One of the best things I like about teaching, is finding ways to encourage young people who don’t have a strong English literacy background. I was lucky to have been brought up with books and reading, but I know that many young people have not had that kind of upbringing for different reasons.

I  want students to know that reading can be interesting, fun and inspiring. I also want them to believe that they can become good readers. Sometimes, especially with boys, it’s just a matter of finding something “cool” to read to get them started.

From that foundation young people can then go on to write their own stories, whether it be in the form of novels, plays, lyrics, poetry etc. Young people have amazing stories to tell. They just need encouragement to know they have important things to share and the confidence to believe they can share their stories too. It’s great that they see me publishing my writing because then they can see it’s achievable for them too.

Some background about me
I grew up in Mangere and attended Viscount Primary, Arahanga Intemediate and Mangere College [seek the heights!]. I played schoolboy rugby league for Manukau [the mighty Magpies!]
I attended Auckland University and gained a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology.
I am a teacher at Tangaroa College in Otara, South Auckland, NZ. I taught English for 12 years. For three of those years, I led the department. I have also been a Head of Dance and Drama and Specialist Classroom Teacher.


My dad is Alby Riley. My family on my Dad’s side originates from Norseman, Western Australia and then further back to Ireland. My mum is Susan Riley [Johnson]. My mum’s side comes from Port Jackson, Coromandel and further back to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man! This is the flag of the Isle of Man. The motto of the Isle of Man is: ‘Whichever way I’m thrown, I always land on my feet.’

Isle of man

I am married to Lauano Sulufaleese Deborah Riley. Debbie’s mum is Muagututi’a Tauloa Sala’ivao. She comes from Leauva’a and Samamea, Samoa. Debbie’s dad is the late Lolo Frank Fonoti Tomuli. He’s from Sataoa, Faleatiu and Salesatele, Samoa.


We have two daughters: Santana [born 2007] and Maycee [born 2004]. We live in Manukau, the capital city of Polynesia!


2 thoughts on “Biography

  1. Nick Johnson

    Hi Dave

    Sitting on the couch with my wife, we were talking about our kids education, and our own. That got me thinking about kids from my seventh form at Mangere College. A couple of fingertaps later and I’m reading your blog. Really awesome to read of your successes.

    Nick Johnson


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