We succeed together
Ki te kāpuia e kore e whati

Skills – Photography

Our Team

The Patron of the Award in New Zealand is Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.
Her Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Cindy Kiro

Governing the Award

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Aotearoa New Zealand | Hillary Award has a voluntary Board which governs the running of the Award under a licence issued by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.

The Board guides Award policy covering finance and administration, standards, delivery and compliance. The current Board includes:



Youth Trustee


Ken Hames

Board Chair

Ken Hames has a wide range of governance experience including in the electricity, fibre communications, contracting, farm environment, genetics, and technology sectors. He is a Chartered member of the NZ institute of Directors and is currently Chair of Extension 350 and a Director of LIC Ltd.

In his spare time, he is a keen tramper, assists the local school with their Duke of Edinburgh Award program and tries to spend a few days a week working on their family Northland Dairy and Beef farms.

With both of Ken’s children having achieved their Gold Awards, he brings to the table a grassroots passion for and knowledge of the Award, and extensive governance experience combined with commercial acumen and delivering strategy.

[email protected]

Andrea Duncan

Board Member

Andrea is an experienced Leadership and Strategy Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the corporate sector, skilled in strategy, leadership, sales, culture change, executive coaching, and team building.

Her contribution to the board is primarily in the areas of strategy planning, focus on delivering results and in the human resources area.

Andrea is a strong consulting professional, who has run her own consultancy business for the last six years. Prior to this she led RogenSi in New Zealand (a performance consultancy) and previously PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Andrea’s priority for the Award is for us to continue to deliver a sustainable programme despite the challenges of Covid-19, as well as to continue to innovate and provide an Award that is appealing to young people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Andrea is a Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award holder.


Anne Lofts

Board Member

Joining the Board in 2021, Anne Lofts saw an opportunity to actively support the Award as it delivers its purpose to empower young people in Aotearoa. With a background in professional services and having run her own consultancy business, Anne brings to the Board expertise in strategy development, sales culture change, marketing, and a pragmatic approach to problem solving.

Ensuring the Award continues to evolve, be relevant for the future and accessible to all young people, is something Anne actively champions alongside her fellow Trustees.

For Anne, the Award has exciting times ahead, especially as we progress our Te Ao Māori journey, Alumni programme, and 60th Anniversary - a perfect opportunity to profile and celebrate our past participants and Award Leaders. As a past Gold Award holder, she knows first-hand how the Award can make a difference, helping unlock potential and meaningfully contribute to our communities.


Brigitte Windley

Board Member

Brigitte Windley is the Deputy Chief Coroner in the Coroners Court based in Wellington. Prior to appointment to the judiciary in 2016, Brigitte had twenty years of legal practice in a variety of roles in private law firm and in-house capacities, predominantly investigative in nature. She holds a Bachelor of Law and Master of Law (Hon) degrees.

As a Board Member Brigitte seeks to make a tangible contribution to ensuring the Award is well positioned for the future in engaging and supporting young people throughout their unique Award journey, as well as recognising and supporting the leaders, volunteers and caregivers who, despite these challenging times, continue to devote their time and energy to making the Award journey the success that it is. The Award has a long tradition of building self-confidence, independence, tenacity and resilience, a genuine sense of community, connection and social responsibility, all of which have been demonstrated to greatly enhance overall wellbeing. With that in mind, Brigitte has a particular interest in reducing barriers to Award participation, whether economic, social, physical or geographical.

As a Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award holder, Brigitte firmly believes the skills and personal growth that she gained in undertaking the Award programme have served her well in her career and other endeavours.


Cheryl Christini

Board Member

Cheryl is a tertiary education professional, combining working as a consultant specialising in quality assurance and learning design with a part time leadership role for a large private training establishment. Previously Cheryl held management and leadership roles in marketing and training in the telecommunications sector and worked in England for 10 years. Her governance experience is on Boards in the education and recreation/sport sectors.

Originally from the Waikato, and residing there again now, Cheryl is a mum to two teenage boys. She is passionate about young people and her aims for the Award include promoting its role in educational outcomes that look beyond academic achievement to the development of young people.

Cheryl has an honours degree in Management Studies from the University of Waikato and is currently studying towards a Master of Education (Educational Leadership). Cheryl joined the Board in 2023.

Dionne Thomas

Board Member

Dionne is the Tumuaki of Karamū High School, the only co-educational Secondary School in Hastings, where she has the pleasure of leading over 900 ākonga and 90 staff. Having trained as a Physical Education teacher at Otago University in the late 1990’s Dionne has immersed herself in the leadership of education for the past 25 years, providing not only young people, but many adults, the opportunity to grow and develop into successful members of society. Most of her experiences outside of education have been in the governance of sport and recreation where she lives by the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. She has served on the Boards of Clifton Reserve Society, Hawkes Bay Netball and Sport Hawkes Bay and looks forward to continuing to make the Award Scheme accessible and relevant for future rangitahi.

As a mum to three boys and a hockey mad husband, she has spent many hours sideline, and continues to coach and umpire Netball herself.


Emily Fabling

Board Member

Emily joined the board in 2018.  Emily is a career public servant based in Wellington, and currently Deputy Secretary, Policy at Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage after four years as Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education. Previously Emily has held leadership and management roles at Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Originally from Waipukurau in Central Hawkes Bay, Emily has an Honours degree in International Relations from Victoria University Wellington.

As a mum to two boys she has a passion for youth and skills development and helping young people find their place in the world.   Alongside good strategy, planning and governance, Emily's priority for the board to date has been working towards a greater diversity of participation by rangatahi/young people and Award Leaders – especially Māori, Pacific and other ethnicities, disabled people, and people from lower socio-economic areas.  Emily drafted the board’s first diversity statement.

Gabriel Tupou

Board Member

Cr Gabriel Tupou brings a holistic perspective to board leadership, underscored by his mission of "Driving positive outcomes for communities." Currently acting as Tumu Whakarae (Co-CEO) for Sisters of Compassion Group and Kaihautū Māori (Senior Advisor), Gabriel's focus is squarely on advancing the welfare of communities through compassionate service and strategic guidance.

In the realm of public service, Cr Tupou has been a City-Wide Councillor for the Hutt City Council for over a year, having previously served as an Elected Representative on the Wainuiomata Community Board for six years. His extensive governance experience also includes a nearly three-year tenure as a Company Director at Our Lady’s Home of Compassion Island Bay Limited. Supplementing these roles is experience providing MP Support for Parliamentary Services and earlier career experiences in customer service and legal assistance.


Sharlene McCormick

Board Member

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko wai au?
Ko Pukekaroro te maunga
Ko Kaipara te moana
Ko Kaiwaka te Kura
Ko Sharlene McCormick tōku ingoa

Sharlene McCormick is currently the tumuaki of Kaiwaka School, with over 20 years experience in the education sector, including a Masters degree with honors, and leading diverse teams and projects, with innovative strategic planning. Further, Sharlene is active as a regular on the DoE tramping teams, empowering taitamariki to reach their goals in the beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand forests and maunga for their gold, silver and bronze awards.

Active in her kaupapa to empower our community and tamariki of Aotearoa to thrive and dream through long term sustainable solutions to reach their potential, Sharlene joins the Duke of Edinburgh Board to actively support and facilitate the work being done in this space, ensuring inclusion and innovation is part of the long term sustainable development for DoE, with the potential to continue to grow and meet the needs of the participants. With the innovative and inclusive leadership skills Sharlene has developed in her roles, she works collaboratively with Board members and staff to successfully govern and meet the goals, initiatives, and objectives the Duke of Edinburgh sets out.


Alexandra Groos

Youth Trustee   •   Board Member

Alexandra is a proud member of the New Zealand health workforce, but her joy in life comes from working with young people. She is an instructor for the youth development organisation YSAR and active in her role as Award Leader for her students. When life permits, she is an avid outdoorswoman who loves tramping, skiing, and watersports.

Through her varied experiences, she has developed a keen understanding of the young person's experience growing up in Aotearoa. Further, she understands what it is to be an Award participant after completing her own journey through the three levels of The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award.

Becoming the Youth Voice on The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award Board of Trustees is an exciting opportunity for Alexandra. Her technical knowledge and appreciation of the Youth experience will enable her to advocate for her incredible peers currently participating in the Award. Alexandra aims to provide the Board with an honest and constructive opinion on how our governance will impact this organisation's most important members.

As a Bronze, Silver, and Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award holder, Alexandra has a clear and fierce passion for the Award. She sees this role as an opportunity for her to give back to the people and the organisation that have moulded many young people, including herself.

National Office Team

The National Office Team is based in Seaview, Wellington. The team's operations are supported by the Board together with Award Unit Leaders (mostly volunteers) throughout the country.
Chief Executive Officer Emma Brown [email protected]
Finance and Operations Manager Annelize van Zyl [email protected]
Award Delivery Manager Kylie Thorpe [email protected]
Award Delivery Advisor Jessica Zanetti [email protected]
Award Delivery Advisor Marie Partridge [email protected]
Award Delivery Advisor Nina McKay [email protected]
Communications Rob Kitchen [email protected]
Fundraising and Relationship Advisor Caroline Barnes [email protected]
Administration Assistant Tasha Davis-Coupe [email protected]
60th Anniversary Manager Rachel Hardie [email protected]