Here is our current whānau:
Here is our current whānau:
Neil had a background in rural contracting and the criminal justice system before becoming a student in the first intake of the Waikato Law School. Since completing his law degree in 1994, Neil has worked as a family and criminal lawyer; a legal adviser in a government department; and as an in-house counsel in a construction organisation. Neil moved to Auckland in 2012 to take up the position of Administrative Practice Leader at the Grey Lynn Neighbourhood Law Office. He oversaw the transition of GLNLO to a new location in Auckland central, and the name change to the Auckland Community Law Centre. Neil also transitioned from the administrative manager role at ACLC to the professional manager role. Towards the end of 2018 Neil returned to working as a barrister, mainly for clients with employment and ACC issues. Now Neil is back in community law in the role of general manager at YouthLaw Aotearoa, and is looking forward to working with such a vibrant and enthusiastic team. When he’s not at work, he enjoys a round of golf.
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 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 joined YouthLaw in January 2019 – a decision that she has celebrated every day since. Her prior work alongside people who have disabilities has made her a staunch advocate for equal opportunities and rights. Volunteering is something Sarah is very passionate about, having had many volunteer roles herself (including as a phone counsellor, a fundraiser and a wildlife rehabber). Sarah studied psychology initially and then management. In her spare time she is usually chilling with her lorikeets, walking the dogs or singing along to her new favourite album.
Having worked in the community sector for 14 years, Sarah has an extensive knowledge and experience in the education field. She is passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering the youth she works with to fulfil their individual potential. With a friendly approach, Sarah is keen to make Youth law and their rights known and accessible across the board. Sarah’s love for art and laughter filters through every aspect of her life, always equipped with a bad joke or two.
Sarah joined YouthLaw as a Solicitor in early 2019. Sarah has been passionate about community law since she volunteered for the Auckland Community Law Centre. She enjoys community law because she is able to help people achieve solutions for themselves, and every day is different. Sarah is originally from a small village called Tinui in the mighty Wairarapa, but has lived in Auckland for eight years. Sarah has previously worked for the Auckland University Student Association as Welfare Vice-President and Auckland Council as a Democracy Advisor for the Manurewa Local Board.
Rita joined YouthLaw after working as a solicitor on Queen Street for almost 2 years, and previously working in the legal field in Wellington before that. She loves the fact that she gets to help children and young people on a daily basis, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to legal assistance, and gets to work on a variety of often challenging law cases each day. Born in Wellington New Zealand, Rita is of Samoan descent, and is a fluent speaker of the Samoan language.
Robert joined the team at YouthLaw as a law clerk after helping out as legal volunteer in 2018. He took up the position as he found the work at YouthLaw very rewarding, and supporting disadvantaged groups like young people was his dream when beginning his law degree. Robert is of South Korean, NZ Maori and NZ European descent. In his spare time, you will probably find him cooking, reading, or listening to country music.
Nadia joined YouthLaw with the Law Related Education team in 2021, and then moved into the Legal Advice team as a Law Clerk. Nadia studied law in London and was called to the UK Bar earlier in 2021. Outside of work, Nadia says she spends far too much time taking photos, searching for live music venues and making the most of her Netflix subscription.
Gretchen started with YouthLaw late 2019, after long being aware of its awesome work. In her role, she helps with data reporting; organising volunteer intakes; and communications. Her career background is in journalism and communications, particularly in the non-for-profit sector, which is something she’s passionate about. Outside of work, Gretchen enjoys getting into nature, reading a good book and hanging out with her family and friends.