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Our Board


Epenesa Olo-Whaanga



Epenesa Olo-Whaanga MA (Hons), PGDipClinPsy is a Clinical Psychologist. She has worked in public mental health services since 2001 and initially specialized in infant, child, adolescent and family mental health. Epenesa is the Principal Advisor - Mental Health and Addictions with the Department of Corrections, previously managed a specialist public Pasifika mental health and addictions service in Auckland and also has her own private practice.  Prior to professional training, Epenesa served in the community facilitating activities like running a youth group and being licensee of a Samoan Aoga Amata.

Born in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Epenesa proudly maintains her connections in Savai’i, Samoa. She has also worked in the Cook Islands and Vanuatu and is passionate about supporting people to grow and develop.

Manase Lua


Manase studied at Auckland University and has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Honours) in English. His academic focus was mainly in post-colonial New Zealand and Pacific literature. He also dabbled in creative writing and poetry under the esteemed presence and guidance of Albert Wendt and Witi Ihimaera.
Manase started his career at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs in 1996, where he worked for five years. Then left the public service to work for a couple of years as a consultant and then for a small Pacific disability provider. He returned to the public service where he worked in the Disability Services Directorate of the Ministry of Health in 2003 before joining Le Va within Te Pou in March, 2008. After five amazing and fulfilling years at Le Va, he decided to take up a senior leadership role as Disability and Pacific Workforce Manager for Te Pou in April, 2013.


Sione Taunga

Sione was born in Tonga and migrated to New Zealand when he was 3 years old. From then until now he grew up in West Auckland, went to University in Dunedin and has worked in New Zealand and overseas as a manual labourer, teacher aide, administrator, farm hand, fitness instructor and art dealer and now resides in Manurewa and is the Alumni Manager for Tupu Toa.


The important things Sione values can simply be summed up in ‘F’ words – Faith, Family, Friends and Food. He has a huge passion to see people grow in their God given gifts and talents and is extremely blessed and grateful to be walking alongside future Māori and Pasifika change agents.

Katerina Solomona

Katerina has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Maori Studies, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Theory at the University of Auckland. She has worked in Local Government (Auckland City Council for 17 years and Auckland Council for 9 years) before taking up a role at Central Government, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities as the Quality Assurance Manager specialising in the Building Act and Regulations. Katerina is passionate about mentoring and championing change, focusing on people and continuous improvement in keeping things simple. 


She is from the beautiful islands of Rotuma (Juju Pepjei) and Samoa (Apia, Sataoa, Sala’ilua).

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Mathew Crooks

Matthew is the Director of Corporate Services for Pacific Homecare and has worked there since 2016.  He takes pride in serving the community by contributing in the best way he can whether directly or indirectly.  He studied at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and commercial law.  

Matthew is of Cook Island and NZ European heritage.

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