People are the beating heart of Kia Puāwai.
Our people bring years of experience – their service enables us to succeed.
Driven by values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and rangatiratanga, Tony is a passionate advocate for advancing Māori interests within Tāmaki Makaurau. With 20 years’ experience working within local and central government, he currently serves on Auckland Council’s Independent Māori Statutory Board and contributes to the local community as CEO of Papakura Marae.
Alison is the chief executive of Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi, Alison’s previous roles include chief executive of the Centre for Social Impact, General Manager of the Ministry of Youth Development, and chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. She has been a director of Kia Puawai since 2018, and is also a Director of Ember Innovations, and has been a trustee of Philanthropy New Zealand and the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation.
Board member I Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Mahurehure
Serving the disability sector is Tania’s calling. Her career, leadership and governance experience spans decades. Tania’s current position is IHC’s Director of Advocacy. Her previous role was as CEO of Te Roopu Taurima Aotearoa’s largest kaupapa Māori disability support service. She holds governance roles in Ngāti Kahu and is on the Board of NZDSN where she is the convenor of their Māori Advisory Group, Tui Tuia.
Board member I Chair of the Finance Sub-Committee
Patrick is a Chartered Accountant who has served in senior finance management positions in Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand. He is currently Chief Financial Officer of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). His governance roles have included serving as director and board chair for Variety – The Children’s Charity, and he has served on the board of Kia Puāwai since 2015.
A passionate advocate for mental health and disability awareness within New Zealand, Chris has worked extensively in the mental health and disability sectors for District Health Boards and for non-governmental organisations – including a formal role as Chief Executive for Spectrum Care Trust Board.
We have a highly skilled and passionate team of kaimahi and caregivers who come from a range of backgrounds, cultures, and disciplines.
MBA, University of Auckland
A passionate advocate for young people, Marion has focused her career on creating positive change for tamariki, rangatahi and whanau. Alongside senior leadership roles for organisations including Child Youth and Family and Presbyterian Support Northern, she has worked in the DHB and finance sectors, and is a member of the Institute of Directors. Marion is married to Paul and they have two awesome sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and three amazing grandchildren (so far!)
Juliet has an extensive background in a variety of social service settings and has specific expertise in both the care and protection and youth justice areas. Her background in social work, and her leadership roles within Oranga Tamariki and Te Ora Hou, have proven invaluable, and it is this wealth of experience, knowledge and foundational support has been instrumental in helping Kia Puāwai expand in the Te Tai Tokerau region.
Ngāti Patupō, Ngaati Mahuta, Ngaati Hikairo, Ngaati Te Wehi, Ngāti Mahanga.
An experienced te reo Māori teacher, and trainer and facilitator – with a particular focus on working with young offenders and mentoring young Māori – Pita is integral to our bicultural journey. As the national Kaumātua of Kia Puāwai, he hosts many noho marae throughout the year, across different programmes and services, with staff groups around the country.
Russell has extensive commercial and leadership experience in operations and finance. Before joining Kia Puāwai, Russell was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for a large non-profit in New Zealand. Russell’s passion is to make people’s mahi easier, by collaborating with the teams to improve processes and the outcomes for the people they serve. Away from Kia Puāwai, Russell has two teenage daughters who keep him busy, and can usually be found seeking out new and amazing beaches to explore.
BA, BCOM, PGDip Counselling (Dist)
Mark’s journey in social services began at Kia Puāwai more than a decade ago, during which time he also served as Clinical Operations Manager for a large non-governmental organisation in the non-violence sector. Mark was a youth specialist worker, going on to retrain as a counsellor in narrative therapy – working in the harmful sexual behaviour sector and leading and recreating a kaupapa Māori therapeutic service. Mark has extensive knowledge in Māori and Western therapeutic services and practices. A husband, and father to a wonderful son and daughter, whānau ora is paramount to Mark.
Denise is a well-respected people and capability leader, with extensive experience in a number of different sectors. She brings a real sense of warmth and understanding, leading a team of highly skilled people and capability practitioners to ensure kaimahi at Kia Puāwai are equipped with the tools and resources to be highly effective in their roles. Denise enjoys spending time with her family, and a triple shot oat milk cappuccino.
MSc (Criminological Psychology), Registered Psychologist
Louisa spent many years as a Forensic Psychologist in both practitioner and leadership roles within the UK Prison Service and Ara Poutama Aotearoa. Having specialised in offending risk assessment and rehabilitation, she has a keen focus on helping to create positive long-term outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi. Louisa passionately champions a client-focused approach to delivering best practice through evidence-based approaches that are grounded in strong indigenous knowledge and understanding.
Rev Suamalie provides both Tuvaluan and Tokelauan community representation on our Pasifika Matua Council. He hails from Nukulaelae, Tuvalu - and is descended from Tokelau, Tongarewa, Kiribati, Tonga and Samoa. He wears a multitude of hats as a servant leader for his respective communities, including being an ordained Minister of the Christian Church of Tuvalu. He has extensive experience working in the NGO, health and wellbeing sectors. Rev Suamalie sits across many agency and community boards and advisory groups, and has been awarded the Grand of the Dignity of Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire.
Le Afioga o Alaelua Malesala Malesala provides Samoan community representation on our Kaunisela. Alaelua lives in Kawhia and holds strong martial affiliations to Tainui iwi. He is a proud father of three children. A Samoan cultural knowledge holder, Alaelua is a former member of the Auckland District Health Board Pasifika Matua Council and a Pasifika Advisor for the Pasifika Education Centre. He is a Samoan language interpreter and translator for resources and is currently the co-director for his Māori and Pasifika Support Services.
Rev Inoke Masima provides matua representation for the Tongan community on our Pasifika Matua Kaunisela. He is Tongan born in and was a minister for the Wesleyn Church of Tonga for 20 years and the founder of Lifeline in Tonga, the first social service of its kind and it’s still operating today. He was a long-standing leader for the Tongan pro-democracy movement in Tonga. Upon his migration to Aotearoa, he founded the Tonga Wesleyn Church of NZ, a former chair of the Tongan pro-democracy action group and a former board member for the Tongan Health Society. Presently, he is the Counsellor Tongan and a lead parenting programme facilitator for Fonua Ola.
Matua Tigilau Ness, is a Niue New Zealand activist, political activist and reggae artist who performs as Unity Pacific. He is a first-generation Pacific Island New Zealander, and we are blessed to have him sit on our kaunisela on behalf of the Niue community in Aotearoa. He is a co-founder of the Polynesian Panthers and representative of the Polynesian Panther Party NZ. He is the father of hip hop musician Che Fu (Che Ness), and the father of Ephraim Ness, who is a Teaching Family Model Practitioner for our in-care services in Auckland. He also is a lead Niue parenting programme facilitator for his Niue community in Auckland.
Papa Tuau, hails from the Cook Islands. He is a well-respected community leader and elder of the Kuki Airani community back in the Islands and here in Aotearoa. A long serving leader for his community in Tamaki Makaurau and presently the official spokesperson for Pa Upokotini Tepaeru Marie Ariki, Vaka, Takitumu and the Cook Islands Community in Aotearoa. He is also presently an elder/lay advocate for the Pasifika Youth Courts for the Manukau District Courts.
Matua Frances Lagi, is of Fijian descent and married to Rev Atunaisa D Lagi. They have three adult children and five grandchildren. Her background is in business management, and 20 years ago she moved into Pastoral Counselling. In 2013 she graduated with a Bachelor in Counselling, and she is currently employed with Raukura Hauora O Tainui, in the Whanau Ora Service.
Rev Atu Lagi is of Fijian and Rotuman heritage; providing matua support for the Fijian and Rotuman communities on our kaunisela. He has an extensive background in radio and media, and was a previous board member for Tamaki Health Pacific and board member for the Open-Air Campaigners Pacific Missions. He is presently the Assistant National Superintendent – Pastoral Care for the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand. He is also currently the chaplain for the NZ Pacific Media Network.
Matua Henry is of Samoan and Tokelau heritage. He has extensive experience in the youth and disability sectors and working with Pasifika communities in recruitment, employment coaching and placement. Before joining Kia Puāwai as an employment coach at Youth Services West, Henry worked as an employment specialist at Quality Education Services, Youthline and WINZ. His previous leadership roles include being on the board for Tula’i Fa’atasi Inc, acting chairperson for the Arahura Trust, and a board member for the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition.
Pasifika Principal Advisor
Synthia started with Kia Puāwai in 2018, and her role focuses on building the Pacific cultural development, capability and cultural humility of our organisation across all levels, and with all our services. Synthia is a specialist in workforce cultural competency development. She brings more than 20 years of experience working in the mental health, addiction, and social service sectors across a number of organisations, including Blueprint for Learning Limited, Child Youth and Family Services and Waitemata District Health Board. She has three children and lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her husband of Cook Islands Atiuan and NZ European descent.
People are at the heart of organisation – helping young lives, families and communities to thrive. Supporting relationship, behavioural, educational and career pathways is central to what we do. If you share our passion to make a positive impact in lives, value cultural diversity and inclusivity, can embrace challenges and indifference – we’re keen to hear from you!