Our People

BOARD MEMBERS

Michelle Huang

Chair (she/her)

Michelle (玫雪.黄) is a 1.5 generation Chinese-New Zealander raised and based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) professional, consultant, researcher, App founder, and remote educator of children in rural China.

Aside from serving as the Chair and interim-GM of Multiethnic Young Leaders, Michelle leads Diversity and Inclusion at Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. She also sits on the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF) panel. She is the youngest person to hold this governance role to date.

Michelle has extensive experience leading national D&I projects. She has spoken about race relations and D&I at Government House on International Women’s Day, and she was a national judge for the 2021 New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards.

Michelle is passionate about serving marginalised communities, contributing to a more just and equitable society, and championing for greater diversity and inclusion in leadership.

“Nō Haina ōku tīpuna. I tae mai ōku tīpuna ki Aotearoa i te tau tekau ma iwa iwa tekau ma whitu. E noho ana au ki Tāmaki Makaurau. Ko Huang tōku whanau. Ko Michelle tōku ingoa.”

Michelle (玫雪.黄) is a 1.5 generation Chinese-New Zealander raised and based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) professional and remote educator of children in rural China.

Aside from serving as the Chair and interim-GM of Multiethnic Young Leaders, Michelle also sits on the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF) panel. She is the youngest person to hold this governance role to date.

Michelle is passionate about serving marginalised communities, contributing to a more just and equitable society, and championing for greater diversity and inclusion in leadership.

Naomi Simon-Kumar

Vice-Chair (she/her)

Ko Naomi tōku ingoa. Nō Kerala ōku tīpuna. Kei te noho au ki Tāmaki Makaurau.

Naomi is a research officer with Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures, where she is principally involved with the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). Her academic interests are at the intersection of science governance and development, specifically in relation to issues of social inclusion, community health and sustainability. She is particularly interested in reducing access barriers for rangatahi in Aotearoa, improving community mental health support for ethnic communities, and providing opportunities for diverse practitioners in the creative arts industries.

Naomi is of South Indian heritage and was raised between Pōneke, Kirikiriroa and India. She has both Malayali Syrian Christian and Hindu ancestry. In her spare time, she writes non-fiction and creative prose.

“Ko Naomi tōku ingoa. Nō Kerala ōku tīpuna. Kei te noho au ki Tāmaki Makaurau.”

Naomi is a research officer with Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures, where she is principally involved with the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). Her academic interests are at the intersection of science governance and development, specifically in relation to issues of social inclusion, community health and sustainability. She is particularly interested in reducing access barriers for rangatahi in Aotearoa, improving community mental health support for ethnic communities, and providing opportunities for diverse practitioners in the creative arts industries.

Naomi is of South Indian heritage and was raised between Pōneke, Kirikiriroa and India. She has both Malayali Syrian Christian and Hindu ancestry. In her spare time, she writes non-fiction and creative prose.

Te Ariki Te Puni

Māori Vice-Chair (he/him)

He uri ahau nō Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Raukawa,

Rangitāne o Manawatū, me Ngā Rauru hoki. Ko Te Ariki Te Puni tōku ingoa.

Kia Ora, my name is Te Ariki Te Puni and I am a 5th year Law and Commerce Student at the University of Auckland and Professional rugby player. In my spare time I sit on one of my iwi boards and am currently developing an online business. I have been lucky enough to have had a plethora of leadership development and diplomacy experience both locally and abroad. This has all culminated in, and grown, a deep passion within the social justice space, and particularly in the development of ethnic capacity within leadership and economies. I am very excited to see how far this network can grow and the impact it can have on so many rangatahi across Aotearoa.

“He uri ahau nō Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Raukawa, Rangitāne o Manawatū, me Ngā Rauru hoki. Ko Te Ariki Te Puni tōku ingoa.”

Te Ariki Te Puni is a 5th year Law and Commerce Student at the University of Auckland and a professional rugby player. He sits on one of his iwi boards and is currently developing an online business. 

Te Ariki has a plethora of leadership and diplomacy experience, both locally and abroad. This has culminated in, and grown, his deep passion within the social justice space, particularly in the development of ethnic capacity within leadership and economies. 

Te Ariki is very excited to see the impact this network can have on so many rangatahi across Aotearoa.

Tylah (Ty) Farani-Watene

Pacific Vice-Chair (she/her)

Tylah (Ty) Farani-Watene is a Māori and Pasifika wāhine hailing from Pōneke. She acknowledges her whakapapa to Waikato-Tainui, Taputimu, and Nofoali’i.

She is a proud public servant, working in engagement and communications for the regional economic development space. Outside of mahi, she is passionate about empowering rangatahi to lead and create change, advocates for cultural competency to be taught across the youth and public sector, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

She currently sits as the Volunteer’s Representative to the Board of Directors for United Nations Youth Aotearoa New Zealand, where she is currently working with the volunteer base to create a more inclusive environment for our diverse communities.

Her drive is to be a role model for her younger sisters, Blayke and Ridley, so they feel confident navigating the world as strong Pacific women.

Ty is excited to be sitting on the Board as the Pacific Vice-Chair and looks forward to seeing a stronger Pacific presence and community within this organisation.

Tylah (Ty) Farani-Watene is a Māori and Pasifika wāhine hailing from Pōneke. She acknowledges her whakapapa to Waikato-Tainui, Taputimu, and Nofoali’i.

She is a proud public servant, working in engagement and communications for the regional economic development space. Outside of mahi, she is passionate about empowering rangatahi to lead and create change, advocates for cultural competency to be taught across the youth and public sector, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

She currently sits as the Volunteer’s Representative to the Board of Directors for United Nations Youth Aotearoa New Zealand, where she is currently working with the volunteer base to create a more inclusive environment for our diverse communities.

Her drive is to be a role model for her younger sisters, Blayke and Ridley, so they feel confident navigating the world as strong Pacific women.

Ty is excited to be sitting on the Board as the Pacific Vice-Chair and looks forward to seeing a stronger Pacific presence and community within this organisation.

Jess Jenkins

Director – Global (she/her)

Jess Jenkins (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa) is an eighteen-year-old from Porirua and the inaugural Membership Chair of the Multiethnic Young Leaders New Zealand. As a young social justice advocate, Jess was the National Champion of both the 2020 New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards and the 2020 Ministry of Education Ngārimu Video Awards in the bilingual stream. Having completed high school at Tawa College, Jess now works as a National Coordinator for the New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards & Hui and will commence her undergraduate studies at Harvard University in August of 2022.

In 2021, Jess was selected to represent New Zealand as one of four youth delegates to the APEC ‘Voices of the Future’. With a keen interest in the intersection between social cohesion and economic empowerment, Jess devotes her time to investing in the potential of rangatahi. As a volunteer athletics coach, tutor and music teacher, she believes in assisting others to reach their potential. Jess is also a violinist; she was a first violinist in the 2020 National Youth Orchestra and was the Keynote speaker for the ‘Save RNZ Concert’ campaign gathering at Parliament.

“He uri ahau nō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, me Ngāi Tūmapūhia-ā-Rangi hoki. Ko Jess Jenkins tōku ingoa.” 

Jess is a proud Porirua wāhine who currently works as a National Coordinator for the New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards & Hui. She is passionate about social justice and has a keen interest in the intersection between social cohesion and economic empowerment. 

As the inaugural Membership Chair of the Multiethnic Young Leaders New Zealand, Jess is committed to continuing the growth of the organisation whilst serving its incredible members. At 19 years old, she is the youngest Board member and has extensive advisory experience in corporate and professional environments. 

A highly experienced speaker, advocate and performer, Jess has been the National Champion of the New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards and the Ministry of Education Ngārimu Video Awards in the bilingual stream. She was also a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra, represented New Zealand as one of four youth delegates to the 2021 APEC ‘Voices of the Future’ and was a finalist for Young Wellingtonian of the Year.

Jess is excited to be a part of this diverse, dynamic and creative organisation and will continue to stay invested as she commences her undergraduate studies at Harvard University in 2022.

 Louis Paul

Membership Committee Chair (he/him)

“Ko Louis Paul toku ingoa. Ko Te Awa Marie Paul toku Tamahine. Ko Ngati Kura, Ngai Tu, Ngati Rehia, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi e hihiri ake nei.”

Louis is a father to a young girl and of Māori and European descent. As a child of Puhi Moana-Ariki, he derives from the iwi of Ngāpuhi. Louis is also of British, Scottish and Irish genealogy. He is a Restorative Justice Facilitator and practises out of the Whangārei, Kaikohe and Dargaville District Court, directly working with Victims and Offenders of Crime. 

Restorative Justice provides a safe space for Offenders to take direct accountability to prevent recidivist offending, as well as a safe space for Victims to directly express the impacts of the Offending and what they wish to see moving forward. 

Outside of mahi, Louis is currently a postgraduate student at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Indigenous and Humanities study. He also sits on the Board of The Leadership Academy of A Company (28th Māori Battalion) Alumni Committee.

“Ko Louis Paul toku ingoa. Ko Te Awa Marie Paul toku Tamahine. Ko Ngati Kura, Ngai Tu, Ngati Rehia, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi e hihiri ake nei.”

Louis is a father to a young girl and of Māori and European descent. As a child of Puhi Moana-Ariki, he derives from the iwi of Ngāpuhi. Louis is also of British, Scottish and Irish genealogy. He is a Restorative Justice Facilitator and practises out of the Whangārei, Kaikohe and Dargaville District Court, directly working with Victims and Offenders of Crime. 

Restorative Justice provides a safe space for Offenders to take direct accountability to prevent recidivist offending, as well as a safe space for Victims to directly express the impacts of the Offending and what they wish to see moving forward. 

Outside of mahi, Louis is currently a postgraduate student at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Indigenous and Humanities study. He also sits on the Board of The Leadership Academy of A Company (28th Māori Battalion) Alumni Committee.

Pok Wei Heng

Treasurer (he/him)

“Nō Haina ōku tupuna, engari ko Hingapoa te ūkaipō. Ko Pok tōku ingoa.”

Pok (卜炜衡) is a Climate & Sustainability consultant based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) at EY. As a relatively new migrant from Singapore, his interests lie in extending bridges uniting new migrants and tauiwi, pākehā, tangata and mana whenua. 

Within his day job, Pok currently sits on EY Oceania’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council and champions intersectional equity from a systems and grassroots lens. He shares a continued commitment to decolonising narratives and climate justice, and is currently learning on constitutional transformation and causes related to indigenous sovereignty. 

Outside of work, he serves on the Strategic Council of Climate Catalyst and is a Climate Justice Design Partner for the World Economic Forum. 

Constantly unlearning and unlearning, he hopes to find his way home as he works on decolonising his identity. He loves naps and cats.

“Nō Haina ōku tupuna, engari ko Hingapoa te ūkaipō. Ko Pok tōku ingoa.”

Pok (卜炜衡) is a Climate & Sustainability consultant based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) at EY. As a relatively new migrant from Singapore, his interests lie in extending bridges uniting new migrants and tauiwi, pākehā, tangata and mana whenua. 

Within his day job, Pok currently sits on EY Oceania’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council and champions intersectional equity from a systems and grassroots lens. He shares a continued commitment to decolonising narratives and climate justice, and is currently learning on constitutional transformation and causes related to indigenous sovereignty. 

Outside of work, he serves on the Strategic Council of Climate Catalyst and is a Climate Justice Design Partner for the World Economic Forum. 

Constantly unlearning and unlearning, he hopes to find his way home as he works on decolonising his identity. He loves naps and cats.

PROJECT LEADS

Marie Ysabel Landingin

Project Lead: Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database (RLOD) (she/her)

Marie Ysabel Landingin is a Filipino-Kiwi born in Manila, raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, and based in Kirikiriroa. By day, she is an urban planner involved in transport infrastructure projects at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Marie is passionate about shaping more inclusive cities and communities – and to do so, she is learning to lead with authenticity, manaakitanga, and kotahitanga. She hopes that her efforts help to make space for others – today and in the future – to unleash their potential.

Marie joined MYLN in July 2021. She is the Project Lead for the Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database, which aims to improve access to leadership opportunities for all youth in Aotearoa. She is also a member of the MYLN Membership Committee. Marie looks forward to getting to know Aotearoa’s next generation of leaders and working together towards a more inclusive Aotearoa.

Marie Ysabel Landingin is a Filipino-Kiwi born in Manila, raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, and based in Kirikiriroa. By day, she is an urban planner involved in transport infrastructure projects at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Marie is passionate about shaping more inclusive cities and communities – and to do so, she is learning to lead with authenticity, manaakitanga, and kotahitanga. She hopes that her efforts help to make space for others – today and in the future – to unleash their potential.

Marie joined MYLN in July 2021. She is the Project Lead for the Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database, which aims to improve access to leadership opportunities for all youth in Aotearoa. She is also a member of the MYLN Membership Committee. Marie looks forward to getting to know Aotearoa’s next generation of leaders and working together towards a more inclusive Aotearoa.

Vivian Lyngdoh

Project Lead: Virtual Drinks and Kōrero Series (they/them/any pronouns with respect)

Hailing from hills of the Khasi tribe in North East India, Vivian is a migrant and has been based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara since 2013. They are the current co-chair of Wellington Pride Festival making them the first migrant of Indian descent to hold this position. They founded the event space “Frills”- a space for queer celebration.

Vivian has sat on tourism organising committees such as CINZ and YoungTEC where they were nominated for the New Zealand Rising Star Award back in their tourism days.

Vivian also works at the Ministry for Ethnic Communities with a focus on the Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme.

“My queer reality has been to hide for so long and continues to be the story whenever I visit back home. It is vital for me, where I can, to be as visible as possible when it comes to my being”.

Hailing from hills of the Khasi tribe in North East India, Vivian is a migrant and has been based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara since 2013. They are the current co-chair of Wellington Pride Festival making them the first migrant of Indian descent to hold this position. They founded the event space “Frills”- a space for queer celebration.

Vivian has sat on tourism organising committees such as CINZ and YoungTEC where they were nominated for the New Zealand Rising Star Award back in their tourism days.

Vivian also works at the Ministry for Ethnic Communities with a focus on the Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme.

“My queer reality has been to hide for so long and continues to be the story whenever I visit back home. It is vital for me, where I can, to be as visible as possible when it comes to my being”.

TEAM MEMBERS

Michelle Huang

Interim-GM (she/her)

Michelle (玫雪.黄) is a 1.5 generation Chinese-New Zealander raised and based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) professional, consultant, researcher, App founder, and remote educator of children in rural China.

Aside from serving as the Chair and interim-GM of Multiethnic Young Leaders, Michelle leads Diversity and Inclusion at Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. She also sits on the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF) panel. She is the youngest person to hold this governance role to date.

Michelle has extensive experience leading national D&I projects. She has spoken about race relations and D&I at Government House on International Women’s Day, and she was a national judge for the 2021 New Zealand Race Unity Speech Awards.

Michelle is passionate about serving marginalised communities, contributing to a more just and equitable society, and championing for greater diversity and inclusion in leadership.

“Nō Haina ōku tīpuna. I tae mai ōku tīpuna ki Aotearoa i te tau tekau ma iwa iwa tekau ma whitu. E noho ana au ki Tāmaki Makaurau. Ko Huang tōku whanau. Ko Michelle tōku ingoa.”

Michelle (玫雪.黄) is a 1.5 generation Chinese-New Zealander raised and based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) professional and remote educator of children in rural China.

Aside from serving as the Chair and interim-GM of Multiethnic Young Leaders, Michelle also sits on the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF) panel. She is the youngest person to hold this governance role to date.

Michelle is passionate about serving marginalised communities, contributing to a more just and equitable society, and championing for greater diversity and inclusion in leadership.

Vaiola Tauti

Events & Office Administrator (she/her)

Vaiola Tauti is a proud tama’ita’i Samoa who was born and raised in Ōtara, Auckland. She hails from the villages of Nofoali’i, Siufaga Falelatai, Lefagoali’i and Patamea. 

Vaiola studies a Bachelor of Global Studies, majoring in global politics and human rights (with an area study of the Pacific Islands and Samoan language) at the University of Auckland. 

Vaiola currently sits as a board director for UN Youth NZ, where she became the first ever Pasifika/Samoan individual to hold the Auckland Regional President role. She also sits on the US NZ Embassy Youth Council, is one of the 2021 YWCA Y25 recipients, and interned at Bright Sunday, 

Vaiola is most passionate about empowering indigenous communities, promoting equity, diversity and inclusion, and civics education.

Vaiola Tauti is a proud tama’ita’i Samoa who was born and raised in Ōtara, Auckland. She hails from the villages of Nofoali’i, Siufaga Falelatai, Lefagoali’i and Patamea. 

Vaiola studies a Bachelor of Global Studies, majoring in global politics and human rights (with an area study of the Pacific Islands and Samoan language) at the University of Auckland. 

Vaiola currently sits as a board director for UN Youth NZ, where she became the first ever Pasifika/Samoan individual to hold the Auckland Regional President role. She also sits on the US NZ Embassy Youth Council, is one of the 2021 YWCA Y25 recipients, and interned at Bright Sunday, 

Vaiola is most passionate about empowering indigenous communities, promoting equity, diversity and inclusion, and civics education.