Our Staff

Below is a picture of staff, stallholders and volunteers taken at our Hauora Otara event held Feb 2019.

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A Little Bit About Us:

Sosefina Paletaoga, CEO

(Brief still to come)

e-mail: sosefina@otarahealth.org.nz

Mark Simiona, Operations Manager

Kia orana tatou katoatoa i roto i te ingoa mana o Iesu Mesia.

Mark joined the organisation in September 2012. He has a National Certificate in Public Sector Services (Leadership Development – Middle Management) Level 5 and a National Certificate in First Line Management Level 4 and a Bachelor of Applied Management-with Distinction and comes to us after working 2 years with the Salvation Army as a Family Store Manager and 14 years working with the Ministry of Social Development for Work and Income as a senior Service Centre and Project Manager.  Mark brings a wide variety of skills, expertise and knowledge to the organisation including his strengths in leadership, people management, technical aptitude and staff development. Born in Hamilton, New Zealand he is from the beautiful island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. He is married with four children and two grandchildren.

e-mail: mark@otarahealth.org.nz

Jean Sheppard, Administration Manager

Jean provides leadership of administrative services to support the CEO and the programme and activities of the organisation.  She brings to the organisation experiences in the finance sector and from local health and education organisations. Jean has been with Otara Health since 2008 and has become the organisation’s expert in finance and accounts. As a South Auckland resident, Jean also brings valuable local knowledge to her role with Otara Health.

Jean’s tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Applied Management

e-mail: jean@otarahealth.org.nz

Maddi Schmidt, Active Families Team Leader

Maddi started with the organisation in 2006 and has since held various roles in health promotion and community development.  Initially employed as a Programmes Administrator she has gained and developed credentials with the organisation to support the roles held from leading programmes to project management and wishes to one day complete her Arts degree in Anthropology and Education.  She is passionate about empowering people, particularly Pacific people, in health improvements drawing on peoples strengths to make them feel valued and respected.  Maddi is a Samoan born Kiwi, hailing from the villages of Fa’atoia and Lepea; speaks fluent Samoan and relishes ‘grassroots’ development flourishing.

e-mail: maddi@otarahealth.org.nz

Julia Areaiiti, Team Leader

Julia has returned to Otara Health after just over two years away working in the far north. As Team Leader, Julia will manage the Incredible Years, Teen Parents, AWHI, Kaitohutohu, Neighbourhood Support, and Coordinated Care services for Otara Health. Julia brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the team and is a welcomed return to the organisation.

e-mail: Julia@otarahealth.org.nz

Sherry Lunjevich, HIPPY Coordinator

Sherry joined Otara Health Charitable Trust in October 2013 originally with the Active Families Team. Currently, she is now the HIPPY Coordinator. Sherry holds a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, majoring in Exercise Science and Physical Activity and Nutrition. Although fairly new to the health industry, it has always been her passion to work closely with the communities to be able to create and provide the opportunity for healthier lifestyle changes. As an Auckland born Samoan, Sherry enjoys keeping herself active by playing netball, coaching and paddling in a dragon-boat crew and performing in a multicultural Pacific Island dance group. She looks forward to getting out and about in the community and meeting new people.

e-mail: sherry@otarahealth.org.nz

 Carol de Thierry, Reception

Carol joined the organisation in September 2005.  Her role with Otara Health has allowed her to work and coordinate her secretarial skills on the front desk. Carol grew up in Otara attending the local schools and her parents are of Niuean origin. She has worked within the community with organisations that have supported initiatives that she is much a part of today. Carol brings a wealth of community knowledge and has been an asset to those whom she has had the opportunity to work closely with.

She is married, has 3 adult children and 2 grandsons.

e-mail: carol@otarahealth.org.nz

Miriama Malama, General Administration Assistant

Miriama joined Otara Health as a General Administration Assistant, support our Administration Manager and the frontline staff with our Central referral process.

e-mail: Miriama@otarahealth.org.nz

Lama Saga, Active Families Lead

Lama joined Otara Health Charitable Trust in July 2012 as the Physical Activity Lead for the Active Families Programme. Lama is a New Zealand born Samoan. He speaks fluent Samoan and values his culture. He has a Bachelor in Sports, Majoring in Physical Education and is looking to complete Post Graduate study in Public Health. He is passionate about travelling and was fortunate in 2012 to travel to parts of South America. He is also very passionate about supporting and bringing about positive and healthy change for our Pasifika and Maori peoples. Lama brings an easy going but hardworking attitude which makes him unique and easy to work with.  He has had extensive experience in the health sector working as a health promoter. His skills are highly valued by Otara Health and the community.

e-mail: Lama@otarahealth.org.nz

Alison White, Active Families Health Facilitator

Alison joined Otara Health as the Active Futures Health Facilitator but is now taking on the above role in the Active Families service alongside of Lama.

e-mail: Alison@otarahealth.org.nz

Sioeli Kaifoto, Active Futures Health Facilitator

Sioeli joined Otara Health as the Active Futures Health Facilitator currently servicing the Otara and Mangere area.

e-mail: Sioeli@otarahealth.org.nz

Natasha Lilo, Active Futures Health Facilitator

Natasha joined Otara Health as the Active Futures Health Facilitator currently servicing the Otara and Mangere area.

e-mail: Natasha@otarahealth.org.nz

Chamilka Punchehiwa, Active Futures Health Facilitator

Chamilka joined Otara Health as the Active Futures Health Facilitator currently servicing the Papakura, East and Manurewa area.

e-mail: Chamilka@otarahealth.org.nz

Angelina Akapo, Active Futures Health Facilitator

Angelina joined Otara Health as the as a HIPPY Tutor. She is a registered pediatric nurse and is now a part of the Active Futures Team working with Chamilka currently servicing the Papakura, East and Manurewa area.

e-mail: Angelina@otarahealth.org.nz

Priscilla Ah Lung, Active Futures Health Facilitator

Priscilla joined Otara Health and is now a part of the Active Futures Team.

e-mail: priscilla@otarahealth.org.nz

David de Thierry, Community Relations Liasion

David joined the organization originally as the Neighbourhood Support Coordinator. However in his role now as Community Relations Liasion, he is tasked with working to touch-base with all people in our Otara community to help enable a better-coordinated approach to working with others to improve how we all serve our community. He comes with skills he desires to pursue with Otara Health. Working within the Otara community has allowed him to coordinate a number of projects both within local and central government departments. His passion to work with people and empower families comes from a stem of experiences gathered over the years. David is a proud father of 2 sons and 1 daughter and has enjoyed sharing in their education and sporting experiences in this community. His wife is supportive of the work he has undertaken and with 2 grandsons he desires to see that whatever is planned for today is available for their future tomorrow.

e-mail: david@otarahealth.org.nz

Elisapeta Letele, Kaitohutohu Team Member

Elisapeta (Peta) is Samoan and has been with Otara Health for nine years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Community Health Work (Level 4).  Peta enjoys meeting people in the community, supporting families,  and learning new ways to manage health issues and improve wellbeing.  Paramount in Peta’s work is giving a child the best start in life. She leads our Safe Sleep project and is one of our senior Kaitohutohu members. Peta is fluent in Samoan and English which is an asset in working with our community. She brings to the organization knowledge and good understanding of Pacific culture and aspirations.

Peta lives in Otara and has 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

e-mail: peta@otarahealth.org.nz

Michelle Simiona, Community Project Worker – AWHI Healthy Housing Initiative (Lead Case Manager)

Michelle joined Otara Health in 2014 and immediately trained in the Incredible Years programme in Taupo. She is a Community project worker delivering the Incredible Years for Parents, Teen Parents, Kaitohutohu programmes. In 2018, Michelle is now a part of the AWHI team and continues to Coordinate the Teen Parent service. She is also the onsite PCM trainer and has a National Cert in Health Promotion. Michelle is married with four children and she is part Niuean, Irish and Maori. Michelle brings a high level of leadership, administration, case management, and management skills and experience and she is a wonderful addition to the Otara Health team.

e-mail: michelle@otarahealth.org.nz

Waimarie Martin, Community Support Worker – AWHI Healthy Housing Initiative (Case Manager)

Waimarie (Wai) joined Otara Health in 2008. She studied Te Reo Maori in 1996, received a diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2004, and gained her Community Health Worker level 4 diploma in 2011. Wai is from the Bay of Islands in the Far North of New Zealand. She is passionate about education, safety, and health for children and families. She brings to the team excellent knowledge of the community and supports us in integrating with a wide range of services. She lives with her loving and supportive husband and 2 younger children in Otara, with her eldest child living and working in Australia.

e-mail: waimarie@otarahealth.org.nz

Janine Wulf, Community Support Worker – AWHI Healthy Housing Initiative (CaseManager)

Janine joined Otara Health as a Community Support Worker delivering the AWHI service across the Counties Manukau area

e-mail: Janine@otarahealth.org.nz

Tua Lefono, Community Project Coordinator – Coordinated Care (Healthy Otara Initiative)

Tua is our newest edition to join Otara Health in October 2019. Managing his own business, he brings with him a wealth of skills and knowledge with management and event organising along with a heart to see the Otara community thrive.

e-mail: Tua@otarahealth.org.nz

Maria Takai-Hagai, HIPPY Tutor

Maria joined Otara Health in 2019 and works alongside of Sherry and Joelean helping parents to give their children (3-4 years old) a better start in the first years at primary school.

e-mail: Maria@otarahealth.org.nz

Ilaisa Kumar, HIPPY Tutor

Ilaisa works alongside with Sherry and Maria helping parents to give their children (3-4 years old) a better start in the first years at primary school.

e-mail: ilaisa@otarahealth.org.nz