Stephen Gillingham

Stephen GillinghamStephen has travelled to most parts of the globe over the past 30 years. From Vietnam to Cuba and all parts in between. Stephens travels have reinforced for him the huge learning opportunities that present themselves in the many diverse lands, rich in culture, language and history.

Defining Moments was established out of Stephen’s aspiration to allow senior secondary students the chance to learn parts of the curriculum in a global setting.

Specialising in travel programmes for Social Sciences and Languages, Defining Moments is structured in such a way that it ensures teachers are well supported throughout the entire tour organisation process.

Having had 3 of his own children undertake one of the many Defining Moments tours he is even more of an advocate for parents allowing their children the opportunity to travel with their peers on what is a life changing journey.

Amber Healeyimg_0671

With a secondary teaching background and a passion for travel, Amber is perfectly placed to understand the pressures and commitments of a teacher organising a tour. Having personally led five international school tours through Europe and America and lived and travelled extensively around the globe, Amber’s knowledge of the details of her tours set her apart.

She understands firsthand the benefits students gain from these tours and is passionate about helping as many students to experience these as possible. With an eye for detail, Amber works closely with the teacher to create an itinerary that will leave a lasting, inspirational and educational memory.

One of Amber’s most memorable school trips as a teacher was taking a group of 53 Science students to Florida, USA. She was impressed with the educational value and variety of experiences that the Kennedy Space Center was able to offer students. A delay in flight schedules meant missing the planned satellite launch, but lunch with a decorated NASA Flight Commander was an absolute highlight. The incredible cultural and social elements including theme parks, airboating through the everglades and spotting manatee made it an unforgettable trip.

Amber comes to Defining Moments with a double degree from Otago University in Education and Physical Education and a number of years teaching experience both in New Zealand and abroad. On returning to NZ, she made the decision to share her passion for travel and to encourage students to get out there and see the world. In her work as a school travel agent, she accompanied Northcote College on their inspiring trip to South Africa. A group of 92 travellers, who spent two weeks touring a country with beauty to rival our own. When reflecting on this trip, she feels one of the most rewarding experiences was a visit to a local orphanage and the opportunity to spend time with the students there (see photo). A reminder  that sometimes it takes some time away from NZ to truly realise the fantastic opportunities we have here.

Kristy WhitakerKristy Whitaker

There are not many parts of our planet that Kristy has not ventured upon, so she is ideally suited to work alongside history, geography, classics and tourism teachers to ensure that their journeys are everything they imagined and more.

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Vietnam are a couple of her favourite destinations but having just returned from her second visit to Machu Picchu and the Amazon Rainforest it has reinforced for her that there are so many other favourites as well.

Kristy holds a Degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, and has a passion for adventure. Her ability to call on her personal travel experience ensures she creates the very best itineraries as they relate to the curriculum. Being a dedicated resource for Social Science groups is what teachers appreciate the most, and it gives them confidence and peace of mind to know that everything has been taken care of, right down to the last details.

Alysha MacInnesAlysha

Starting her travels early, Alysha was one of the very first students to go on a Defining Moments tour to Vietnam. Ten years later, she still looks back on this educational tour as one of the highlights of her life.

In her own words “It gave me my true inspiration towards travel as a career and opened my eyes to see that the world is such a big place and any chance you get to experience and understand it, you should’.

Vietnam was just the beginning of Alysha’s travel experiences having since lived and travelled to various states in Australia, America, Japan and the Pacific islands. Cambodia and Argentina are next on her list.

She holds a Diploma of Hospitality Management & Higher Diploma of Hospitality Management, International College of Management Sydney in association with César Ritz College, Switzerland. With her love of travel and history, along with her personal experience as a student, Alysha is a great advocate for future students and teachers who are looking to embark on an educational tour.

Monique Walker

Monique has returned to House of Travel to join Defining Moments after 5 years living in Australia. She holds a Diploma in Travel and Tourism and she comes from a background in Corporate Travel having started her career with us here 10 years ago.  Having the corporate background she understands fully the time pressures placed on the teachers organising the tours.

While living in Australia Monique did some extensive travelling further afield in parts of Europe, England, Scotland and Ireland, the Middle East, Asia, Indonesia, Australia and the South Pacific.

England and Ireland are some of her favourite countries that she has visited. She loves the rich and colourful histories and some highlights from her time there include visiting Stonehenge and climbing Blarney Castle.

Matthew Grice

Married to a high school teacher and coming from the airline industry, Matthew feels his role at Defining Moments is the perfect fit, where he is able to draw upon his expertise and tailor the experience to meet the unique needs of educational travel. He is able to help with the logistical challenges of travelling in a large group, while understanding the importance of providing not only a rewarding experience, but also the best learning outcomes possible.

Venturing beyond our own shores is a formative and transcendent experience. First hand exposure to the concept that there are different cultures, beliefs, ideas and understandings of the world is an amazing lesson to have the opportunity to learn. Giving tactile foundation to the learnings of the classroom through travel is a memorable experience from Matthew’s own high school career, and one that he is passionate about providing to as many people as possible.

His own travels have recently taken him to the Art Galleries and Broadway Theatres of New York City, as well as Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Trails of Japan’s Kumano region.