The Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury is a leading organisation in youth development in New Zealand. Our mission is to deliver programmes to children and young people that are proven to bring positive change and have a lasting impact on their well being.
We deliver these programmes to students aged 5 to 18 in 21 schools throughout Waimate, Chertsey, Timaru and Christchurch.
Our programmes reach over 3,370 students every week.
Presently we have three transformational programmes in Canterbury:
- Kiwi Can: our energy-packed, primary school programme, teaching positive relationships, values of respect, integrity and resilience, and developing the soft skills needed for our communities and workplaces of the future.
- Stars: a peer mentoring programme that empowers year 12 and 13 students at Linwood College and Hornby High School to support year 9 students with the challenging transition to high school. Through weekly group session lead by the senior students, adventure activity days to develop team work and trust, and a community project to enhance a sense of social responsibility and connection to community, Stars enhances resilience, mental health and well being of all students involved.
- Project K: impacts on a young person at an instrumental time in their lives. Working with year 10 students at Hornby High School, Project K focuses on building self-confidence, life skills and a healthy lifestyle through a wilderness camp, community projects, interaction with other young people and a positive relationship with an external adult mentor.
We help our students to build positive relationships, confidence, resilience, communication skills as well as cooperative learning. Today’s rangatahi and tamariki need to be supported to develop into resilient people who can cope and thrive amongst this ongoing evolution and disruption we experience in our world. They need to learn how to work together, understand other perspectives, collaborate for mutual success, and how to bounce back from setbacks.
Our programmes support the development of these skills and values, so our young people are able to overcome the challenges they face in life. We want every child to know what they have inside is greater than any obstacle.
Sian Neary – General Manager Canterbury Region
Sian joined the Foundation back in November 2011 and brings 25 years of experience in the Not for Profit industry mostly with Youth Development. Sian is well known for her passion, drive and commitment to the communities that she works in. Sian recently won a KiwiBank Local Hero award and a was Semi Finalist for Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year for 2022 recognising those putting in the hard yards for their communities and taking extraordinary action to make Aotearoa a better place.
Sian is a keen sports enthusiast and enjoys playing hockey, cycling and walking with her partner and the family dog Mojo.
Meet our Coordinators
Karla Guerin – Kiwi Can Coordinator
Karla joined the team in July 2017, bringing many years of teaching experience and having worked as a Community Support Worker for a community trust. In 2020, Karla won the Graeme Dingle Foundation National Excellence Award for Outstanding Programme Coordinator, recognising her amazing leadership of the Kiwi Can team and commitment to the tamariki in our programmes.
“I absolutely love my role here at the Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury as I feel like I am a part of a team that is making a difference. I am proud of the Kiwi Can leaders and watching them with the students and seeing the transformation is just awesome. They are incredible role models for our tamariki and I believe our Kiwi Can programme is life changing.”
Karla and her husband Wayne run a “high end” Opshop in Papanui which supports various community outreaches including the homeless, families in need and ‘Zion Hip Hop Dance Studios.’ They have recently started a wedding venue on their North Canterbury property.
Karla was raised in sunny Nelson, moved to Christchurch to attend Teachers Training College, and now calls Christchurch home. She enjoys walking with the family dog Obi, singing and watching her 18 year old son play tennis.
Chris Morland – Project K Coordinator
Chris joined the team in 2018 as a Kiwi Can leader in primary schools in Christchurch. He loves working for the Graeme Dingle Foundation and we are very fortunate to have him in our team, as he is an amazing, inspiring Kiwi Can leader. In 2021 Chris became the Kiwi Can Team Leader taking on a mentoring role within the team, providing support to the Kiwi Can Coordinator.
It has been a long journey for Chris to discover how to use his skills and experience to make a difference in the lives of others. After serving in the British Army for 8 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, he decided the best way to have a positive impact was to teach and work with children and young people.
Chris loves a good adventure and getting lost outdoors in the wilderness. He skis as much as he can in the winter, surfs in the summer, and explores new mountains when he can.
Jason, He Ara Ākonga Coordinator
Jason is the new He Ara Ākonga coordinator based in East Christchurch. He has been working as a School Attendance Advisor, helping young people re engage with their education, and helping them move into training or work. He has worked in the youth sector for ten years and is grateful to be able to be part of a programme that will encourage, grow, and strengthen the young people who attend.
“I am grateful to be able to be part of something that will encourage, growth, and strengthen the young people who attend. This initiative is so inspiring.”
Anne Hindson – Business Development Manager
Anne joined the team in October 2020 as a part time Business Development Manager, focusing on growing our supporter base and making connections within the business community. She brings experience in business development, sponsorship, events and project & general management.
Anne has managed a number of major projects including Regional Manager for Rugby World Cup 2011, Fifa U17 Women’s World Cup; APEC Science & Technology Ministerial & Associated Events. Most recently, Anne was GM for the NZ Rural Leadership Trust managing leadership programmes for the agri business sector. She has a Masters in Commerce & Management which she has applied in consultancy and management roles in the not for profit, public and private sectors including education.
“I love the programme outcomes delivered by the Graeme Dingle Foundation and want to be part of securing support for growing the programmes & services and the outcomes”
A keen cyclist, tennis player and walker, Anne has a partner Barry and two adult children and now two gorgeous grandchildren!
Meet our Kiwi Can Leaders
Hayley Young – Kiwi Can Team Leader
Hayley is one of our wonderful Kiwi Can leaders in Christchurch and has been on the team since 2018. When hearing about the role, Hayley didn’t hesitate to apply. She knew it would be a fantastic way to kickstart her career.
“My favourite part of my role is seeing the same smiley faces every week and being able to form strong lasting relationships. The kids never forget you.”
Before joining the Kiwi Can team Hayley studied Travel and Tourism at Ara institute of Canterbury. She has always had a passion for working with people and grew up wanting to be a teacher.
In her spare time, Hayley enjoys relaxing in the sun and spending time with her friends & family.
Gabby Lilleyman – Kiwi Can Leader
Inspired by her experience as a primary school student participating in the Kiwi Can programme, Gabby became a Kiwi Can Leader in 2019. Gabby leads students in Kiwi Can activities across primary schools in Timaru.
“In primary school Kiwi Can made me feel really good about myself and taught me so many vital life skills. I feel honoured that I get to have a positive influence on our amazing tamariki. I love when I see their development and when they’re soaking up all the knowledge offered to them. I love all their creative and insightful ideas too.”
Gabby has a fitness background and Diploma in Advanced Exercise Prescription. She grew up with a love of singing, dancing, design, art, music and drama. Gabby still loves to sing and dance, and also enjoys reading, spending time with family, going to the gym, and eating lots of food!
Vicki Johnson – Kiwi Can Leader
Vicki joined the Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury team in 2019 as a Kiwi Can Leader in Timaru, Waimate and Makikihi, where she works alongside her teaching buddy Gabby.
Vicki absolute loves her role and has a great appreciation for what the programme teaches the students. ” I love how the elements of what is being taught can be used in everyday life by the students, and knowing they have many new tools to add to their kete after every session”.
Previously Vicki worked as a swim instructor and a music teacher, and has an Honours degree in Linguistics and English.
Vicki enjoys running, gardening and cats.
Sala Skinner – Kiwi Can Leader
Sala become a Kiwi Can leader at the start of 2022. She moved to Christchurch from Westport at the start of the year excited to begin her journey as a Kiwi Can leader. Growing up in Westport has given Sala fond memories of playing sport, going to the beaches, and spending quality time with my friends and whanau. Living a healthy lifestyle is very important to Sala and she has played several sports from a young age. She loves to play are netball, basketball, and volleyball.
Sala found her passion working with children in her previous role as Sports Development Officer for the Buller Sports Alliance, where she visited a number of schools in the region delivering sports programmes, in the hope of getting children motivated, active and participating in sports. Seeing the impact, you can have on tamariki in such a short time is amazing and the joy they bring you is unbelievable.
Sala wants to continue the journey of helping to teach the children of our future strong values and life skills in an effort to shape them into the amazing human beings, they will be and the Kiwi Can programme is perfect for this!
Javaan Togiaso – Kiwi Can Leader
Javaan is loving this new role and is making an impact with our tamariki since he started at the beginning of 2022.
Javaan has been working in all different areas of Civil Construction, travelling up and down the country fixing roads and completing work sites for car parks and/or subdivisions. He has since realised that his passion for the construction industry had gone and he wanted to pursue a career change to help serve his community and help others, especially children.
Javaan enjoys swimming at the beach or lake and reading as well as spend time with my wife and 3 children. They spend a lot of time at their church where he and his wife and are both Sunday School teachers.
Callum Jarrett – Kiwi Can leader
Callum went through Heathcote Valley school, Burnside High and then went on to study at the NZ Institute of Sport. This is where he realised, he wanted to have a positive impact on youth. Callum worked at Kelly Sports for 2 yrs before heading off to Outward Bound. An amazing experience!
“I have loved every second of my new role so far. Being involved in planning and running such an amazing programme for our tamariki here in Canterbury is such a privilege. Each day when I arrive home I feel so accomplished and so proud to have such an incredible job. Being able to teach our next generation valuable life lessons through activity. My dream job!
I love spending time with my family, my friends and I have a beautiful dog named Gazza. The beach is my happy place and where I am at peace. Football has been my passion since I was 4 and I still play to this day. I also love being in nature. We live in such a beautiful country with so many amazing scenic walks and views.”
Zach Lentz – Kiwi Can Leader
Zach is originally from the USA!
Although Zach spent most of his life living in America he has spent the last four years living in Melbourne and Wellington. Zach has a background in education, with the opportunity of working at schools in three different countries! Zach and his partner are currently enjoying the more relaxed pace of life that Christchurch has to offer.
“I enjoy creating positive relationships and giving our tamariki a chance to shine. I am so excited to make a positive impact in my local community!
“In my free time I enjoy getting out in nature, playing rugby, reading, swimming at the beach and cooking. The south island has so many great places and we are so lucky to have so many outdoor adventures in our backyard!
“We are so fortunate to have such a great team here in Canterbury and I’m excited to learn from them!”
Meet our Board of Trustees
Mark Dingle – Board Chair
Mark was inspired to join as a Board Trustee in 2016 after hearing Sir Graeme Dingle speak about the work and objectives of the Foundation. The values of the organisation resonated strongly with him and the positive impact the programmes were having in the lives of young people was clearly evident.
In 2017 Mark became the Canterbury Board Chair using his expertise in organisational governance and strategic planning to guide the foundation towards future growth. The goal is to discover new pathways to deliver added benefits to even more Kiwi youth.
In 2020 Mark signed up to become a mentor on the Foundation’s flagship programme, Project K. The rewards have been immense; “I see it as a chance to directly encourage and support my young person. Being able to make even the smallest influence has been a very humbling experience”.
Along with the wealth of knowledge and experience Mark has in his professional life, he is also a man of many talents at home. Whether it’s tending to his bee hives, marshalling races at the local speedway, hitting the slopes for a touch of skiing or spending time with his whānau, Mark keeps himself busy saying, “it’s never a chore if you are doing things you love”.
Charlene Sell – Trustee
Charlene became a trustee of Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury in 2017 after hearing about all the inspirational work we do from one of our other trustees, Kylie Meyer. Prior to becoming a trustee Charlene fundraised for Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury in the annual Drop for Youth event and faced her fears by abseiling down the Les Mills building!
Charlene is a partner at Wynn Williams and provides advice to the trustees on Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury’s legal obligations. She loves being able to use her skillset to help our charity with its day-to-day legal needs, but also to contribute more broadly to trustee decisions with the goal of supporting as many tamariki as possible.
Charlene strongly believes that our programmes provide life-changing lessons to tamariki at important stages of their development as young people in our community. When attending events where tamariki speak about their journey and how our programmes have helped them, Charlene is genuinely inspired by what we do.
In her spare time Charlene enjoys listening to podcasts and audio books, watching movies, and hiking, cycling and adventuring around our beautiful country.
Claire Bourne – Trustee
Claire joined the Canterbury Board as a Trustee in 2018, having been involved in many community projects supporting the development of children across the region. Claire describes her driving purpose as “enabling tamariki to succeed”. She is passionate about people and communities, which is evident in her work creating Whenua Whanāu, a community development initiative to establish organisational scholarships focused at māori wahine. Since 2015 Claire has also been a ‘Big Sister’ to Irihāpeti through the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation.
Claire grew up in Northland and calls Russell home. Claire started her Human Resources career in 2006 after graduating from Canterbury University with a Bachelor of Arts. Claire is currently the Group Culture and Capability Manager for an Australasian Agribusiness. Claire’s achievements include being awarded the HRNZ HR Volunteer of the Year, selected as a Committee for Canterbury future leader and selected as a Global Women breakthrough leader.
Grant Day – Trustee
Originally from Christchurch, Grant has now lived in Timaru with his wife Stacey for 19 years, after moving to South Canterbury while working for Silver Fern Farms. For the past seven years Grant has worked for Sanford as Site Manager at Sanford’s Timaru Site, and this is where his interest and passion for the Graham Dingle Foundation was ignited.
With a broad experience in management within primary industry, and as a retired Lieutenant Colonel, after a 23 year career in the Territorial Force of the New Zealand Army, he brings a range of leadership skills and personal insights to the Canterbury Board of Trustees. With his two adult daughters having left home, there is now an opportunity to give back to the community and in particular Kiwi Can, helping today’s children become resilient adults in the future.
“I love seeing the change that KiwiCan is making in primary school children throughout the South Canterbury region through the enthusiasm and leadership of the Graeme Dingle Foundation leaders.” Grant enjoys mountain biking, camping and outdoor adventures with Stacey.
Kylie Meyer – Trustee
Kylie joined the Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury Board as a Trustee in 2017 when she was seeking opportunities to gain governance experience. The work we do in our programmes is closely aligned and connected to her own family values, as her father founded and ran a youth trust for underprivileged children some years ago.
Kylie is a Business Advisory Partner at Grant Thornton, and oversees the finance role for GDF Canterbury. Kylie finds her role on the Board very rewarding on both a professional and personal level. She says it doesn’t cost you anything to share your professional skills and time for charity. She encourages all young professionals to use their skills to help in the community.
Kylie is a busy mum, juggling and trying to balance the varying demands of work and family life.
Kylie Williams – Trustee
Our Project K programme drew Kylie to the Board in 2018. She liked that it is offered at year 10, right when our rangatahi are often struggling to appreciate their unique value, and how the mentorship component teaches them that their potential is limitless.
“I believe we have a social responsibility to empower our young people to make their mark on the world. They have the energy and passion to create our future, but not every young person has the luxury to think big. Many battle daily challenges out of their control and we’re losing those voices. I’m proud to support a team that gives Canterbury’s rangatahi the space, confidence, and tools they need to realise their full potential – and ours.”
An Aotearoa-based global marketing consultant, Kylie enjoys volunteering her governance skillset to support charities that enrich our communities. She hopes to see Project K expand throughout Canterbury, allowing more of our young people to flourish.
When not travelling offshore, Kylie can be found exploring the South Island and its surrounds with her partner and their energetic puppy.
Nick Pope – Trustee
Nick is our newest member to the Board having joined us in 2020, and is a Chartered Accountant by day and a Community Champion by night! Nick got involved with the Foundation as he truly believes in the impact the various programmes can have on a young child’s life.
Nick has a real passion for the outdoors and thinks that the Wilderness Challenge the young people take on in Project K is a great way for them to learn some invaluable life skills, and hopefully unlock many of their hidden strengths and capabilities.
Nick has learnt a huge amount about himself through similar experiences which have shaped him into who he is today.
Tanya Cooke – Trustee
Tanya joined the Board of Trustees for the Graeme Dingle Foundation Canterbury in 2018 as she felt the foundation strongly aligned with her values.
Tanya is currently the Fundraising and Marketing Manager of Cholmondeley Children’s Centre in Governors Bay, Christchurch and has over 10 years of global experience working for children’s charities including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Child Cancer Foundation – NZ, Barnardos – UK and The Joshua Tree – UK.
Tanya is also a Board of Trustee for Big Brothers Big Sisters New Zealand and is extremely passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of our tamariki.