Raewyn (Rae) Hooper
Rae started school in 1967 and finished with the University Entrance qualification in 1970. On leaving school Rae trained for two years in the laboratories at Waikato Hospital. She married and had her first child in 1972 followed by two others in 1975 and 1979.
Rae got involved with the Playcentre movement in 1975 and thatled to a career in early childhood education. She held local, regional and national positions in the Playcentre movement. After she had “outgrown” Playcentre Rae then moved into the Childcare industry; working in centres, then as a Homebased co-ordinator. She then worked with a group of women who had the initiative to establish a new bi-cultural centre. This was very innovative and way before it’s time!
In 1988 Rae was approached to work for a year in the Department of Education as an Early Childhood Advisor. This was a one year secondment as the Department was transitioning to the Ministry of Education. After a few weeks Rae was seconded to work in Wellington in a group establishing the new Early Childhood Development Unit. When the year was up Rae applied and won a position in the Ministry of Education as Liaison Officer. The job was to manage the education sector through the change from the Department of Education. These were exciting and challenging times. In 2003 Rae became Manager ECE for the Ministry’s Central North Region.
After working for the Ministry for 18 years Rae resigned. She believed it was time to do something else. In 1990 Rae remarried (to an ex Matamata College man – Ron Bint), and gained two step-daughters. She has eight very interesting grandchildren. She was keen to spend more time with family.
Obviously Rae couldn’t “sit still” after such a full-on career and it wasn’t long before she went into business. She and a girlfriend are joint owners of Out Deco Ltd. They established the company in 2007 with the intention of providing products to the New Zealand market which enhance outdoor living areas. They have built the company to the point where they now design, arrange manufacturing and import and sell a range of ornaments, and lightweight planter pots and water features. They sell online, direct and through trade outlets. After six years she is still in business and she and her business partner are still friends!
Along the way Rae has managed to fit in a lot of travel. She has been to about 25 countries – some more than once and has enjoyed every moment.
Rae’s parents lived in Kilbride Road on a 12 acre block. Later this area between Kilbride Road and Kaimai Drive was subdivided and known as the “Hooper” subdivision. Although her parents are no longer living, she still has “Hooper” relations living in and around Matamata.