Meet the team

The team, left to right (front row): Sandra, Viknesh, Judy, Andy, Jovi; (Second row): Dujon, Daynah, Ben, Ani; Top row: Ioana, Gary, Mareta


Andy has been with the Council since 2009, working exclusively in the Community Development area. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, and entered community development work as a youth worker before progressing to local and national management roles.  Andy's role is to provide leadership and guidance to the Community and Social Development Team and manage various relationships across the city. His role also involves presenting the team's work in regular reports to the Council and its committees. Andy is married to Jo, they have two sons, and his passions include basketball, good food, adventuring and relaxing with family and friends.


Mareta Matenga was born and raised in Hamilton along with her Cook Islands family.  She raised her only son Marque and married Tapaki Matenga in 2015. Mareta has been working with young people for more than 30 years, in different capacities and joined the Council in 2002 as a Youth Worker.  Mareta loves contributing to the Community Development space and building capacity within Hamilton communities.  She currently is a Community Development Team Leader. The Community Development Team leader responsible for leading the Community Development Team in delivering best practice community-led development to improve civic engagement, participation and wellbeing. This includes building and strengthening key community stakeholder relationships to build a sense of belonging and connectedness amongst Hamilton Communities and encourage people to participate in community life and citizen engagement. This role has a strong focus on relationships with Community Houses in promotion of wellbeing within local communities.  This role works closely with the Social Development team to ensure a strategic approach in identifying community need and supporting Council with community-led development and engagement. Mareta enjoys cooking, travelling, spending time with family - in particular her grandchildren.


Ben joined the Council in 2014 with a background in youth development, sales and product management, and social enterprise development. Ben is passionate about community-led development and enabling social enterprise to deliver sustainable development for Hamilton. Ben is married to Annie, they have three children, Daniel, Emily and Jesse. Ben wishes to see Te reo Maaori spoken fluently in his home in the future and has recently found a love for long distance running as a way to focus on his hauora.


Dujon comes from a strong youth and community background, he has worked extensively with local organisations and individuals to organise community projects and initiatives before joining the Community and Social Development team in 2017. Dujon is married, has two children, and is heavily involved with the arts in New Zealand.


Ioana joined the Council in 2002 and has extensive experience working with social services, community development and she has a wide network base within key stakeholders.  She holds Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology. She has a multi-cultural background which supports her to work across a wide and varied range of people.  Ioana appreciates working for an organisation that values high performance and works towards improving quality of life, health and wellbeing for communities.  Ioana enjoys shopping, walking, socialising and travelling.  One of her favourite TV programmes is Grand Designs.


Viknesh has been with Council since 2016, first as a Safety Officer and then, seconded for six months to HCC Civil Defence Emergency Management's team as their Community Engagement Coordinator. Prior to his move to New Zealand in 2013, he was a Vice Principal in a primary school in Malaysia, with 25 years of teaching experience. Vik is married to Karo and they love the east coast, especially Whitianga. He loves cooking, fishing and field hockey.


Sandra joined the Council in early 2017. Sandra has a 15-year background in funding as a grants assessor and administrator, and submitting grant applications. Her role is to lead the Social development Team to ensure the effective implementation of the City's Strategies and Plans in delivering best practice community-led and Maaori-led development to improve civic engagement, participation and wellbeing. This includes building and strengthening key community stakeholder relationships that will support a joined up collaborative approach to achieving sustainable outcomes for our community.  She has responsibility for Council's Community Assistance Programme contributing to community capability and  wellbeing.  There is a requirement to work closely with the Community Development team to ensure a joined up strategic approach in identifying community need and supporting Council with community-led development and engagement. Sandra is married to Dave, they have two children and four grandchildren.  Sandra enjoys reading, photography and is a keen crafter who is currently learning how to face paint.


Ani has been with the Council since 2008, working in the Community Development team.  Ani was initially based at the Western Community Centre and Crawshaw School in the west of the city, where she has strong connections in the community.  Ani has a Bachelor of Sport and Leisure Studies, and a back ground in youth work.  She has a wide range of knowledge in the sports sector having played touch rugby at an elite level, coaching elite teams and supporting various sport clubs/committees.  Ani has a large amount of experience in event management and has lead a range of community events.  Her role within the Community and Social Development team is to lead the focus area of Tangata Whenua, which focuses on supporting various Maaori projects and organisations.


Daynah joined the Council in August 2018, working in the Community and Social Development team. She has a Bachelor of Management Studies, with majors in Public Relations, Public Policy and Events. Before joining the Council, Daynah was involved in many non-profit organisations in both the Waikato and Wellington regions, and this led to her interest in community development. She also has an interest in Maaori development, and is involved in different kaupapa in the rangatahi space. Daynah’s focus in the team is civic engagement, which focuses on increasing the numbers of residents who participate in the democratic process. Daynah loves road trips, camping, live music and animals, and her favourite TV show is The Block Australia. ​​


Gary has been with the Council since 2018. He was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has a Master of Social Sciences in Political Science and International Relations with First Class Honour from the University of Waikato and previously worked in the Waikato Museum before he joined the Community and Social Development team in July 2019. He also volunteers extensively in refugee support and community services with various organisations in Hamilton. As the Funding and Administration Coordinator, Gary provides support to the team internally and externally such as network meetings, events, administration, and equipment hire, while being responsible for the administration of the Council's Community Assistance Grant programme. Gary is now living with his partner, Rachel, and he enjoys movies, Netflix, basketball, football, YouTubing, sport cars, online clothes and sneakers shopping, and jazz music. 

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Jovi has been with Council in the Ethnic Development Advisor role since 2014. She has a Master's Degree in English and a Master in Professional Studies Development Communication. Before coming to New Zealand, she was a university lecturer in the Philippines also involved in Research and Community Development. She was Relationship Manager and coordinated Settlement Support, for the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust before joining Hamilton City Council. Jovi works with settlement organisations and diverse communities to promote a welcoming and inclusive city where people can participate in the social, cultural and economic life of Hamilton.

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Judy has been with the Council since 2014, working exclusively in the disability and access areas. She has a Masters of Social Science in Sociology, and worked in voluntary individual advocate roles before her graduation.  She spent 12 years working for government agencies in policy and strategy roles. Judy's role is to provide leadership and engage with the Council staff, the disability community and the public, to raise awareness around accessibility challenges and implement, monitor and review the Council's Disability Policy and its annual Action Plan. Judy has three adult ​children and four grandchildren. She lives with her partner, and her retired and working guide dogs. Judy is Deputy Chair of the Blind Foundation's Board of Directors and a member of the Waikato DHB Consumer Council.  Her interests include reading, walking with her guide dog and knitting.

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Page reviewed: 22 Oct 2020 10:35am