BOT Elections 2022

Board of Trustees - 2022 Elections

Voting closes: 4pm Wednesday, 14 September

BHULA, Nilesh

I have put my name forward as a parent representative for the school board as I have two young boys in Year 4 and Year 2 that currently attend Maungawhau School. Over the past 4 years since my first child began at the school, I have built good relations with many of the school personnel and parents in the community. My background consists of a 17-year career in various sales and leadership roles in large corporate organisations both in NZ and Australia. At present, I currently run my own Commercial Finance business as a Financial Advisor under the Finance NZ umbrella and have been doing this for the past 5 years. I believe my extensive experience and network will be a great asset and will complement the current board well.

COX, Matthew James

Kia ora, my name is Matthew Cox I am standing for election to the Board of Trustees for Maungawhau School. I have two children currently attending Maungawhau, Archie in Year 4 and Marlow in Year 0. When I'm not patiently awaiting my wife's online shopping to be delivered, I work at IBM in a client facing finance role. I've been impressed with the governance of the Board and the culture of the school over the last few years, especially during the pandemic, and would like an opportunity to contribute. I strongly believe in the importance of good governance at schools to support the well being of our students and staff and I encourage active engagement with the parent community. I am collaborative and passionate about maintaining Maungawhau School's excellence, so that all students can enjoy their learning, and grow into happy, caring and thriving individuals the school can be proud of. My children have loved their time at Maungawhau school and I'm excited about the opportunities ahead of them both, due in part to the commitment the Board, teaching staff and whanau have made to the school and students.


Kia Ora koutou, I have thoroughly enjoyed being on the Board over the last few years and want to represent us all once again this term. I am a proud father of four tamariki, three of which are now at Maungawhau in year 4, 2 and 0. In my work life, I am a senior leader in Aotearoa’s largest technology company. I am a big believer in our amazing school and the team that run it every day. I want to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of our school and community and see a role on the board as a great way to do so. I can bring a range of qualities to our Board. I have a strong background in effective governance, a thorough understanding of the education sector, an excellent corporate and community network that can support the school, a fair and practical approach with a strong belief in collaborating to get to a great result, and a passion for bringing te ao Maori into real-world environments. Overall, I love for having fun and innovating for richer outcomes and experiences for all. I have contributed to school life in many ways over the last few years. I am an active member within the school in our cultural activities, including helping run our Pōwhiri, coordinating the school Hui, and contributing to our Kapa Haka group. I am also involved in our school fair alongside my wife, who is leading the committee. Further to this, I help make and sell our preserves in the Larder fundraising stall – yes, I was that Dad dancing around in the bright orange lobster suit last term! Ultimately, I am passionate about providing our kids with opportunities to engage with a variety of opportunities that lets them grow and flourish into well-rounded people. I would cherish the opportunity to continue to represent on the School Board to help our school to continue to succeed. Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi (With your basket and my basket, the people with thrive).

DI MARCO, Martino Davide

Kia Ora koutou, I am putting myself forward for election to the Maungawhau School Board of Trustees. I would like to contribute to the school community in a meaningful way by utilising my skills and experience in finance and governance. I’m father to three beautiful and active children. Elisa in year 5, Alessandro in year 3 and Federico who will be in year 0 next term. We enjoy being part of the Maungawhau community and my wife, Katie, has helped organise fundraising events such as the School Disco and the upcoming School Fair. I’m a relatively new Kiwi, having arrived to Aotearoa in 2010 but I have embraced this wonderful country as my own. I love the outdoors and am passionate about our native ecology. I am on the Board of Trustees of Urban Ark Manawa Taiao and also help run the Pest Free Balmoral Group with the aim of reducing the impact of introduced species. This has been a great educational experience for the family, although I haven’t got the kids clearing traps yet! An accountant by trade, I’ve worked at BNZ for the last 12 years. In my current role I run the Finance Delivery team where we manage change, run strategy and ensure our function runs smoothly and efficiently. This role gives me the opportunity to work on multiple projects, managing stakeholders across the Bank. It has given me strong governance capabilities as well as an appreciation for sustainability as we look to reduce our carbon emissions and manage climate risk. I was born in Hong Kong and when I was 11, moved to Australia where I completed high school and university. I then finished my accounting qualifications while in Europe. While I haven’t had experience in the New Zealand education system, I can draw on a diverse background to bring a different perspective to the challenges we face as a school community. I would love the opportunity to serve on the Board, to support the school in planning out its future and am passionate about giving all our kids the opportunity to shine and be their true selves.

HA, Helen

My name is Helen Ha and I have the pleasure of serving as Treasurer on the Board of Trustees and seeking reelection for a final term. I grew up in Mount Eden and after graduating with a BCOM/LLB from the University of Auckland, I worked for Shell International in Australia, France and UK for 16 years before moving home in 2018. I have two children at Maungawhau School, Sebastian is in year 2 and Maelyse is in year 5. I am passionate about personal development in both children and adults alike. I spend 4 days per week as a Programme Manager within Fonterra’s digital transformation team, and a side hustle as a certified Gallup StrengthFinders coach working with professionals, students, and non-profit organisations on developing their natural talents. Up until lockdown, I was also a volunteer workshop facilitator at The Parenting Place. I have a strength in maximising resources and thinking creatively about how to use our minds (as well as materials and money) to get a great result. I bring a commercial mindset to the Board team, as well as ensuring we always consider wellbeing and diversity in our decisionmaking. Having observed two very challenging years for the school and our community, I am even more energised and optimistic about our ability to meet the unique needs of our tamariki. The current team have upheld the vision, values, and strategy of the school during the toughest of times, and I am confident that we will continue to do this despite the financial and physical challenges inflicted by COVID. Maungawhau School has an amazing team of staff and teachers and a strong sense of community spirit; I would be honoured to serve a final term alongside a governing Board and leadership team.


My name is Meena and I have been living in Mt Eden for 10 years. My husband and I have two boys who are currently in Year 3 & 2 and love the school and its community. At present, I am involved in the school fair running the Finance function. I am originally from Malaysia and grew up in West Auckland. I work in the Finance Business Partnering team at Datacom, providing insight and governance to our Directors. I am passionate about making sure the children of today are designed to lead the next generation and ensuring that they get a stable and solid foundation in these important early stages of their lives.


Kia ora koutou. I have been a parent at Maungawhau for the last 6 years. Our oldest son Noah is in Room 26 and will be finishing at Maungawhau this year and Kasper our youngest is currently in Year 3 in Room 16 . Maungawhau is a fantastic school and has given our boys the very best start in their education and a genuine love of school and learning as well as making us as a family feel very much part of a warm and welcoming community. I am a lawyer by background and am currently working for KiwiRail as their Executive General Manger Property I have strong governance experience in the public and private sector as a Board member and trustee of several subsidiary companies and trusts and trustee of the Mums 4 Refugees charitable trust. In my current role I work across property and infrastructure design, consenting, funding and delivery. I believe this experience would be an asset to the Board as they continue to work to improve the facilities and opportunities available to our tamariki. I am dedicated to what I do and results focused and genuinely committed to making our school the best it can be for every child, I would consider it a real privilege to be able to give back to the school by sharing my experience as a Board of Trustees representative.


Tēnā koutou katoa – my name is Briar Riddell and I am standing for the Maungawhau School Board. I currently have two boys enrolled at Maungawhau, Connor in year 4, and Ashley in year 2, so Maungawhau School is a central feature in our lives! We have had a great experience with the school so far, and have been really impressed with the way it operates and how our boys are thriving there – I would love to bring two big parts of my life together as one of your parent representatives on the School Board. My day job is as Principal Legal Counsel at Beca Group Limited, and I currently serve as a director on the board of two of its subsidiary companies, as well as on a number of other advisory boards and committees for Beca. Governance is something that I’m passionate about (potentially not the line I’d open with at a BBQ, however…), and I would love the opportunity to contribute as a board member for our school. Education has such a fundamental impact on our children and the paths they take, and I appreciate how critical it is to ensure that their needs and school experience are central to any decision-making for Maungawhau. In our downtime, you can usually find Tom, Connor, Ash and I towing our caravan around Aotearoa’s beautiful coastline.

SHAH, Ritesh

Ko Maungawhau te maunga te rū nei taku ngākau. Ko Clutha te awa e mahea nei aku māharahara. Nō Amerika ahau E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o Tamaki Makarau e noho nei au Ko Ritesh Shah ahau, and I’m a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. I am also the proud father of two daughters who are currently attending Maungawhau (in Years 3 and 6). I’m seeking to be part of the Board of Trustees to support our school through what are a series of exciting but also significant reforms of our education system in the coming years. This includes a revamp of how schools are funded, a renewed role for regional education hubs of the Ministry of Education with increased oversight and support for school-based decision-making, and reforms of both what is in the NZ curriculum and how it is taught. Boards of Trustees have a responsibility to both respond and adapt to these changes in a way that best serves its school community. In such times, I feel it is important to bring expertise of both the wider policy and legislative environment alongside knowledge of educational practice and leadership to our Board of Trustees. Alongside this, I hope that after several years of COVID-19 related disruptions, we can work together to identify how best to support learning continuity, and remain responsive to the health and well-being concerns which we need to consider as a school. Above all else, I hope to be a staunch advocate for our entire community, and with a focus on striving for equitable opportunities and outcomes for all our ākonga. He waka eke noa (we are all in this canoe together).


I joined the Maungawhau School Board in June 2019 and was elected to the Board Chair role this year. The last 3+ years have raced by and it’s been my absolute pleasure to serve our community as a parent elected representative. The disruptions caused by COVID certainly kept us on our toes but I’m proud of the resilient way our school and Board navigated the pandemic. I’ve really enjoyed being able to make a difference and to work together as a team to shape the education experience of students at Maungawhau. I’m a lawyer with a real passion for governance, having spent 12+ years working closely with the Boards of Westpac and BNZ. As General Manager Governance at BNZ, I lead a team of governance experts. These roles mean I bring a strong mix of governance, legal, risk management and practical experience to our school Board. My husband and I have lived in Mt Eden for nearly a decade and we have two daughters (Mila and Chloe) in the middle school. I’m therefore highly motivated to see Maungawhau’s ongoing success and to ensure good decisions are made that deliver great outcomes for all. Ngā mihi, Michelle

WANG, Sandy

My name is Sandy Wang and I am standing for the Maungawhau School Board. With a year 3 child at Maungawhau School (the older one graduated last year) and after being keenly involved in the school’s activities for many years, I have been a parent representative on the Board of Trustees since 2020, when I was co-opted into the role. I have been involved in a number of initiatives during this time to help the school and its children. I came to New Zealand over 20 years ago and I am a strong believer in bringing students, parents and families together from all backgrounds, as we celebrate the city’s vibrant cultural mix. An integral part of my role on the board includes communicating with Chinese-speaking parents about school activities and updates. A strong advocate of social media, I host the school’s WeChat group for Chinese parents. After graduating with Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Auckland and initially working as an engineer, I discovered my passion for people and our community. Outgoing, dedicated and compassionate, this led to my current role as a Licensed Immigration Adviser and business owner, where I consolidated my skills in leadership and effective communication, which I have further strengthened in my Board of Trustees’ role. Outside of work and my involvement with Maungawhau School, I enjoy family time and experiencing all that Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer with its outdoor activities and diverse experiences. I would like to use my position on the Maungawhau School Board to make a measurable contribution to the school, families and local community, to ensure our children are supported with quality education and a well-rounded experience that provides a solid foundation for the future.