NAVEEN PRAKASH : President
Born and raised in Fiji, as a Foundation Member and Trustee of Waitakere Indian Association he has served on the board as President and also Treasurer. The current focus for his community work is mentoring youth members to actively take part and contribute to their communities.
GURDEEP TALWAR : Vice President + Digital Communication Advisor
Gurdeep aka GT pursued his Postgraduate qualification from UK, and ever since has traveled, worked and lived in several countries around the world including Europe and SE Asia, which in turn helped him understand new cultures and engage with a variety of ethnicities.
Moved to New Zealand (and West Auckland) in 2009, GT heads the Business Development of a multi-national IT company at its global headquarters. A motivational speaker and a relationship builder by nature, he is a very positive person and believes in giving it back to the community and ‘paying it forward’. GT brings in a new energy to the Board as an executive member and is willing to help the newcomers achieve their NZ ‘dream’ and be more successful in their initiative. With himself, he brings in several years’ leadership and management experience in a corporate environment and has volunteered to help the Waitakere Ethnic Board in enhancing their social media presence, marketing and reformulating the website to give it a new life.
SHIRLEY FREEMAN : Secretary + Immediate Past President
My ethnicity is that of Mulatto: child of African and European parents, born in England and spent 5 years childhood in British Guiana (now Guyana). I enjoy networking with a variety of people/organisations and understanding how we can support those in out West.
MALVINDER PAL SINGH : Treasurer
Malvinder immigrated to New Zealand in 1998. He is presently working for Auckland Hospital facilities management. Malvinder is one of the founders, trustee and Secretary of Sukhmani Charitable Trust, also the founding member of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Trust. Malvinder foresees more activities happening to serve the community. He is also on the board for Earth Action Trust.
MUHAMMAD NAWAZ : Assistant Secretary + Community Liaison Officer
Muhammad is Procurement professional working for Northern region DHBs. Muhammad is also volunteering for Working together group (Food Bank). In the past, Muhammad had served as a director of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce for business and professionals, also a board member of Pakistan Association of New Zealand. His passion is to develop further integration within communities and provide professional support and guidance to new families coming in New Zealand.
ZAHRA FAZELNIA : Assistant Digital Communications Advisor
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 newcomers and make their journey an enjoyable experience.
DEON WALLACE : Events Officer
Moved to West Auckland 17yrs ago from Cape Town South Africa
Photography, Music, watch sport and entertainment events for the South African and wider New Zealand community all grab my attention when I’m not busy working as an IT professional.
Family life is rich and busy with a wife and 2 daughters
Working and running the community radio slot South Africa NZ Live Radio is what gets me going.
AYAN SAID : Community Liaison Officer
Ayan and her family left Mogadishu Somali in 1990, She is 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.
ANNIE ZHANG : Community Liaison Officer
Dr Annie Zhang is a management consultant at KPMG where she is part of the strategy team. She has a background in behavioural economics and has also worked as an academic/researcher at the University of Auckland and AUT. Annie has a love for entrepreneurship and has a huge sense of community spirit. She enjoys spending time networking and meeting new people and volunteering for a good cause.
OLUFEMI OMISAKIN : Community Liaison Officer
Dr Olufemi Omisakin is an Applied Business Lecturer and a researcher at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Auckland Campus, New Zealand. He lectures various aspects of business management, entrepreneurship and international business. His areas of research are focused on entrepreneurship, international business, immigrant business activities and experiences, migration decisions and experiences. He is a member of Research Association of New Zealand and The Institute of Management New Zealand. He is also on the Editorial board of Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Entrepreneurship. He is students’ mentor and motivator. Dr Olufemi is a professional and resourceful businessperson, he easily adapts to changing priorities and environment. Possess positive attitude with strong work ethics. Adapt quickly to new situations and easily get along with people of varied background.
ZAIF KHAN : Community Liasion Officer
Zaif is originally from Fiji and has very recently joined the WEB board. She has worked in the family violence and sexual violence sector for 20 years in various capacities. She is deeply passionate about promoting social justice and is keenly interested in promoting children’s rights and safer communities.
SANGEETA KARMOKAR : Community Liaison Officer
Dr Sangeeta has been an integral part of education, research and community engagement. Her expertise involves design thinking, digital innovation, entrepreneurial strategy, women entrepreneurship and working with the community.
Dr Boaz Habib has been a board member of the Waitakere Ethnic Board since 2012 and served in various roles including membership officer, Vice President, President and as of 2016 Immediate Past President. Boaz is passionate about ethnic diversity and multiculturalism bringing such values from his personal experience of having lived in multiple cultures in Pakistan, UAE and New Zealand. Originally from Pakistan, Boaz holds strong to his roots and tradition and believes in embracing the goodness of every culture.
Boaz holds a PhD in Chemical & Materials Engineering from the University of Auckland and is a chartered engineer registered with the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK). He is interested in the areas of effective governance, leadership and management, skills he enjoys bringing to the board. Boaz believes in having meaningful relationships and links with people and increasing one’s own ‘diversity quotient’ by meeting and networking with new people. It is the essence of being human and being Kiwi. Boaz maintains this is what the Waitakere Ethnic Board is here to do, represent and advocate for our people as the Maori proverb goes,
He aha te mea nui o te ao (What is the most important thing in the world?)
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (It is the people, it is the people, it is the people)