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The WERA Aotearoa Charitable Trust Team


The following are the staff members of our Tokoroa team


Vanessa Letoa-Palea - Youth Services Team Leader

Vanessa Letoa-Palea currently manages the Youth Services in the Trust. Vanessa grew up in the Tokoroa community, she is married with 5 children and has 1 grandchild who she believes keeps her grounded.

Vanessa brings to her role experience in leadership, and has extensive knowledge pertaining to young people particularly those in the Tokoroa, Putaruru, Tirau and Mangakino region.

Vanessa's goal is to mobilise young people to be the best they can be through her team of youth workers in the Trust.

Contact Vanessa
Call 0800 GO WERA
Email vanessa@wact.org.nz

Patrick Tavai 2018

Pat Tavai - Tiaki Tangata Project Leader

Pat has extensive experience working with offenders and reintegrating them back into the community. This ranges from delivery of violence prevention programmes, community probation services and participation on the NZ parole board.

Pat has delivered youth services in Tokoroa aimed at helping youth make positive and healthy life decisions for themselves and their whānau.

To contact Patrick please call 0800 GOWERA or email patrick@wact.org.nz

Contact Pat
Call 0800 GO WERA
Email patrick@wact.org.nz


Patoa Tavai - Youth Mentor

Patoa Tavai comes into the service with experience working in youth mental health and activity based programmes. Patoa is of Cook Islands descent which he says gives him a natural ear for music, which he pursues with a passion. He is of the view that this passion lends itself nicely to the areas of youth mentoring and youth development, because “music speaks to youth in a way that mere talk doesn’t”.

A former head boy of Tokoroa High School, Patoa is keen to forge strong relationships with his community, in order that the wellness and wellbeing of Youth is promoted as a priority. Patoa is in the Youth Mentor role supporting both 16 to 17 year old youth who need supporting enrolment or staying enrolled in fulltime education.

Patoa has gained his National Certificate in Youth Work Level 3 and Level 4.

Contact Patoa
Call 0800 GO WERA
Email patoa@wact.org.nz

Taylah Paul Kaponga

Taylah Riki-Hamana - Case Manager / Youth Mentor

Taylah was born in Kirikiriroa and has lived in Tokoroa for 8 years. Taylah is 23 years of age and her story is one of hope and transformation. Taylah was Deputy Head Girl of Tokoroa High School and during that time fell pregnant with her beautiful daughter Hinekapu. It was a hard time for Taylah, she felt the pressure of being stigmatised and the feeling of shame. Taylah had to be supported by a benefit and meet all her YPP obligations. Five years later she is a Case Manager for youth who are in receipt of a benefit.

Taylah delivers her role as a Case Manager/NEET Mentor with aroha and understanding. She works in partnership with the young person reaffirming and valuing them as a person. Her role is to recognize their potential and to give them direction and hope to navigate their future.

Taylah has gained the New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work Level 3 and is currently enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing specialising in Youth Work Level 4.

Contact Taylah
Call 0800 GO WERA
Email taylah@wact.org.nz


Sione Levao - Youth Mentor

Sione is the youngest member to our Youth Service Team, he was born in Hamilton and lived in Tokoroa all his life, educated at Tokoroa High School where he captained the schools First 15 Rugby and First 13 Rugby League teams.

Sione was enrolled with our NEET Service 3 years ago and has worked in roles which have benefited our youth.He has completed a Child Protection Studies programme through Child Matters and is enrolled to complete the New Zealand Certificate Youth Work Level 4. He enjoys working with youth and has been in a mentoring role for other community providers and currently a Church Youth Leader.

Sione is in the Youth Mentor role supporting 16 -17 year old who need supporting enrolment or staying enrolled in fulltime education.

Contact Sione
Call 0800 GO WERA
Email sione@wact.org.nz

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