Executive Board

GURDEEP TALWAR : President + Digital Communications

Gurdeep aka GT is a Certified Management Consultant, and 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.  He is also the National Secretary of the Institute of Management Consultants NZ and sits on one of the Advisory Panels of Waitemata District Health Board.

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 has brought 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 is helping the Waitakere Ethnic Board in enhancing their social media presence and visibility, and is also the man behind the brand new logo and new website of the Board.

DEON WALLACE : Vice President

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 : Secretary

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.


NAVEEN PRAKASH : Immediate Past President & Treasurer

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.


RAJ MAHARJAN – Events Officer

A Westie since 2009, Raj moved to New Zealand from Kathmandu, Nepal in 2005. He has a wide range of community involvement experience, including that in leadership and advisory roles. Town Planner by profession, Raj has nine years of experience with Auckland Council in planning and advisory roles. He is currently self-employed as director of a planning consulting firm. Raj has a young family with two school-age children.

He is a fervent believer in inclusiveness, excellence and fair go. Raj feels strongly about the constructive role of institutions such as the WEB to enhance social cohesion and to facilitate “cross-pollination” of ideas among the growing number of ethnicities in West Auckland and in the wider New Zealand demographics.



Of Malaysian Chinese heritage, Jade migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand and has had a strong affinity with West Auckland and the Waitakere Ranges from a very young age.

Jade brings an experienced background in design strategy, strategic communication, and creative social change. As well as a wide range of diverse community networks e.g Asia NZ Foundation leaders network, Leadership NZ, NZ Asian Leaders and Super Diverse Women.

By day, she is the Ethnic Diversity Strategy Activator at Foundation North. By night, she sits on a number of governance advisory roles; Deputy Chair of the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel for Auckland Council, part of the Strategic Leaders Group on Healthy Families Waitakere, Trustee of Community Waitakere and most recently appointed as an executive member of the Waitakere Ethnic Board.

Jade is a proud mother of a feisty toddler, a lover of cheese, a community catalyst, and she is super passionate about Design for Social Impact, with a focus on Diversity.

ZAHRA FAZELNIA: Community Liaison Officer

Arriving in New Zealand in June 2006 Zara began to teach English to refugees and immigrants. Since 2007, she has lived 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 and some NGOs.

From Feb 2009 – Oct 2017 she taught ESOL at Rutherford College – Community Education.

Prior to immigrating to New Zealand she 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. In her role as WEB executive board member, she has brought her more than 45- year experience to serve ethnic people in her new homeland. She believes together we can create a more comfortable and motivating environment for new comers and make their journey an enjoyable experience.

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 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.