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Our Board of Trustees

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,   

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.

Josie Ogden Schroeder

What I love about Ara Taiohi: is that it is all about strengthening a sector that makes such a fundamental difference to our society. Young people literally are our future – they are or will be parents, business owners, politicians, and influencers. How great to be part of an organisation which champions the champions of youth development. A great way to ‘give back’ after 20+ years of fun, fulfilment, (and heartbreak), working in the youth development area.

I bring: all my baggage! Plus, a strategic, open mind and a range of governance skills I have developed over time.

My favourite food: ?? I have no idea. My kids asked me this just the other day and I couldn’t decide. I actually really like macaroni cheese. And olives.

Ask me about: ‘One Island of Good’ (or watch it on TV3 on Demand).

My role model: is always changing. I look up to people who are authentic, and honest, and who work really hard for what they believe in.

There are lots of people I have known over the years who have inspired me and/or taught me different things about myself and about the world and about how to cope with some of the c**p that happens. My husband Stephen role models how to deal with challenge and having a good sense of humour no matter what. A man I used to work for, Terry, role models how to be a consummate professional and never compromise on agreed organisational values even when that means doing things that are really hard, and now he is retired he continues to be a rock of support. I have a colleague, Mandy, who is the most competent, dignified and brave woman I know. I have learned enormous amounts about authentic leadership from my leadership coach Louise. I have learned what professional youthwork practice is from some totally inspirational and strengths based professionals over the years – Anni Watkin and John Harrington and Paddy Pawson stand out from the crowd for me in this regard. There have been COUNTLESS young people I’ve known over my life who have shown me what courage and determination really looks like – too many to name here but the one who had the biggest impact was Nani, her Mum, and all her siblings, but I doubt they know that. My kids remind me every day how privileged I am and help me to remember to be grateful for what I have and what I can now offer others.


Mataio Viliamu

What I love about Ara Taiohi: I love to see organisations live what they preach.  Youth Work is so creative, dynamic, communal and dependent on developing genuine relationships – These are all things that I have seen from Ara Taiohi and its people over the years.   

I bring: lots of experience working in Residential and Community-based Youth Work.  I am also known to bring M&Ms or chocolate biscuits to share..!

My favourite food: Anything lamb casserole related in a slow cooker with rice.  Actually, anything gravy-ish with rice!

Ask me about: generally anything!! If ya want to pick my brain then perhaps incarnational communities and Youth work in a residential setting - unique youth work space!….cultural and indigenous psychology….And Liverpool Football Club, they’re my jam :o)

My role models are: Jesus – trying to live life with integrity and humility, Mum – cos she raised me by herself, My kids – cos they approach life with such passion and innocence. 


Our thanks to all our previous board members and kaumatua:

Dr Aniva Lawrence, Cherrill Rave, Chris Martin, Daniel Gotz, Dave Green, Fiona Beals, Freedom Preston-Clark, Rebecca Blackie, Ric Odom, Sarah Finlay-Robinson, 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.