacher

Hi my name is Yifan. I have recently completed my Masters of Teaching and Learning (Primary)


I am originally from China but I have lived in New Zealand for the past 3 years with my husband.

Before moving to New Zealand I worked with young children for 3 years.  I am dedicated to creating a secure, challenging environment that is flexible engaging and fosters potential. I look forward to working alongside families and children so children can reach their full potential. 

Kim-michelle Flanagan
Preschool teacher

Hi my name is Kim-michelle,  I have been teaching young children for the past 11 years and enjoy spending my time building respectful relationships with families and working alongside children building and extending on their natural curiosity and love of learning. I am a fun enthusiastic and passionate teacher which enjoys passing on my skills and knowledge along to others such as creativity, building with Lego and love of the outdoors among many other talents.

Music, crafting, coloring and reading are some of the things that I enjoy doing while I’m not having fun from teaching your young people.

Being surrounded in nature is peaceful and tranquil and spending my time in Hanmer Springs at Tree Bears I feel I couldn’t be working in a better place.

Michaela Stuart Palmer
On Maternity Leave

Hi my name is Michaela Stuart-Palmer. I live in Culverden 


I am in the process of completing a Diploma in early childhood education and care and I plan on continuing my study. I hope to start my Bachelors in Early childhood soon..  

I believe in offering a nurturing environment for Tamariki, building relationships through trust.I I look forward to meeting you all.