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Here is our current whanau:

Vanushi Walters | General Manager

A New Zealand lawyer of Sri Lankan origin, Vanushi is the General Manager at YouthLaw. Vanushi first got involved with YouthLaw as a volunteer back when she was a law student at the University of Auckland. She returned to YouthLaw after working for a number of organisations in the field of human rights, including serving for six years as a member of Amnesty International’s Global Executive Committee and completing her Masters in International Human Rights Law at Oxford. Vanushi’s most impressive party trick is that she can juggle!

Jennifer Walsh | Senior Solicitor

Jen, born in New Zealand, but with family ties to Malaysia and Vietnam, worked in commercial law firms for several years before joining YouthLaw where she feels at home. Jen loves her job because she feels she is making a difference every day and finds helping young people incredibly rewarding. Jen received advice from YouthLaw when she was younger and was then inspired to enrol in a law degree. She holds a Masters of Laws degree from the University of Auckland. If Jen could be reincarnated, she would come back as a cat.

Karen Davis | Operations Manager

Karen has been working in the community sector for quite a while, with groups working for social justice, unemployed and beneficiaries, and community education. She enjoys helping groups run well and making sure the bills are paid, but only if it’s a not for profit. Karen was born in Yorkshire and has lived in New Zealand since she was 12. She loves travel and is always trying to learn new languages – the latest is Latin.

Manawa Pomare | Solicitor/Educator

After graduating from Waikato University, Manawa joined YouthLaw as a graduate solicitor in 2010. Manawa enjoys the variety of cases that she is able to work with at YouthLaw and has cultivated particular interests in family and criminal law. When she is not at work, Manawa enjoys travelling, cooking or just watching a movie or two. If Manawa was a shoe, she would be a sneaker, so she could travel the world in comfort.

Velda Chan | Solicitor

Velda immigrated to NZ from Hong Kong at a young age and can never answer the question of whether she likes NZ or HK more because they’re so different yet both such fantastic gems in their own way. Prior to working at YouthLaw, Velda volunteered here whilst attending University, and loved how you know that you’re assisting a physical person rather than just a name on a piece of paper. Velda is the fix-it person in the office who attempts to fix everything from the photocopier to plants. She has an addiction to Korean entertainment and frequents the noraebang (Korean karaoke) to sing the latest Korean pop.

Sarah Boyd | Legal Educator

Kia ora! I’m Sarah, and I’m super passionate about working together for an Aotearoa in which all our awesome rangatahi (young people) have opportunities to be heard and to thrive.  My learning journey to YouthLaw has included a science degree with honours in psychology, a number of years working in both Care & Protection and Youth Justice with Child, Youth & Family, and in 2017 I’m wrapping up a graduate diploma in primary teaching.  I am thrilled and oh-so-lucky to spend my days meeting and sharing ideas with rangatahi and their superstar advocates in our communities, and I am empowered by YouthLaw’s rights-based approach to justice.  I also love doing cryptic crosswords in the sunshine, and swimming in the Tasman on Northland’s west coast.

Kenton Starr | Solicitor

Kenton was keen to work in community law and joined us at the beginning of 2015. He has been involved with youth work for a number of years and enjoys the opportunity to work with and help young people, as well as the wide range of legal problems YouthLaw deals with. When he’s not helping with an individual problem, he also enjoys thinking about some of the big picture legal issues going on in the background. Kenton has particular interests in criminal and international law. A recent highlight for Kenton was spending some time traveling in South Asia last year, where he interned in India with an organisation working against modern day slavery. He is a big fan of getting outdoors to explore and is known for always having a stash of chocolate close to his desk to share.

Alex Slipper | Law Clerk

Alex travels by public transport all the way from the shore (often suffering many delays and breakdowns). He is Vice President of the AUT law students’ society and he has a particular knack for complex employment law files and legal analysis on the advice line. Alex has also been a vital part of the kiwi suspensions project with his skills in organising, analysing and graphing mountains of data.

Cameron Warner | Law Clerk

Cameron joined YouthLaw as a voluntary legal assistant in 2016 after learning about the amazing work that the organisation does through a close friend. Inspired by the ability to provide legal guidance to youth, he has since joined YouthLaw as a law clerk. He loves applying the knowledge he is currently accumulating while studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Hons) conjoint at the University of Auckland. Outside of YouthLaw, Cameron loves a run and is actively involved in his football team; he also loves making regular trips out to his local beaches.

Hiruni Wijewardhana | Administration Assistant

Hiruni joined YouthLaw as a volunteer legal assistant in 2017 because of her interest in working in the non-profit legal sector. She took up the Administration Assistant role in late 2017 where she assists with collating data for reporting and helps with organising the volunteer intakes. However, she continues to volunteer as well, because of her passion for helping young people and the community. Hiruni is of Sri Lankan origin and moved to New Zealand at the age of 8. Hiruni is currently completing her Law Degree at the University of Auckland but also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. She enjoys travelling, gardening and interior decorating.

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