Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson is Samoan born, Otara raised and proud. He joins the Village Collective family after serving 12 years in the NZ Police. At the time of leaving the NZ Police, Akerei held the distinction of Senior Sargent. He held many roles within the NZ Police including the management and oversight of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolios for Counties Manukau District and national coordinator for the Police National Radio Language Programme. Akerei also held strategic international roles in the South Pacific region over the last 6 years as a technical advisor to local police. He is a strong advocate for prevention of domestic violence, innovation and positive social outcomes. As result of his work within communities, Rei has recently been appointed a White Ribbon Ambassador.
Riki Nofo’akifolau is a young mother of Tongan descent hailing from the villages of Ha’asini, Holopeka and Koulo, Ha’apai. She started her journey at Village Collective in 2013 coming on board as a Health Promoter with nothing but life experience and a Performing Arts background. She has played a major role in designing, developing and delivering our lesson modules and using her creativity as a tool to connect with Pacific youth. Riki believes that to support young people to make informed decisions, we need to truly understand them and for them to know that we do. In the past four years, she’s enhanced her facilitation skills, gain Public Health knowledge and qualifications but her greatest achievement is the Talanoa she’s had with young people.
Ruth Donna Uo is of Samoan descent, born in New Zealand and raised in South Auckland.
Her passion to serve the community/young people comes from a strong link to her faith in God and a solid foundation; her father – a Pastor in local church and mother a community health worker in south Auckland for several years.
Ruth completed her studies at the University of Auckland majoring in Social Science for Public Health with a background in Health Science, Health Promotion and Pacific Nutrition. She is also an experienced facilitator and programme coordinator for the trust.
Ruth has nine years’ experience in the health sector, working in Pacific and mainstream services such as the Heart Foundation with a role as Health Promotion Coordinator for the South Auckland area, and now as one of the dynamic Team Leaders for the Village Collective.