Butch Bradley

Butch Bradley

Board Member

Iwi: Rangitane, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Kinohaku

Butch is in his second term as a director with Skills Active. Also having held the position of Operations Manager from 2006 to late 2008, he brings a working knowledge of the organisation and the industries we work with.

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With a solid media and executive management background, he uses his communications and strategic planning background as a specialist in organisational development. 

Butch has been active with iwi development in the top of the South Island as well as holding a number of directorships in commercial and community organisations, and serving on the top of the south Regional Lotteries committee for over 10 years.

He has served as a director on the board of Basketball NZ, Chair of Te Ara a Maui, Director of Regions & Operations with NZ Māori Tourism, and with the Tasman Rugby Union he is currently CEO for Ngati Apa ki te Rā Tō.


Andrea Bramley

Learning Support Advisor

South Wellington, Central Wellington and Wairarapa

Phone(04) 916 4441 Mobile021 566 853 Email

Andrea looks after the Wellington and Wairarapa region and has been in the Fitness and Health industries for over 20 years.

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She has an extensive history in the fitness industry from gym floor to personal training and group fitness instructing a multitude of genres, and has worked her way up to management. She is also passionate about health and health promotion, and has managed stores in health retail.

Her accomplishment highlights are achieving a New Zealand Exercise Award for Club of the Year, Finalist in the Porirua Business Awards, as well as company awards for Manager of the Year, and Community Engagement of the Year, for her most recent fitness club employer.

She is a real people person and enjoys seeing people reach their best potential.  She really believes in on-job training, adult education and learning, and is often found helping random strangers with their careers, and promoting ITO training pathways for other industries.

She loves her family, her cat and dancing, and lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua.


Jocelyn Brewer

Data Coordinator


Phone(04) 916 4383 Mobilejocelyn@skillsactive.org.nz

Jocelyn has a background in administration, customer service and retail roles. She is one of those annoying 'people person' types and enjoys engaging with people from all backgrounds.

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She's originally from the Kapiti Coast but has lived in Lower Hutt for ten years with her husband, two young kids and a crazy old cat.


Bridie Bright

Resource Designer and Publisher


Phone(04) 916 4390 Email

Bridie joined Skills Active in June 2006 and is responsible for the design, layout, printing and stock management of Skills Active learning and assessment resources (print and e-based resources) to support the achievement of workplace based qualifications within the recreation, sport and fitness sectors.

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Outside the office environment she is a novice quilter, hobby artist and is keen on using her camera on landscapes, people and fascinating objects.


Chauntelle Brown

Learning Support Advisor

Gisborne, East Cape and Hawke's Bay

Mobile027 687 9552 Email

Chauntelle has been working in the sport and recreation industry for about seven years in different roles including administration, coordination and event organising, and more recently in the education team space.

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Originally she is from a small town called Wairoa - don't blink or you might pass it by on your way through to Gisborne - but she has lived in Napier for over 20 years.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, and loves climbing hills and walking. She is heavily involved with her twin girls' netball sporting passion, and have coached their team from time to time.

She is very passionate about education, whether it be school or adult. Her focus is to ensure she makes a difference in this industry and encourages people to reach their full potential through education.


Alexander Brunt

Board Member

Alexander Brunt is currently an employee of the Ministry of Education within the Office of the Deputy Secretary for Evidence, Data and Knowledge. 

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He is formerly the New Zealand Country Manager for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists and General Manager of Water Safety New Zealand.  Alex has held management positions within two territorial local authorities and has a broad governance background, being a former Chairperson of Outdoors New Zealand, the Riverslea Trust Board, and a member of the Diocese of Wellington’s Finance Committee.  Alex holds a postgraduate honours degree from Victoria University of Wellington, an undergraduate degree from the University of Otago and qualifications in Project/Financial Management along with being a New Zealand Recreation Association Accredited Recreation Professional.  Alex brings extensive stakeholder experience from the outdoor and community recreation sectors and contributes strongly to the Board’s finance, risk management, governance and strategic planning functions.  He is the Chair of the Board's Audit and Risk Committee and Qualworx Limited which is a subsidiary company owned by Skills Active.

Alex brings extensive stakeholder experience from the outdoor and community recreation sectors and contributes strongly to the Board’s finance, risk management, governance and strategic planning functions. He is a member of the Board's Audit and Risk Committee, along with its Kaupapa Maori subcommittee.


Jeremy Busby

Quality Advisor and Assessor Liaison


Phone(04) 916 4440 Mobile021 592 621 Email

Jeremy has worked in adult education since 1998, initially as a computing and business administration tutor, then in an assessor support role for an ITO. He then specialised in numeracy and literacy education in the PTE sector and then spent four years with the New Zealand Defence Force as a literacy and numeracy support tutor. For Jeremy, the best part of education is celebrating learner success.

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Away from work he is heavily involved in umpiring cricket which he started as an 18-year-old in 1979.  He is still involved on the field at club level but his main focus now is as one of the NZ national training team.  He is also chairman of the Wellington cricket umpires and scorers body.


Denise Clarke

Learning Support Advisor

Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast

Mobile021 402 293 Email

Denise joined Skillls Active in July 2016 and is based in Nelson. Denise has experience working in the sport, recreation and fitness sectors, delivering and assessing unit standards.

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She is actively working in the fitness industry as a group fitness instructor and is passionate about helping people reach their full potential. 

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exercising at the gym, volunteering in the community and cooking.  


Emily Cooper

Learning Support Advisor

Christchurch and Canterbury

Mobile027 223 9268 Email

Born and raised in Christchurch, Emily grew up in the recreation and sport industry in a wide range of sports, from swimming to competitive diving. At age 16, she started working part-time as a lifeguard and has held various roles in the recreation and sport industry ever since - including a stint at Disney World in Florida.

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She is passionate about education and helping people achieve their goals. She has a Bachelor of Health Science and is currently working towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management.

In her spare time Emily loves to hang out with family and friends, kayak, travel and explore this beautiful country on tramping adventures. 


Ben Corcoran

Industry Development Advisor - Outdoor Recreation


Mobile027 673 8459 Email

Ben joined Skills Active in April, 2018. For more than two decades, Ben has been a professional in the outdoor recreation industry. He has worked in guiding and instruction roles across most disciplines and holds qualifications from NZOIA, NZMGA, NZRA and MSC.

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His experience includes management roles at adventure tourism businesses both nationally and internationally and senior instructor roles at a number of outdoor centres. He comes to Skills Active from the New Zealand Defence Force, where he spent eight years leading adventure activities while facilitating leadership development programmes.

Ben covers the outdoor recreation industry and is the key contact between Skills Active and NZOIA, NZRA, NZSAC and the NZPMBA.

When he is not adventuring in the outdoors or waxing lyrical about Skills Active, he can be found teaching his kids to ski and ride or hanging out with family and friends.


Grant Davidson

Chief Executive


Phone(04) 385 9047 Email

Grant joined Skills Active in March 2010, and before that he was on the Skills Active Board for a number of years.

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Grant has a PhD in risk management from the Department of Management Studies at Waikato University, a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota (USA) and a BSc in Physics and Applied Maths from Auckland University.

He is also a trained and certified teacher and a certified Lead Auditor with Global Exemplar. Grant still follows an active lifestyle with his wife, three children and border collie.


Angela Dorrington

Audit Administrator


Phone(04) 382 8571 Email

Angela has extensive experience in the education sector, and has been an administrator for an industry training organisation for many years.

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Making audits run as smoothly as possible is Angela’s work goal. She is very comfortable working with a wide range of people over a geographically-spread area.


Linda Dorrington

Industry Development Advisor - Community Recreation and Performing Arts


Mobile027 270 7821 Email

Linda has been working in the aquatics industry for over 20 years in many different roles including management at facilities and water-based fitness. She has been part of the wider Skills Active team for over 10 years, working as an LSA, workplace trainer and roving assessor.

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With a passion for workplace training and seeing people succeed, her role as part of the Industry Engagement team builds on her knowledge and community recreation engagement.

Linda is Wellington-based and when not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. With two granddaughters and one grandson, she and her husband have full weekends.

Stephen Gacsal

Stephen Gacsal

Board Member

Stephen is the Registrar of the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) with direct responsibility for the operation and growth of the register, including financial management, strategic direction, and managing key organisational relationships both large and small. REPs is a non-profit, industry-owned entity with just under 3000 registered exercise professionals and 200 exercise facilities.

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Stephen has experience working with a range of organisations, from small owner operators (the backbone of New Zealand) through to large national entities. He has a hands on understanding of the needs and challenges facing small non-profit organisations, and how to support their growth through investment into workplace-based education and standards. As a past chair of the exercise Sector Advisory Group (FSAG), Stephen has a clear understanding of the value and importance of workplace-based training, and the ability to drive, promote and encourage its growth.

Stephen is also a Director of the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) which is actively driving the global development of standards for exercise professionals. With the growing pressure on national health budgets in relation to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the ageing population, the ICREPs director role is important to ensure that the exercise industry worldwide is robustly established in terms of qualifications and recognition that offer effective solutions to these growing problems.​

Sue Gemmell

Sue Gemmell

Outdoor Recreation Programme and Resource Developer


Phone(04) 916 4370 Email

Sue first joined Skills Active in 2006 as a Learning Support Advisor. Since then she has made several attempts to break away from Skills Active, the most recent being a contract resource development role as part of a New Zealand project team working for the Ministry of Education in the Sultanate of Oman.

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She is loving being back in New Zealand, working for Skills Active again, and living at Waikanae Beach. 

Sue still enjoys participating in any outdoor pursuit, but most likely she will be found blasting the local trails on her mountain bike. 


Lorna Gillespie

Snowsport and Outdoor Leadership Programme Developer


Phone(03) 443 7751 Mobile027 6004428 Email

Lorna joined Skills Active in August 2015, and is based in Wanaka. Lorna has extensive experience as an educator, including secondary, tertiary and teacher education and as a professional development advisor and facilitator.

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Lorna’s background in education is now applied to qualification and standard writing, and resource development.

Outside of work Lorna is a berry farmer, gardener, skier and mountain biker.


Angie Gooch

Learning Support Advisor

Wellington North, Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki

Phone(04) 916 4373 Mobile021 532 835 Email

Angie joined Skills Active in September 2016. She comes from an event management and instructional background in the outdoors and community recreation industries.

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Angie loves the interpersonal side of her work, and has had the privilege of meeting and working with many amazing people through her various roles in local and regional authorities, private enterprise, corporate and community facilitation and development.

Angie is a furniture maker, Brazilian drum maker, house renovator/handy-person and general #8 kiwi engineer, who wishes there were more hours in the day to create awesome stuff, including some pretty funky steampunk walking canes.

 She can often be found drumming with the infamous Wellington Batucada. Otherwise Angie loves hanging with her family.

Andrew Gunn

Andrew Gunn

Board Member

Andrew has been on the Skills Active board since 2002 and has brought his strong business experience, financial analysis, auditing and strategic planning skills to the governance group.

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Andrew is a director of Professional IQ College, was a past director on the Industry Training Federation board (the peak body for ITOs) and is the Learning & Development Manager for the Institute of Financial Advisers. Andrew comes from a business background and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and economics, and a Masters of Business Administration from Canterbury University.

Andrew is not directly involved in any Skills Active sector and brings an independent perspective to the governance board as well as financial skills to the role of Chair of the Audit & Risk board committee.


Jacinta Handscomb

Learning Solutions Administrator


Phone(04) 385 7024 Email

Jacinta returned to Skills Active in 2017, after 8 years away. Her role involves helping with the administration tasks of the Qualification, Quality and Resource Development teams, within Learning Solutions.


Jason Hare

Manager, Safety Auditing and Accreditation


Phone(04) 382 8517 Mobile021 806 090 Email

Jason has worked in the tertiary education sector for the past 17 years, mostly in quality management.

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He has successfully managed a national quality management systems for over 10 years, as well as working internationally on benchmarking qualifications and occupations.

Jason has a drive for consistent and transparent processes that will ensure OutdoorsMark delivers a quality product to its clients.

A qualified Lead Auditor, Jason carries out a range of audits for OutdoorsMark, and is developing new audit products to meet the future needs of clients.


Wanda Hart

Data Coordinator Team Leader


Mobile(04) 916 8744 Email

Wanda joined Skills Active in March 2013. She has been involved in the fitness Industry for over 15 years, where she has worked on the gym floor, managed and even owned a gym. She has enjoyed every minute of it.

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Wanda received her National Certificate in Exercise in 1994 and has been in the fitness industry ever since. She is a member of the Register of Exercise Professionals and has continued her education and upskilling. Wanda has completed numerous certificates with Skills Active before starting in her current role, and is now enjoying being part of the team that helped with her fitness career. 


Wez Hind

Web Developer


Phone04 916 4382 Email

Wez joined Skills Active in 2017, having previously provided software services to the company as a contractor since 2011.

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He comes from a software analysis and development background and currently specialises in PHP, MySQL and JavaScript in both back-end and front-end capacity.

He is passionate about improving useability of our services, and providing clients with what they need to get their own jobs done with the minimum of fuss.

When he's not at work, Wez can be found playing a variety of instruments, reading and writing science-fiction, and spending time with an online community of artists at hitrecord.org where he helps produce work for: (award-winning) TV, movies, video games and albums - but mostly for fun.


Donna Hooper

Resource Developer



Donna joined Skills Active in January 2006, and is based in Christchurch. Donna has a background in the aquatics industry having worked as a lifeguard, Learn to Swim instructor and training coordinator.


Alastair Hoult

General Manager, Corporate Services


Mobile027 286 6208 Email

Alastair joined Skills Active in August 2018 after three years as a senior financial advisor in the New Zealand Aid Programme with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior to this he has held senior financial roles with Powerco, Consumer NZ, and Save the Children NZ and in the healthcare sector in both New Zealand and Australia.

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After nine years of part-time study (whilst working full-time and playing in a very social covers band), Alastair finally completed a Bachelor of Business Studies degree extramurally from Massey University in 1998. He has two adult children who have not followed their father’s fondness for squash and cycling but have developed their own strengths in hockey, swimming, basketball and online gaming.

Alastair is very pleased to be back in the NGO sector and is excited to be working with his talented Corporate Services team to add value to Skills Active Aotearoa.

Marie web

Marie Kinloch

Learning Support Advisor

New Zealand Defence Force

Mobile027 663 2095 Email

Marie has a background in the education sector, sport development and the fitness and exercise industry.

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Marie has worked as the manager of a gym and pool facility, a personal trainer for her own studio, and currently also continues to work in the sport industry for Sport Whanganui as the Senior Regions Advisor. 

She has a passion for all sport, recreation and leisure activities and enjoys sharing this with her whānau and friends.


David Liu

ICT Assistant


Phone(04) 916 4382 Email

From child to man-child, David has graduated from the student city of Otago and found work at Skills Active. He is a person with many names, trades and shirts to show his many talents.

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David is a dedicated gamer in the off-times and an antic-causing person during work times. Aiming to be the next "Iron Man of the World".


Todd Maddock

General Manager, Trainee Support


Mobile027 233 1031 Email

Todd joined Skills Active in March 2018.
While Todd has a broad range of experience across his career he had a desire to move into a role in the sport and recreation, health, wellbeing and personal development sector. Skills Active was an excellent fit.

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He has a history in endurance sport, completing Ironman NZ, and representing New Zealand in his age group at the World Champs for Triathlon. When not at work, he'll probably be on the trails. 


Paul Marshall

Industry Development Advisor - Sport


Mobile021 360 487

Iwi: Tūhoe

Paul joined Skills Active in May, 2016. He has worked across most of our industries including community recreation, exercise and sport. More recently he has been working in health, managing various projects aimed at improving health outcomes.

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Paul’s true passion is sport and he is relishing the opportunity to reunite this passion with his career. His sporting background is dominated with years of martial arts including taekwondo, kickboxing and more recently Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but has also found time for basketball, rugby and being a fanatic follower of the NRL and NBA.

When Paul isn’t at work he generally spending time with his lovely wife and three children.


Jim McKendry

Resource Developer


Phone0508 475 4557 Email

Jim joined Skills Active in 2018. He comes from a varied hospitality background and has also worked as a sound technician, in fitness marketing, and as a hospitality tutor before becoming a resource developer in 2014.

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He is passionate about adult education and breaking down barriers to learning.

When he's not at work, Jim enjoys astronomy, lifting weights and watching Liverpool football club.


Julie McKiernan

Administration Assistant

Phone(04) 916 4370 Email

Julie joined Skills Active in August 2013 as the Office Assistant. Since joining she has completed two Skills Active Qualifications - the National Certificate in Recreation and Sport (Core Skills) and Business Administration and Computing Skills Level 3.

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Julie is from the UK and has two daughters. She loves spending time with her family, just hanging out and having fun. Julie loves to help people.


Esther McLaren

Communications Advisor


Phone(04) 916 4394 Mobile021 195 5127 Email

Esther joined Skills Active in April, 2016. She comes from a business journalism background, and previously specialised in writing about employment. She is a big fan of plain English.

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Esther's favourite sport is crosswords. She also likes newspapers, books, yoga and hanging out with her partner and two kids.


Evelyn Moody

Qualification Review Team Leader


Phone(04) 382 3121 Email

Evelyn joined Skills Active in November 2014. Evelyn initially trained as a teacher and has been involved with workplace training and assessment for the past 15 years, with the last 10 years spent in the NZ vocational education and training space.

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Evelyn brings eight years' experience from NZQA in the quality assurance of standards and national qualifications including an in-depth knowledge of TROQ. More recently Evelyn spent time in the ITO sector as an industry manager, managing a complex portfolio of public sector clients, and leading and contributing to a number of TROQ reviews.

Outside of work Evelyn is busy raising a young family and enjoys catching up with friends and reading a good book.

Sam Napia

Sam Napia

Board Chair

Iwi: Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kauwhata

Sam has an executive management and director background in both the private and public sectors, having served on boards across a variety of industries including advertising, fishing, and broadcasting.

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He has a Master of Business Administration with distinction from the University of Waikato. Sam is involved with the Treaty settlement process for the country’s largest iwi, Ngapuhi, and has extensive experience in working with Māori and non-Māori organisations alike.

Sam currently works in local government, a sector with which he has been associated for more than 25 years. His local government experience includes an overseas appointment as a council CEO in Australia’s Northern Territory. Sam was elected to Skills Active’s Board in May 2007. Sam has been involved with Skills Active since the incorporation of Sfrito.

Pei Ying

Pei-Ying Pan

Data Coordinator


Phone(04) 916 4385 Email

Pei-Ying joined Skills Active in August 2013 as the Data Coordinator for the Central/Southern Region. Prior to working at Skills Active, she was relieving at secondary schools and teaching piano from home (still does). Currently she holds a Master’s degree in Music and a Diploma in Teaching and Learning.

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She was born in Taiwan and moved to Christchurch when she was 11, until moving to Wellington in 2011. Since being introduced to the fitness world a few years ago, she has become an avid HIIT trainer and is slowly adventuring into weight training.


Jenni Pethig

Resource Development Team Leader


Mobile027 448 5797 Email

Jenni has been involved in workplace training, qualification, standard and resource development for over 14 years with nine of them being with Sfrito and Skills Active.

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Jenni has worked with a range of Skills Active sectors and is passionate about increasing the value of recreation in the lives of all New Zealanders.


Matthew Phillips

Graphic Designer


Phone(04) 916 4381

Matt joined Skills Active in 2016. He has a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design majoring in digital media at Massey University. Before joining Skills Active as a graphic designer, Matt had been involved with Skills Active through lifeguarding, first completing the National Pool Lifeguard Award eight years ago.

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 Matt has always had a passion for the outdoors. He is an avid ocean swimmer and during summer can usually be found travelling the country to compete. His other passions include tramping and photography, two things that go together better than peanut butter and jelly.


Raz Poa

Learning Support Advisor

Northland and West Auckland

Mobile027 238 9144 Email

Born and raised in the Kaipara District, Renata (Raz) Poa has strong connections to Northland.

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Raz joined Skills Active in June, 2018. She has worked across most of our industries including community recreation, exercise and sport, as well as media promotions, and retail at a management level.

With previous experience in owning and running a few small businesses, Raz’s true passion is working with people to achieve their desired outcome in whatever area that might be.

Her sporting background is dominated by a variety of sport, including Athletics, Netball, Rugby, Cricket, Boxing and more recently, competing at a professional level for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Raz leads a busy lifestyle away from work, spending time with family, friends, studying Sports Psychology, training for upcoming fights, working on her Chrysler Valiant 1973 and if she has time… fishing in the Kaipara Harbour.


Matt Powell

Learning Support Advisor

North Auckland and Central Auckland

Mobile027 413 0100 Email

Matt has been working in the health, fitness and community recreation industries for over 10 years in a wide variety of roles including personal training, group fitness and professional development.

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His passion for helping others sees him still teaching Les Mills Group Fitness classes on a weekly basis. Born and bred in the mighty West Auckland and a graduate of Kelston Boys High School, a passion for sport comes with the territory. 

During his downtime Matt can be found in the gym, coaching and personal training, as well as instructing a variety of group fitness classes. On weekends you will find him glued to the TV watching the NRL and supporting his beloved New Zealand Warriors.

Before moving to Skills Active, Matt managed a number of gym facilities as well as being Business Development Manager for Health & Fitness at CLM. Matt was also a Skills Active exercise assessor for over two years before joining the team. 


Hare Pupuke

Learning Support Advisor

East, Central and South Auckland

Mobile027 4494 470 Email

Hare was born in Lower Hutt and brought up on the marae in Waiwhetu. He played almost every sport. Softball was his first love and he represented Hutt Valley at all age grades and was a member of the NZ Youth Squad.

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Hare is happily married with four children (including twins). He's passionate about his family and ensuring they have every opportunity to be successful.

Before Skills Active, he was working at BNZ as a personal banker for three years. Prior to that he worked in the health and disability sector.

Hare is very passionate about sports and and equally as passionate about helping people achieve success. So working at Skills Active seemed like the ideal role to put his two passions together.


Geeta Raman

Quality Advisor and Moderator


Phone04 916 4386 Email

Geeta joined Skills Active in November 2018. She worked with another ITO for two and half years in the assessor support and moderation space, and her background is in adult education and training.

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Born and raised in Wellington, Geeta had an overseas stint for about eight years before returning home.

With three grown, self-sufficient children, her new spare time is spent reading, learning as much as possible (about anything) and trying out shows, events and cafes in Wellington whenever there is an opportunity. 


Emma Ramsay Brown

Learning Support Advisor

Coastal Otago and Southland

Mobile027 640 0185 Email

Emma has spent the last 16 years in Dunedin, running an Outdoor Education and Eco tourism company with her husband.

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Their company has trained many of staff through Skills Active (herself included), so Emma jumped at the opportunity to come on board as a Skills Active team member to help other companies take advantage of the great training opportunities Skills Active can offer them.

Although her business has meant she spends a lot of time outdoors with clients, she and her husband and daughter still spend as much free time as possible camping, rafting, and hanging out in the outdoors. But she also admits that sometimes sitting by a lake reading all day works for her too.


Des Ratima

Board Member

Iwi: Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Rangikoianake, Rongowhakaata Te Whānau A Kai

Des was elected as a director in 2013. He has been actively engaged in operational, governance, strategic and collaborative impact projects for the past 10 years.

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He has wide experience in local, regional and central government. He is Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Māori Council, elected in February 2016. Des comes from a military, trade and political background. He has always been an avid sports participant, gaining representative honours in the NZ Army, NZ Combined Services and NZ Forces rugby team in New Zealand and South East Asia.

He has skills in negotiation, facilitation, cultural tikanga, training design and relationship building. He currently chairs Te Whanautahi Trust, and founded the Te Roopu Kaitiaki O Te Wai Māori cultural environmental consultancy. He is a founding member of Takitimu Ora, a Whānau Ora collaborative operating in Hawke's Bay. His strong links into Māori communities as chair of the Ngā Marae O Heretaunga collective provides access to opportunities for Skills Active in the Māori community.


Alan Reynolds

Industry Development Advisor - Exercise


Phone(04) 916 8745 Mobile027 24 73 468 Email

Alan joined Skills Active in July, 2008. In 2005 he started retraining as a Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor, working in the industry from 2006. He’s also studied Martial Arts, NLP, Anthropometry, Exercise for Special Populations, and Nutrition. He also competed in the 2010 NZ Masters Games as a track sprinter.

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Alan obviously covers the exercise industry. Additionally he is the key contact between Skills Active and CityFitness, Les Mills, REPs NZ, ExerciseNZ and the PT Council.

He can generally help with most exercise qualification or fitness technical questions, REPs registration questions, and where to direct people inquiring about other (non-qualification) fitness-related issues, e.g. "what are the best websites for helping PTs with..." 


Steve Richens

Learning Support Advisor and Industry Development Advisor - Snowsports

Central Otago

Mobile027 24 81 565 Email

Steve joined the Skills Active team in July 2013. Born and raised near Salisbury, England and with a BA Combined Honours in Sports Science & History, Steve has enjoyed a career in Leisure & Tourism predominantly within the Snowsports Industry.

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Steve moved to New Zealand in 2004 and is now settled in Arrowtown with his wife Sadie and boys Seth & Arlo.

Go Highlanders!



Wayne Schlemmer

Quality Solutions Team Leader


Phone(04) 916 8746 Mobile021 272 4548 Email

Wayne joined Skills Active in October 2018. He has been involved in adult education for 20 years, starting off as a workplace assessor, and later senior technical trainer in the mining industry.

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In more recent years his experience includes technical training for the railways, and working as a quality and moderation advisor for another industry training organisation.

He enjoys bush walks with his dog, the gym, and he very occasionally surfs.

Karen Scott web

Karen Scott

Quality Advisor and Evaluator


Phone04 916 8747 Email

Karen has joined our team with a passion for education which supports pathways and the growth of trainees, businesses and our communities.

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Her extensive travel and tourism experience has led into training, assessor and recruitment roles, followed by her last few years as a Quality Assurance and Moderation Advisor at another ITO.

After many years travelling around the world Karen has now settled on a South Coast beach where she can be found swimming, snorkelling or building sandcastles with her son.


Alicja Skop

Marketing and Digital Campaign Lead


Phone(04) 385 7024 Mobile021 246 1607 Email

Alicja joined the Skills Active whānau in April, 2018. Originally from Germany, Alicja moved to New Zealand in 2007, when she was offered a marketing position in the education sector. Since then she has worked for language schools The Campbell Institute and ETC English Teaching College, attracting international students to New Zealand.

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This was followed by the government agency WREDA and the Wellington-based charity Skylight Trust. Back in Germany, she trained with and worked for the InterContinental Hotels Group in Europe.

Alicja is a yoga addict and completed her international teaching registration in 2017 with the Yoga Alliance. If you don’t see her on her mat, then certainly on a mountain bike or practising on her guitar. Alicja likes to eat the world for lunch, and says that’s easy with all the choices you have in Wellington. However, exploring street food while travelling is her favourite.


Courtenay Suppinger

HR Advisor, Board Secretary and Health and Safety Representative


Phone(04) 916 4396 Mobile021 262 7088 Email

Courtenay joined Skills Active in 2005. She originally started as an Administration Assistant and then in October 2007 became the EA to the CE. In October 2008, she also included HR Administration into her role, and in November 2009 was appointed HR Advisor.

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Currently, Courtenay is kept busy with plenty of variety in her roles as she is the HR Advisor, Board Secretary and Health and Safety Representative for Skills Active.

She has more than 20 years' experience in a variety of administration roles within small, medium and large companies and is familiar with employment environments ranging from research and advertising, to power, oil and transport. 

Wendy Sweet

Wendy Sweet

Board Member

An award-winning presenter and fitness industry leader, Wendy has been involved with the health and fitness industry in Australasia for three decades.

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Although she started out in the fitness industry as a group fitness instructor and trained many of the senior group fitness instructors now working for Les Mills International, her most prominent role has been through her long-time commitment to the education and development of personal trainers.

This included pioneering personal training education in New Zealand in 1992. On establishing trainers as self-employed contractors in 1995, Wendy's courses were the first to include business development sessions for trainers.

This not only helped to establish the increasing professionalism and acceptance of personal training into the mainstream fitness industry but set the standard and rationalisation for new academic courses to emerge in a range of tertiary education settings around New Zealand and Australia.

On ending her 18 years with the Les Mills group in 2001, Wendy then assisted in establishing Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) personal training modules and for 14 years, supporting the education of hundreds of personal trainers in the Auckland region. On moving to the Waikato, she then worked at Waikato University teaching exercise prescription, nutrition & wellbeing and exercise physiology papers.

Alongside bringing up two sporty children, she also returned to being a student herself and completed her Master’s thesis in 2009. Today, Wendy’s passion continues to be education and professional standards for personal trainers. Her championing of personal training best-practice led to her working with Exercise Association of New Zealand to establish the REPs registration system, and as head judge, she was also integral in establishing the judging criteria for the now well–established Fitness Awards in NZ.

All of this was acknowledged in 2011, through the Exercise Association of New Zealand with their award for ‘The Most Outstanding Contribution to the Fitness Industry’. Today she continues her studies with a part-time PhD exploring the active ageing experiences of mid-life baby-boomer women, including why they are the largest group to sign on with personal trainers in the western world. She continues to mentor and support local trainers over a coffee or two and has written a number of fitness education resources for Skills Active.

Wendy currently works as an independent consultant to the fitness industry and is undertaking a PhD through the University of Waikato.


Ron Taukamo

Kaihautū & Manager, Cultural Development

Phone(04) 916 4375 Email

Iwi: Ngāti Porou, Ue Pohatu, Te Aupōuri
Hapu: Te Whānau a Hinetāpora

Ron joined Skills Active in 2006, having completed three years as Training Advisor, Tourism Māori at Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation.

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Previously Ron spent nine years as Programme Manager in education and training, including three years as Executive Director, at YMCA Wellington.

He has a background in business, and was self-employed for 15 years as Managing Director in both the retail and construction sectors.

Ron is committed to Kaupapa Māori and Tikanga Māori approaches with workplaces, and uses past experiences to build relationships with iwi, hapū and other Māori stakeholders to create awareness of opportunities available through Skills Active.


Elke Thompson

General Manager Industry Engagement


Mobile027 446 9032 Email

Elke joined Skills Active in February 2019. Originally from Austria, Elke holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration with a major in tourism and leisure studies. After studying and working across different countries within Europe and the Middle East she’s been living in New Zealand for the past 10 years.

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Since then, Elke has worked in various leadership positions across local and central government and brings passion for socioeconomic development and biculturalism in action. She is also a Yoga teacher in training and aspiring Taekwondo black belt.

When she is not at work or working out she enjoys spending time with her whānau and hanging out on the beach. 


Jo Thompson

Standards Developer

Phonejo@skillsactive.org.nz Mobile027 415 4103


Craig Thomson

Salesforce Functional Consultant


Phone(04) 916 4392 Email

Craig rejoined Skills Active in September 2012 after also working here from 1997 to 2002. He has worked in the ITO sector for over 10 years focusing mainly on information systems, data integrity and business processes.

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In his spare time, Craig also teaches photography to adults at Wellington High School in the evenings, works on various documentary photography projects, travels and enjoys gardening.


Lance Tomuri

Marketing and Communications Team Leader


Phone(04) 382 3122 Mobile027 242 5974 Email

Iwi: Ngā Puhi

Lance joined Skills Active in March, 2011. He has a background in advertising and design. After working in a design studio in Sydney for a couple of years he moved back to New Zealand and worked as an Art Director for DDB Needham working with clients such as Ford Motors, BP, Philips, Rural Bank and AMP.

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He then set up a company called Schafline New Zealand specialising in pre-press and design, and alongside of that set up one of Wellington’s first web/internet companies called Go Global.

Lance plays football (been in the same football team for over 30 years - the University Bombers), softball, tennis, golf and he snowboards - a jack of all sports and a master of none.


Michelle Turney-Mitchell

Finance and Office Manager


Phone(04) 916 4384 Email

Michelle joined Skills Active in April 2016. She has a background in finance and has previously worked in finance roles at Save The Children New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants. She loves numbers but is also keen on people, and she enjoys being the go-to, fix-it person in the office.

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When she’s not at work, Michelle can be found spending time with her fiancé Jason, looking after their property investments, indulging her love of plus size fashion, swimming, and going to the driving range.


Leona van der Heyden

General Manager, Learning Solutions


Phone(04) 916 4389 Email

Leona returned to Skills Active in January 2008 after 10 years away, and following several years with InfraTrain, the infrastructure ITO.

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Leona manages the Learning Solutions team, which covers two key areas of Skills Active:

  • Qualification and Standards development: this team is currently focused on working through the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) project to develop and register New Zealand qualifications and standards across our sectors.

  • Quality Solutions: this team is responsible for the development of Skills Active's learning and assessment resources and the quality assurance of assessors and providers delivering and assessing Skills Active qualifications and standards.


Magda van der Walt

Resource Developer


Phone(04) 916 4442 Email

Magda joined Skills Active in July 2016. She has a background in facilitation, stakeholder engagement and development in both the private training sector back in South Africa and ITO sector in New Zealand.

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Her development experience includes qualifications, programmes and unit standards, with supporting learning and assessment resources. She enjoys working with people and creative projects.

Outside of work she enjoys being active and particularly likes high intensity interval training and weightlifting. She has a keen interest in holistic health, wellness and nutrition. She loves cooking and can never say no to a good cup of coffee!


Carolyn Verhagen

Learning Support Advisor

Waikato South, Rotorua, Central North Island and King Country

Mobile027 6738 460 Email

Carolyn has a background in Outdoor Education, having worked as an Outdoor Instructor at a number of organisations. She has been an enthusiastic caver, rock climber, tramper and kayaker and enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors with others.

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Carolyn has a love of teaching and an enthusiasm for learning new skills. She lives in the beautiful Central North Island which allows her to spend time kayaking when it is warm and skiing when it is cold.

In her spare time, if she isn’t in the kitchen, Carolyn can be found working in the kitchen garden or messing around in the outdoors with her husband, children and the family dog.


Dave Watkinson

Adventure Activities Audit Coordinator


Phone(04) 382 4391 Email

With an extensive background in both safety auditing, and the outdoor sector, Dave brings a wealth of skills and knowledge to this position. He has technical expert skills in mountaineering, rock climbing with high ropes, and white water kayak/canoe/rescue.

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Dave has an affinity with adventure activity operators, which ensures the best fit of operator and auditor, and a cleaner audit process.

Originally from England, Dave was part of the United Kingdom's Adventure Activities Licensing Scheme, both as an operator, Head of Centre, and an Inspector.

He was also a member of the working group that prepared British Standard BS8848 for overseas expeditions and field work, in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society and the Young Explorers’ Trust.


Jay Weerappulige

ICT Technician


Phone(04) 916 4382 Email

Jay joined Skills Active in 1998 after obtaining a National Diploma in Advanced Business Computing at CIT in Upper Hutt. He is responsible for the development and maintenance of student management systems, as well as all internal information systems, IT hardware and application software.

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Prior to Skills Active, Jay worked as a Civil Engineer in Sri Lanka for about 10 years. He is very passionate about cricket, and supports Sri Lanka and the Black Caps (in that order).