OUR PEOPLE

 Meet the Sport Waitākere team.



David George
Kaiwhakahaere matua (Chief Executive Officer)

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.​​​​​​​ Email

Irina Lyanguzova                               Business Services Manager

With educational background in applied statistics and being a CPA Australia qualified accountant, Irina worked in a variety of roles in New Zealand and abroad. Irina has more than 10 years’ experience in not-for-profit financial management. The role of the Business Manager at Sport Waitākere is to lead and anticipate the changes, optimise accountability of operations, and prioritise the effectiveness of our services through ICT continuous improvement, upskilling personnel, and maximising projects productivity. Email

Kath Geaney
Office Administrator

With a background in Administration and Operations, Kath brings experience and skills to provide daily support for the team, ensuring the office runs smoothly. She considers it a privilege to work in the region that she calls home and seeing the positive outcomes our mahi contributes to our communities.

While her passion is everything cricket, she enjoys a range of sport and has worked extensively in Sports Administration over the years. Kath looks forward to welcoming you next time you visit. Email

Antionette Aalbers 
Community Sport Manager

Antionette manages the community sport and recreation team and oversees business development and strategic relationships. She also manages the design and delivery of local and regional strategies including the Auckland Approach to sport. Email

Katie Dobson
School Strategy Lead

Katie manages a team who provide expertise and support to targeted primary, intermediate and secondary schools to improve participation levels and ultimately wellbeing outcomes for tamariki and rangitahi in West Auckland.

Katie was a secondary school Health and Physical Education teacher for 17 years. She has extensive knowledge in and around the Health & Physical Education curriculum, in planning, delivery and assessment. Email

Christian Curtis
Healthy Active Learning Community Developer

Christian has been working in the Sport and Rec sector for the past 5 years. He has developed a passion for bringing the community together, with a specific interest in our tamariki and rangatahi. Within his new role, he hopes to provide partnership and empowerment across our West Auckland Community. Email

Greg Gurau
Magic Play Box Coordinator

​​​​​​​Greg coordinates the operations of the Magic Play Box Social Enterprise. ​​​​​​​His previous role involved promoting and supporting the development of rich play environments in primary schools. He has a bachelor's degree in Coaching and Exercise Science, with an interest in long term athlete development. This was the start of his passion for play and the role play has in the development of children through to their adulthood. Email


Jamie Lane
Community Sport Project Advisor

Jamie spent half of his childhood at Eden Park and has now been involved in the sport industry for over 20 years. He has gained skills from a wide range of roles that helps him oversee the daily running of the Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa fund, Local Board relationships and projects, and the Water Skills for Life initiative. Email

Honglu Zhang                                              Community Connector Asian Communities

Honglu has always had a passion for sports and enthusiastically tincreases people's participation in being active. Her interest in sports has carried her to completer her Master and PhD degrees. She supports the Asian community by engaging in local active opportunities.

Email




Pauline Butt
Play Systems Advisor

Pauline has a passion for making a difference in this community and ensuring that tamariki have quality play, active recreation, and sport experiences. She has a strong background in all things 'play' and is excited to take on this new role looking at systems that can be interrupted and changed to allow for more play opportunities in our schools and communities. The value of play cannot be underestimated when looking at wellbeing and our sense of belonging. Email

Karyn Hill                                    Collaboration Broker and Project ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Co-ordinator​​​​​​​Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Apa, Te Atiawa. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​With a background in project management and stakeholder engagement, Karyn brings experience, skills, and knowledge to her role. She is committed to building collaborative relationships and connections that deliver positive outcomes for communities. An advocator of a growth mindset, she looks at challenges and finds ways to transform them into opportunities. Email

Shanley Joyce 
Healthy Active Learning Advisor

​​​​​​​Shanley has been working in the education sector for over 15 years, most recently as a Healthy Active Learning Advisor at Sport Auckland.  Her last school post was as a Deputy Principal at Long Bay College, she has also been a professional learning and development facilitator and lecturer at the University of Auckland College. Email

Danny Silivelio
Healthy Active Learning Community Developer

Danny is a proud Samoan, who has a real passion for ensuring that his culture is at the very forefront of all he does. He has recently returned to West Auckland following a stint in Christchurch chasing his Rugby League dream, but found a real home in working for Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi who describe themselves as a “ a group of people, mostly Māori, committed to the holistic development of young people, their whā​​​​​​​nau and communities. Email


Daniel Nichol                                                Sector Support Advisor

After completing my sport, health and physical education studies, Daniel embarked on working extensively within community organisations across Auckland. As a proud pacific islander, he had the pleasure of working within the Pasifika space and working with vulnerable families in our community. Daniel also coaches and volunteers from a club to a provincial level in football and touch and hopes to bring these experiences and memories here to Sport Waitākere. Email.

Sophie Gibbins
Healthy Active Learning Advisor
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sophie is passionate about her own, and others health and wellbeing. she holds a degree in Sport and Exercise Science, and a postgrad in Secondary PE and Health teaching. Sophie has been teaching within Secondary and Intermediate PE and Health, and working within Fitness and Health for the last 10 years. She has most recently studied Holisitic health wellness coaching for the general population. Sophie loves to educate children that through moving our bodies and understanding our own unique health, we can thrive. Email

Paora Allen
Maori Outcomes Advisor

Paora is our Māori Outcomes Adivsor. With a background as a youth mentor for two years at Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Service, he carries a big passion for sports and hauora.

Ahakoa he iti te matakahi ka pākarukaru te totara.​​

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Kelly McCann
Rangatahi Advisor (Active Recreation)

Kelly is from the Waikato and has been working in the youth development space for 5 years as a youth worker and programmes lead. She is passionate about improving rangatahi wellbeing through active recreation opportunities in the community. As our Rangatahi advisor she hopes to bring youth voice to life and provide opportunities for all rangatahi to be active and healthy in a way that meets their wants and needs.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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Jemma Palmer
Youth Sport Advisor

Jemma has worked extensively in the youth sport space coaching as the U17 and U19 premier coach for Waitakere Basketball and Liston Premier boys Basketball. She brings this knowledge and passion to her role as she aims to develop and deliver more positive sporting experiences for our children, families and volunteers.  Email


Helen Ng
Whau Cluster Coordinator and FunSkills Advisor

Helen has worked exstensively as  a Kaiwhakatō Hākinakina at Arahoe, Fruivale, Woodlands and New Lynn schoolsHelen brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and energy to the team. Email

Kayla Schwalger
Communications Advisor

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Kayla is passionate about creating - she uses this passion to create content, run the SW social media platforms and come up with creative campaigns that encompass the great mahi the team do.  Email

Selina Brown
Accounts Administrator 

Ngāti Whātua - Ngāti Hinga, Ngāti Torehina.​​​​​​​
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Having joined Sport Waitākere in 2019, Selina provides essential admin support for the team. Email

Mike Tipene
​​​​​​​Healthy Families Team Manager
Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa

Mikes 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. Email

Catherine Powell
Lead Systems Innovator

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. Email

Ella Falakoa
Pacific Systems Innovator
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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. Email

Grace Vujnovich
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Strategic Communications Manager​​​​​​​

With a background spanning corporate and consumer public relations, Grace brings theory and experience to her work. She most enjoys championing stories of community innovation and action in West Auckland.​​​​​​​ Email

Caitlin MacColl
Governmental Systems Lead

Caitlin supports the team to accelerate systems change by ‘connecting the dots’ and building strategic alliances with government agencies to influence change. She works to tell compelling stories and build a case for change to present to government partners.

Email​​​​​​​​​​

Louise Kirkwood
Data Insights and Evaluation Lead​​​​​​​
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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.​​​​​​​ Email

Priscilla TuiSamoa 
Maori Communications Innovator​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Ngāti Maniapoto

​​​​​​​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. Email

Michele Eickstaedt
Systems Innovator  
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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. 
Email

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. Email

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 bring to our health and wellbeingEmail​​​​​​​

Giuliana Sewell

Systems Innovator
Tūhourangi, Ngāti Porou


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Giuliana brings experience in health prevention, rehabilitation and clinical teaching to the Healthy Families Waitākere team. Her role is to work alongside community groups to positively impact health across physical, learning, and work environments. She has a strong focus on equitable opportunities for Māori and developing innovations that support diversity and embrace mātauranga with authenticity. Email

Ruta Tonumaivao
Systems Innovator
Iva, Falelatai (Samoa)​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​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 
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navigational support to access opportunities that strengthens the wellbeing of individuals and whānau, in order to achieve their goals and aspirations. Email