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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gretchen started with YouthLaw late 2019, after long being aware of its awesome work. In her role, she helps with 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.
Angela first joined Youthlaw in 2019 as a volunteer and now works as a Law Clerk. She was attracted to the role because she has loved working with children ever since landing her first job at Chipmunks, subsequently working as a mall elf and teaching philosophy to school kids. Angela feels privileged to listen to the stories of young people and lend a helping hand. In her spare time, Angela likes to keep busy with extra-curriculars and will not stop chatting about board games, K-pop, and all things purple.
Cole 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.