top of page

Meet Our team.


Debbie McCabe

Owner and Manager


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

I completed my original diploma in 1995 and became a registered teacher when returning to New Zealand in 1999. I went on to complete a Degree in Education in 2015.

 In 2006/2007 My husband and I purchased Tree Bears, which 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 that supports our children’s learning. 


I enjoy being a part 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. 


Manon Rackett

Nursery Teacher

My name is Manon, and I am thrilled to be working at Tree Bears.

Early childhood teaching is something I am really interested in and keen to learn more about since having my own children, Lola, and Summer.

I am French but have lived in both Australia and New Zealand for over 10 years now.

 I work mainly in the Nursey here at Tree Bears

I am really looking forward to working alongside all the children here at Tree Bears.

Kim-michelle Flanagan
Preschool Teacher

Hi, my name is Kim-Michelle, I have been teaching young children since the early 2000s and completed my Diploma of teaching in 2007.

I base my own teaching philosophy on building respectful relationships with families and working alongside children to build and extend their natural curiosity and love of learning.


I enjoy spending time with my dog Hazel, I also enjoy building Lego, music, crafting, colouring, and reading.

Working in this beautiful village is both tranquil and peaceful I really enjoy being surrounded by nature. I really enjoy working at Tree Bears, it is such a lovely village.


Tony Wang

Preschool Teacher


My name is Tony. I moved to Hanmer Springs in 2022 with my wife, Yifan. I previously worked in Christchurch at an Early Childhood Centre.

I have completed my level 5 in Early Childhood papers. Here in New Zealand.

 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 and that we must listen to the child and take their lead on their learning journey.


I am a huge believer that learning should be fun and inviting for all.

Yifan Jia
Preschool Teacher

Hi, my name is Yifan. I am originally from China. I moved to New Zealand with my husband Tony in January 2018.

 I have worked at Tree Bears since January 2022 after completing my Master of Teaching and Learning (Primary) in New Zealand, I have a daughter Elena who attends Tree Bears.

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.


Maddie McCabe

​Nursery Teacher


I have been involved in Tree Bears since I was 2.5 years old when my Mum and Dad moved to Hanmer Springs.

I attended Hanmer Springs School and then went on to attend the local area high school. During my high school years, I was part of a gateway program that gave me the opportunity to undertake work experience here at Tree Bears. After finishing Year 13 I joined the Tree Bears teaching team. 

I have known since I was young, that I wanted to work with young children, following in mum's footsteps.

I plan on furthering my education in the next couple of years.


Michaela Crean

Teacher/ Admin support


Kia ora Whanau

My name is Michaela and I am just returning after an extended maternity leave.


I worked at Tree Bears in both the Nursery and Preschool for 5 and a half years before having my son Lachie.

I have my diploma in Early Childhood education and care and then will further my studies later down the track.

I am looking forward to reconnecting with the tamariki and whanau as well as building relationships with the ones I am yet to meet.

bottom of page