Graham Bidois Cameron, Chief Executive
Ngāti Ranginui, Te Arawa, Ngāti Haua
Graham has oversight for all strategic and financial activities of the Merivale Community Centre, and is accountable to the Core Group, the centre's governance board. He has worked in community development for over a decade in Wellington and now in Tauranga, and was previously a public servant in Māori Affairs and Health. He and his whānau were members of Urban Vision in central city Wellington for five years. He has a BA (Sociology) and BA Hons (Māori Studies) from Victoria University, and is currently working towards an MTheol through the University of Otago.
He is married to Jo and has three young children. They are residents of Merivale. Graham is the chair of Poutūrerangi Marae in Te Puna, and a whānau member of Tutarawānanga Te Kōhanga Reo and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Kura Kōkiri.
John Fletcher, Services Manager
John manages the day to day running of the Merivale Community Centre in youth services and whānau support. John was the lead researcher and author of the Positive and Proud report. John has many years of community development experience both in Aotearoa New Zealand and England, including implementing the Every Child Matters strategy at the local level. He has a BSc (Hons) Psychology.
Rawiri 'Pou' Pohatu, Youth Worker
Pou leads our OSCAR After School Programme and 5-10 years OSCAR Holiday Programmes. He seeks to empower Merivale youth to show leadership with local children in these programmes, while providing an excellent service to support parents and caregivers. He was in the NZ military for many years, and then worked in alternative education programmes.
He and his wife Sapphire have been involved in Merivale for many years, and continue to be whānau members at Tutarawānanga Te Kōhanga Reo. Pou is currently studying towards a Diploma of Community and Youth Work through Praxis.
Whetu Taupo-Wharakura, Youth Worker
Whetu was a long-term volunteer at the community centre who has come onto staff. He was the inaugural recipient of the Tauranga City Council's Youth Rising Star Award in 2010, reflecting his selfless efforts with local youth. He went on to complete a radio qualification as part of the award. He now leads our programmes and activities for youth, with a particular focus on 11-14 year olds.
Whetu is currently studying towards a Diploma of Community and Youth Work through Praxis.
Aaron Simon, Youth Worker
Aaron has worked his way from volunteer, to support worker through to Youth Worker. This reflects his own growth, including a stint on Limited Service Volunteers. He provides support to Pou and Whetu in all of their programmes, and has close relationships built up over many years with local children and young people.
Aaron grew up in Merivale. He is currently studying towards a Diploma of Community and Youth Work through Praxis.
Becks Watts, Youth Worker
Becks has joined us to lead the development of our Youth Leadership Group. She has over 15 years experience in youth work, and consequently has very strong connections with young people and other youth workers, particularly in church youth ministry circles. She has quickly built relationships with our young leaders and is encouraging of their role in the community centre.
Becks has two wonderful children. She is currently studying psychology at the University of Waikato.
Kate Elliott, Whānau Support Worker
Kate joins us from work in mental health support. Previously she has worked with youth at Te Runanga o Ngai Tamawhariua, and spent some time in Australia where she had her first experience of working in community centres.
She is well supported by her husband John, and has quickly become a central part of our team meeting the needs of Merivale whānau.
Margaret Mankelow, kuia
Nan Margaret has been in Merivale for over 40 years. All of her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren have grown up in and around Merivale. She is well-respected in the community for her big heart and no-nonsense attitude. We are lucky to have her at the community centre, where she provides considered advice and ideas.
Ph. (07) 578 6450 10 Kesteven Ave, Merivale, TaurangaView full details >