Maria Fresia - School Director
Maria is originally from Rome but has been living in New Zealand since 1989.
Before coming to New Zealand, Maria was a primary school teacher and taught Italian at Canterbury University for over 15 years. Maria now teaches at the Dante School and is also the Christchurch coordinator for Interpreting New Zealand.
Maria, in conjunction with Dante Auckland, offers all students of Italian an experience of full immersion Summer School - 5 day programme, usually on the last week in January.
For the last eight years, she organises study tours to Italy, two trips a year:
- Ten days residential, full immersion language study tour. Exclusively for students of Italian: formal classes, fostering the use of the language throughout the day, plus outings and sightseeing. "Si parla solo in italiano!"
- A second tour of twelve days follows the study language tour, exploring in depth one region of Italy in the company of friendly guides and always surrounded by a genuine Italian atmosphere. Open to all, students and not.
Lisa is also from Rome and comes from a long family tradition of restaurateurs. She has been living in NZ with her beautiful kiwi husband since 2007.
Lisa lived in London for 13 years, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies and worked with international students for several years.
Lisa has been teaching Italian at various Christchurch and Dunedin High Schools as a Continuing Education tutor and privately since 2007.
Lisa also taught Italian Cuisine as a Continuing Education Tutor for several years as well. She has been a trained interpreter (Italian/English) for Interpreting New Zealand since 2012.
Between 2013 and 2014 she was a member of the Christchurch Dante Society’s committee and she is now back to not only teach Italian language but also to organise films for CineDante.
Born and bred in the picturesque land of Apulia in Southern Italy, Rosa has always had a knack for languages.
Hoping her passion would let her travel the world, she took up her studies in Foreign Languages at the University of Bari and studied across Italy, England, and France.
After graduation, her dreams came true when she got hired as a crew language teacher for a well-known Italian cruise ship company and travelled as far the French Caribbean.
In this position, she helped many students of different nationalities and across various job roles achieve a good level of Italian, interact with the local guests onboard, and provide a better customer experience.
She taught off shore for one year, then decided to complete her studies with a post-graduate Diploma in Digital Communication in Milan where she lived for 4 years before stumbling upon a stunning Kiwi rugby player that she’s been following around the world since, taking her to permanently settle down in New Zealand at the end of 2017.
Here she has joined a fantastic marketing team where she carries on her passion for all things digital and social media. She is super excited to be now also part of the Dante School, and contribute to the sharing of her beloved Italian language and culture.
Roberto is from Apulia (Puglia). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures, a Master’s Degree in Theory and Practice of Translation, and a CEDILS Certificate in Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language. His studies focused on applied linguistics and technical-scientific translation.
Before coming to New Zealand, he has studied, travelled, and worked in Spain, Ireland, and Australia. In Adelaide, Roberto was a language assistant in primary and high schools for the Dante Alighieri Society of South Australia. He moved to Christchurch in 2014.
Roberto also organises the Italian Book Club.
Francesca was born in Trento (Trentino-Alto Adige), where she started developing her interest in the Italian language, arts and literature. She studied Humanities, Cultural Heritage and Education at the Universities of Trento and Siena.
After spending some years in Arezzo (Tuscany) and in her dream city, Firenze, she went back to her hometown:. She gained a qualification for teaching Italian as a second language and became one of the co-founders of the first association in Trentino-Alto Adige for teaching Italian L2.
She hasn't stopped teaching Italian since then. Enthusiastic learners from almost any linguistic background in Italy, New Zealand and Canada, where she taught at the Dante Society of British Columbia and the Italian Cultural Centre of Vancouver.
Now that she's back in town, she's excited to share her passion for the Italian language and culture at the Dante Society in Christchurch.
In July 2022 Francesca gained the CEDILS qualification for teaching Italian as a Second Language and Foreign Language.
Brunella was born in Rome but she spent some of her childhood in Sorrento.
She obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Rome,"la Sapienza".
After her graduation, she won a national competition to become a primary school teacher: a job she held for seven years. She started teaching Italian first in England as a "lettrice" in the School of Modern Languages" at Lancaster University and concurrently at the Adult Colleges of Lancaster, Morecambe and Preston. After moving to New Zealand, she taught Italian for several years at the Christchurch Polytechnic.
In the last 15 years, she taught both Italian language and Italian cooking in the Continuing Education program at the Risingholme Community Centre in Christchurch.