The Youth Mentoring Network

About Us

Our People


Ann Dunphy MA (Hons)

Based at the University of Auckland's Epsom campus since 1999, following 13 years as principal of Auckland's Penrose High School, Ann maintains the commitment to quality educational opportunities for lower-decile students that has been her life's work. She began teaching in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, then held senior leadership positions at both of the secondary schools in Otara.

During her years of principalship, Ann became convinced of the importance of community partnerships especially in mentoring, to enhance the life-chances of young people, so in 2000 co-founded the Auckland Youth Mentoring Association, which has now been developed into The Youth Mentoring Network.

Our Patrons

Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO and Lady Susan Satyanand

We are honoured to announce former Governor General Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO and Lady Susan Satyanand have kindly accepted our invitation to be joint patrons of the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network.

The Satyanands are based in Wellington and bring extensive national networks and high levels of knowledge and commitment to key areas of importance for the Youth Mentoring sector in 'diversity, education, youth and engagement'. They are looking forward very much to starting their work with us, by participating in the conference, meeting attendees and finding out how they can support and assist the youth mentoring sector going forward.

General Manager

Nicki McDonald (MBA)

With a background in the commercial sector and not-for-profit sector, Nicki brings a unique skill-set to our charitable trust.  She started her career working for a large United States Information Technology corporate.  This provided Nicki with a broad base of skills and experience across all aspects of a commercial business environment from training and support to marketing and sales. 

Nicki moved into the not-for-profit sector in 2001, taking up the role of General Manager of First Foundation (2003 – 2009). The Foundation is charitable trust offering scholarship and mentoring to young people attending low decile schools who are transitioning to tertiary studies.  Nicki remains very much involved with the Foundation, mentoring one of their young people. 


Joy Eaton (BA, DipSM, DipTchg)

Joy is Deputy Director of the Starpath Project. She started her career in education as a geography and social studies teacher at Tangaroa College and has since held a number of senior management roles in mid-low decile schools, including four years as principal at Henderson High School in West Auckland.

Joy has a deep academic interest in the role of hope in the sustainability of innovation and change in education and, as part of a Research Fellowship with Unitec, produced a paper entitled The Life and Death of Change. She was also invited to be part of an international research team making a comparative study of middle leadership in schools in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Recently, Joy has been actively involved in environmental education and has continued to support community work with an interest in youth mentoring, teen parent education and the issues of deprivation that create barriers to school attendance.

Steve Ferris (BScTech, DipTech(Env Eng)

Steve has a strong commercial background with several General Management roles and being a previous director of Carpet Court New Zealand. 

Steve is currently the Head of Product and Logistics at Flooring Brands and runs the associated importation business together with being the Tauranga based Waikato Regional Manager for Flooring Brands.

Bill Gavin (Q.S.O.) BA (Hons), BA, Dip Tchg


Bill was Principal of Otahuhu College from 1985 to 2001. He then went on to coordinate the AIMHI (Achievement in Multi-Cultural High Schools) schooling improvement initiative from 2002 to 2006.

Since 2006 he has been involved in a variety of educational initiatives that have focused on school governance and management. He was Chair of the City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET) from 2008 to 2011 and he has also been a Project K trustee since 2001.

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis (MEd. Couns, BEd, PGDip Sys Intervention, Whakapiki i te reo Maori-Post graduate qualification in Maori language)

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis

Nathan has spent the last nine years as a lecturer at Canterbury University, a neuroscience presenter for Brainwave, and as a Child Protection trainer.  He serves on other  Boards in addition to Brothers and Sisters, including Brainwave and Cholmondeley Children's Home. 

In addition to being a father with a history as a foster parent, his professional background is in child counseling, teaching and social service  management.

Michelle Johansson

Michelle is an academic and a theatre- maker, she is also the Pasifika facilitator for the English online communities, a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland and a staunch advocate for the breaking down of stereotypes through performance. Her experience includes teaching both at secondary and tertiary levels, as well as Pasifika advisory rolls and she comes to us from her position as a Senior Leader in Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology.


Michelle's research recognizes that as a lens through which young people view themselves, the world, and their place in the world, schools are a powerful means of either affirming or undermining positive cultural identity and self-image. In her new role, she is particularly interested in developing a pan- cultural understanding of leadership and in exploring the correlation between socio-economic barriers to equity in education and the lack of genuine cultural responsiveness in our school system. She is passionate about South Auckland, Pasifika Education and Theatre for Change and is proud to be the Creative Director of Polynesian theatre company- the Black Friars.

Hauāuru Eugene Rawiri, (BEd)

Hau Rawiri_opt

Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Hauraki te rohe
Ko Kohukohunui te maunga
Ko Tikapa te moana
Ko Waihihi te awa
Nō Ngâti Paoa, nō Ngāti 

My canoe is Tainu
The area is Hauraki
Kohukohunui is the mountain
Tikapa is the sea
Waihihi is the river
I am from Ngâti Paoa and Ngâti

Hauāuru is Project Manager Māori Educationstarted at COMET. Hauāuru is a fluent speaker of Mâori and tikanga Māori. He has a Bachelor of Education and is currently studying toward his Masters Degree.   Hauāuru has experience across the education spectrum, including lecturing on the School of Foundation Studies and the Bachelor of Applied Social Work at MIT and on the Auckland University Bachelor of Education programme and with Te Wananga o Raukawa.

 Hauāuru has worked for the Auckland Regional Council as a te reo and tikanga advisor for the Council leaders, where he also implemented the education plan for the region. Hauāuru is actively involved in tribal negotiations for his tribe of Ngāti Paoa in the Tāmaki and Hauraki areas and has served on their governance board.

Mauri ora!

Chris Sullivan (BEd)

Chris Sullivan

Chris is an experienced educator who has worked extensively in New Zealand, Asia, the UK and the Gulf States. He is currently a General Manager at Cognition Education, an international consultancy focused on educational thinking design, and impact. In this role he has responsibility for planning, implementing and reviewing diverse schooling improvement and learning projects. Prior to this Chris has worked in a variety education related roles including time as an international contract manager, curriculum advisor, school management advisor, associate principal and teacher, author, and facilitator.

He has presented widely at national and international conferences including the International Congress on School Improvement and Effectiveness. Chris has had a number of books published including titles in curriculum planning, behaviour management, and assessment. His interests are in schooling improvement, knowledge management, and innovation in education. Chris is also a board member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council.

Fuimaono Tuiasau (BA, LLB)  

Fuimaono Tuiasau

Fuimaono is a Samoan matai with the ali'i title Fuimaono Atanoa from Salani, Falealili. Fuimaono graduated from Auckland University with a BA and LLB and then practised for many years in NZ as a Barrister and Solicitor as a senior litigator in civil, family and criminal matters. 

Fuimaono then worked for many years in the Ministry of Justice in Wellington and in 2008 moved to Auckland to work in the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

Fuimaono has led policy development work, coordinated research and managed operational issues, and now leads and manages a range of important strategic and operational relationships. Fuimaono has extensive networks with central government, local government, business sectors, Pacific communities and the voluntary sector.  He has a strong interest in youth development issues and practices, particularly around Pasifika youth and families