Ko Taranaki te Mounga. Ko Tokomaru, ko Kurahaupo, ko Aotea ngā waka. Ko Te Ātiawa, Ko Taranaki Tūturu ngā iwi. Ko Ngāti Ruanui hoki. Ko Ngāti Te Whiti, Ko Ngāti Rāhiri, Ko Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Ko Ngāti Haupoto ngā hapū. Ko Owae, ko Puniho, ko Parihaka ngā marae. Ko Kere Ell taku ingoa.
Since leaving school at 15, I’ve lived and worked extensively throughout New Zealand. Times were hard economically connecting me with others from predominantly modest communities.
In 2002, I gained custody of my two young boys and brought them up for 10 years as a single father. In 2006, I began my first professional role in health promotion coordinating Māori Like Minds, Like Mine for the top of the South Island. Through this role, I discovered the vocation of community development and began looking for opportunities to develop programmes to enhance community.
In 2013, during my studies in Nelson, I began mentoring young people from impoverished communities; this led to the inspiration for New Horizons Aotearoa (NHA). In 2014, I returned to my ancestral home of Taranaki and began laying the foundations for NHA. The following year, I and some generous volunteers delivered our first programme at Devon Intermediate. I also, aged 52, graduated with a degree in Social Sciences (Social Work).
My current paid position, since 2016, is an Employment Consultant for Workwise. This role sees me assist and support people with barriers to employment into work and continue supporting them once in work. I am also employed by the NHA Trust as general manager.
Fiona Parkinson has lived and worked in Taranaki for many years.
For over 40 years, Fiona worked as an educator in schools across the region. Her most recent fulltime positions were as Principal of Hawera Intermediate (2004-2007) and Devon Intermediate (2007-2016).
Fiona is currently an Education Consultant, specialising in Principal Appraisal and Leadership Coaching, a Justice of the Peace and Marriage Celebrant. She also sits on the Taranaki Retreat and the TET Stadium and Events Centre Trusts.
She and is currently the Chair of the Taranaki Celebrants’ Association and Vice President of the Taranaki Justice of the Peace Association. She has previously been involved in organising the Mountain to Surf Marathon, based in North Taranaki, and was a member of the organising committee for the New Plymouth Joggers and Walkers Half Marathon.
Fiona enjoys the outdoors and spends much of her leisure time exploring local parks, walkways, beaches and Mounga Taranaki.
Emily Butler is Taranaki local who returned home in 2017 after completing her Law degree in Wellington.
She now works at local firm Billings Lawyers, specialising in all things Family Law. Emily is driven by compassion and a desire to help others. She has always been eager to contribute to the community which is clear from her volunteer work with the Wellington Community Justice Project and the Taranaki Citizens Advice Bureau. Just recently Emily collected over $4,000 worth of Christmas gifts for Taranaki Women’s Refuge, an organisation she feels passionate about.
Emily jumped on board with New Horizons Aotearoa Trust after wanting to help out the young rangatahi in our community. She is now the Chairperson of the Trust.
When she is not working Emily enjoys keeping fit and spending time with friends and family.
Jesse Watt is born and bred in rural Taranaki on a local dairy farm.
He is an ex pupil of New Plymouth Boys’ High School (2007-2011) and has completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University of Wellington (2012-2014). In July of 2018 after three years of further study he qualified as a Chartered Accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
Jesse is currently employed as an accountant at VanBurWray Chartered Accountants Ltd, working with small to medium size businesses on various tax and accounting needs.
He enjoys playing the piano, rogaining and tramping and one day hopes to summit Mt. Cook.
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