Ant Backhouse QSM - CEO 

Ant Backhouse has a 25 year history of working with and leading young people. Since 2002, Ant has been employed as Project Coordinator to set up and run the “I Have a Dream” programme of New Zealand. In 2014 the culmination of his work was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list where he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for his service to youth and education. Ant’s latest ventures have seen him sharing the learnings of his research and life’s work through involvements in various community initiatives and education boards. Ant is pushing ahead to scale out the I Have a Dream’s principles so that many more Kiwi children can benefit, and now holds the role of CEO of the I Have a Dream Charitable Trust. “I am passionate about educational equality and providing better pathways to achieve higher outcomes for all young people – especially priority groups like Pasifika and Maori.”            

Joby Hopa - Community Engagement Manager 

Joby is deeply involved in the Tikipunga community and has built solid relationships through his work within and around the Tikipunga area.  Joby's strengths are his ability to initiate real communication, instigate motivation, instill confidence and self belief and maximise a sense of identity and pride utilising te reo Maori me ona tikanga. Joby is fortunate to work within his marae – Pehiaweri on a daily basis and is immersed in the practice of tikanga and kawa. The tenets of tika, pono and aroha underpin the dynamic mahi of the marae and Joby believes they are pivotal to doing any mahi in our community. Joby is the Relationship Manager for Pehiaweri Hub and is responsible for growing the relationships Pehiaweri has with external parties as well as enhancing the whanaungatanga of the marae whanau. Joby is regularly invited to speak and present to School staff, Boards of Trustees, Early Childhood forums, community health, tertiary and sports forums. Joby has served 4 terms on the Board of North Haven Hospice. He is the Chair of the Waitangi Cultural Society Incorporated, the regional organisation that has oversight of kapa haka in Tai Tokerau. Joby is currently in his 5th term in this position. Joby’s whanau lead Hātea Kapa Haka Trust and actively support local government and community events. Joby is also actively involved in marae mahi and serves the marae on the Taumata. Joby received his Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland in 2009 – 2012 and a Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (2009 - 2011).    

Damien Clark - Programme Operations Manager 

Damien has been involved as a Youth Worker within the Whangarei area for the last six years. Many of his contemporaries left Whangarei at the end of High School because Whangarei was perceived as a place that lacks any future for young people. However Damien felt committed to staying in the Whangarei area and spent his first three foundational years of youth work studying distance block courses part time to complete his NZQA Level Six Diploma in Youth and Community Studies in 2012. Damien has been a part of the “24-7 YouthWork” Initiative in Whangarei Boys’ High School for the Whangarei Youth Community Trust. This has been out of a commitment to the community and city that has given him so much in his years growing up as a young person. In this journey Damien displayed proven ability in leadership, people management, stakeholder engagement and responsibility which, in 2013, led him to fulfil the role of Northland Regional Co-ordinator for 24-7 YouthWork. One year later, he also began the role of Team Leader (programme manager) for the small team of four youth workers in both Whangarei Girl’s and Boys’ High Schools as he continued with his role as a youth worker in the boys’ school. Over the last two years Damien has also undertaken further study, completing a Graduate Diploma in Not-for-Profit Management through Unitec in 2015.

Marcia Hopa - Navigator 

Marcia’s real passion lies with families, children and our communities. Marcia has a special interest in helping people in complex situations and seeing warming results when they are able to make changes to their lives for the better. Her persistent and bubbly personality and having a good attitude to life is what enables her to work well and interact with people of all ages. Marcia is fluent in Te reo Maori and is an experienced bi-lingual presenter. In 2012 she received her Bachelor in Maori Performing Arts at the “ Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi”. Marcia has used these skills in competitive Kapa Haka, regular participation in whanau marae activities, meetings, hosting and networking with key people in the community, the nation and overseas. Marcia also holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland (Tai Tokerau Campus) in 2011 – 2013). Marcia has worked in various schools as a Kapa Haka Teacher and in Bi-lingual Units.            

Jaycee Maunsell-Mcmenamin - Navigator

Jaycee graduated from Unitec in Auckland in 2013 with a Bachelor of Social Practice (Community Development) Degree and has been working throughout Northland for the past three years. Jaycee’s work experience includes, Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services (2014-2015) Whanau Ora Social Worker in Secondary Schools, Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services (2014-2015) Youth Offender Mentor / Tai Tamariki Facilitator, Volunteering Auckland (2013) Student Researcher, Auckland Unitec (2013 – 2015) Ambassador. Jaycee has also been through numerous training programmes including, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Neuroscience of Depression, Self-Harm prevention (compass), Suicide QPR, Assist suicide prevention, Whanau Action Education Plan, Mentor Plus (Youth Mentoring), Mauri Ora – Matauranga Maori Lvl 3, Unitec START Mentor Training, Unitec Student Ambassador, Volunteer Management/Engagement, Volunteer Recruitment & Retention, Youth Offender Workers Training, Domestic Violence Training, Whai Ake Tertiary Mentor Training, Matauranga Maori Level 2. Jaycee suffers from a disability which affects her mobility but through hard work, perseverance and a great deal of whanau support she was able to complete her degree and work in the community she loves so much. Jaycee credits the support of Whai Ake, Unitec’s Maori scholarship and mentoring programme, in helping her reach her academic goals. Jaycee also attributes the programme in helping her recognise her bi-culturalism ‘It allowed me to see we need both worlds, but not to let go of our tikanga’.

Phoenix Ruka - Navigator 

Phoenix is a passionate Northlander who is focused on producing passionate, talented, and driven individuals who know where they come from and where to find the tools to be the best that they can be. Phoenix is devoted to empowering the next generation by developing programs for his rangatahi that resonate, whilst working closely with them. His passion and commitment to physical and mental health coupled with an understanding of tikanga drives him every day. In 2014 Phoenix completed his Bachelor in Maori Performing Arts which has assisted his learning and understanding of Maori Models of well-being or oranga. Although mainly linked to Maori Performing Arts, Phoenix also studied traditional practices, te reo Maori me ona tikanga. The impacts of historical events on Maori and how Maori have reclaimed their well-being via Maori models such as Te Atuatanga & Haka Ora. On a practical level Phoenix has gained experience through working with Maori Health Providers working with at risk youth, Ngatihine Health Trust, Whangarei 2011-2012 – Youth Co-ordinator, Raukura Hauora O Tainui 2013 – 2015 / Kia oiki ora (Suicide Prevention Coordinator), Kamo High School 2015 / Teacher Aide for Alternative Education Students. Phoenix's other achievements include: Represented Te Tai Tokerau at numerous Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Competitions, Performed at Super 12 Kapa Haka competitions in Gisborne and placed second, Competed at multiple Outrigger Canoe (Waka Ama) National and World Championships and represented New Zealand, National Champion Waka Ama 2000-2010 – Junior Under 16 Gold Medalist 2005.’

Boudene Hauraki - Navigator 

Boudene’s  goal in life is to develop his personal and professional life skills to help both himself and his community. Health has been the main focus of Boudene’s work over the last 5 years, working for the Ngati Hine Health Trust with youth struggling with alcohol and other illicit drugs.  During his time at Ngati Hine Health Boudene’s Roles have included: Pairiau Service – Youth Justice Mentor /CFA carer for High and Complex Needs Youth (2014-2015), CAYAD  (Community Action Youth Alcohol And Drugs ) Co-ordinator  (2009 – 2011), Tai Tokerau Attendance Services – Attendance Advisor (2014-2015). He has also been employed by CCS Disability Action as the Community Support Coordinator (2012-2015) and by the Ministry of Education as a Student Attendance Services Coordinator and the FIAAI (Flinders Aboriginal Association Inc) as the CDEP – Community Development Employment Project in Australia. Boudene has gained a Certificate in Health Promotion at AUT (2009) and also graduated in various other programmes at Landmark Education in 2008. Boudene has a passion for working with youth from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds.  Boudene is also passionate about Te Reo Maori and his heritage, which he is currently working on to improve and learn more about.

Vincent Nathan - Navigator 

Vincent describes himself as a people person with a diverse background in management and customer service.  He is committed to using his range of skills to work with youth and impact the whole community.  As a qualified barber he has interacted with people from all walks of life and credits this to his professional, forward thinking attitude. Vincent has also worked as a volunteer alongside local iwi and hapu Ngatiwai trust with youth suicide prevention.   In 2013 Vincent won the annual Auckland/Northland poetry Slam this saw him qualify for nationals which he won with his poem "Queen" and held the title for a further 2 years. He is part of a four man spoken word collective known as "Decolonize", in recent years he has put his literature, poetry and public speaking skills to work in various capacities such as helping with teenage mums, high school students and youth probation services. His love for poetry and spoken word also sees him hosting various poetry events within his community and nationally. Vincent is also extremely passionate about performing arts and how it can be used as a tool to encourage youth to reach their full potential.   As a performer himself he is actively involved in a lot of local events, Vincent loves to sing and perform on stage and has worked with the 'Company of Giants' a group of local performing artists and has been involved in many productions from musicals to dance to television work.  Vincent is in his second year of Te Reo studies and holds a certificate in Tikanga Maori.

Jon Renes - Navigator Support 

Jon is a self motivated, client-centric, dedicated and hardworking person who relishes working in a team environment and has a passion for helping and supporting others in developing their full potential. Jon has had an extensive career in health and fitness and high performance sport and has developed unique skills in coaching, mentoring, and leadership and considers himself to have excellent relationship building and communication skills along with an ability to help people from a range of backgrounds. Jon has also run his own business and has an excellent understanding of the financials, marketing, problem solving and day to day challenges involved. He also has great relationship building, networking, and communication skills  and has worked throughout the community with Pehiaweri Marae, Northtec, Whangarei Primary School sports teams and various other rugby and league teams and committees. Jon also has experience in delivery of conference, workshop, and seminar presentations to sporting and school groups.  He has worked with the NZ Academy of Sport with regards to strategic planning, resource development, innovation, versatility, adaptability, time management, working unsupervised, and working within a team – examples;  Previous Strength and Conditioning Coach for NZ Academy of Sport and current Northland Strength and Conditioning Provider for High Performance Sport NZ,  Developing lesson plans and resources for my NorthTec tutor positions,  Developing 1, 2, 3, and 4 year periodised training plans for high performance athletes and squads,  Developing and maintaining working relationships with coaches, sports medicine specialists and providers, athletes, parents, support personnel, administrators, and other key relevant stake holders.

Nina Backhouse - Administrator

Nina is an experienced part of the team who along with her husband Ant Backhouse started the first' I Have A Dream' project in Mt Roskill, Auckland in 2002.  Together they worked as volunteers with at risk youth through their church in the community of Mt Roskill, before starting the programme. Nina has had a extensive career in administration and management and has many attributes but it is her ability to communicate with all types of people and bridge gaps that make her so valuable to our organisation.  Nina and Ant have four children and have moved their family from Auckland to Northland so that they can roll the programme out in a new area and reach a greater number of students.  Nina is passionate about all children having opportunities, resources and tools to set goals and realise their dreams. 

Amber Porter - Administrator

Amber has had a varied career in administration and customer service working for a range of companies in various different roles.  Amber is also passionate about education and youth, is a qualified teacher and believes education is the key to helping students reach their full potential.  The long term commitment to the children in this programme appeals to Amber who thinks the unique thing about I Have A Dream is their ability to advocate for their students and create an important link between home and school. 


Lynette Stewart CNZM - Trustee

Lynette is the chief Executive of Ki A Ora Ngatiwai Health Trust. Formerly, the inaugural Chief Executive of Te Tai Tokerau MAPO Trust, with strategic co-funding management and co-monitoring of health and disability services in Te Tai Tokerau for Maori health gain, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Northland District Health Board and Maori. Lynette was chair of the Northland District Health Board from 2001 to 2009, and served on the National District Health Boards, New Zealand, and seven years on NZ National Health and Public Health Advisory Boards. Lynette has extensive experience at both governance and operational levels in health and disability, welfare and education and is a member of the Institute of Directors, New Zealand.Awarded the University of Auckland Business School, Dame Mira Szazy Maori Business Leadership Award (Inaugural-2003), and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008, Lynette continues to champion education for students from Tai Tokerau, and acknowledges her own experience as a student of the University of Auckland, as a continuing highlight of her life.Respectively proud of both Maori and Scots heritage, Lynette is wife, mother, and grandmother, a strong advocate of family, great music and enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Kiri Nathan - Trustee

Kiri Nathan is a leading New Zealand fashion designer with a distinct New Zealand aesthetic. Kiri produces four ranges biannually including contemporary Maori accessories; Korowai & authentic New Zealand Pounamu. Kiri Nathan delivers an incomparable brand experience and creates a community that connects and relates to one another through, multi-channel, multi-level communication lines and storytelling across all levels of the business. Kiri has won numerous Fashion Competitions over the last two decades and has met and collaborated on a line with New Zealand Fashion Designer Annah Stretton, she was also the first New Zealand label to be selected and sent to London Fashion Week by the British Council and the British Fashion Council.  She has met and dressed celebrities Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Demi Lovato.  The Kiri Nathan label has given to the following charities Kids Can, Diabetes NZ, Breast Cancer Society, Forgotten Millions and supported many individuals who have faced extreme personal and physical challenges. Kiri draws inspiration from her ancestors, with particular attention to detailing through hand applique, beading and traditional raranga (weaving).  "The label is a raw and truthful expression of everything I believe in"- Kiri Nathan

Graeme Aitken - Trustee

Graeme Aitken is the Dean of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland and has held that position since October 2008. He was appointed to the university in 1996 as inaugural Director of Teacher Education after fourteen years as a secondary teacher and four years as a teacher educator. In 2001 he was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award for his contribution to establishing the secondary teacher education programme at the university. Graeme’s research has focused on teaching effectiveness (in schools and more recently in higher education), and on curriculum development and design. He aims through his research to offer insights into practice that help decision-making by policymakers, leaders and teachers in the best interests of students and their learning. His work on teaching effectiveness has formed the basis of more than a hundred presentations to conferences and schools. 

Kevin Prime - Trustee

Kevin Prime is married to Margaret with 13 children and 20 grandchildren. He is a recently retired beef farmer, forester, conservationist and works 75% as an Environment Commissioner. Prior to his current role he spent most of his time on various companies, trusts, community organisations pertaining to philanthropy, health, conservation, justice, Maori development, education, employment, environment, forestry, training, farming and sport at local, regional and national levels. His hobbies are family, bee keeping, sport, learning new things, and his favourite holiday spot is at home on the farm in Motatau.

Scott Gilmour - Chairperson

Scott has over 35 years' experience in the IT industry, including 12 years with Intel in both the United States and New Zealand, in a number of senior management and marketing positions. He co-founded a successful enterprise software company in the USA in 1989, ABC Technologies Inc., which was sold to SAS in 2002. He served for 7 years on the NZTE Beachheads Board, and was a founding member of the IceAngel network. Currently he is the Chairman of a high growth Kiwi tech firm, iDefigo, and has served as a Director and investor with a number of NZ's tech companies, including Jade, Netspace, ResourceWare, ViFX and Winscribe. In 2002 Scott founded and funded the first "I Have a Dream" project outside the USA and has been working closely with Ant ever since to "inspire dreams and enable futures" for kiwi children who are living in material hardship. Scott has a B.Com from the University of Otago (1978) and an MBA from the University of Oregon (1989).

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