About us

We have 22 centres nationwide. Get in touch to discuss how we can help your business.

Our story

A growing need for English support

In the 1970s, a large number of non-English speaking people came to live in New Zealand. Many of them were from Southeast Asia or the Pacific Islands.

Some immigrants needed help learning English for daily life. Many women with young children could not attend classes, so volunteer tutors gave them lessons at home.

ESOL home tutoring started independently in different towns and cities. In 1992, the National Association of ESOL Home Tutor Schemes (Inc.) was formed. In 2009, the organisation was renamed as English Language Partners New Zealand.

In 2012, English Language Partners celebrated 20 years as a national organisation.
At a Special General Meeting in September 2014, English Language Partners voted to amalgamate into one legal entity (from 23 distinct legal entities). This amalgamation enables the organisation to achieve increased efficiency and ensures that a consistently high level of service continues to be delivered to learners throughout the country.

Inspiration behind our logo

“Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero. I muri, kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture, ki te whakapono.”
“Through the eye of the needle pass the white threads, the black threads, and the red threads. Afterwards, looking to the past as you progress, hold firmly to your love, the law, and your faith.”

This whakatauki was gifted by the late Tamehana Tai Rakena of Tainui to individual leaders in the disability, and then wider community sector to support us in our work. It originated with Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Maori King, who, at the birth of the Kingitanga movement, spoke of strength and beauty through both unity and diversity, by alluding to the beauty and the strength of the woven tukutuku. Individual threads are weak, but the process of weaving makes a strong fabric. Individual colours tell no story, but woven together they become beautiful, and can tell a story.

Vision, purpose, values

Our vision

Former refugees and migrants participate successfully in all aspects of life in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our purpose

To deliver English language programmes and enable effective settlement.

Our values

Diversity: we are welcoming

Aotearoa New Zealand has become a very diverse country, with people from all cultures settling here, enriching our lives, neighbourhoods and communities. Everyone is equally welcome.

Partnership: we work together for success

Working in partnership allows people to co-operate. By talking through ideas, and working side by side, we can achieve much more together than alone. Whether we work together as a couple, a group or a whole society, using language well is the key to our success. Let’s talk about working together.

Respect: we care, listen and respond

We have many ways to show respect. In many cultures, it is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering a home. Doing so, regardless of one’s own culture and preferences, is a sign of respect. The world runs better
with respect.

Excellence: we value our work and aim high

At English Language Partners, we want to be the best in the world at what we do, which means setting ambitious goals and reaching them. Being a Kiwi means achieving triumphs.

Guiding principles

  • Learners from refugee and migrant backgrounds are the centre of everything we do.

  • We respond to learners’ needs and aspirations to use English confidently to settle into our community.

  • We enable learners’ voices to be heard, both within English Language Partners and in the wider community.

  • We provide quality and relevant learning opportunities.

  • We value the contribution of volunteers and staff.

  • We respect Te Tiriti o Waitangi in how we work.

  • We base our policies on the values expressed in these documents:
    - UNHCR Convention (1951) and Protocol (1967) relating to the status of refugees
    - Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (1971)
    - Universal Declaration on Volunteering (1990).

  • We are alert to the changing needs of the community, and respond in a viable and sustainable way as relevant for learners.

  • We continually strive for improvement and innovation in everything we do.


Quick facts 2020

  • 6,526 learners

  • 4,520 female and 2,002 male learners

  • 1,650 refugee-background or asylum seeker learners

  • 1,203 volunteers tutored a refugee-background or migrant learner in their home or/and assisted a class teacher

  • 440 new volunteers trained as tutors.

The largest learner ethnic group was Asian, followed by Middle Eastern, South American (including Mexican and Central American), European, Pacific Islander, then African.

Strategic plan

Click on the image below to view our strategic plan

Outcomes model

Click on the image below to view our outcomes model

Responsibilities framework

Click on the image below to view our outcomes model

National board

Karun Shenoy



I was born in India and, in 1988, I emigrated to New Zealand having spent a couple of years in Singapore en route. My professional career has largely been in the Information Technology industry. This has included roles spanning management of major $100 million-plus technology programmes through to founding a tech start-up.

I have operated my own IT consulting company for over twenty years, providing programme and project management services as well as  business transformation consultancy. I am currently on the board of Angel HQ (with members investing in early stage companies) and have also been on advisory boards for start-ups.

I have worked as a mentor for ELP’s Job Mentoring Services for a few years. I have also volunteered as a business mentor helping small businesses through the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and as a student mentor in the IT Professionals TechHub career evangelist programme.

I am fluent in English, Hindi, Konkani, and Tamil, and have basic skills in several other Indian languages though my attempts to learn Mandarin, Japanese and French have not been particularly successful!

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Computer Science) and a Master’s in Business Administration.

My recreational interests include trekking (have tramped the NZ Great Walks, and trekked Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kinabalu), cycling, skiing, travel (have explored the seven continents but the bucket list keeps growing), watching sports and the Performing Arts.

Jane von Dadelszen


Deputy Chair

I am an independent consultant providing advice and analysis to government agencies and educational organisations in New Zealand and internationally. I’m a council member of the Hong Kong Council for the Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ), a member of the HKCAAVQ task force reviewing accreditation criteria and standards and a member of the Primary ITO Board.

Until December 2015, I was Deputy Chief Executive, Quality Assurance, at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) responsible for regulating the quality of tertiary and vocational education and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Previously, for ten years, I led tertiary education policy at the Ministry of Education.

My government experience also includes senior management, policy advice and research on gender issues, crime and justice issues, family violence, child protection, alcohol and drug issues, and climate change and natural resource management.

I’m currently a volunteer mentor for the First Foundation and for the Women in National Security project. I also provide voluntary strategy advice to Zealandia wildlife sanctuary.

I have an MA in Psychology from Otago University and I also enjoy gardening, travel in New Zealand and internationally, tramping, reading, films, conversation and ideas.

Catherine Neill


I was born in New Zealand, but my family migrated to England when I was 11. I came back in 2004 with my own family, and I have lived in Temuka, a small rural township in South Canterbury, ever since. I have a BA (Hons) in Combined Studies from the University of Liverpool, and when I graduated I joined Portsmouth City Council as a trainee. I qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in the UK and I now work as an auditor.

I have a good grounding in the not-for-profit sector. In addition to my current professional involvement with charitable organisations, I worked for the local education authority in Portsmouth, I was a high school bursar for 3 years, I have been on the PTA at my son’s primary and high schools, I am on the Board of Trustees at the high school and I am the treasurer of a regional sports partnership.

I joined the committee of the Aoraki centre as the treasurer and have also served as the committee chair. I am a volunteer home tutor and I look forward to learning something new every lesson. I have been on the National Board since May 2014.

Anne Alkema


I am a researcher and evaluator who has worked in a variety of roles across the education sector. It started with roles on kindergarten and primary school committees, then as a secondary school English teacher and Head of Department. Following this came roles as a public servant with the Ministry of Education, one of which was to manage literacy and numeracy in the school sector. This was followed by an education role with New Zealand police. For the last 14 years I have worked in the tertiary sector managing research programmes and conducting research and evaluation.

I currently work as an independent researcher. My main area of work is in adult literacy and numeracy where my focus has been on the economic, social and wellbeing impact of New Zealand government policies and the extent to which these policy settings are working for foundation learners. I have also conducted research and evaluation in policing, the health sector, the transport sector and the volunteer sector.

I hold a Master of Education from Victoria University of Wellington. Outside of work I love spending time with my grandchildren; on the golf course; and in the garden.

Kara Scally-Irvine


My day job is working as a consultant in research, monitoring frameworks, and evaluation. My work regularly extends into strategy, policy, and planning.

I work across a range of sectors including sport and recreation, health, education, land and property information, and regulatory systems, in both not-for-profits and government agencies, both in New Zealand, and in international development.

I’ve worked in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors, and completed my PhD in international development and conservation, which involved living and working in Cambodia for a period of time. Prior to this, I lived in Japan, teaching English.

I’m passionate about the power of good quality information and the role evaluators play in this. My involvement with the evaluation profession is an important part of this. I’m a member of the Australian Evaluation Society New Zealand regional committee, and recently became the New Zealand Regional Convenor, representing and working for New Zealand members together with the Australian regional branches.

My association with ELPNZ dates from 2015 when I supported the team to develop their Outcomes Model, and to establish the Evaluative Self-Assessment system – a concept at the core of NZQA’s evaluative quality assurance framework. I was also familiar with ELPNZ’s volunteer ESOL Home Tutoring programme, through my voluntary work as a refugee resettlement volunteer. I’ve been a passionate sideline supporter of ELPNZ’s work ever since, and have been privileged to continue this support in a more active role as a National Board member since 2015.

I have my PhD is from the University of Queensland, and a BSc, BComm, and Post-graduate Diploma in Environmental Science from the University of Otago. When I’m not tied-up with my work and voluntary commitments, my husband and I spend quality time with our two children. I also love trail running and getting out in our beautiful environment, or sitting down and doing absolutely nothing!

Mark Bryan


Although I have travelled extensively around the world, I moved to New Zealand from the UK in 1995, finally settling in Southland in 1997. I developed a strong governance capability following a successful career as a veterinarian.  I grew our business from a small, 6-vet local practice to a large, international veterinary business employing over 200 staff. Our business attracts significant immigrants from around 15 different countries, and typically over half of our employees are from overseas. My focus has been on taking on good people and making them better, watching them grow and develop, and providing an excellent service for clients. Business growth has been secondary to that.

From a governance perspective, I have been involved for around 15 years on the boards of NFPs and commercial organisations. I have played an active role at Board level in the New Zealand Veterinary Association as we have transitioned through a period of significant change and challenge. I am a Member of the IOD and have completed both their Company Directors’ course and their Finance course.

I have a BVMS from Glasgow University Veterinary School, and well as a MVS Hons (Epidemiology) from Massey University and a MACVSc (Epidemiology) from the Australian College.

I live with my wife and children on a 1400 head sheep farm in Southland, which we farm with the help of our manager; and we also have interests in a dairy farm in Southland.   I am a keen skier, mountaineer, mountain biker and surfer.

Li Ling Ho


I was born in Singapore and migrated to New Zealand when I was six. I was again in Singapore for a few high school years, but have been living in Wellington ever since I returned. I have empathy, understanding and respect for the work in the migrant sector. I strongly support and believe in the importance of culture, languages, social connections, lifelong learning and educational opportunities.

I have a BCA in Accounting, Commercial Law and Information Systems from Victoria University of Wellington, and qualified as an Associate Chartered Accountant member of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand. I have built skills and gained experience in commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Working experience has included management and establishment of NZ’s first food rescue organisation, building an interaction-based language school and development of a multi-level programme from toddler ages and up, performance planning and analysis in the disability sector. Most recently, I was a finance manager helping with support services and properties for a social service and community development organisation. I have been on the National Board since May 2020 and hope to add value and help where I can.

I live with my children in a city suburb of Wellington. Outside of work, family and voluntary commitments, I am involved in anything creative or design-related, and both contemporary and K-Pop dance. I also really enjoy nature, business, learning new things, and am a foodie.

Susan Warren


I am the Chief Executive of COMET Auckland which is a council controlled organisation and independent charitable trust with responsibility to drive systems change that makes education and skills development more effective and equitable across Auckland.  I am an active member of the Institute of Directors, with eight years’ governance experience across three organisations, in addition to a long career in various leadership roles across not-for-profit, government and corporate organisations.

I am constantly aware of the wisdom and connections our board members bring and am keen to use my own governance and leadership experience to support other organisations that are making a difference in Aotearoa.

From my role with COMET Auckland I have extensive connections in Tāmaki Makaurau and beyond, including both local and national government, all sectors of the education system, employers and community organisations.  I also have successful experience in strategic leadership, innovation, handling uncertainty and the community sector in general.

I am passionate about the power of lifelong learning (in all its forms) to empower people to reach their own aspirations, and also to contribute to the social cohesion, equity and wellbeing of themselves, their families and communities.  I acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of our nation; and seek to practice and support a bicultural Aotearoa as a foundation for celebrating our multicultural and increasingly super-diverse community.

I have formerly worked in schooling improvement in south Auckland and nationally with the Ministry of Education and maintain strong links with Māori and Pasifika communities in my current role.  I value the role of languages in people’s lives and have led the Auckland Languages Strategy Working Group over a long period.

I have a BSc(Hons) in biochemistry and physiology from Otago, a Secondary Teaching Diploma from Dunedin Teachers College, and a DipEd and a MEd from Massey University.

David Bromell


I have been a Principal Advisor in the Strategic Policy team at Environment Canterbury since July 2013. From 2003-13 I worked in policy advice roles in the Ministry of Social Development in Wellington and was acting Chief Policy Advisor 2012-13.
Prior to 2003, I worked in church social services and parish ministry. I have previous board experience as executive director of the Christchurch Methodist Mission (1998-2003), and on the Rehua Marae Trust Board, the Lifeline Christchurch Charitable Trust Board, the Christchurch Council of Christian Social Services Trust Board, the Otago-Southland Tertiary Chaplaincy Trust Board and the Archer Memorial Home Trust Board.

I have also worked in the tertiary education sector, as a tutor and lecturer at Otago University (1986-93), as Executive Officer of the Oamaru Campus of Otago Polytechnic (1993-96), and (on secondment) as Chief Policy Analyst in the Tertiary Group of the Ministry of Education (2008). I am a Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies in the School of Government at Victoria University (since 2008), and since 2012 have taught a course in political philosophy in the School’s Master of Public Policy programme. One of my research interests is ethnicity, identity and public policy, and I am a member of the NZ Political Studies Association and of the Population Association of New Zealand.

I have a PhD and BDHons in Theology and an MA in History.

I have been a volunteer ESOL home tutor (in Porirua and Christchurch) with English Language Partners since 2010.

James McCulloch


Chief Executive

Before joining ELPNZ in December, 2020, James worked for Inspire Group, as their Director of Learning and Chief Executive for Asia, where he worked in many of the countries that ELPNZ’s learners are from. Prior to that, James held Chief Executive roles in the NGO sector in New Zealand and the UK and was also Community Director at the City of London.

He has also chaired global federations and is a regular international keynote presenter and panellist on people, culture and learning.

Ethnic advisory group

Ethnic Advisory Group (EAG) members are Kiwis from non-English speaking countries. A member sits on the National Board, and a Board representative is co-opted onto the EAG.  The EAG informs the Chief Executive and Board on former refugee and migrant issues. The EAG was established in 2002.  Read a brief history of the EAG.

Bhoj Raj Subba

Hi! I am Bhoj R. Subba from a Gross National Happiness country – Bhutan. I worked in Bhutan, Nepal, and India as a computer teacher and IT consultant for many years.  I came to New Zealand in 2016 and I love New Zealand. I am a workaholic with full dedication. Currently, I am working with English Language Partners, Nelson as CLA and in Nelson Boys’ College as a bilingual teacher. I can speak, read, and write 4 languages – English, Nepali, Hindi, and Tibetian (Dzongkha) and also some of the computer programming languages. I like to sing a song,  play music (guitar and violin) and do paintings. I feel fortunate to be one of the members of the Ethnic Advisory Group of ELP.

Joanne Lee

I am a coordinator at the ELP North Shore Centre. I have a broad range of work experience in global companies, including various coordination roles. Before migrating to New Zealand, I lived in Seoul, South Korea.

Joanne (Aijuan) Song

Ever since I came to Hawkes Bay from China in 2017 due to family circumstances and got to know ELP, I have benefitted enormously from this organization in my region in Napier. All the beautiful people I have met there have encouraged me, guided me and supported me to explore a new journey in a new country.  This has been helping me start my first job as a worker in a home care centre, my second job as a Mandarin teacher in a local High School and my current job as an administrator in HBDHB (Hawkes Bay District Health Board). Hopefully I can give my contribution back to this nourishing and inclusive organisation at my best.

Ku Reh Nga

Mingalaba, I am Ku Reh Nga from the Kayah State in Myanmar and I now live in Porirua with my wife and some of my children.  I have five children and four grandchildren.  I came to New Zealand via a Thailand refugee camp where the United Nations trained me to be a teacher of my mother language and I taught in both the camp and neighbouring villages for about 20 years.  Since arriving in New Zealand I have worked for English Language Partners Porirua as a Cultural and Language Assistant and I am a member, formally a leader, of the United Democratic Burmese Community (NZ) Incorporated.

Laura Moreno

I’m a Colombian lawyer and I came to study a  Master in NZ, but being a volunteer at ELP has being one of the most rewarding  personal adventures in my life. This is an amazing journey of shared experiences of determination, collective work and resiliency.

Laure Romanetti

I moved to New Zealand from France with my family in 2001. I integrated my studies of Philosophy, Literature and Social Practice in my many careers which include counselling, teaching and chocolate making. I now run the Auckland North Newcomers Network, but my greatest achievement are my 2 sons Noé and Olivier.

Mohammad Hilal

Formerly a teacher, I am a self-motivated and driven learner who has recently made a career switch into tech via a Master of Software Development at Victoria University of Wellington.

I am a self-motivated person who is willing to take on responsibility to deliver key outcomes. I particularly like to volunteer my time into projects that support teaching, learning, and skill-sharing.

Ngozi Penson

I have lived in New Zealand for many years and in that time developed a keen interest in community engagement and civic participation. My background includes Small business start-up and management, volunteering and working in the Non-For-profit sector, Adult education, Coaching and Training. I sit on Non-For-Profit boards and Public sector Advisory groups.

Rehab Mohamed

I am Egyptian, wife to a geneticist and mum to 2 children. I came to New Zealand in July 2017 and I lived in Denmark for 6 years before coming here. Graduating from an Agriculture faculty, I worked as an administrator.

National structure

Organisational structure