Learning support advisors

Use the interactive map to find your nearest learning support advisor



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.

Tamsyn Hickey

Tamsyn Hickey

Learning support advisor

Southern Auckland region, Hamilton, Coromandel, Tauranga and Bay of Plenty

Mobile021 563 035 Email

Tam has been involved in the fitness industry for 10 years and the recreational equestrian sector for 20 years.

From being a floor trainer, to managing a team of trainers at a university, up to managing a PTE that delivered Personal Training education up to Level 3 and 4 - which prompted her to study a Diploma in Adult Learning - it's been an interesting journey. However, that is very much the nature of the fitness industry.

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Tam's passionate about helping others through education, professional and personal development. She believes that being able to help others is a privilege.

When Tam isn't with Skills Active, she's playing with her Flemish Giant rabbit, Atlas, ballroom dancing, in the gym, or running around charities in a Storm Trooper suit. 


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.


Chauntelle Brown

Learning support advisor

Wairarapa, 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.


Angie Gooch

Learning support advisor

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.

Angela Robinson Web

Angela Robinson

Learning support advisor

Wellington and Kapiti Coast

Mobile021 566 853 Email

Angela joined Skills Active in May 2019. Angela has been in gym membership sales and retention roles for nearly 10 years, and has worked as a group fitness instructor for over 15 years. She has also worked in employment support roles, supporting people coming out of prison, and spent five years in the recruitment industry.

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Angela’s passion is supporting people to reach their goals whether that be in fitness or employment, and she is a strong believer in education and ongoing learning as a pathway to success. She has studied continuously as an adult in psychology and mental health, and loves to learn!

Angela is still a passionate group fitness instructor for Les Mills in Wellington and loves to keep fit while helping others. She loves being active with her kids on the weekends, watching her beloved Phoenix Football team, and is a keen traveller.


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. 


Steve Richens

Learning support advisor and industry development advisor - snowsport

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 and tourism, predominantly within the snowsport 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!



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.

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