Board of Trustees
The Board is made up of a diverse set of people all dedicated to ensuring that mental health and addictions services and resources in the Auckland region are as effective and as accessible as possible.
George Hill (Kaumatua): For twelve years he managed the Methodist Mission based in central Auckland. He has worked within the Health and Disability Commission and in Adult Maori literacy. Chaired the Cultural Reference Group which had the responsibility of adapting the ASIST Training for Maori, working closely with “LivingWorks”, Canada.
George has an extensive working history in the community NGO sector. Has completed the T4T Training for ASIST.He has been a kaumatua at Lifeline Aotearoa since 2003, attending and coordinating the aspect to many ASIST Workshops.
Kiri Hannifin (Co-chair): Kiri completed her LLB and BA (Politics) at the University of Canterbury. She has worked in several legal areas in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom she also worked implementing European equality law before returning to New Zealand to work as a political advisor for the fifth Labour Government. She has been working around intimate partner violence and child abuse since 2007.
Julia Hunter: I am of Samoan and Pakeha descent. I grew up in Auckland and graduated from Auckland University with a BA/LLB. I have a mix of legal, research and policy experience in the health field. Early in my career, I worked as a legal advisor at the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner not long after The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights came into effect. I then worked for a year in Boston as a part-time research fellow for the Prescription Access Litigation Project, a non-profit consumer advocacy initiative, and undertook assistant research work at The Harvard School of Public Health. Following this, I worked for three years as a policy advisor at the UK General Medical Council.
Since returning to NZ, I have been very involved in my children’s local school community, which has included working for a year as a teacher aide at their school. I am co-writing a non-fiction book for primary-aged children on New Zealand civics, which aims to help children feel empowered to participate in society now and as they get older.
I am excited to be on the Board of an organisation like Changing Minds that is committed to working towards a socially inclusive New Zealand – a vision that I hold dear and actively promote in my own family and wider circles.
Sonja de Friez: I’m passionate about communities being well informed, actively engaged and empowered. I work with large and complex organisations, predominantly in the public service, helping them to engage and inform their communities by developing and implementing stakeholder engagement strategies that are innovative and future-proofed. I’ve proven experience at changing public perspectives around challenging subjects, and always find positive solutions to ensure communities are informed, with the right information via the right platform. I was a current affairs journalist and documentary maker for more than a decade, I have also taught broadcast journalism to post graduate students.
My operating style focuses on growing better relationships, deepening existing connections and working collaboratively. I am passionate about my work, and have a reputation for achieving the best possible outcomes with honesty and integrity and I’m privileged to be part of a team supporting the work of Changing Minds.
Originally from a teaching background, Amber has worked in a range of Auckland Secondary schools. Her time teaching at the Northern Health School motivated Amber to retrain and pursue a career in Public Health. Working in the health sector has given Amber an opportunity to put her head where her heart is and work actively towards a longstanding commitment to addressing social injustice and issues of health equity.
Amber has an undergraduate degree in Classical Studies and Art History, a Teaching Diploma in Mathematics, English and Social Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health. Having worked for just over a year as a Consumer Advisor with Affinity Services and ADHB Amber has recently accepted a Health Leadership Fellowship with Ko Awatea. Having spent time living in Melbourne and Dunedin. Amber was born and has spent most of her adult life in Tamaki Makaurau.
Marnus Beylefeld: Marnus is a Partner in the Corporate Finance and Forensic Advisory division of Crowe Horwath where he assists clients with valuation services, litigation support and forensic accounting assignments. He spent the last thirteen years providing a range of forensic advisory, corporate finance and assurance services in New Zealand and abroad.