Our Team

Our staff

Isabelle Poff-Pencole


Gaëlle Stefani

French Teacher

Karyl Koindredi

French Teacher

Florence Beccafichi-Dionisi


Our committee

Hussein Kikhounga-N'got


Christine McAlpine


Kay Ellison


Jenny Mackenzie

Committee member

Coralie Yorke

Committee member

Jan Dixon

Committee member

Dennis Yorke

Committee member

Paul Dixo

Committee member

A word from our President, Hussein Kikhounga-N'got

Bonjour à tous!

Let me begin by attending to the common misconception that the Alliance Française is an extension of the French embassy - and thus is fully-funded by - the French government: Au contraire! In fact, the Alliance Française Palmerston North is a local registered charity that relies primarily on grants, donations, and the membership and course fees that you, the locals, contribute. We are a Palmerston North-based charitable organization reaching outwards to the wider Manawatū. Understood from this perspective, our function is not the top-down dissemination of French language from the Parisian metropolis to the far corners of the globe, but rather a bottom-up, grass roots process of community engagement. We are Palmy people adding value, diversity and cohesion to our own community.

I will provide a little bit of my own personal history to demonstrate more precisely what we are about. I grew up in Ongaonga, a small historic village in Central Hawkes Bay. My father was a shearer and my mother worked at the freezing works. When I left home, I attended Massey University; from there, I made my way overseas where I took up plastic lining (the installation of polyethylene geomembranes on reservoirs, landfills and other containment applications). I was fortunate enough to spend time working in both France and New Caledonia, where I developed a love of French language and culture. I have since returned to Palmerston North where my partner and I have started a family. I am a member of the Alliance Française Palmerston North because it allows me to feel at home in the Manawatū whilst contributing another perspective to the ever-burgeoning cultural richness of our community.

Our organization is made up of locals drawn from an immense variety of backgrounds and locations, cultures and traditions. Whether one hails from Africa, Whanganui, the Pacific, Auckland, Europe or Bunnythorpe, the one thing we share in common is our lives together in this place.


Are you interested in joining our team?

We are always looking for motivated French-speaking people to join our team. Anyone who is willing to volunteer their time to help support us is always welcome too!