Meet Liz


Animal- lover, Creative, Natural

Liz has worked in the performing arts sector for over 20 years. In the past 10 years she has combined her experience with working with youth in communities and recently in schools. She has a passion to uplift community spirit and in particular encouraging youth to fulfill their true ability, to reach for the stars. She loves watching the community come together to bring an event or production to life.

Liz is the Neighbours Aoteaora Connector for Kaitāia

Meet Sheree


Love life, loves learning, tangata Tiriti

A child advocate, Sheree supports mana-enhancing, strength-based community-led activations, to create well-connected, safe and nurturing whānau and hapori whānui. She is the Piripiri - Community Connector - for Tatau Pounamu Collective, a Critical Support Worker for Caring Families Aotearoa, active in both her Lions Club and the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

Sheree is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Rotorua.

Meet Ali


Benevolent, visionary, judicious

Ali is an ESOL instructor with a Bachelor's in law and a Master's in Terminology. Married to a Kiwi, he is a proud father and he thrives on building connections and bringing people together. His passion lies in psychology and understanding human behavior.

Ali is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tauranga

Meet Taylor

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Compassionate, Community-minded, Creative

With Pasifika and Māori roots, Taylor is a vibrant force in her hapori, shaping the Youth and Community Development scene in the Bays of Tāmaki Makaurau. Nature lover, creative soul, and foodie, she thrives on adventures, finding hidden gems, and supporting whakawhanaungatanga within her diverse community.

Taylor is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tāmaki Makaurau.

Meet Mariana

Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

With a background in Communication and Psychology, Mariana has always been interested in the ways communities connect and coexist. In Mexico, her experience includes working for the government, film festivals and organising events about how women can be more involved in STEAM.

Here in New Zealand, her new home, she has been working with an NGO, former refugees and migrants, and she volunteers for a radio program. Mariana is excited about finding ways communities can preserve and honour their own cultures while understanding others.

Mariana is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington.

Meet Melissa

Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

World traveller, linguist, creative cook, and tree hugger.

Melissa is a Canadian New Zealander. She calls West Auckland home. She is an environmental educator for the Tread Lightly Charitable Trust. Melissa loves making friends wherever she goes. Her goal is to use her love of languages and cultures to help the people and the planet. Melissa is fluent in Spanish and French, she can communicate in Mandarin Chinese, and she can survive in NZSL. She is currently studying Te Reo Maori. Helping neighbours and communities connect is something Melissa is very passionate about. He aroha whakato, he aroha puta mai. (If love is sown, love is received.)

Melissa is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Meet Kristi


Creative, Informative, Community Focused

Kristi is passionate about community led activities and has over 30 years of helping and supporting by creating positive change and opportunities for her whanau, hapu, iwi, and wider community. Her creative approach to community building has brought people together through various events, projects, and initiatives. Whether it's a small gathering or a large-scale event, Kristi's vision is to inspire and unite individuals in making our lives and communities in Aotearoa stronger and more connected.

Kristi is a Neighbours Aotearoa Community Connector for Whangarei.

Meet Rachel

Hawke's Bay, Te Matau-a-Māui.

Curious, Creative, Coach.

Rachel has been helping people to develop and grow for over twenty-five years. Now a coach specialising in leadership, mindfulness and emotional resilience. When she is not busy empowering others, you will find her soaking up the outdoors, whether hitting the mountain biking trails, playing with her dog Luna, or taking a refreshing dip in the water or unwinding at the hot pools.  Rachel’s passion for the community extends to supporting regeneration of nature, beach clean up projects. 

Rachel is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Napier Ahuriri, Hawke's Bay, Te Matau-a-Māui.

Meet Julia


Homemaker, Dancer, Forager

Julia has been involved in community led projects for over 10 years with a passion for community gardens, food sovereignty and social justice. She is currently into non-violent parenting, and loves to make wild weed pesto.

Julia is our Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Waikato

Meet Raj

Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

Open minded, caring, peace loving 

Raj is all about community fun—sports, picnics—and reps New Zealand sports hard. Music's his life, and he's big on preserving the environment for the next generation. Raj was payroll professional for 30 years.

Raj is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Meet Chelsea

Ōtautahi Christchurch

Foodie, dance-lover, curious connector

Chelsea is an enthusiastic individual with a passion for meeting new people, trying new activities, and embracing the Māori world view. Her curiosity leads her to engage in a variety of activities where she thrives on new experiences, making every encounter an opportunity for growth and understanding.

Chelsea is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Meet Rebecca

Ōtepoti Dunedin

Mutual support enthusiast

Rebecca has always been involved with her community and is currently indulging her love of native animals by volunteering with City Sanctuary and the Wildlife Hospital. She has a lot of hobbies but is particularly interested in waste reduction, cooking (and eating!), and getting out in nature.

Rebecca is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector based in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Meet Cass


Hiker, crafter, lifelong learner.

Cass has worked in the creative and not-for-profit space for over 15 years. She seeks out mahi with
kaupapa that will impact her community and wider environment in a positive way - most recently helping
to deliver the Taranaki Women’s Refuge 2023 events. Born and raised in Taranaki, Cass looks forward to
helping Neighbours Aotearoa connect her local community.

Cass is the Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Taranaki, based in Ngāmotu, New Plymouth.

Meet Jillaine


Creative, Nature Lover, Change Maker

Jillaine believes that communities with a strong sense of connection don’t happen by accident! With that in mind she has always been involved in community building
projects, volunteering for local committees, running community events and creating locations for communities to gather. She is an artist and maker, a keen DIY
renovator, upcycler and animal lover.

Jillaine is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Whanganui

Meet Holly


Activist, community-connector, adventurer

With many years of experience in community organising,
environmental campaigning and nature connection, Holly is
passionate about empowering people to create change and
deepen their connection to community and nature.

Holly is the Neighbours Aotearoa Connector in Waikato

Meet Max

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Max is a community development specialist with over 20 years of experience in working with nonprofit organisations, public sector, and international nonprofit organisations. Areas of interest and expertise include local community development, environmental conservation, economic valuation and social science research. Technical experience in project development, grant proposal writing, project management and implementation, stakeholder engagement and monitoring, and evaluation. In 2022, joined Roskill Together, a community led development charity based in Mount Roskill, as a Community Development Coordinator.

Max is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Meet David

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

David has worked in the field of community development, community economic development and
community education for thirty-nine years. He spent eight years working as a consultant working with
local government, central government and not for profits principally working on project design,
securing funding for organisations and carrying out evaluations of projects and programmes. Since
2016 has been the manager of Roskill Together a community led development charity based in Mount Roskill, Auckland.

David is a Neighbours Aotearoa Connector for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Meet Lucette

Creator, meditator, nature-lover.

Lucette has been involved in the arts and community sectors for over twenty years, with a particular interest in community-led projects addressing climate change, waste reduction and environmental issues. She’s right into empowering, grass-roots, creative stuff.

Lucette is a Neighbours Aotearoa Lead Connector based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Meet Cissy

The Neighbours Aotearoa kaupapa is led by experienced Community Developer Cissy Rock since 2018. Cissy has been working alongside community for over 15 years in various roles with local government and community organisations.

Meet Harriet

Creative thinker, doer, prolific list maker.

Harriet is the project manager behind Neighbours Aotearoa - she makes sure everything happens when it should! Harriet has extensive experience working in the non-profit sector in marketing, fundraising, and event roles.

Meet Duncan

Regular walker, daily reader, thoughtful approach.

Duncan specialises in organisational development and advises on fundraising, budgeting, technology solutions and planning for Neighbours Aotearoa.

Meet Vinetta

He tangata manaaki (supportive), pūkeke (tenacious) me hūmārie (easy-going)

Vinetta has a background in community building and development and loves to weave people and resources together to help projects flourish. She's just as comfortable on the ground helping the community make it happen as she is sitting around a table strategically planning.

Vinetta is supporting the Tāmaki Makaurau Connectors for this year's campaign

Meet Mel

Illustrator, imaginative thinker, adventurer

Mel is the visual storyteller at Neighbours Aotearoa. With a keen eye for detail, Mel helps communicate Neighbours Aotearoa's values and messaging with fun illustrations and designs. bringing clarity and creativity to our brand.