Through working with young people in varying capacities over the past 10+ years, as well as speaking at parenting events/summits on topics, I’ve not only had the privilege of hearing first-hand stories of young people navigating their becoming, but also of guiding and supporting them in holistic ways as they step into their own power to grow and live more authentically. I believe it’s vital our young people are equipped with language and skills to not only process and walk their own path with their eyes open, but to also help them contribute to creating a stronger, safer, world.
Kia ora! I'm Geoff Gilson. I grew up in Christchurch but have lived in Auckland, as well as a few other places around the world (including a cruise ship for two years) since 1999. I completed a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts in Contemporary Dance: (Unitec:1999 –2001), and an MA in Performance and Media Arts: (AUT 2016-2017). I have been working as a dancer and circus performer for almost 20 years now and as a Mates and Dates facilitator for the last two years. I appreciate the power that education can have in creating social change. Specifically, I feel that healthy relationships are a key component of a fulfilling life that can then, in turn allow teenagers to want to work for positive change in the world themselves. My other interests include ecology, health, and physical training.
Hello, Kia ora, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Fakatalofa atu, Salaam and Greetings to all.
I have lived in central Auckland my whole life (apart from a three year stint living and working in London). I have two adult sons and am a trained secondary school teacher. I also have a background working with prisoners to improve their literacy. Having the opportunity to empower young adults to navigate themselves safely, respectfully and confidently through an exciting and challenging stage of their lives is just fantastic.
I feel very privileged to be part of the Empowerment Trust team.
Kia Ora! I have worked for Empowerment Trust for the last 6 years, as a facilitator delivering a variety of programs to help keep people safe! I have a MA in Special Education and have been teaching and working in schools for over 20 years! My current role as National Relationship Manager allows me to support our team across New Zealand to set up workshops that will empower and teach safety skills to all!
I have been an educator for 24 years, 18 of those were spent as a teacher in the UK. I emigrated to NZ in 2014 with my family and spent the last 6 years working as a facilitator and team co-ordinator delivering health and sexuality programs in schools for Nest Consulting. I believe it is important for a facilitator to build supportive and positive relationships with not only their pupils but also with all staff and whanau and recognise and celebrate the strengths in our diversity. I am excited to be a part of a team who help empower our young people with necessary life skills to take charge of their futures.
My name is Megan Spice, I am a Mother of 2 young boys and live in West Auckland. My background is in Social Anthropology and Gender Studies and I am passionate about creating social change and working with young adults.
I have experience in working in the LGBTQI community and enjoy supporting all people through their journey. I am thrilled to be part of the Mates and Dates team and feel very fortunate as a facilitator to empower young people by providing an open safe space that is engaging, honest and gives them the tools to practise healthy relationships.
Kia ora! I recently returned to Aotearoa from London, where I completed my Masters in Gender at the London School of Economics. I was also a rape crisis volunteer while in London. I am incredibly passionate about discourse and education which empowers people to make positive decisions regarding relationships and gives them the language needed to do so. I also believe strongly in the need for violence prevention and am excited to do more work in this field. Alongside my studies, I worked for a tech start up while living overseas. I’m currently fulfilling a creative dream, touring the country as a performance poet alongside my poetry partner Carrie Rudzinski, while also getting the opportunity to perform and teach poetry in high schools.
I’m Rose Archer - I'm a documentary maker and a passionate advocate for teaching our young people to live healthy relationships. My most recent film is all about bringing social and emotional learning into the education system, and has taken me to Europe and Africa to document some of the most cutting edge and comprehensive social and emotional education taking place today.
Within my community and industry I design and run workshops to build healthier workplace culture and relationships practices. I love to mentor young people through my work, and also take part in running leadership workshops for young people.
I completed a BA in History and Psychology at the University of Auckland and Manchester University.
Hi, I'm Scott. I'm passionate about guiding youth to use their intuition and awareness to build and maintain healthy relationships. I completed a Bachelor of Physical Health and Education in 2012 and have worked in various fields of education since then. I have been a Mates and Dates Facilitator for the last three years and also have the role of Empowerment Trust's Local Designated Person for Child Protection.
Outside of work, I am an avid surfer, outdoor enthusiast and dedicated meditator. I spent the start of summer 2020, exploring India and have taken on the challenge of completing 10,000 hours of meditation within the next ten years. I love combining the skills I have with the work we do and am grateful to be a member of Empowerment Trust’s valuable team.
Vanessa is a cis-gendered Pakeha woman who lives and works in West Auckland. Vanessa has worked in the field of preventative sexual violence education and sexuality education, more generally, for twenty years. Currently, Vanessa is focused on completing her doctorate titled, ‘Re-considering ethics and erotics in New Zealand sexuality education’. With a background in the non-profit sector and social justice activism Vanessa is passionate about supporting young people to be themselves in healthy relation with others. Vanessa’s fulfilment comes from her work and from spending time swimming in the sea, gardening, parenting and making art.
Kia Ora, through my studies in nursing and counselling my career journey has travelled the road of mental health and well-being holding both professional and personal passion in areas of growth and safety supporting the mental health of our community. I have been privileged to work alongside people who have experienced various levels of pain and emotional trauma from diagnosis of HIV/AIDS 30 years ago in the UK to working with Police service members and their families, managing their witness of the struggles and hardship life can have not only on their community but also themselves. As a health advisor supporting men and women in the sex industry around personal health and safety to being a school counsellor and sexual health advisor providing support around anxiety, depression, self-harming, unplanned pregnancy sexual violence and youth suicide continues to confirm my belief with the knowledge we can never get complacent with the safety and well-being of our communities and working together with schools and high school students opens up all these conversations respectively.
Kia ora, I’m Jess! Born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, I now reside in Ōtautahi and am a passionate advocate of quality Relationships and Sexuality Education for our rangatahi and their communities.
I have a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences, with a double major in Health Education and Psychology. I have also studied and worked as a journalist, fitness instructor and pastry chef. Whilst eclectic, my background has led me to work alongside an array of amazing people and contribute to community empowerment in many forms.
I love what I do and the energy and inspiration that it brings!
Kia ora! I am Marie, Mum of two wonderful children, who are at the heart of all that I do. Before they came along l taught for many years in primary schools both here and in the UK. I have a Bachelor of Education and Diplomas in both Early Childhood and Primary Education, as well a Postgraduate qualification in Guidance and Counselling.
I absolutely love being a facilitator and educator in a range of settings, engaging with young people as they explore healthy relationships. I am particularly passionate about creating safe and empowering environments where everyone feels respected and comfortable to share their ideas and experiences. In addition to facilitating, I am the Regional Team Lead for Canterbury. Working alongside our team, schools and the community, my aim is to build collaborative relationships that meet the needs of all.
Kia ora, I am a facilitator and educator with experience in the field of Healthy Relationships and Consent Education, Sexual Violence Prevention, Child Protection and Wellbeing and Mental Health Promotion. I have worked with tamariki, rangatahi and adults in a range of educational settings including primary and secondary schools, alternative and special education providers, and Canterbury University.
I have a Masters in Health Sciences endorsed in Health and Community and am passionate about supporting the wellbeing of all those I work with and empowering others to do this in their work with tamariki and rangatahi also.
Kia ora I have been with the Canterbury Mates and Dates team from the beginning of 2018. I love the outdoors and am very grateful to have the beach and snow conveniently located close by. A superb playground for my two school aged children.
For the last eight years I have been facilitating Collaborative/Resilience workshops in a number of diverse Christchurch schools. I believe a sense of community can make a positive difference to our younger folk, along with the incredible opportunities from our ever-changing technology. My passion for the arts and sport with a sense of fun, is an excellent mix to create enthusiasm and confidence.
My name is Rachel. I mostly grew up in the Bay of Plenty and now live with my family in Rolleston. I am a mum of two and have been involved in education in one way or another for over 20 years. I currently hold a number of contracts working with vulnerable youth, parent’s groups, children with learning disabilities, teacher resourcing and facilitation with high school aged children.
I love the diversity of my roles and I love being involved in Empowerment Trust and the programmes they offer.
Following obtaining my Bachelor of Social Work I undertook roles working with children and families. During my roles as a Care and Protection Social Worker and Specialist Child Witness Interviewer I saw first-hand the impacts of family and sexual violence on children, families and communities. Working as a Sensitive Claims Counsellor and Social Worker I was exposed to the often life long lasting effects of trauma on survivors and their families. My understanding of abuse and trauma has equipped me with a drive to prevent trauma and educate and empower children and young people to build positive healthy relationships with themselves and others. I believe that we are all responsible for empowering our younger generation to develop confidence and a strong self-belief in themselves so they can live a most powerful life.
I have seen again and again that we make a real and positive difference.
When I first did my Fullpower course in 1992, my view of life hugely improved because I stopped feeling disadvantaged being a woman and of small stature. I found that - in threatening situations - I could focus on the best outcome possible and use incredibly effective strategies and tools. I felt worthy, free and capable.
In 1993, I gained Kidpower International instructor certification, founded Empowerment Trust under the name of Vital Victories and adapted the programme for New Zealand with the help of NZ Police, other professionals, my partner and passionate friends and supporters.
I now have taught positive ‘People Safety’ to over 20,000 people in NZ, am on the advisory boards of Kidpower International, am an Advisor to the Empowerment Trust NZ and still love teaching people from all walks of life.
Kia ora, my work history and my life’s passion has always been in health and education. Having said that, my family was and is core to that work and passion. Safety with the freedom to live with self-confidence are the underlying drives that inspire me. This is why Empowerment Trust is such a good fit for me. I became involved initially as a participant in a Fullpower workshop then co-ordinated bringing Kidpower into my children’s school. I volunteered for the organisation for some time then trained to facilitate programmes. I’ve held various roles within the organisation so I believe I can speak for the integrity and efficacy of the programmes we provide. As facilitators, our Code of Conduct holds us to high standards as does our passion for the mahi. I think it is essential for us to build communities based on healthy relationships and that begins with our relationship with ourselves.
Kia Ora, I am a local community Youth Worker in Motueka. I have over 15 years’ experience working with young people and have managed several projects with youth over this time.
Currently I work for the Empowerment Trust as a padded instructor and deliver Confident Kids and Kidpower Sessions. I Chair the Nelson Tasman Youth Work Collective and treasure being able to offer my skills and knowledge to the Youth Workers of the region.
I am passionate about the environment, creative arts and enabling Young People to have their say, be heard and to assist them to make positive changes for themselves, their relationships and their communities.