Our Stands

Our stands reflect how we work and think



Kia ū ki te whenua i ngā whetu
Ka urungi ngā teremoana i te hoe.

Use the stars to guide you to your destination, and paddle with the currents that swirl around you.



Kia ū (to reach land, guide, arrive) ki te whenua (the land) i ngā whetu (use the stars).

Ka urungi (rudder, steer but also the act of entering) ngā teremoana (ocean voyage, the fast ocean currents) i te hoe (to paddle).

The concept

We partner with clients through their journey with learning. We help them set their destination with the strategy work we do, and then we plan the journey with them – how they will implement it. We travel with them on the journey – and as things change and challenges happen, we help them adjust and hold their course.

Kia ū ki te whenua i ngā whetu.

Ka urungi ngā teremoana i te hoe.​​​​​​​

Use the stars to guide to your destination and paddle with the currents that swirl around you.

Our Whakapapa

Synapsys was founded by Phil Garing in 2004. With a background in law (practice and teaching), Phil saw emerging technologies and innovation in learning as powerful forces for change. His vision for Synapsys was, and is, a team who see the opportunities for learning to have a real impact in the world, and who themselves are capable and committed to making things happen.   

Our name and our brand tells the story. Synapsys references the synapses in our brain. We think of synapses as the spark of creative thought, but they are also central to how we remember, and how we tell our body to take action. Synapsys stands for creative thought and action. 

Synapsys also recognises the importance of systems – Synapsys.  Creativity and action are great, but if we’re going to really have a meaningful impact, we need systems, structure and process. The two are not incompatible, they’re complementary. When we get the balance right, we have the vision, and we execute on it as a team, as partners with our clients. 

From its initial focus in the Vocational Sector, Synapsys became recognised in the commercial sector – helping with the launch of the Z brand, and supporting Toyota New Zealand on its journey. Our influence continues today through clients such as WSP, Xero, Farmlands and Kiwibank. 

The Canterbury earthquakes helped make us who we are. We kept each other going. We valued having jobs and meaningful work in tough times. And we knew how to look after each other as real people with families and challenging lives. It’s in our DNA and serves us well now in the time massive global change, and of Covid. 

In more recent years our reputation in government has flourished; working across multiple agencies on projects ranging from national sector change initiatives to targeted resource development work.  

Our service offerings have expanded from consulting and content development, to platforms and systems and to measuring the impact of our work. We understand learning as a whole system that is about people and change. 

We learned to be a partner to our clients – to be brave enough to challenge them; to truly and honestly measure our success; to see the whole cycle through from strategic idea to action and systems, to standing with the change we create. 

More recently we’ve embarked on our own journey into Te Ao Māori. We know we have much to offer, much to learn, and we’re committed to building partnerships to see it happen. 

As with all things, Synapsys’ journey has shaped what it is. It also drives who the Synapsys team is, as people and as professionals. 

Our Team

Who we are

We are a national team with our office located in Wellington. We appoint the right people to each project, large or small, to ensure that the design and delivery are led by experts. We have deliberately shaped our company using a flexible resourcing model to ensure we have the capability and capacity necessary to support our clients.

Charles Hendtlass

Editor | Ētita

Charles is an Editor, Technical Writer and Desktop Publisher with many years of experience. He has written tertiary-level learning materials (traditional and web based) in science, engineering, humanities and health. He has qualifications in Physics, English, Resource Management and a Diploma in Secondary Teaching.

David Glover

Director | Manutaki

David is Principal of Creative Strategies, a leadership and business development consultancy and a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors, a NZ Institute of Management fellow and was previously CEO of state-owned enterprise Learning Media.

Helen Johnston

Senior Learning Designer | Kaihoahoa mātauranga matua

Helen is experienced in designing and developing learning solutions in corporate and government environments, focusing on learning impact. She draws on her background in organisational psychology, human resources and learning to provide great outcomes for clients. She is a practiced facilitator in face-to-face and virtual workshops, including design sprint and innovation formats.

Jozefa Wylaars

Administration and Accounts | Whakahaerenga

Jozefa has been working with statistics and business systems her entire career; from government to education to horticulture. She has a passion for clear meaningful reporting, well documented processes and really enjoys supporting the team with HR and contractor liaison.

Lorraine Want

General Manager – Content | Pou Whakahaere Hoahoa

An experienced project manager, Lorraine comes from background in both Government and private sector managing the delivery of both business change and IT projects. She is passionate about customer service and enjoys working with people to take them on the journey to a successful outcome. Lorraine ensures Synapsys projects deliver on-time, on-budget and that quality is second to none.

Maire Smith

Senior Learning Designer | Kaihoahoa mātauranga matua

With a demonstrated history of success in learning experience design, UX design, project management, and quality management, Maire has over 25 years of experience working on learning solutions for the government, energy, and rural sectors. Her award-winning designs help learners to transfer new concepts into their day-to-day practice on the job.

Nicola Sanders-Ryan

Senior Project Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Kaupapa Matua

An experienced project manager, Nicola ensures projects are delivered on-time, on-budget and that quality is second to none. Nicola not only manages complex programmes and projects, but she is also skilled at engaging with clients and SME reference groups and managing projects through complex review systems.

Olumuyiwa Taiwo

Senior Platform Specialist | Kaimātaihangarau

Muyi is our Senior Platform Specialist, implementing, configuring and supporting our LMS solutions. With his wealth of experience as tertiary educator, software developer, infrastructure engineer and project leader, Muyi is well placed to approach a broad range of problems with an informed view of feasible solutions.

Phil Garing

Managing Director | Manahautū

Founding Synapsys in 2004, Phil’s role primarily involves consulting on learning and development strategy and client relations management. He’s been developing flexible, open and eLearning solutions since 1991.

Shayne Priddle

General Manager - Platform Services | Pou Whakahaere Mātaihangarau

As General Manager of Platform Services, and a member of the Senior Leadership Team, Shayne helps keeps the Synapsys waka steering a true course, ensuring the team understand which way we are heading and how we are working together to get there. He also leads Synapsys Platform Services and understands the value of edtech in helping our clients and their organisations thrive. Shayne likes nothing better than helping clients and his team navigate their way through challenging situations.

Virginia Forbes

Learning Designer | Kaihoahoa mātauranga

Virginia has over 20 years’ experience designing and delivering education programmes in diverse cultures and industries. She has brought her experience in creating dynamic curriculum design, blended learning environments and facilitation into the digital environment in both the public and private sectors.

Contact Us

Keep in touch

Contact us directly by telephone and email

04 801 8478,

Wellington Office

Level 1, 10 Courtenay Place
Wellington 6011
New Zealand

Postal Address

P.O. Box 28, Lyttelton 8082