Steering Group Members
Steering Group Members
The Steering Group comprise of the below members:
Mele Wendt, MNZM
Mele Wendt has 17 years of leadership/management experience and over 20 years of governance experience. Her roles have included being a high school teacher, the founding pacific islands liaison officer and manager of the student recruitment office at Victoria University of Wellington, and then the executive director of Fulbright New Zealand for ten years. In the last few years, Mele has been doing a mix of consultancy work and governance. A certified member of the Institute of Directors, Mele currently serves on the boards of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Correspondence School and the Wellington Community Trust. She also currently chairs the Steering Group which is developing a national strategy for NGO/community governance. Recent past governance appointments include chairing Massey University's Pacific Student Success Working Group, and chairing the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland. Mele is Samoan (Malie, Vaiala, Lefaga) and palagi (NZ, Britain), and lives in Wellington. In January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.
Francesca Ephraim is a Regional Advisor in the Capability Team at Charities Services. She also worked for the Charities Commission as an Analyst when it was established in 2008. Francesca has a Bachelor of Laws and extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector and is passionate about improving governance in the sector. Outside of work Francesca is a renovation queen and a garden ninja.
Kate is Head of Community Investment at Rata Foundation. Rata Foundation is the largest philanthropic funder in the South Island. She has a background in both grant making and strategic funding both in New Zealand and in the UK. Kate has a strong interest in supporting grassroots organizations, and believes those are best placed to meet the needs of their communities. She has had a particular interest in supporting community sector governance, and has led Rata Foundations development of its strengthening the sector approach.
Rabeea Inayatullah is a 22 year old graduate from Victoria University of Wellington. She completed her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Rabeea has always been an active member in the community through being a mentor and teacher at her local mosque in Porirua when she was a teen. She was the President of the Politics Society at Victoria University and now sits on three Executive Committees; Porirua Multicultural Council as Vice President; National Women's Council of NZ - Wellington Branch as Secretary; and Multicultural New Zealand as Youth Representative. Rabeea was a candidate for the local government elections in the Northern Ward area for Porirua in 2019 and was the only young woman of colour running in that ward. One of the defining reasons she ran was to provide a platform and voice for the communities she represents which is South-East Asian, migrant/refugee/immigrant and Muslim communities.
Kevin has 20 years governance and management experience in the community and not-for-profit sector. As the former General Manager of Funding Information Service (now known as Generosity New Zealand), Kevin gained valuable experience and insights of community organisations and the philanthropic community.
Kevin’s voluntary service for the community reflects a strong sense of social justice and improving outcomes for marginalised groups. He has served with the NZ Aids Foundation, Māori Advisory Group to the Board and as a former board member of the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) for the Asia Pacific region and World Board respectively. Kevin has previously represented Tīwhanawhana Trust, a Wellington-based organisation serving the Takatāpui (Māori LGBTI) community, as a board member and organiser of the Wellington 2011 Asia Pacific GLISA Outgames, 2016 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Oceania Regional Conference, 2019 ILGA World Conference.
Kevin continues to serve as a Trustee for Tīwhanawhana Trust and cultural mentor for the Wellington Takatāpui whānau. He also represents Tīwhanawhana on the LGBTI Advisory Group to Statistics, as an advocate to set up an LGBTI Advisory Group for Wellington City Council, building Oceania region LGBTI support capability and capacity through diplomatic sources in New Zealand, and as international advisor to the Human Rights Conference for 2023 World Pride Conference, Copenhagen / Malmo with a focus on the human rights of LGBTI indigenous peoples.
Kevin has recently been was elected as board member to DCM (formerly known as Downtown Community Ministry) Wellington, a community organisation that serves some of the most marginalised in the community who are homeless.
A former resident of Martinborough now residing in Wellington, Kevin remains strongly connected to Martinborough through his governance roles and community affiliations. Kevin is an active member of Hau Ariki Marae committee and community since joining in 2002 where he currently holds the roles of treasurer.
Kevin has affiliations to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Āti Hau, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Ūenuku, Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe.
Toni has had a range of governance roles since returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2008. Toni was appointed to the board of the Government Superannuation Fund Authority in 2009. After serving two terms, Toni sought to expand her knowledge of the not-for-profit sector and joined the Audit and Risk Committee of the IHC. Toni remained a member until an opportunity came up to join the establishment board of New Zealand Community Housing Funding Ltd. Toni has also served as a Deputy Chair of Te Tikanga Marae and is currently a Trustee of a Whānau Trust. Alongside these governance roles and a long career in banking and investment management, Toni recently decided to move to the Public Sector. She is a Principal Advisor in the Investment team at Te Puni Kōkiri and has responsibility for building investment related capability amongst whānau and communities, including Māori governance capability.
Susan Huria, Ngai Tahu ONZM
Susan has held board directorships with not for profit trusts and privately owned companies, publicly-listed, state-owned enterprises, a crown research institute and a wide range of Māori owned including currently Chairman of Ngāi Tahu Property. She is also a Director with the Royal NZ College of GPs, a Director of Connexis, Leaderbrand and a Trustee Construction Health and Safety NZ. She is
Chair of the Steering Committee ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’ – longitudinal study governed by UniServices and MSD. Susan is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors and has spent over two decades in governance roles.
Prabha Ravi QSM, JP
Prabha Ravi is an experienced director and community leader with over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the education and arts industry in the private and public sectors. Prabha has travelled to over 45 countries promoting New Zealand education and representing New Zealand at conferences. She has over ten years of governance experience, especially in the not-for-profit sector. She currently sits on eight national and regional not-for-profit boards. She is the founder and director of Grow Consultancy Limited and Natraj School of Dance established in 2014 and 1999 respectively. She has been recognised with the Queen's Service Medal (QSM), the Hutt City Council Civic Honour award, and awards from ethnic councils for her contribution to dance and ethnic communities . In 2018, she was one of the Judges for the popular TV3 reality show The Great New Zealand Dance Masala. Prabha has been one of the Judges for the annual Hutt City Youth Awards since 2018 and in 2019 was one of the judges for The Hutt’s Got Talent competition.
Nikolao Cockerell is a 21-year-old student currently studying a Leadership for Change degree at the Otago Polytechnic. He is passionate about film and photography and would like to use it to empower his community. Nikolao has been involved in different roles of leadership, from running a Waterwise conservation camp with Untouched World, to speaking at Government House during KiMuaNZ 2019. Growing up in Aotearoa as a Tokelauan Kenyan kiwi, Nikolao has seen the importance of community and the positive impact it has when thriving.
Rangitāne, Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Kai Tahu
Sonya, born and raised in Wairarapa, has more than 25 years central government experience including in Māori development portfolios. Her roles have been to influence decision makers to advance and support the aspirations of Iwi / Māori.
An experienced director of 20 years, Sonya is a trustee on the boards of Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust, Tū Mai Rā Investment, Wairarapa Moana Incorporation and Te Hauora o Wairarapa.
Sonya has extensive networks across Aotearoa and communities across the health, education, welfare, and justice sectors. She brings strong management experience, strategic thinking, and social consciousness to the Board table.
Currently Sonya is the Kaihautū Tuarā Taonga-a-Ringa, Trust & Property Operations Manager at Te Tumu Paeroa, Māori Trustee.