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Our Board of Trustees

The artwork is called Te Pito o Te Ao. It asserts that if we make our children and young people the centre of our universe, we will transform our whanau. it hangs in the Whanau Room at Gisborne Probation. Our organisation is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by our members at our annual general meeting with the exception of Te Kaihautū who is appointed by Ngā Kaihoe (Māori Caucus). The Board is advised and supported by our Kaumātua (who is is an adviser to the board, not a board member) and by the Ara Taiohi rōpū.

Matekino Marshall, Te Kaihautū

What I love about Ara Taiohi: I love opportunities to learn, create and have great conversations and the opportunity will always be present in Ara Taiohi. I’m a strong believer in the knowledge that someone who works with young people is contributing directly to the future make up of Aotearoa and I think that’s super exciting.

I bring a youthful perspective (still trying to cash in on being in the youth bracket), a controversial thinker who enjoys robust debate to ensure best possible outcomes. I also bring my family's can do attitude, I have a passionate hate for the word can’t.   

My favourite food is EVERYTHING!!! If it’s not in the upper third of the healthy food pyramid then it would be rare for me to consume it, just being honest lol.

Ask me about: Everything !!! I have a smartphone so I can google it, so therefore I believe I can confidently say I know everything unless there is no coverage then I’m limited to my general knowledge and to be honest I’m not sure how far that will get us.

Role Model: EVERYONE!!! People inspire me, I enjoy hearing about people and their experiences both positive and negative, it’s all about learning,   

Fiona Beals

What I love about Ara Taiohi: I love that Ara Taiohi is for the whole youth sector. We are large and diverse, but too small I reckon to be splintered off into different groups. I love that Ara Taiohi is for anyone who works with young people, firmly rooted the Treaty and in youth development.

I bring a desire to acknowledge the people who have supported me in my own development and give back to the sector, skills in research and advocacy and just simply a passion to seeing the sector grow.

My favourite food is whitebait straight from the Kawatiri (Buller) or Orawaiti River cooked the secret West Coast way and served in a sandwich.

Ask me about places to visit, surf, and explore on the West Coast and how to do the Westport rite of passage 1990's style - the muddies (drifting on the mudflats of the Orawaiti River in a run down car) but don't ask me the secret recipe for Whitebait patties.  

My role model is the youth worker who once said to me 'The most significant thing you can do is be a significant person for somebody'. 

Chris Martin

What I love about Ara Taiohi - Youth workers are an amazing community that reach all parts of Aotearoa. I love that Ara Taiohi seeks to connect all these passionate, creative and dedicated people.  It’s a big job, but someone’s gotta do it. I love that the team at Ara Taiohi are committed to serving the sector and are prepared to give it their best shot.

I bring My Dad jokes, my love of young people and my passion to see the youth work sector be strong, connected and united in supporting the extraordinary young people we work and live with.

My favourite food is particularly anything that is shared with good company. Life is too short for bad coffee and a yawn is a silent cry for caffeine.

Ask me about Anything… if I don’t know the answer I can always google it.

My role model - as a young person an awesome youth worker taught me about generosity and unconditional love by living it.

Elizabeth Kerekere

What I love about Ara Taiohi: Its illustrious whakapapa; the vibrancy and commitment to young people of its members; its community-led strategy and streamlined structure.

I bring A strength-based Treaty analysis with Rainbow flair, complete confidence that Ara Taiohi will lead a transformation of the youth sector over the coming years and an expectation that I will work hard on the Board to help make that happen.

My favourite food - Anything made with love.

Ask me about Takatapui (Māori with diverse genders and sexualities) - it is who I am, the turangawaewae for my activism (via Tiwhanawhana Trust), the topic of speeches I give here and all over the world, the subject of my forthcoming PhD and a series of resources; the first of which was launched in November 2015.

My role model - Christina Hurihia Wirihana, Master Weaver and Chair of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (National Maori Weavers Association). She reminds me of the importance of preparation and consistent respectful process to achieve the desired result. Christina models how to provide a framework that enable all of us to contribute our strands and weave together the vision we want to create.

The artwork in the picture with Elizabeth is called Te Pito o Te Ao. It asserts that if we make our children and young people the centre of our universe, we will transform our whanau. it hangs in the Whanau Room at Gisborne Probation. 

Paula Kearns

What I love about Ara Taiohi: I love how Ara Taiohi is working to connect the youth development sector and strengthen collaboration so we can all achieve better outcomes or young people.

 I bring A strategic perspective, a variety of experience and skills and an enthusiasm for working as a team.

My favourite food:  Tapas and shared plates.  It’s all about the dining experience!

Ask me about My kids I am a very proud mum and really enjoy hanging out with them.

My role model is Kate Sheppard ... She paved the way for New Zealand women.

Kirsten Smith

What I love about Ara Taiohi: I love the passion and energy from people to develop the youth sector towards connecting the sector, raising the standards, championing youth development and promoting sustainability.

I bring: a long history of working in youth health and development. I couldn't imagine doing anything else! I care deeply about young people and seeing them group up well. I am a vocal (stroppy!) advocate for young people, particularly those who experience inequity. I bring significant experience in HR and financial management, organisational development, and in leading complex change. But most importantly, relationship building, working together and understanding the strengths that everyone brings, is super important to me.

My favourite food: Right now my daughter Lucy is baking cookies which smell amazing. Once I have demolished those, probably bacon and egg pie (but I'm very fussy about what constitutes a good one!) Or a really good margherita pizza shared with my other daughter Hannah, the doppelganger in the photo. And word association just made me think of frozen margaritas with lime and salt on a hot day. Oh, that makes me think of Leeds St bakery salted caramel cookies. And coffee. Coffee is definitely a food.

Ask me about: Food? I'm really good at word association. Also right now, ask me about the amazing trip I was so lucky to have to Italy with my family. We ate a lot of amazing food...

My role model is: my cat Rosie. She spends a lot of time hanging out with the people closest to her, giving them quiet encouragement and love, and asking them for what she needs too. She is also good at finding her own space when she needs it. And she always finds the warmest, cosiest spots to sit.

Our thanks to all our previous board members and kaumatua:

Dr Aniva Lawrence, Cherrill Rave, Daniel Gotz, Dave Green, Freedom Preston-Clark, Rebecca Blackie, Ric Odom, Sarah Finlay, Simon Mareko, Stephen Bell and Will Goldsmith.

Our special thanks to our former Kaumatua Ruru Hona for guiding us through the first stages of Ara Taiohi's journey.