Meet the Board
Our Board is made up of eight experienced people who are passionate about leading Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand. Meet our current members.
Heather is the Chair of the Board and brings fantastic governance experience to the organisation.
She has held a number of governance roles in the community sector, including trustee, board member, deputy chairman and chairman. One of Heather's highlights has been serving as Deputy Chair of the Council for International Development.
Heather has a strong background in working in a multicultural environment both in New Zealand and overseas. Her experience ranges from community work with women and children in India, advocacy at international government level, developing national programmes and strategies for action in New Zealand, to turning around failing organisations. She has worked closely with government and has developed a wide network within the government sector. Heather is experienced in building strategic partnerships and introducing business systems and processes along with disciplined planning and financial management.
Passionate about making the world a better place for all, especially in the areas of poverty, inequality, discrimination and injustice, Heather works at local, national, and international levels to see change take place. Over the last ten years she has pursued this through leading not-for-profit organisations, such as her roles of chief executive of Refugee Services Aotearoa NZ, Save the Children and Parents Centre NZ.
Founder & CEO of Khadija Leadership Network, the New Zealand (NZ) Peace Ambassador for the European Muslim League, a civil servant, and a community development practitioner with over 15 years of experience having worked with the migrant and refugee communities in The Occupied Territories of Palestine, Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand. Tayyaba currently sits on the governance board of Mixit & Belong Aotearoa. She is also a regular panellist on RNZ’s ‘The Panel’, and ‘The AM Show’.
Since 9/11, Tayyaba has worked extensively with the Muslim community on a range of initiatives, such as founding Young Muslim Women’s Association and being recognised for this work by being awarded the Sonja Davies Peace Award in 2005 by the former Prime Minister, the Hon. Helen Clark. She is also the founder of the first Muslim club in her former high school, played a pivotal role in the establishment of a Muslim student’s club in her university and became the first female President of an Islamic Society on campus in NZ.
Tayyaba is deeply passionate about working with minority and faith-based communities. Her particular interest with these demographics is posited in utilising social justice, human rights, and ethical approaches to building a better and more peaceful world for everyone. She is a global citizen with experience of working in organisations such as the Australian Red Cross, British Red Cross, Alzheimer’s UK, and being the former CE of ChangeMakers Refugee Forum.
Pakistani born, and raised in Japan and New Zealand, Tayyaba currently works as a civil servant at the Tertiary Education Commission.
Jonathon is an senior manager with skills in finance and administration. He is the Chief Executive of Rotorua Community Hospice. Prior to this Jonathon worked in the tertiary education sector for over a decade supporting the humanities, foundation education and health faculty. He was Chairperson of Piringa Mental Health Services, a kaupapa Maori health provider in Rotorua, for three years. Jonathon is committed to upholding the mana (honour and rights) and rangatiratanga (ability to self-determine) for all peoples. He sees the opportunity to serve on the Board of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand as an incredible honour.
Nirupa is the Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Auckland. She started her career as a refugee lawyer in Auckland. During that time, she interned for President Jimmy Carter working on his human rights programme at the Carter Centre in Atlanta. Nirupa then moved to Parliament to work as a political advisor before returning to Auckland to run the Mayor’s successful election campaign.
Outside of work, Nirupa has been actively involved in human rights NGOs for over a decade including as a board member of the Red Cross Refugee Advisory Board and the Human Rights Lawyers' Association New Zealand. She was also a trustee on the Human Rights Network Trust of New Zealand.
As a Tamil, Nirupa has always maintained a deep connection to community and culture. As a volunteer community school teacher, she has helped Tamil children maintain a link to their heritage and language. She considers being fluently bilingual as one of her proudest achievements.
Wendy has had an eclectic career from a CEO in an Iwi NGO, to a teacher and consultant providing mentoring, training and services in organisational improvement. Her PhD is in strategy and transformation. She has reviewed and developed HR strategy, vision, mission, performance improvement, created results-based measurement, completed stakeholder mapping, competition analysis and provides leadership coaching.
Wendy has worked in private businesses small to medium, in Government and NGOs, at Board and Executive levels and with Ministers. She has worked across the Pacific, in Abu Dhabi and Uruguay.
Wendy is currently writing a book entitled Inspiring Kiwi Women, showcasing the inspiring stories of 15 New Zealand women. Wendy is of Ngati Kahunganu descent, is a grandmother of 6 and lives on an 18-acre lifestyle block in the Bay of Plenty. She loves gardening, tramping, fishing, oil painting and is learning the piano.
Gill Greer has been an advocate in a range of settings, including the United Nations, European, Pacific and New Zealand Parliamentary groups, the Assembly of the African Union, and many other international, regional, national and community organisations. She has led the formation and governance of a number of collaborative initiatives and alliances. Her focus has been on human rights; the rights of women and girls and those with disabilities and rare disorders; sexual and reproductive health and rights; the Sustainable Development Goals; climate change, leadership and governance.
Following her full-time roles as a teacher, Director of Student Services and Assistant VC at Victoria University of Wellington, where she worked closely with Te Herenga Waka to build support services for Māori, she has been CE of Family Planning NZ; Volunteer Service Abroad; the National Council of Women, Rare Disorders NZ; and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, with member associations across 160 countries. Gill has been a writer of three biographies and numerous articles on a range of topics. She was co-writer and editor of the “New Zealand People’s Report 2019” which examined New Zealand’s progress against the Sustainable Development Goals. She has worked as a filmmaker (a documentary on Katherine Mansfield) and radio broadcaster, and held for four public conversations with the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, the most recent in Sustainability Week, September 2019.
Gill now contributes as a mentor and volunteer, and in governance roles and short-term contracts, most recently the Human Rights Commission, the Ministry for Women and a 6-month review in 2019 of International Planned Parenthood. She is Acting Chair of Rare Disorders NZ, and a Board member of Evofem Biosciences, a US biotech company soon to market a non-hormonal contraceptive gel.
She also considers herself fortunate to be a mother, and grandmother of 4 children, all living in New Zealand!
Alva graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Indigenous Development from the Otago University, where she co-led the Amnesty International Otago University Group. She works for 350 Aotearoa as a Volunteer and Mobilisation Manager, as well as a German not-for-profit climate lobbying organisation.
Previously, Alva co-led the Amnesty International Group at Logan Park High School in Dunedin and for over two years she fostered engagement in schools across Otago, while supporting other local teams as the Amnesty International Volunteer Regional Organiser for Otago.
Alva brings a compelling youth voice to the Board and we are honoured to have her energy, experience and dedication to human rights.
Chennoah has recently graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with an LLB and a BA in Politics and International Relations. Her day job is as a campaigner and organiser.
Chennoah has been an active member of Amnesty International since the age of 13. She first got involved with Amnesty at Tauranga Girls' College and with the Tauranga Moana group, and continued her mahi with the Victoria University Amnesty group once she moved to Wellington.
In 2013, Chennoah became a Youth Cooptee on the Amnesty Board and was elected as a full member in 2016. While on the board, Chennoah was appointed as a "Youth Twin" to the International Board, an initiative which connected International Board members to a youth leader to facilitate two way dialogue around meetings. She went on to join the international working group for the development of the most recent global international youth strategy.