Members of Waitakere Ethnic Board
The Board, elected at the annual general meeting, consists of members that belong to various ethnicities. The position on the WEB is voluntary. The current Board is made as follows:
Standing (from left to right): Cristina Pitas, Zara Fazelnia, Annie Zhang, Ayan Said, Anita Kulasic, Shirley Freeman, Naveen Parakash, Sangeeta Karmokar, Baljit Kur (coordinator)
Shirley Freeman, President
I am Mulatto, that is, a child of African + European heritage. I have experienced discrimination within family and society generally, growing up in England.
I emigrated to NZ in Dec 2006, reuniting with daughter + grand-daughter. I have worked 6 + years at the refugee centre, meeting many new migrants with a variety of skills.
I enjoy working with a variety of cultures, networking and enhancing community development. Moving out West nearly 3 years ago, I became a WEB member in order to contribute my skills and acquire new ones.
I bring to WEB the following skills: fund-raising, organising events, administration, understanding of discrimination, participation in community events, chairing meetings. I volunteer at local CAB and currently English home-tutoring two former refugee women near Oratia.
Dr. Boaz Habib, Immediate Past President
Dr. Boaz Habib brings a variety of cultures with him; having been born in Pakistan, lived in the United Arab Emirates and spent more than half of his life now in NZ. Boaz has maintained association with the Waitakere Ethnic Board for the last three years, enjoying his involvement as Membership Officer, Vice President and now President.
Boaz was introduced to WEB through his various local community involvements. He is actively involved in his local church community holding responsible roles as Vestry member, Church Warden and lately Vestry Secretary, as well as local Pakistani and Indian communities.
Boaz holds a PhD in Chemical & Materials Engineering from the University of Auckland and has extensive industrial experience in different process engineering sectors. This has given Boaz deep insights into the NZ working environment and its opportunities for NZ ethnic people, especially highly skilled migrants.
Boaz is interested in multi-cultural network development and passionate about principles of equal rights and mutual respect which he is promoting through the WEB agenda.
Malvinder Pal Singh, Treasurer
Malvinder holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management from India.
He has worked in India for 20 years in senior positions in project management, project executions and maintenance works in various big industries.
Malvinder immigrated to New Zealand in 1998. He worked for VTL Group Limited as Service Operations Manager for about nine years. Malvinder is presently working for Auckland Hospital facilities management.
Malvinder is one of the founders, trustee and Secretary of Sukhmani Charitable Trust since its inception in 2006. He is also the founding member of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Trust and held the position of secretary since its inception till 2013. He was also part of the team who successfully set up the Sikh Temple in New Lynn.
His passion for community work has associated him with various community organisations. With the support of active volunteers, Malvinder foresees more activities happening to serve the community. He is also on the board for Earth Action Trust.
Zara Fazelnia, Executive Member
I am an Iranian New Zealander.
Arriving in New Zealand in June 2006 I began to teach English to refugees and immigrants for ESOL Home Tutors, as a volunteer. At the same time I worked as a volunteer for Mercy Hospice and Community Care Auckland.
Prior to immigrating to New Zealand I was manager of the Investment Department in Bank Tejarat (one of the biggest state-owned banks in Iran). Meanwhile a board member of bank’s affiliated companies.
Since 2007, I have lived in Massey and worked in west Auckland with people from different ethnicities, ethnic community members and leaders. And as a volunteer for Massey CAB, Hospice West Auckland, English Partners West Auckland and Almustafa Trust (NGO).
To get acquainted with Maori culture I attended Maori Cultural Awareness workshop and studied the Treaty of Waitangi.
Since 2009 I have been teaching ESOL at Rutherford College, Community Education (part time) dealing with international students, refugees and immigrants with different ethnicity and background.
In my new role as a volunteer WEB executive member, I believe together we can create a more comfortable and motivating environment for new comers and make their journey an enjoyable experience.
Ayan Said, Executive member
Ayan and her family left Mogadishu Somali in 1990, and following a period spent in a refugee camp in Kenya, relocated to Auckland New Zealand in 1994. Ayan holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Double major in psychology and Health promotion) and a Master's in public health from Auckland University of Technology. She has been working in health promotion for over ten years, working to make a positive difference in the lives of former refugee and migrant population. Currently working as the Regional Refugee Community Health Worker with the Starship Community at the Auckland District Health Board. Her areas of interests include mental health & coping method of former refugee population, nutrition and healthy lifestyle, community development, women's health resettlement issues for former refugee populations.
Sangeeta Karmokar, Executive member
Sangeeta has been an integral part of education, research and community
engagement. Sangeeta’s expertise involves design thinking, digital innovation,
entrepreneurial strategy, women entrepreneurship and working with the community.
One of the major research area is innovation and entrepreneurship and bringing
together community and commercial partners in education area. The last few years
of her career has been spent exploring and experimenting with design tools and
innovative methods of engaging with industry and community. Sangeeta serves
Waitatkere Ethnic Board in the capacity of Secretary and an active board member.