Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough’s mission is to deliver programmes that are proven to bring positive changes to the lives of young people at the top of the south.
Presently we have three transformational programmes in Marlborough:
- 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: which pairs incoming Year 9 students at Marlborough Girls’ College with senior students, via a proven peer mentoring programme (which includes an adventure camp and a community project). Stars offer proactive measures to support enhanced resilience, mental health and wellbeing of students.
- Career Navigator: our unique mentoring programme helping our secondary school students find appropriate career pathways, and developing strong connections between our young people and industries.
Today’s fast-paced technological change impacts on many levels within society; from education to employment, from communication to recreation. Our children need to learn skills and strategies to develop into resilient people who can cope and thrive amongst this ongoing evolution and disruption. 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 youth are able to overcome the challenges they will inevitably face in life. We want every Marlborough child to know what they have inside is greater than any obstacle.
“Empowering kids to overcome life’s obstacles”
Kelvin Watt – Regional Manager
From a rural upbringing in the deep south to various undertakings around the globe, Kelvin was originally attracted to Marlborough through work at Outward Bound. With a background in experiential education and personal development the step across to the Graeme Dingle Foundation in 2012 was a small one.
Kelvin’s an absolute ball of positive energy and to say he’s passionate about making a difference for the community and young people of Marlborough would be an understatement!
“I love talking with schools and whānau about the changes they see in their kids – I’m really proud to be part of the team bringing Kiwi Can, Stars and Career Navigator to over 50% of kids across Marlborough.”
Kelvin is also a key point of contact for all our sponsors, and with his infectious enthusiasm, it is no wonder we are privileged to have built up such a strong support base in Marlborough.
Kelvin enjoys adventures (with backpack, paddles or pedals) in the Marlborough outdoors – and nowadays these are usually shared with his 3 daughters.
Tayla Hayes – Kiwi Can Coordinator
Tayla’s role sees her working closely with the Kiwi Can leaders to develop and deliver the amazing lessons Kiwi Can is known for in Marlborough. Tayla’s the kind of a person you can really count on to get things done – efficiency is her middle name!
“I’m a Kiwi Can leader because getting to be a pivotal role model in any child’s life is so rewarding! It’s really a privilege to be involved in delivering the programme and forming amazing relationships with children in our community. It’s not every job that makes it so obvious what a difference you made in the world each day.”
Tayla’s background is as a marine and environmental scientist, so it is no wonder that she gravitates to the outdoors in her spare time – surfing, diving, mountain bike riding and travelling to see more of New Zealand.
Tania Smith – Career Navigator Coordinator
Tania helps Marlborough students navigate their way through the countless career opportunities presented to them – to help them find a meaningful career pathway, through our Career Navigator programme.
Tania brings over 12 years’ training and coaching experience to the role, and says: “Career Navigator is an exciting opportunity for me to work with our students and use my coaching experience to bring out the best in them. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing how the students develop and, through the programme, come to trust in their decision-making process.”
In her early working life Tania worked for the New Zealand Customs Service before finding her calling in coaching. Tania has been a personal trainer and health coach, worked in a variety of gyms, workplace wellness programmes and even in the Mediterranean on cruise ships! These days outside of work Tania is kept incredibly busy by family life, with two young sons – as well as studying part-time to complete her diploma in professional coaching.
Rachel Anderson – Stars Coordinator
Rachel first worked with Graeme Dingle Foundation (on Project K) in Marlborough back in 2008. She then went on to use her marketing and events background to build up the highly successful “Saint Clair Vineyard Half-Marathon” with her husband Callum, for five years (before selling it), and to establish a family business, before returning to us in 2019 as our Stars Coordinator.
Rachel explains “I want to work with teenagers and help them build wellbeing and strong connections with their peers and community. Stars is the perfect fit!
For me, the most rewarding thing about my role is working with our young people, helping them to succeed and grow. Teenage years are such a confusing, and at the same time exciting, stage of their lives – they are so full of potential! It’s fantastic to be a part of helping them reach their potential and become resilient and connected young adults.”
When she’s not at work Rachel is busy studying towards a postgraduate diploma in counselling, and spending time with friends and family, and in the outdoors – and maybe occasionally indulging her secret weakness for lollies – the 50 cent mixture kind.
Bronwen Laird – Communications and Marketing Specialist
Bronwen’s role is officially “Communications and Marketing Specialist” but we call her our “Chief Storyteller”. She’s our resident wordsmith. Her role is to prepare our materials which go out into the community in various ways and forms – for children, schools, parents and whānau, for grant funders and sponsors, and for media and social media.
“My job is really helping to share the story about what we are doing here at Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough. I really enjoy working for organisations whose values align with mine, and the Graeme Dingle Foundation is teaching children about integrity, respect, resilience and positive relationships – as well as the skillsets they need for the communities and workplaces of the future. It’s magic! I’m proud to be involved, and it’s a fantastic story to have the privilege to tell.”
When she’s not writing for us, Bronwen works part-time with a couple of other successful New Zealand companies on their marketing and communications – and she also works hard on her ‘work-life balance’ (especially making sure she keeps time for her family).
Nicky Collingwood – Office Administrator
Nicky works part-time at Graeme Dingle Foundation HQ keeping our accounts and administration side running efficiently, and freeing up some of Kelvin’s time! Her hours with us are generously sponsored by SWE.
“When I was approached to see if we would like to assist Kelvin, I thought it sounded interesting and a bit of a challenge – and for a great cause. How could I say no?!”
Nicky has a ‘Diploma in Business for Accounting Technicians’ and has worked in accounts and bookkeeping for over 20 years. When she’s not putting our office to rights, she works at BusinessBase Marlborough, and spends time relaxing by fishing, reading, horse riding and travel.
What you might not know about Nicky is that (despite having had long hair since she was 10 years old) in 2019 she bravely shaved her hair to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Meet our Kiwi Can Leaders
Jordy (Jordan) Peipi – Kiwi Can Leader
Jordan is our very own sporting superstar. As a national rep in volleyball and someone who loves to play touch rugby, Jordy knows what it’s like to succeed in a team and is a fantastic role-model for our local kids. Getting out with the kids at lunchtimes, playing games and getting to know them more is a highlight of her day.
“When I first saw the job advertised it sounded like the perfect job for me - mixing my passion for sports and working with children - I have fun at work every single day. It still amazes me how much Kiwi Can benefits every child and makes me super pleased to be part of it”
Inspired by her work with the children, Jordy has also begun her teacher training in 2019. Outside of her work, study and sporting commitments – is there any time left over? – Jordy loves spending time with her friends and catching up on her favourite Netflix series.
Gemma Miller - Kiwi Can Leader
Gemma came to us at Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough from an early childhood background, with experience in preschools and in-home care. As a mother herself she brings valuable life experience and a thoughtful maturity to her approach with the children. She really enjoys working with the primary school-aged Kiwi Can kids these days:
“I became a Kiwi Can leader because I want to help kids reach their full potential. I also know what it’s like to be excluded and bullied as a kid, so if I can do something to stop that type of behaviour from happening, I want to do my bit. I’ve seen first-hand what kind of difference Kiwi Can is making and it’s a very moving and humbling experience”.
Gemma’s a keen sportsperson, playing netball, and skiing in the winter, and playing touch rugby and water sports in the summer. You might also be surprised to know she’s also an experienced scuba diving instructor – a woman of many talents!
Fili (Filimoe’ulie) Moala Fotu - Kiwi Can Leader
Fili’s a genuine, compassionate leader who creates special bonds with our Kiwi Can kids. You can usually find Fili at the centre of a group of engaged children, with fun and laughter surrounding them.
“Being able to make a special connection with the kids I meet is an incredible privilege. It’s neat to be a positive influence and role model the things we learn about in Kiwi Can by not only showing and teaching it in school – but also out in the community, by living the Kiwi Can values.”
Fili is also our resident dance legend. It is no exaggeration to say this guy really has the moves! Outside of Kiwi Can he’s a hip-hop dance teacher, as well as keeping fit and active by dancing himself – and he recently competed in the Hip-Hop New Zealand dance competition in Christchurch.
Liv (Olivia) Pinkerton - Kiwi Can Leader
Liv’s calling is clearly working with kids. Her kind and engaging approach really brings out the best in the children, and she has a loyal following wherever she goes.
“My favourite part of my role is having so many little friends and getting to bond and build relationships with so many Marlborough children. It’s so rewarding to see the children step outside of their comfort zone and really grow - especially in confidence. And being able to be involved in school and community events is also really awesome.”
Liv is currently studying to complete the second year of her teaching degree, as well as being an amazingly committed Kiwi Can leader. She also plays and coaches netball, and still makes time to spend with her family and friends. You could also say she’s an expert in time management to fit that all in her week!
Daniel Brunel - Kiwi Can Leader
Kiwi Can leader Daniel’s bright personality brings a lot of life to Kiwi Can classes. Daniel’s a talented actor (having taken art in a number of combined colleges productions, including a lead, Juan Peron in Evita), and this brings a whole other element to his Kiwi Can lessons.
“Its amazing watching the boost of confidence and knowledge that Kiwi Can provides. It’s super-rewarding and I feel proud to be making a difference for the next generation here in Marlborough. There’s also never a dull day in this job, it’s amazing how thoughtful - and entertaining - the kids can be!”
When he’s not in the Kiwi Can shirt, Daniel loves to play football and is part of a martial art and boxing group. It’s fair to say anything physical probably has his name on it. He’s also never afraid of stepping outside his comfort zone, and loves a good challenge, all of which helps make him a great role model for the kids.
Laekin Simmonds - Kiwi Can Leader
Laekin is a warm, empathetic role model for our Kiwi Can kids. She values the opportunity to bond with the children and be a positive influence in their lives. Laekin easily forms strong connections with the children that allows her to not only be a friendly face in the playground and community, but a strong and trusted leader in the classroom.
“I just love that I can ask a five-year-old what integrity means and they could not only tell me what it means but give me a good example – now that’s powerful”.
Outside of work hours you’ll often find Laekin playing netball, dancing, watching Netflix, and spending time socialising with friends and family.
Stacey Bruce - Kiwi Can Leader
Stacey joined the Kiwi Can team in 2020, coming to us with a Diploma in Youth Work and a wealth of experience in working with kids as a supervisor in after-school care and holiday programmes, as well as having worked at a school for “at risk teens”.
“I love working with children and making a positive impact in their lives. For me, one of the most rewarding parts of the role is seeing these young people achieve things that they never thought they could do. I love seeing young people achieve all kinds of goals - big and small.”
When she’s not wearing the Kiwi Can shirt, Stacey loves supporting her children and husband in their chosen sports, watching rugby and cricket, as well as enjoying movies, listening to music, baking and cooking, art, and travelling. Stacey’s recent trip to the Kiwi Can National Hui in Auckland was her first time on a plane, and she says “I was very nervous but so proud of myself for doing it too. We encourage our tamariki to step outside their comfort zones and overcome obstacles, so I wanted to ‘walk the talk’ too”.
Aliyah Grey – Kiwi Can Leader
Before joining the Kiwi Can team Aliyah studied sport and recreation at the local Marlborough Community College. Through her course she discovered she loved teaching kids in sports such as athletics, basketball and gymnastics. When she heard the role of Kiwi Can Leader had come up, she didn’t hesitate to take the next step in her career working with young people.
“My favourite part of my role is seeing how one Kiwi Can lesson can brighten a child’s day - and even week. I enjoy seeing kids happy, secure and learning heaps while at Kiwi Can.”
Aliyah is a genuine outdoors girl who enjoys swimming, fishing, and hunting. Despite her fear of heights, she has braved bungy jumping, ziplining and jet boating – and her next goal is to go sky diving!
Nicki Stretch - Chair