Meet the awesome staff and volunteers who run and govern RainbowYOUTH!


Duncan Matthews - General ManagerDuncan Matthews – Executive Director


Hi, I’m Duncan, the Executive Director at RainbowYOUTH.

I started out life down in the Waikato, got a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences from Waikato University, moved to Auckland to be a software developer.

My passion is working with other people, helping people to achieve what they’re capable of, and constantly learning about anything and everything.

Like many other people, I walked past the door to RainbowYOUTH a few times before finally having the courage to walk in! Having been involved with RY for 6 years now, I’m so happy I did. RainbowYOUTH is an amazing organisation, not only for what it achieves in the community, in schools and nationally, but in the way 10 young peers can come together and govern an organisation of this size.

As ED, I get to work closely with each other person you see on this page. If you get the chance to work with or make friends with any one of them, take it! RainbowYOUTH has an amazing bunch of volunteers and staff behind it, each of whom has made me a better person for knowing them.

Have any ideas? Comments? Get in touch!

Email me on, or find me on LinkedIn: Duncan Matthews.

Toni Duder – Communications & Operations Manager


Kia ora koutou!

I originally hail from Dargaville in Northland but went to boarding school in Auckland from 13-18. I’ve lived in Auckland ever since!

I’m in charge of the operational stuff that goes on at RainbowYOUTH – managing staff and making sure all of our services run smoothly.  I also am the project manager and creator of RY’s I’m Local Project.

I’ve been an out lesbian since I was 15, and it’s been a bumpy but very rewarding road. Outside of my work at RainbowYOUTH, I’ve got my Masters in Screenwriting at the University of Auckland and try and get as many stories out of my head as possible. My other interests include podcasts, history, cats, books, beaches, spending time with whānau – the usual!

Get in touch on my email:

Morgan Butler – Support Manager


Kia ora whānau, ko Morgan taku ingoa!

I’m the Support Manager for RainbowYOUTH, my role involves looking after the groups and interns, but also providing direct support to young people who contact RainbowYOUTH. I’ve nearly finished my diploma in Youth Work and am looking forward to using my skills in my job.

I was born in Australia but my whānau quickly moved to New Zealand when I was three. My New Zealand roots are from Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tainui and Ngāpuhi. A lot of my whānau are involved with volunteering for many types of community, so I wanted to follow in their foot steps.

I lived in Hamilton for most of my life, and being a young queer I found out about a queer and trans* group called Waikato Queer Youth (WaQuY)! I started helping out and volunteering for WaQuY when I was 14, and that’s really what got me in to wanting to help out with our community. When I moved to Auckland to study I started volunteering for RY, and they say if you stick around enough people will start to pay you… What can I say, they started to pay me :D

Outside of work I have a cat named Alaska and she is beautiful and sassy. I live in West Auckland and I love it! I enjoy going to Muriwai, either for a swim or to take my cat for a walk on the beach. I enjoy watching the Kardashians, long car rides, finding new places to climb/swim, or just going to the Domain late at night and looking at the city lights.

If you want to know anymore, give me an email:

Anahera Foley-Paama – Operations Coordinator

Anahera copy


Kia ora, ko Anahera toku ingoa. Ko Te Arawa raua ko Ngāti Maniapoto, ko Ngāi Te Rangi oku iwi. I was born in Whanganui but will always call Auckland my home. At the moment, I’m just finishing up my Undergraduate degree in Psychology.

My role at RainbowYOUTH is Operations Coordinator which means I get paid to be on our social media (like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) alllll day. Sort of. I promote all of our events, projects and campaigns, coordinate our education and professional development workshops, help direct our educators, and respond to some of the queries you guys have for us.

Outside of work and study, you could say I’m one of those awful 90’s babies that has an iPhone and lives for Netflix, and be absolutely correct. My favourite things in the world include ice cream, people watching, old-school music, winning the lotto and puppies/dogs (not cats). My favourite places to be are with a good group of friends at Lake Pupuke or looking at the city lights from Northcote Point.

I am super excited to be working at an organisation that I’ve long fangirled over, and alongside some of the best people I know.

If you want to get in touch, contact me here:

AAlice Weblice Dawson – Payments Intern


Hi, I’m Alice and I’m the payments intern at RainbowYOUTH.

Let me get the typical bio stuff out of the way first, I do a lot of stuff, I have a lot of great stories but if you want to hear details come into the center and ask me. 

Blah blah, born in Austrailia, school, school, moved to Auckland more school, came out at 13, came to RY, more school boo hoo, dropped out, went to trade school, (Is this DONE yet?) blah blah blah, started working, interned at RY, correspondence school, more work more RY. OH THANK GOD THAT IS OVER.

Yay, now I can do the fun details. I can be easily identified as the ball of sarcasm and caffeine that is more often than not bouncing around the center doing some task or another, depleting the RY coffee supply and playing horrifyingly obscure music. But I have a desk now so I think I’m occasionally expected to sit still and help out with paying bills and other stuff that sounds way more official and complex than it actually is. 

Spare time? Oh yeah, I guess I have that. I spend every spare minute I have doing some kind of martial arts or sword fighting and my goal is to get to competitive levels in at least one style. If I can be kept stationary long enough I love fantasy and spend a ridiculous amount of time drawing or writing out fantasy related stuff, so yeah. I’m the resident nerd. But hey, at least I come with many useless features that sound impressive. 


Rachel Brebner – Co-chair


Hi, I’m Rachel, and this is my third term on the RainbowYOUTH board and my second term as co-chairperson. I’ve been on the board since April 2014 and have previously been secretary and treasurer on the board. Before being on the board, I volunteered at RY as a facilitator of GQ, as an intern, and as a shared experiences representative.

I grew up in South Auckland and currently live in a ramshackle old flat in Ponsonby with four awesome flatmates. I’m studying psychology, accounting, commercial law, and German at the University of Auckland after two years of studying mechatronics engineering. In my spare time, I enjoy learning Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, playing Magic: The Gathering (like most of the RY team, I’m a bit of a geek), and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

I’ve seen a lot of growth by RainbowYOUTH in the past four years and I’m really excited to see how it continues to grow in my time here.

Sophie Sills – Co-chairIMG_2466


Kia ora,

My name is Sophie and I am fortunate enough to be joining the RainbowYOUTH board this year.

My family hails from Dargaville, Auckland, Tauranga, and Scotland, but I have lived in Auckland my whole life. I am studying a Master of Arts in Gender and Critical Psychology at the University of Auckland, doing research about what it is like to be queer in sport. In the past, I have also done research with young people about rape culture, social media, and activism.

I am passionate about social justice and feminism, and when I am not reading about them at University, I am reading about them on Tumblr. I spend the rest of my free time playing football.

I’m excited to contribute to the work RainbowYOUTH does, and continue the hard work of the previous boards who came before me.

Beth Maynard – SecretaryBeth-Web-e1415060759652



I’m Beth, and this is my first term on the Rainbow Youth board.

I’m 17 and in my last year of high school on the North Shore, where I attend one of Rainbow Youth’s regional groups. I was born in the UK and moved here with my family ten years ago. In my spare time I play the flute, read history and watch movies, and I can’t wait to start uni here in Auckland next year!

I’ve been involved with Rainbow Youth as a member for three years now, and the support and services Rainbow Youth offered as a young teenager changed my life. I’m overjoyed to be working with an organisation that offers so much to so many young people in New Zealand and to which I personally owe so much. I’m in awe of all the incredible work I’ve seen thus far and I can’t wait to keep working with some of these fantastic people for years to come.

Avery WatsonAvery_WEB


Hey. My name is Avery and I’m​ a 15-year-old transguy with a passion for visual art.​

I grew up here in Auckland, where I’m currently in secondary school. I learnt about RY through a friend and started attending GQ on a regular basis at the beginning of 2015.
I​ hope to be able to make a difference to the world; or, failing that, make a positive impact on the way LGBT individuals are embraced by the wider community.

Outside of RY, my passions include pretty much anything under the umbrella of ‘art’, languages, reading anything and everything, and working as part of the ‘HPSS Communities Habitat’ as a Diversity Leader.

Emilie Rākete – Māori & Pacific Rep


Kia ora!

I’m Emmy Rākete and I’m really happy to be on this year’s board. I’m a student, activist, wahine Māori and trans woman from Tāmaki Makaurau. Like everyone else here, I’m really excited to nurture and grow RainbowYOUTH’s ability to protect our young people. Part of that means that, in my role as Māori and Pacific Representative, I’m responsible for ensuring that Te Tiriti o Waitangi sits at the center of everything we do.

Outside of activist stuff, my hobbies are mostly embarrassing nerd shit – I’m passionate about collecting Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks from the 1970s + arguing about inane memes on the internet. Arohanui!

Justine Sachs


Hi, I’m Justine, a 20 year old queer Jewish woman. I come to RainbowYOUTH from a long background in activism and politics, including university politics, queer and student activism, and Young Labour, and want to bring this knowledge into my duties as a board member.

I hope to contribute to RainbowYOUTH’s growing physical and organisational landscape, to its ability to help queer youth on a material level, and to its growing Jewish presence. I’m also passionate about feminism, celebrity gossip, and cats, and am in my 3rd year of studying sociology and politics at Auckland University.

Natasha GaffinNatasha Gaffin - Board Member



My name is Tash and this is my seconf term on the RainbowYOUTH board. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to work amongst such amazing people toward the betterment of this incredibly important organisation.

I have lived in Auckland my whole life and I am currently in my final year of High School. I first became involved with RainbowYOUTH in 2013 when I began regularly attending one of the regional groups Queer4Shore, after a year or so I became a group facilitator.

The experiences and friendships that I gained through being a facilitator made me interested in getting involved with RainbowYOUTH as the organisation had had such an integral influence on my life, and I suppose that’s really why I am here today!

Nicky ThorburnIMG_2472

Hey! My names Nicholas Samuel Thorburn, but ain’t nobody got time for that! Nicky’s the name. I’m an out of the ordinary, extra fierce and flossy 17 year old gay male from rural Auckland! I’m currently on my first them of the board, causing a ruckus and working my 9-5 in insurance claims. Outside of work, you’ll find me sleeping, watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians or running my life away at the gym. I’ve lived a life which is upmost out of the ordinary for most 17 years old. I finished school with all my qualifications at 14, went to uni, got a full time job, left home at 16 and started my new life as a townie in Mt. Eden. I’ve experienced my fair share of stuff but I feel as if that only defines me as a more relatable, stronger person. Always around on Facebook or Instagram, fam – so hit me up “One for all and all for one”.

Hamish Tait – Treasurer

Coming soon!