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Our People

Ā mātou tāngata

Board of Trustees


Leopino Foliaki


Leo Foliaki is a Chartered Accountant and was a partner at PwC New Zealand,
between 1999 and 2022. During his professional career Leo was the lead audit
partner on several publicly listed entities on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and
worked on large projects in complex operating environments.
Leo has also held governance roles such as serving as the Chair of the Audit and
Risk Committee for Counties Manukau District Health Board, the Council for
Auckland University of Technology, and the Board of New Zealand Opera. Leo is
passionate about serving his Pacific community and has worked for a number of not-for-profit community organisations.

Tina Wilson

Co-Chair, Director New Zealand Trade Development Centre Taiwan

Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa, Muaupoko, Rangitane ki te Wairau, Ngāti Rarua Atiawa, Ngāi Tahu

Tina is Director at the New Zealand Trade Development Centre Taiwan for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Previously, she was Director of Māori Business at NZTE responsible for internationalising Māori Business and sourcing investment opportunities for Māori entities. She currently sits on the Council of Massey University and is the chair of Te Iwi o Ngati Tukorehe Trust. Prior to joining NZTE, Tina was CEO of the Taupo Moana Group/IWIinvestor – a specialist investment advisory firm for Māori (pan-tribal entities). Tina has worked within the Māori sector for the last 25 years, across investment, business strategy, financial management, training and economic development. She has extensive governance experience in both Māori and non Māori organisations.

Faye Langdon

Executive Director, Health Coalition Aotearoa

Faye is a leader, thinker and doer. She is the Executive Director at Health Coalition Aotearoa, a national health advocacy NGO, and a trustee at Middlemore Foundation. Previously she co designed and co-founded impact organisations such as 21C Skills Lab, NZ Global Women and NZ Centre for Social Innovation.

Faye’s business background includes business development and partnership with AUT University. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma Business from AUT and a Graduate Diploma Tchg, and BEd from The University of Auckland.

Tim Watts

Owner Operator, Foodstuffs North Island

Tim is an Owner Operator of a Foodstuffs North Island Cooperative and currently operates a store in the Waikato region. Before joining the Foodstuffs he was the co-founder and director of two leading youth careers and employment businesses - GradConnection NZ (previously and HR consultancy Talent Solutions. Prior to embarking on his entrepreneurial endeavours he was with PwC. Tim holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from Victoria University of Wellington. He is also an admitted Barrister & Solicitor and a Chartered Accountant. Tim is actively involved in various not-for-profit organisations - namely, he is the Chairperson the Board and Foundation Trustee of Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand and the founder and ex Chairperson of the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers (NZAGE).

Rhys Faleafā

Business Consultant

Rhys Faleafā is of Tongan descent and has had a 20 year career in working in the professional services sector, education, and managing SME's in the private and public sector, including managing family enterprises, iconic NZ clothing company Huffer, the Pacific Business Trust, as well as serving as Interim Executive at TupuToa!

Rhys holds a BCom(Hons) in Accounting & Finance and a BSc in Chemistry, and is a Chartered Accountant. Currently the Co-Chair of the Pacific Islands Chartered Accountants Network., Rhys has experienced private sector governance roles as well as Ministerial appointed roles such as the Pacific Business Trust and Partnership School Kura Hourua Authorisation Board.

Rhys has been actively involved in developing TupuToa from an idea into a sustainable social enterprise model, and is most proud of the work TupuToa is doing to create opportunities for aspiring Māori and Pacific professionals to excel in culturally safe corporate and professional workplaces.

Kerira Tapene

Alumni Representative, Consultant Mather Solutions

Ngāti Hine ki Mōtatau, Te Rarawa ki Pukepoto, Ngāti Porou ki Tikitiki and Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Taringamotu

Kerira Tapene brings whakapapa from Ngāti Hine ki Mōtatau, Te Rarawa ki Pukepoto, Ngāti Porou ki Tikitiki and Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Taringamotu.

She was part of the 2018 Tupu Toa Cohort where she interned with BNZ as an Employee Banking intern. Kerira is now a Consultant at Mather Solutions - Māori Development Consultancy.

Kerira draws on her experience at Deloitte, Ira Aotearoa and Whāriki Māori Business Network, and has been marked by her unwavering commitment to te ao Māori me ōna Tikanga.

Elijah Walker

Alumni Representative, Case Manager Te Mana Tū Whakahiato Ora

Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Maniapoto Waikato

Elijah Walker hails from Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Maniapoto Waikato. Elijah was part of our Internship Programme in 2020 where he carried out his internship at Genesis.

Since his time at Genesis, Elijah has helpd roles with FMA and is currently a Case Manager at Te Mana Tū Whakahiato Ora also known as MSD and a recent graduate of a Masters Degree in Maori and Indigenous leadership through Canterbury University.

Our Team

Te Tīma

Anne Fitisemanu

Chief Executive

Alofi, Niue, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Anne’s mission in life is to empower diversity and grow people – with her aiga and through her work. Her career has spanned leadership roles in health, education, local government and not-for-profits.

Anne’s superpower is connecting the dots by creating opportunities to serve our Māori and Pacific communities. As Chief Executive of TupuToa, since 2017, she has led the organisation’s vision to grow Māori and Pacific leaders for a greater Aotearoa, with exponential growth in the number of interns, partners and innovative programmes including regional and international opportunities.

In addition, she serves on the boards of the Pacific Corporation Foundation (Board Chair), Problem Gambling Foundation, National Deaf and Hard of Hearing Foundation and has previously served in leadership positions; PACIFICA Women’s National Board and YWCA National Board.

Anne has a Master of Professional Business Administration from Auckland University of Technology, and is an alumna of the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme.
Of Niuean, Samoan and European heritage, she has been married to Equator for 30 years, and has seven adult children and 10 grandchildren.

Maruata Reweti

Director - Programmes

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua

Maruata leads TupuToa’s Navigators Team, ensuring that the internship programme is delivered with excellence and that our rangatahi are supported to succeed. Throughout her life and career Maruata has been focused on building capability within Māori and Pacific communities. She brings several years’ experience as a teacher aide in Kohanga and primary schools, and five years with the Counties Manukau District Health Board engaging Māori and Pacific tauira in secondary and tertiary education.

Maruata grew up in Auckland and Samoa and speaks Te Reo Māori, English and basic Samoan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development.

Luvu Afemui

Director of Operations

Awhina Kanohi

Programme & Partner Support

Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tukairangi

Awhina's career roles have varied as hospitality management and being a flight attendant, to working in recruitment. A significant part of her career has focused on developing and empowering Māori as Senior Executive Advisor to the Independent Māori Statutory Board (IMSB) for Auckland Council; Careers and Employment Advisor at Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia; and Information Advisor at Te Puni Kōkiri.

Awhina has completed a Masters in Neuro Linguistics Practitioner Training (NLP), and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Māori Development), and a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese, Māori and Psychology. She is conversational in Te Reo Māori, and Japanese.

Florida Foliaki

Programme Manager

Florida believes in the power of education to transform lives and sees her role as Navigator to support our interns and managers to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for their TupuToa journey.

Prior to joining TupuToa, she taught English to high school students in Tonga. And while she may have left formal teaching, she continues to support her former students in Tonga, whilst also tutoring Tongan students in Mt Wellington once a week on a voluntary basis.

Florida holds a Bachelor of Property and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and Management from the University of Auckland. She is fluent in English and Tongan.

Talalelei Reweti

Programme Manager

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Vaiala, Fa'atoia, Fai'a'ai, Sagone, Hamburg

Tala’s role as a Navigator is all about supporting our interns and partners chart new waters together. He helps to guide and uplift our rangatahi and partner organisations through their individual journeys.

Prior to joining TupuToa, Tala had roles in logistics, as a health and PE teacher, and even dabbled in factory work. He holds a degree in sports and recreation from AUT University and worked as Operations Manager for the Get into Life Youth Development Trust for four years, prior to moving to Melbourne for his overseas experience.

Tala is fluent in Te reo Māori and has rudimentary Samoan skills.

Lane Fa’afua

Business Systems & Operations Manager

Victoria Maiava


Dominic Blake

Events Coordinator

Ihipera Happy

Lead Navigator

Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea and Tūhoe

As someone who struggled to find her place as a Māori in a western world, and who never felt quite Māori enough, Ihipera aims to help other young people navigate the search for identity and cultural acceptance.
Ihipera brings several years of leadership experience gained in various roles at NZ Post, administration and international experience gained working for a helicopter maintenance company in Canada, and significant customer service skills to her role of Navigator.
Outside of work, she is an avid gardener and a beekeeper, and is working towards a Māra Kai and an apiary at her marae for the benefit of her people.
Ihipera has studied towards a Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) at AUT, and is fluent in English and Te Reo Māori.

Aaron Itinteang


Helen Petelo

Marketing Co-ordinator