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Welcome to Rainbow Youth. Skip directly to: main content or navigation.

Staff & Board

Rainbow Youth's main contact is Executive Director - Tom Hamilton. Tom is joined in the office by our Education Coordinator - Priscilla Penniket, who works with schools and tertiary institutions.

Both staff are supported by our Youth Board Members and our Adult Advisors.

Staff

Tom Hamilton, Executive Director

Kia ora, I’m Tommy, the Executive Director of Rainbow Youth.  I’m really into art, music, performance, and writing. My favorite things are meeting new people, going to live gigs and art happenings. I am 33 years old and I have zero ability to act cool or be fashionable, but I am capable of some crazy escapades and like to share a crazy story or two or three.

My job is to manage the Rainbow Youth drop-in centre and help people as much as I can. You often see me sitting at a computer, or talking on a phone, but please feel free to walk right in and make yourself at home. You can call me any time with questions. We have books and DVDs at the centre for people to watch and chill out with.  If you are not sure of something, feel free to ask me.

This work is very gratifying. Every day I get to work at enhancing diversity and awareness of and for gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, fa’afafine and intersex youth. I think the most important thing in life is to care and ‘know who you are, be who you are’ which is why I am one lucky guy with a very unique and fabulous job. Email Tom

Priscilla Penniket, Education Coordinator

Coming soon ^_^

Executive Board

Rainbow Youth is governed by a volunteer board that consists of eight young people (under 28) who are elected each year at our annual general meeting. The youth board members are guided by three adult advisors.

Youth Board Members

Toni Reid, Chairperson

I'm Tones, Rainbow Youth's Chairperson. I've been invovled with Rainbow Youth for the past eight years, I started as a participant in an education workshop at high schol, then I attended Identity (ID), I later began to facilitate both Queer Sports Night (QSN) and Queer4Shore (Q4S). This is my fourth year on the Executive Board, I have previously held general board positions and secretary.

I'm 24 years old and work as an occupational therapist in mental health. I graduated with a Bachelor degree from AUT in 2007 and later a Post Graduate Certificate from Victoria; I would love to continue my post grad study and do further research about mental wellbeing of GLBTFI young people.

This year, I plan to lead Rainbow Youth through the challenging economic times, further develop our peer social support groups, get Rainbow Youth into more high schools and most importantly celebrate Rainbow Youth's 20th Anniversary.

Yes, they are big plans but they are achievable! Just look at all that has happened since Rainbow Youth first started back in 1989.

Clint Woolly, Vice Chairperson

I'm quite honored to be elected into this newly established role. And look forwards to supporting Tones.

About me, I come from a Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Zealand heritage and have lived in NZ now for nearly 10 years. I'm currently a co-facilitator of I.D. (Identity) as well as one of the executive board members for Rainbow Youth. I'm was President for UniQ Auckland for two years and enjoy being a queer peer support leader.

I think the most important part about these roles is to just be there for people, be it a shoulder they can lean on or an ear that will listen without judgment to whatever they may have to say. I was a founding member of my high school's peer support program supported by the Yellow Ribbon Foundation and I'm currently working with a group of professional councillors/therapists to form a support network for queer professionals in counselling. I've been on two other boards but feel I'm most passionate about working with Rainbow Youth.

I aspire to one day be the Secretary General of the United Nations and be more proactive in making the world more accepting not only of queer people but also for all people of different backgrounds.

Proud to be a part of Rainbow Youth! Peace.

John Kingi, Treasurer

Kia ora. Having been first introduced to Rainbow Youth in 2007 by my school guidance councillor, I have been a volunteer and workshop presenter and I am now taking that further by being an executive board member and Treasurer for Rainbow Youth.

I see the role that Rainbow Youth plays as vitally important to creating and building a diverse, vibrant and accepting society. My belief in equality and equity are values that underpin what we do at Rainbow Youth. I think it's so important that queer and questioning youth have an environment where they can explore their identities, and I'm proud that Rainbow Youth provides that environment. For me, being gay is a part of who I am, just as being Maori, interested in politics and a prolific reader is and just as I have benefited from exploring those parts of myslef, I have also benefited greatly from being able to explore my queer identity through organisations like Rainbow Youth.

I am currently studying Law, Politics and Philosophy at Auckland University, and I hope to go into politics some day. I am an active member of the New Zealand Labour Party. I hope that through my work with Rainbow Youth alongside my fellow board members we can create a more tolerant and accepting society that enables youth to express themselves free of fear of discrimination or intolerance.

Kestin Stewart, Secretary

Hi peeps, I’m 22 years old and I’ve recently finished a 3 year Diploma in Character Animation at Freelance Animation School. Though I am originally from Christchurch, I’ve learnt to adapt to the fast-paced lifestyle Auckland has to offer (but I really miss the snow in winter…)

I started volunteering at Rainbow Youth near the end of 2007, quickly becoming a regular at I.D. and Gender Quest. Currently I’m training to be a faciliator for these groups as well as fullfilling my duties as Secretary on the Board.

I’m also Transgendered. Female-to-Male to be precise. Meaning I was born Female and raised as a girl (more or less) but identify as a Male… or as I like to put it, Masculine Gendered Person. I started hormone therapy in August 2008 and now am seen as the Gender I prefer.

My main goal in life is to make Animated Television shows, Films and Comics/Cartoons that incorporate Queer* characters within their storylines. I hope to one day create a show aimed at the 10-14 yr Age group that has a Transperson within its main Characters. I know that if I had seen something like that when I was young, it wouldn’t have taken me 20+ years to come to terms with and understand it.

In the past I have been a straight female, bisexual, lesbian then as I tranitioned I became a straight male… however Testosterone is a powerful thing and so, currently identify as Pansexual.

Miscellaneous items… I’m a vegetarian of 5+ years now, my main hobbies are drawing, making Music Videos and reading.

Brendan

Kia Ora, I’m Brendan and I’m one of the newest members to the broad. I have come with fresh ideas that I hope can help the youth in our community. I heard about Rainbow Youth through google and have never left.

I’m originally from Paeroa (where L&P was first invented) and have moved up to Auckland to study Psychology. I’ve been out since I was fourteen at high school, although it has been a rocky road, I have learnt a lot from my experiences growing up as a queer male.

I am also help out at Youthline and provide Rainbow Youth with extra resources to help aid the youth that come through the door each day.

In the hobbies department I am a major geek when it comes to gaming and is always keen for a match. I also enjoy squash, tennis and swimming and can be often found down in the bathes doing a few laps.

I am really hoping in the near future I am able to work to educate the community of queer issues and help them understand. Rainbow Youth is just my first step into the wider gay world.

Daniel

I'm 22 years old, born in NZ, and grew up both here and in the UK. I’m studying full time at the University Of Auckland, doing a Bachelors of Science (Chemistry/Biology) and a Bachelors of Commerce (Management) conjointly, subjects which I am passionate and constantly intrigued by.

I have worked with Rainbow Youth for about 4 years, beginning as a group member when I was first coming out at the start of university. I starting facilitating GQ, Rainbow Youth's under-20s group in mid 2005 and then joined the Rainbow Youth Executive Board about a year later. I have had the opportunity now to act as a board member and as the Executive Secretary on the Board and am now serving in my second term as Chairperson.

I have also held the position of Vice-President of UniQ Auckland, and been a part of a multitude of queer projects and events throughout NZ, including the OutThere! Kaha National Queer Youth Hui.

Working with Rainbow Youth has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has helped me gain confidence in myself and my skills, and has given me the opportunity to do things I would not have otherwise done, or thought myself capable of. It has given me the rare opportunity to help others who are confronting issues that many of us have faced in the past, and will continue to face.

Jess

Life is like riding a bike, you only fall off if you stop pedalling.

Kiaora! I’m Jess a 22 year old physiotherapy student on 'board' for 2009/10.

When procrastinating from text books I: read, write, paint, run, snowboard, drink coffee, ‘BE’ outside, second hand book shop, find ‘good photos,’ make pizza and occasionally ride my bike around the streets!

I initially became involved with Rainbow Youth in 2007/08, jumping along to some group meetings and helping out where I could with such things like the Prism dance party.  After meeting members of 'the crew' – I quickly made some new good friends and wanted to be much more involved wherever I could. 

This year I am juggling my time between a third year of study, the RY board and of course a few other things that pay the bills! Meeting new people, having a voice and organising fun activities are just some of the amazing things I get to help out with at RY.  I believe as an organisation, RY has the the drive and energy to continue to evolve further as an amazing support network. 

This year I look forward to continuing on my own journey, meeting all of you out there and in 2009/10; being part of the growth of RY... 'helping young people know who they are and be who they are.'

Katija

I'm Katija.  I am 23 years old and I am the latest addition to the board at Rainbow Youth.  I was born in Auckland but have strong ties to the Hokianga - one of the most beautiful places on earth.  I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and Film, Television and Media Studies and I also have a Postgraduate Diploma in Communications and Public Relations.   I am a very social person who loves to spend time with vibrant, exciting people.  I have been working in hospitality and event management for the last 8 years and am currently working on a new music night for women. 

I am also employed at the Mika Haka Foundation as an event organiser for the AROHA festival.  This is a Takataapui lead project celebrating the diverse and creative culture of the GLBTFI community within New Zealand.  I am proud to be working on a project that openly celebrates the contribution our community has made to society.

I joined Rainbow Youth as I believe it is an invaluable avenue of support for young GLBTFI youth and their hoa and whanau.  I admire Rainbow Youth's vision and extensive progress to date.  I am looking forward to help further the development of an organisation that believes in honestly in oneself and celebrates each person's individuality without discrimination.

I was lucky to have a extremely supportive group of friends that provided me with much aroha and manaaki when I came out.     I was not aware of Rainbow Youth during this time so my drive is to make sure that it expands and reaches youth who need it most.   I am now in a wonderful relationship with an amazing woman and am proud of who I am.  I wish to help and support other youth who have had or are having similar experiences.  I view Rainbow Youth as an extended whanau for all queer youth and am so honored to be apart of it.

I am lucky to be joined by such a dynamic and dedicated group of board members.  Together I look forward to helping Rainbow Youth further it's influence and continue to push for a world of equality no matter how you identify.

Adult Advisors

Marco Creemers

I am gay man of 41 years and live with my loving partner Simon. We share the responsibility with my ex-wife and her new husband raising our 7-year-old daughter Isabella.

I’m currently the General Manager of a Property Investment Company called Samson Corporation Ltd in Auckland. My interests are rugby, tennis, skiing and painting. I also love travelling and spending time with my family and friends.

I was brought up in a small, loving, and protective country community in West Auckland, with great friends and family. The first inkling I had that I might be gay was in my early teens, it was before the Homosexual Law Reform, and I knew no gay people and none were visible, to me, in my community. I suppressed my thoughts as fantasy and felt huge guilt. This in turn led to years of denial and a strong focus on my career and trying to fit in with my peers. After years of frustration of trying to understand myself and developing an uncharacteristic aggression I finally came out at the age of 36.

My family, friends and work colleagues have not changed since I came out and what’s more I believe they respect me more now as well. I lost 20 years in the fear that that would happen. Young people of today should not have to lose the years I did.

I have volunteered to be an adult advisor for Rainbow Youth because of my strong belief in the great work it does in assisting young people to realise who they are at the right age. With the support and confidence of this organisation young people can develop with a clear, free and healthy mind, be who they really are, establish healthy consenting relationships, to become valuable citizens.

Julie Radford-Poupard

Hi, my name is Jules and I am returning to volunteer with Rainbow Youth after a short stint across the ditch with my partner in Australia.

I was on the Board as an adult advisor from 2003 until 2005 which was such a great experience and I'm lucky to be returning. I am passionate about social justice and a society where diversity is celebrated. Compulsory heterosexuality was pretty pervasive for me while I was at school, to the extent that I didn't even know lesbians existed! It wasn't until I went to University and joined women's groups that my life began to make sense.

We know from our own experiences and increasing amounts of research that homophobic is rife within schools and Rainbow Youth is working hard to make schools safe, inclusive and a positive experience for our communities.

I have worked in the not-for profit-sector for over 10 years with short stints in local and central government. My partner Annalise and I civil unionised in March 2008 which was stunning both on personal and political levels. I am looking forward to the next few years working with Rainbow Youth.

Lesley-Ann Guild

Hi I’m Lesley.

I was a staff member with Rainbow Youth three years ago and now I’m back as an adult advisor. I loved being a part of Rainbow Youth as a staff member and I’m really happy to be involved again as a volunteer. I work as a Health promoter and Educator teaching people of all ages about sexuality and sexual health. I’m a big supporter of the ‘by youth for youth’ philosophy or Rainbow Youth and I think it’s one of the biggest keys to the huge success the organisation has had over the last 20 years.

I think I was really lucky growing up in a family that believed in accepting people as they are and treating everyone with respect and care, but I still grew up surrounded by a lot of stereotypes and myths and school was definitely pretty homophobic a lot of the time. I think we’ve come a really long way towards gaining real acceptance of diversity, but I know there still a lot to be achieved before we can really say that diverse sexualities and genders are truly accepted throughout New Zealand. That’s’ what motivates me to stay involved and keep working at it. The fact that being part of the organisation is a lot of fun helps too.

What we mean when we say queer

A reclaimed word that represents sexuality and gender diversity. We use it to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui identities, as well as everyone in between and not sure. This word is used by many people, but it is also appreciated that it is not the preferred term for everybody.

Ways to Connect

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