Our Board

Our Organisation

Community Living has celebrated over 25 years of success in supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live their dreams through community connections.  Since its inception in 1989, Community Living has persistently sought innovative and diverse ways...

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Our Purpose

Our Inspirational Dream - People with Intellectual Disabilities living their dreams through community connections.

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Ngaati Maatianga

IAAF Coaching (cert), Dip Tchg, Higher Dip Tchg, Arborist (cert)

Pakira was raised in the small Waikato settlement of Whatawhata. After finishing college in 1953 he moved to Tokoroa and went on to excel in the forestry sector for approximately 35 years before leaving to pursue a career in Teaching. In his years as an educator, Pakira was a leading force for Maori Development. Within his many and varied roles he was involved with Kapahaka, Te Reo and Physical Education.

Pakira brings a wealth of knowledge to the Community Living team, as our Kaumatua.  He is a strong leader, this along with his effective consultation and implementation in all matters of Tikanga Maori, makes Pakira an invaluable team member.



Ngati Mahanga, Ngati Tamanuhiri, Ngati Pukenga, Ngati Pikiao

Awhimai has been a Board member for the past three years. She currently works at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and is the Executive Officer for a team of three Directors known as the Educational Excellence Team. Awhimai has had extensive experience in the area of Event Project Management and enjoys the challenge and privilege of working on the Community Living Trust Board.

Awhimai graduated from Waikato University with a cojoint Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Arts in 2004, and was admitted to the bar shortly after. She graduated with her Masters in Law 2014.

She has a strong understanding of tikanga me te reo Maori and is passionate about reducing and removing barriers that may hinder minority groups from succeeding.





MBA, R Comp N, MInstD

Philip is the Chief Executive Officer for Central Kids, a not for profit trust which operates 56 Kindergartens and Early Learning Centres across the Central North Island and employs over 400 staff. He Has previously been the Chief Executive of Odyssey, a community based organisation providing addictions treatment to adults, youth and their families and held seniors roles in District Health Boards including planning and funding. Philip has sat on a number of national advisory groups and held governance roles in the not for profit sector.  Philip originally trained as a Registered Nurse working predominately in the mental and addictions area. Philip holds a Masters in Business Administration and has particular skills in the areas of corporate governance, strategic planning and social enterprise.




Paula is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, has a Bachelor Agricultural Economics (Massey) and a Master Business Administration (Distinction) from the University of Waikato and worked initially in resource management/environmental policy before holding senior roles as a human resources practitioner in the electricity and not for profit sectors.

Currently the Manager of the Braemar Charitable Trust, Paula’s previous roles include National Advisor-Governance and National Volunteer Strategy Advisor for the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and was a Board member at Enrich+ for the last 4 years. Paula is currently a member of the Dietitians Board, a Board member of the Hamilton Cricket Association, Deputy Chair of Hospice Waikato and is a member of Waikato Community Lotteries committee. Paula is past recipient of the Waikato Branch Institute of Directors “Aspiring Directors Award”.

Paula also volunteers for St John as a “Friends of the Emergency Department” at Waikato Hospital and has a passion for health, community development and working with organizations to enable the building of sustainable and resilient communities through improving the health and wellbeing of families/whānau. 




Nga Puhi, Te Kapotai

Rachel is a Registered Comprehensive Nurse with over 20 years' experience in the Health and Disability Sector. Rachel holds a post graduate certificate in Management Studies and is a registered quality manager and has 15years' auditing experience against ISO9001, Health and Disability Sector Standards as well as contract auditing for District Health Boards and the Ministry of Health.

Rachel has served on the Community Living Trust Board since 2008, and was chair 2010 to 2013. Rachel works part time for the Wise Group as a project manager and is also currently Chair of Access Ability Charitable Trust and ImagineBetter Limited.

Rachel is passionate about education and well-being and delivers Mh101 workshops as a Blueprint contractor to various organisations and sectors across New Zealand.

Rachel's field of expertise is projects, business analysis, quality, systems, policy, audit, governance, education and facilitation.




BMin, Dip SocSci (psych), BA Psch, NZBS (cert)

Russell has been involved in various governance roles within the disability sector for over 10 years. Owning and Operating a Hamilton based business management and employment relations consultancy company, which is partnered with the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA). Russell seeks to bring a strong commercial business acumen to the not-for-profit organisations that he works with. Russell is also a Director on other charitable companies and is on the board of two other commercial enterprises.

Having been involved within the disability sector for many years Russell has gained a strong knowledge of the sector and established professional relationships with a number of disability related organisations within the Central north Island/Auckland regions.

His personal involvement in the sector originates from growing up with an older brother with a significant disability and a direct awareness how this disability impacted on his brothers' life and also that of the wider family.





Russell is a Chartered Accountant running a private practice from his home in the Waikato. Russell has been involved for many years in the local government and education sectors, and currently works primarily with schools and other not-for-profit organisations. Additionally Russell's governance experience is comprehensive, having previously served on various school Board of Trustees for 13 years, and as part of the Parent to Parent National Committee for 4 years,

As a parent of an adult daughter with an intellectual disability, Russell has gained detailed knowledge of the Health and Disability Sector, from both a personal and professional perspective.

Russell's field of expertise is shown in his ability to interpret and monitor financial performance and position.

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