Our Board 

Meet our highly skilled and professional Board to take Fonua Ola towards the vision of sustainable future.

Epenesa Olo-Whaanga
Chair person  

Epenesa Olo-Whaanga [MA (Hons), PGDipClinPsy) is a Clinical Psychologist. She has worked in the public mental health services since 2001 initially specialising in infant, child, adolescent and family mental health. She is the Principal Advisor Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions with the Ministry of Health. Previously she was managing a specialist public Pasifika mental health and addictions service in Auckland. Epenesa also has her own private practice.  Prior to professional training however, Epenesa served in community activity like running a youth group, 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
Vice Chair  

Manase studied at Auckland University and has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Honours) in English. My 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 currently The Lead Navigator at TupuToa.

 

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 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).

Matthew Crooks

Matthew has been the Finance and Administration Manager for Pacific Homecare since 2016.  He takes pride in serving the community by contributing in the way he can whether directly or indirectly.  He studied at University of Auckland, Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and commercial law.  

Matthew's heritage is of Cook Island and NZ European.