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.



PAULA BAKER BAgrEcon, MBA (Distinction), CMinstD

Paula is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors 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 is also Deputy Chair of the Dietitians Board, on the Board of the Hamilton Cricket Association and is a member of Waikato Community Lotteries committee. Paula’s previous roles include National Advisor-Governance and National Volunteer Strategy Advisor for the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, was on the Board of Enrich+, Deputy Chair of Hospice Waikato and a volunteer for St John as a “Friends of the Emergency Department” at Waikato Hospital. She 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 15 years' 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.




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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