Meet our people who are committed to supporting healthier environments in places where we spend our time.

Ko Wai Mātou

David George

Kaiwhakahaere Mātua (CEO)Sport Waitākere

Having worked in a variety of roles both domestically and internationally across almost 20 years, David brings extensive experience of leading and supporting teams to achieve strategic outcomes. David is proud to lead an immensely talented whānau to achieve Sport Waitākere’s vision of ‘Kia Tuia, Kia Ora, Kia Tū’  (Everyone Connected, Healthy and Active) across the West Auckland community.

Mike Tipene

Mike’s primary focus is improved Māori health outcomes, his knowledge of Te Ao Māori helps to inform our practice when working with and for our Māori communities.

Mike brings strategic direction and guidance that supports our team to work in a culturally appropriate manner, therefore improving the likelihood for successful Māori outcomes.


Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa​​​​​​​

Catherine Powell

Practice and Development Lead

Cathie has worked in Waitākere for over 30 years as a community developer, mediator and educator and is committed to interrupting colonisation, poverty and all forms of discrimination.

Her role focuses on developing and driving the innovation practice alongside the wider Healthy Families team. Cathie brings expert knowledge in both systems change theory and design methodology, as well as a strong social justice/human rights focus. She enjoys exploring the evolving role of systems innovation in improving health and wellbeing for those currently underserved in West Auckland and beyond.

Metiria Light

Rautaki Māori

Metiria is well versed with the Healthy Families movement, having previously held the Rautaki Māori role in the Murihiku, Waihopai rohe. Her ability to uplift community aspirations in a culturally responsive and meaningful way reflects her dedication to addressing the unique needs of the communities she serves. In this capacity, her commitment to influencing positive change and advancing health outcomes for Māori communities shines through.

Ngāti Haaua, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa

Ella Falakoa

Pacific Strategic Lead


My focus is to weave a Pacific worldview that serves, nurtures, and strengthens the health and wellbeing of our Pacific community. I enjoy implementing strategic innovation that influences local cultural renewal and welcomes sustainable change to provide positive health outcomes.

Grace Vujnovich

Strategic Communications Lead

As the Communications Lead, Grace works alongside the team to tell their stories of transformative change in West Auckland, recording the mahi through impact reports, storytelling, cases for change and more. 

Priscilla TuiSamoa

Māori Communications Innovator

Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngati Ruanui, Vaovai (Sāmoa), Malaela (Sāmoa)

Priscilla’s role includes developing stories and content to support and promote kaupapa Māori in West Auckland. She also manages our online platforms and supports the team with digital content creation.

Louise Kirkwood

Data Insights and Evaluation Lead​​​​​​​

As Data Insights and Evaluation Lead, Louise’s role is to support the team to build robust evaluation practice into their day-to day work, so we can continuously refine and improve what we do to promote healthy lives.

Michele Eickstaedt

Systems Innovator

As a Food Systems Innovator and registered nutritionist, Michele’s passion is to identify and support opportunities to improve the food/nutrition environment in places where people live, learn, work and play in West Auckland.

Ruta Tai

Systems Innovator (Play & Physical Activity)

Iva, Falelatai (Sāmoa)

​​​​​​​Ruta has a background in athlete and coach development in the Pacific and Aotearoa. She is passionate about creating and fostering community connections and providing ​​​​​​​navigational support to access opportunities that strengthens the wellbeing of individuals and whānau, in order to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Rea Kenkel

Rea Kenkel

Systems Innovator

Rea has a background in community development and food sovereignty movements and is passionate about working alongside the community to help influence system disruption, strategic innovations and strengthen community connection. Rea has an interest in how people relate to the spaces they occupy and the positive impacts that a sense of place can bring to our health and wellbeing.

Miriama Ohlson

Systems Innovator

Ngai Tūhoe, Ngati Whare

Originally from Otepōti (Dunedin), Miriama is of Tūhoe and Ngāti Whare descent nō Te Whaiti Nui a Toi ki roto i Te Urewera. She has run and managed a small business for many years and has extensive experience in the Health and Disability sector, specialising in high and complex needs. Miriama is a registered Coach with Sport NZ and has a vast array of skills working in the community for the community.

Strategic Leadership Group

Our Strategic Leadership Group work collaboratively with our workforce to support changes that will make the biggest difference for public good.

Lynette Adams

General Manager Community Engagement - West Auckland Trusts Services Ltd​​​​​​​

Lynette chairs the Healthy Families Waitakere SLG and is the previous CEO of Sport Waitākere. She held that position since 2004 and is strongly passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of West Aucklanders. With Sport Waitākere vision of: Everyone connected, active and healthy she is able to align her beliefs through her work for the community she loves.

Lynette is also an Elected Member of the Waitākere Licensing Trust, a Director on The West Auckland Trust Services Limited (WATS) and a board member of Belong Aotearoa. She has held previous governance roles including the Waitākere Regional Hockey Turf Trust and NZ Bowls.

Stefan Crooks

Managing Director, Westie Food Group

Stefan is the Owner and Managing Director of Westie Food Group which create fresh chilled food products.  Manufacturing, marketing and distributing affordable savouries, family meal solutions and ready to eat snacks for New Zealand families, the strength of the company lies in its ability to identify market opportunities, create new products and deliver these extremely quickly to market using innovative marketing techniques.

Stefan has worked with the local board and community to create Suburbs into a thriving vibrant club. He also sits on the Auckland Rugby Chairs group. In 2020, Stefan was appointed to the role of Chair for the Rosebank Business Association.

Fole (Daleki) Finau

Intrapreneur - Community and Social Innovation, The Western Initiative at Auckland Council

Fole (Daleki) Finau is of Tongan descent from the villages of Masilamea, Tongatapu on his father’s side and Ma’ufanga, Tongatapu on his mother’s side. Born in Aotearoa and raised in Tonga and around the Pacific, he now lives in west Auckland and is married with two wonderful daughters, who keep him grounded yet ambitious.

Fole has worked extensively within tertiary education, community health and local government. He has well established relationships across academic, health, central government, local government and the Pasifika community.

Fole is currently a part of The Western Initiative (TWI) team at Auckland Council. TWI deliver and facilitate economic initiatives that build social, human, cultural and financial capital that enables west Aucklanders, particularly Pasifika and Māori, to create socio-economic transformation for their communities, while also influencing change at a system level.

Matt Grey

Director / Head Coach, West Auckland Youth Development Trust - West Auckland Boxing Academy

Matt is a current member of Auckland Council’s Henderson-Massey Local Board and is in his second elected term. He started a charity called the West Auckland Youth Development Trust using the discipline of boxing, health and fitness to work alongside youth in their journey throughout adolescence. Born and raised in West Auckland, Matt currently resides here with his wife and two children and is proud to call it home

With twenty years of experience in youth development, starting out as a school guidance counsellor working in youth drug and alcohol, to being CEO at one of New Zealand’s most successful youth charities, Matt is committed to making a difference in his community. Recently completing a Masters degree in community safety, he has gained a new passion and insight to how to ensure communities are safe and connected.

Penny Hulse MNZM

Penny has been a councillor and local body elected member for the last 27 years. She served as deputy mayor for Waitākere City and then deputy mayor for the newly amalgamated Auckland council for six years.

She has been closely involved in city planning and development of housing policy chairing a variety of committees responsible for these areas.

Penny has also been a member of the Auckland Housing First governance group, and was appointed to the board of Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) in January 2020.

Aroha Hudson

CEO and Director, HealthWEST​​​​​​​

Aroha Hudson, ACA, MBA (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi) is the CEO of HealthWest Te Puna Manawa (Est in 1993). HealthWest has Māori Provider Trust Status and operates as a Not For Profit Charitable Trust. HealthWest provides free health, social, whānau ora and community support services especially to vulnerable communities of including Māori, Pacific, children, young people, families and other high needs groups.

Aroha has been on the Spectrum Care Trust Board since June 2013 and currently chairs the Finance and Audit Committee. Aroha is a Board member for Te Hononga O Tāmaki Me Hoturoa and has additional governance roles including National Māori PHO Coalition, Director Auckland PHO, Council Member Unitec, Health Research Council, Heart Foundation NZ Institute of Management & Waitematā District Health Board. Her advisory roles includes member Māori Advisory Committee Clinical Trials School of Population Health University of Auckland. Aroha won young chartered accountant of the year and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of NZ.

Mark Allen

Executive Officer of Community Waitākere and Waitākere Ranges Local Board Member ​​​​​​​

A dedicated westie, Mark lives in Te Henga/Bethells Beach with his partner Janet Cole. He has been Executive Officer at Community Waitākere since 2018, after 30 years in local government.

He worked at Auckland City Council, Waitākere City Council and Auckland Council in a variety of roles including Community Development Team Leader, Leisure Services Manager, Social Wellbeing Collaboration Project Manager and Strategic Advisor.

He is also an elected member on the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and is on the Waitakere Licensing Trust and a Director on West Auckland Trust Services.

Aimee Hadrup

With a background in Public Health, Aimee has dedicated more than 15 years to improving community health and wellbeing through a variety of roles spanning the commissioning, development, implementation and evaluation of prevention-focussed initiatives. This included playing a key role in the establishment of Healthy Families NZ while at the Ministry of Health. Aimee brings expertise in the fields of systems change, leadership in complexity and whānau-led innovation.

Aimee currently leads the Tamariki Wellbeing team at The Southern Initiative, an innovation unit embedded within Auckland Council that is focussed on social and economic transformation for South Auckland. 

A proudly born and bred Westie, Aimee is passionate about unleashing the potential of community-led approaches to deliver more equitable wellbeing outcomes for our whānau and tamariki. 

Lucy Kingsbeer

Principal Service Development Manager – Healthy Families NZ | Te Whatu Ora

Lucy has worked in public health and health prevention since 2005, initially in public health with a focus on alcohol harm reduction and tobacco control and more recently as a project manager in the Promotion Directorate, National Public Health Service (formally the Health Promotion Agency). Lucy has been a part of the Healthy Families NZ initiative since 2017 and has a passion for community-up leadership, co-design, systems thinking and storytelling for influence.