Here is our current whānau:
Here is our current whānau:
Darryn Aitchison joined YouthLaw as GM in October 2023. The route to YouthLaw started in 2008, when he joined Community Law as a staff solicitor in West Auckland. He has held leadership and management roles in the sector since, including as General Manager of Auckland CLC, and the inaugural Director of Te Ara Ture (Aotearoa’s pro bono clearinghouse).
Darryn has had a long-term interest in working closely with the youth sector, and is excited about the prospect of doing that through a specialist law centre. He brings with him extensive knowledge of the access to justice sector, and strong relationships with the Community Law and the broader legal profession. Darryn is from Ōtepoti (Dunedin) but has lived in West Auckland with his partner and three children since 2004. He loves cooking and mountain running, but an aging back has seen him recently swap the running for cycling to work.
Natalie joined the YouthLaw team in 2023 after completing her Masters in Sociology, which focused on how intergenerational relationships can affect the hauora of both young adults and older adults. She has previously worked and volunteered with other youth organisations and is passionate about supporting rangatahi to succeed. Outside of work, Natalie can be found training for triathlons, playing a board game with friends, or spoiling her cat Freyja.
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.
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 the law and youth’s rights known and accessible across the board. Sarah’s love for art and laughter filters through every aspect of her life, and is always equipped with a bad joke or two.
Paul joined YouthLaw as a volunteer in 2019 while he was working towards his law degree at the University of Auckland. After graduating, he has joined YouthLaw to be part of the legal team. He has always had a huge passion for working in the community and especially serving the youth which explains his many years of experience as a volunteer youth worker. Paul is of South Korean decent. Prior to studying Law, Paul worked in the Real Estate and Investments industry before following his passion in legal studies. As a globetrotter he has backpacked right round the globe meeting fantastic people and living in various cultures. He is also an enthusiastic movie goer, enjoys cooking and stays up late to watch the Premier and Champions Leagues.
Having loved volunteering at the Auckland Community Law Centre during his studies, Andrew is grateful to God to be starting off his legal career in community law. He also brings community experience from the Auckland City Mission, autistic childcare, and wide church involvement to the team. A book worm from the womb and interested in people, he’s excited about how words and relationships can be used to support young kiwis in difficult situations. If he’s not hanging out with people or reading, you’ll find Andrew in the great outdoors, playing basketball, or catching up with his new fellow-Tottenham fan, Paul, about the weekend’s game!
Gretchen started with YouthLaw late 2019, after long being aware of its awesome work. In her role, she works on YL’s communications, data reporting and organises the volunteer intakes. 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.
Veisinia (left) is of Tongan descent and hails from the villages of Folaha and Longoteme. She was raised in the hearty suburbs of Mangere and Panmure. Veisinia is a dedicated advocate for increased youth inclusiveness concerning the development of communities, systems, and processes. She is an undergraduate University of Auckland student studying a Bachelor Arts and Law, majoring in Sociology. Veisinia is currently a SkyCity Trustee, Assessor for Creative New Zealand and previously the Chairperson of Auckland Council’s Youth Advisory Panel, Chairperson of the Tāmaki Youth Council and a Kiwibank Local Hero. She is also on the YouthLaw Board. In her spare time, she dedicates her time to writing a blog called, ‘Brown Privilege’ in the hopes to share her lessons and learnings within institution through the eyes of a young Pasifika woman. She believes that storytelling can change the world and encourages young people to influence change by sharing the one thing that no one can take away from you – your experiences.
Cole (right) became a Law Clerk in 2022 after starting with YouthLaw as a volunteer. During his time as a volunteer, he developed a real passion for YouthLaw’s mahi. Cole first gained an interest in working with youth when he worked in primary schools at an after-school care programme. He feels honoured to be able to keep making a positive difference in the lives of youth through his role at YouthLaw. In his spare time, Cole enjoys coaching at his local judo club, binging Marvel movies, and gaming with his mates.
Having admired the work the YouthLaw team was doing during her post-grad research fellowship, Stevie joined the team as a Youth and Education Engagement Facilitator in 2023. She brings with her a background in teaching, non-profit organising, and youth justice. She is deeply invested in advocating for young people and facilitating opportunities for their empowerment. When not in an office or classroom, you can find her somewhere outdoors.
Caroline joined the Youth Law legal team in October 2023 as an intern. After finishing her law studies in Germany, she is using one part of her subsequent legal traineeship to learn about the New Zealand legal system and support the legal team. She’s keen on learning about the diverse culture of Aotearoa. Caroline loves volunteering and has experience in working with autistic people and people with trisomy 21. During her spare time, she plays netball, field-hockey or enjoys tramping in the beautiful New Zealand outdoors.