Trustees of Speech New Zealand


Pauline Prendergast, Chair, has been teaching speech and drama for 42 years. For many years she had a large teaching practice in primary and secondary schools in the Wellington/Lower Hutt area, and she still teaches in her private speech studio.  She holds an LSB in Public Speaking with Speech New Zealand and an LTCL from Trinity College. Pauline is an accredited examiner with Speech NZ and a trained primary school teacher.  She is actively involved with Hutt Repertory Theatre in both directing and acting.  She trains the readers in her church community and adjudicates at speech competitions and drama festivals.


Karen Austin, Vice-Chair and Chair of Examinations, is a Fellow of Trinity College, London and has an LSB Public Speaking. Her qualifications include a Masters Rel Ed, a BA, an Advanced Teaching Diploma, and a Trained Teachers Certificate. Karen has been an Accredited Performance Speech NZ examiner since 1994 plus she has written and marked Speech NZ theory papers.

Teaching Speech and Drama/ Public Speaking has been part of Karen’s life for the last 40 years. She established a large Speech & Drama/ Public Speaking practice in Oamaru teaching all levels . Some of her students are now teaching Speech and Drama. Karen has three adult children who all did Speech & Drama/ Public Speaking examinations. At the end of the 2013 school year Karen retired as DRS and Assistant Principal of St Kevin’s College, Oamaru (Y9 -13 ). Throughout her 18 years teaching at St Kevin’s College, Karen was very involved in preparing students for local, regional and national speech and debating competitions. She was the school coordinator and coach for Bishop’s Shield, continuing an involvement started when she was a Yr 10 student.

Karen and her husband moved to Nelson in 2014 so they could be ” hands on ” grandparents. At the moment Karen is establishing a Speech and Drama/ Public Speaking practice in Nelson and doing some part-time teaching and relieving.

Pam Logan, has taught voice, speech, oral communication, public speaking, drama, acting and directing at all levels, including tertiary for over 35 years.

Pam has a specialist interest in voice, acting and directing. She was a founding member, actor, administrator and assistant director for Kempe’s Jig Theatre Collective, which toured Shakespeare to schools from 1991-4. For several years Pam tutored voice and acting techniques at Nelson Polytechnic School of Performing Arts. She is also a qualified adjudicator of plays and competitions.

Pam is an examiner for Speech New Zealand and has enjoyed the challenge of serving on the Board of Trustees for many years. She is a past Chair of the Board and past Chair of the Examinations’ Division.

She is a past president and a life member of both Marlborough Repertory Society and of the NZ Theatre Federation and was awarded a 1990 medal for services to theatre. Pam still enjoys acting and directing when the opportunity arises.


Pauline Douglas lives in Dunedin, and until recently was employed by the University of Otago College of Education, as the ESOL Advisor to schools for the Otago-Southland region.

She has a long standing interest in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners, and the development of their oral language skills.  Speech NZ provide a special graded syllabus for ESOL speakers and Pauline acts as NZ Speech Board representative for this ESOL Syllabus, which is called Oral Communication for Speakers of Other Languages (OCESOL).  Pauline has a background in ESOL teaching and in Professional Development for teachers.  She promotes the OCESOL syllabus as an excellent tool to enhance both confidence and fluency for ESOL speakers, from Beginner ESOL to Advanced ESOL speakers.  She can be contacted at any time on :

Photo M Theron 03 2015

Dr Margriet Theron is the Chair of the Finance Committee. She was invited to join the Board of Speech NZ 19 years ago for her governance, financial, marketing and planning skills. She has lived in Rotorua for 42 years. After retiring from a career in science management at the NZ Forest Research Institute and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and as Dean of Forestry at Waiariki Institute of Technology, she took on governance roles at the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce, the Geyser Community Foundation, Community Foundations of NZ, and the Rotorua Multicultural Council where she is currently the President. She was Project Manager for the fundraising and building of the Turangi Community Health Centre, and member of the Rotorua District Council’s BrightEconomy Advisory Board and the East Coast Bay of Plenty Conservation Board. She has taught a Professional Speaking for Migrants course in Rotorua for the past nine years, and mentors teachers and organisations around New Zealand offering or planning this course.

Helen - mug shot

Helen Balch 


 Helen is a fulltime teacher of speech and drama and public speaking.  She teaches at St Andrew’s College where she has around 140 students and also has a private studio with 40 students.  Her students range in age from five year olds to tertiary students.

Helen is the President of the Christchurch Competitions Society and was the convener of the speech and drama section for over 20 years. She is also actively involved in the local branch of SCA and has held various positions on the local committee over the years. She tries to attend the SCA Conference each year.

Helen’s involvement with Speech NZ began in the early 1970s, when she sat her first exams in speech and drama and public speaking.  Her teacher, Berwyn Gibbons, was an enthusiastic advocate for the new examining body.  Helen’s mother, Gay Balch, was the Lower Hutt secretary for some years.

After moving to Christchurch in the late 70s Helen completed ASB teaching diplomas in both speech and drama and public speaking.

Helen has entered students into Speech New Zealand exams since 1985 and at present has around 130 students sitting the exams each year. Helen has also been involved with Speech NZ as a parent, with both of her sons sitting the grade exams.

Del Costello Ko Kakaunui te maunga, ko Taieri te awa, nō Maniototo me Tāmaki Makaurau ahau. Del has taught Speech and Drama/Public Speaking for over 20 years and works in the education sector as a teacher educator and professional learning consultant.  She has a Master’s degree in Education (e-learning and digital technologies endorsed), LTCL -Speech and Drama and LSB Public Speaking. Del is passionate about development of communication skills. With a vison of empowering all New Zealanders to build capability and confidence to communicate, her work is focussed on supporting system and process development within educational organisations.  She has a special interest in supporting organisations to build culturally responsive practices that empower and grow the multi-cultural and multi-linguistic fabric of Aotearoa.