Meet the Team
Rebecca is a reservist in the Royal New Zealand Navy, but her recruitment to the Defence Force did not exactly follow a traditional path. In 2013 she was spotted busking on the streets of Devonport and was approached by the Musical Director of the Navy Band. She was employed as the official singer and has had the honour and privilege of travelling to Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele to perform at centenary commemorations.
As part of Rebecca’s role within the Defence Force, she regularly has the opportunity to meet incredible veterans and service personnel; she is extremely passionate about the welfare and support of these individuals. She is an active committee member at her local Returned and Services Association club and a Poppy Ambassador for the national Poppy Day Appeal.
Rebecca was inspired to create Te Kiwi Māia after visiting Tedworth House, an incredible facility in England run by the charitable organisation Help for Heroes. When she returned to New Zealand and started talking about her idea, it soon became clear that first responders/emergency services face similar challenges with the wellbeing of their people and would also benefit from this initiative.
Megan Mashali has been a serving member of the Royal New Zealand Navy since 2009, working her way through the ranks to Petty Officer before commissioning as a Supply Officer in 2019. She initially enlisted as an Able Musician in the RNZN Band and relished the opportunity to travel and perform throughout New Zealand and around the world; a highlight being a five month exchange to the UK with The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.
Megan went on to become an instructor for Basic Common Training, putting the new recruits through their paces, before accepting a similar posting conducting Junior Officer Common Training at the Officer Training School.
Megan is excited to be involved with Te Kiwi Māia and have the opportunity to help establish and grow a trusted brand, which will play a vital role in supporting our service personnel and first responders through some of their toughest times. With her outstanding interpersonal skills and extensive network, Megan will play an integral role in the initial fundraising efforts, improving our brand awareness across the country and building a solid foundation which will be fundamental to the future success of our organisation.
James has been a reservist in the Royal New Zealand Navy for over 23 years. He joined as an Ordinary Seaman and was later commissioned from the ranks. James is a Warfare Officer (a navigator) by training, and has enjoyed exploring much of New Zealand from the sea. However, one of his career highlights was ashore, serving as the Commanding Officer of HMNZS NGAPONA, the Auckland division of the Navy Reserve, in 2017-2018. James is now responsible for personnel and training matters across the Navy Reserve.
James has found those roles in which he can influence better, more positive outcomes for others to be the most personally rewarding, and he relishes the opportunity to do that for the most deserving in our community through Te Kiwi Māia. James brings strong analytical skills from his civilian career as a barrister and an ability to forge enduring relationships. He enjoys contributing to Te Kiwi Māia’s strategic direction and is passionate about realising Te Kiwi Māia’s goals for the benefit of first responders and New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
TKM Project Manager
Jenny is a seasoned technology and business process consultant, with more than a decade helping local and global for-profit and non-for-profit organisations define, design, and implement successful cross-functional scalable progress.
Jenny’s passion is “fostering curiosity and collaboration, to help individuals, teams, and organisations clarify the dots, so that together we can create communities of shared understanding and meaningful action.”
As the proud daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, and having recently returned to New Zealand after 13 years abroad, Jenny was excited to learn about Te Kiwi Māia, and has offered her services to work alongside others in helping Rebecca and the team plan, design, and implement the vision for Te Kiwi Māia.
Barrister, LL B (Hons), M Jur (Distn), FANZCN, AIF, M Inst D
Geoff Clews is a senior barrister specialising in contentious taxation matters and trust disputes. Outside his legal practice, Geoff is chairman of the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust, a substantial educational charity, and has led the Auckland Communities Foundation, a major not-for-profit facilitator of private philanthropy in Auckland.
Over 30 years Geoff led campaigns which established three arts facilities in Auckland. He had a long career in arts governance, which culminated in him serving two terms as a Director of Regional Facilities Auckland, being responsible for governing over $1 billion of arts, sporting, heritage and collection assets for the City. Geoff is a Teaching Fellow with the Faculty of Law at Auckland University, teaching a Master’s degree course on tax disputes and litigation, and for seven years was a Ministerial appointee on the Financial Advisers Disciplinary Committee. Geoff is currently the Chair of the Financial Services Council Code Disciplinary Committee.
Having been asked to draft the trust deed for TKM Trust, Geoff read widely about the UK Help for Heroes Trust and was attracted to the concept of a trust in this country to support the (often unseen) harm that can befall first responders and our Defence Forces, because of the work they do. In the past Geoff has provided pro bono advice to those working to establish support for Vietnam veterans and their families, and he has assisted various RSA organisations with legal and governance advice. He sees this opportunity to share his knowledge with TKM as a natural extension of that work.
Geoff has no direct connection with the military, save for his Great Grandfather’s service in the South African War, his Father’s CMT service in the Army Catering Corp and his present membership of the Honourable Regiment of Bankers and Lawyers, an Auckland based dinner club that meets intermittently to fiercely celebrate our country’s military exploits.
ONZM, MBE, JP
Chris is a former soldier with 22 years’ service in the NZ Army, including operational service in Vietnam. He has had a successful business career after leaving the NZDF and has given extensive voluntary service in leadership roles within the RNZRSA and other veteran support groups at local and national level. Chris played a key role in reshaping veterans’ support legislation and was appointed inaugural chairperson of the Veterans’ Advisory Board. Chris continues his work in support of veterans and their families and currently serves on the Veterans’ Health Advisory Panel.
“I have been an avid supporter from the moment Rebecca first shared with me her vision for creating respite facilities to support those who risk their own health and well-being in serving their fellow New Zealanders. An important aspect of the Te Kiwi Māia Trust’s objectives is that its support will be available not only to current and former members of the armed forces but also to the whole range of first responders whose service to their fellow New Zealanders places them in harm’s way – Police, Fire & Emergency, Para Medics, Rescue Helicopter Crew, etc. and also to their families. This combination enables a greater level of support through economies of scale.
“I am greatly impressed and motivated by Rebecca’s boundless energy, generous spirit and enthusiasm for helping others. This has attracted the attention of people from all walks of life and all levels of society and as a result, Te Kiwi Māia Trust has confirmed the support of senior leaders within the NZDF and each of the emergency services. Business and community leaders have also pledged their support. I am honoured to be involved in this highly deserving project.”
WO1 Mark Mortiboy, DSD
Warrant Officer of the Defence Force
“I have seen first-hand the impact that extended recovery from wounds, injury and illness has on our personnel and their families. I have visited recovery centres, such as Tedworth House, and have seen the progress that residents can make within a supportive and understanding environment. I welcome the opportunity to be involved with a NZ-based charity focused on providing care for our people and respite for families. Te Kiwi Māia has the potential to make a real difference to the quality of life of our people and whānau, and importantly reassure those prepared to go in to harm’s way that this type of support will be available should the need arise.”
Brigadier Chris Parsons
Chris is a passionate advocate for veterans and their families. Coming from a family with strong ties to the New Zealand Police and firefighters, he also has a sense for the pressures faced on a daily basis by our first responders and their families. Chris and his wife Hayley are proud to support Te Kiwi Māia and to serve our defence and first responder communities. Helping to keep these courageous Kiwis on the front line of our communities and to underwrite the safety and prosperity of New Zealand, and all New Zealanders, is important to all of us
MPA, Chair - Australasian College of Paramedicine, NZ Chapter
Mitch is the Chair of the Australasian College of Paramedicine, a Paramedic and a Health and Wellness Strategist. Having spent more than two decades in the pre-hospital medical environment, working in a diverse spread of metropolitan, rural and remote locations in New Zealand, she has a long-held passion for healthy living and wellbeing within the Emergency Services Sector.
As a passionate champion of the ‘Fit for Duty’ manta, Mitch has added the domain of ‘Fit for Life’, as not only do we need to be fit for our working environment, ultimately we must be fit and healthy for our daily lives outside of our work commitments – physically, emotionally, psychologically and energetically.
Having developed the wellness programme “Eat.Train.Be. Fit for Duty” which concentrates on the four main pillars of wellbeing – nutrition, movement, mindset, rest and recovery, Mitch has increased her influence by creating a free online community – Team Eat.Train.Be. Fit for Duty, where she runs regular nutrition, movement and mindset programmes focusing on the physical and mental wellness of emergency responders, all with the knowledge and encouragement from being a frontline Paramedic and Health and Wellbeing Coach.
Mitch prides herself on helping emergency responders reverse the negative effects of physical and psychological fatigue to become fit for duty + fit for life!
Ko Moehau te maunga, ko Tikapa te moana, ko Tainui te waka.
Ko Ohākiri te maunga, ko Whangaroa te moana, ko Mamari te waka.
Ko Joanne Shelford tōku ingoa
Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.
Kia ora my name is Jo Shelford. It’s a privilege and honour to have been asked to become a member of the advisory group for Te Kiwi Maia. This charity speaks to my heart as I have seen personally the trauma that can develop without proper care for our service men and women.
I am a Tohunga nā IO Mātanga Rongoā, a traditional Maori medicine practitioner and work in clinics in Hauraki where my father is from. I’m a strong advocate for the Māori voice to be heard.
On another note I have a strong affiliation to the services with my father and my brother both having served in Te Tauārangi/Airforce and my husband, my son and 5 nephews having servied in Te Taua Moana/Navy. An Aunt and an uncle both served in Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa/Police.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.
Rajna is an internationally recognised and registered Clinical Psychologist (NZ/AU), Organisational wellbeing consultant, speaker and wellbeing columnist who has spent the last 12 years working within the frontline and emergency services mental health context. She is passionate about helping people get ‘unstuck’, restore their sense of self and thrive in all areas of their life.
Rajna moved back to New Zealand in 2019 from working across Europe and Australia where she had been a Police psychologist, criminology and policing lecturer, the Senior Psychologist for the Country Fire Authority and in private practice. Internationally, Rajna was employed by United Nations Criminal Tribunals, working with victims and witnesses of war crimes. After concluding her work with the UN, Rajna worked in the field in heavily mined Bosnia and Herzegovina where she interviewed as well as engaged in therapy with victims and witnesses of war crimes.
In 2020, Rajna founded First Response Health, a specialist mental health organisation that offers a full range of mental health and related services to frontline and first responder organisations. She is thrilled to be a part of the Te Kiwi Māia Advisory Board, and looks forward to supporting the sustainable growth and development of mental health solutions for New Zealand’s first responders.
New Zealand Police Superintendent
Mel is a Sworn police officer with 22+ years in service, graduating in 1999 and spending the majority of her career in front line operational roles.
(North Shore, Southern – Section Supervisor and Area Prevention Manager), West Coast Area Commander 2016 for 3 years before taking her current role as Director (Superintendent) of Safer People.
Mel is responsible for the Health and Safety and Wellness of employees across the organisation. She is passionate about wellness and health and when not working, she is a long-distance runner/athlete having represented NZ on several occasions in trail and road running.
Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Prehospital and Retrieval Doctor
Louise is an Emergency Specialist working at Middlemore Hospital, and a Pre-hospital and Retrieval doctor working for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT). Louise is the clinical lead for Wellness and Resilience at ARHT, a role which was established late 2018. During this time she has developed a peer support network, trainee mentoring network, and been involved in various fitness, nutrition and fatigue-management initiatives, as well as a training program to optimize performance under pressure.
Louise understands first hand the nature of the workplace stressors that are experienced by emergency medical providers. “Our “office” is filled with emotionally charged and high-stress situations associated with fear, pain, suffering and death. The mental and physical demands we face as a result of challenging work conditions in remote locations, complex medical and operational missions, limited resources, and the need to process overwhelming amounts of information in a time-critical manner, can have negative effects on all members of the pre-hospital team. Un-addressed and unsupported, these factors have the profound ability to negatively affect our personal and organizational wellbeing, and therefore our ability to provide early, safe, optimal patient care”.
Louise is excited and honoured to be invited to join the advisory committee for Te Kiwi Māia, and hopefully be able to contribute to the ongoing development of this incredible charity organisation.
Esitone (Esi) Pauga
Response Capability Advisory Manager for Fire and Emergency
Pauga Esitone (Esi) Pauga is the Response Capability Advisory Manager for Fire and Emergency based at National Headquarters (NHQ) in Wellington. Originally from Samoa, Esi began his firefighting career in 1981 based in Auckland. He has progressed through the ranks including a two-year secondment as a fire engineer.
A Commander based at NHQ, Esi continues to respond to larger incidents in Wellington and the Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s National Coordination Centre.
Esi has seen a number of serious injuries where the firefighters could no longer continue in their chosen roles. Sadly, he also lost a number of close colleagues in the line of duty.
He understands the risk that comes with being a frontline responder and is excited to be given the opportunity to join Te Kiwi Māia’s Advisory Board. He believes in the work of Te Kiwi Māia.
“I am honoured and feel privileged to be asked to join the Advisory Board, I look forward to being part of the team to help make a difference in the life of our injured frontline and first responders”.
Esi hopes that his culture’s approach to health; focusing on the person as a whole, will help enrich the work of Te Kiwi Māia.
Where to get help
1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email email@example.com or online chat
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.
thelowdown.co.nz – or email firstname.lastname@example.org or free text 5626
Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
Supporting Families in Mental Illness – 0800 732 825
If it’s an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
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