Meet the Le Va team

Our people make our purpose happen. Our team shares a rich and diverse background bringing decades of relevant life experience. We are proud of our culture and heritage, and embrace our ancestry from the Pacific and around the world. Together we work alongside NGOs, DHBs, community organisations, government agencies, education providers and national bodies throughout New Zealand. 

Dwaine Faletanoai
Senior project coordinator

Dwaine Faletanoai

PG Dip Hsc/PG Cert Hsc/BA Cert Supervision (Human Services)

Senior project coordinator

09 261 3411

Malo le soifua!

I joined Le Va in May 2018 as a senior project coordinator with Le Va's Pasifika for Life (FLO) suicide prevention programme. I work closely with Jimmy Clarke (we both started on the same day!).

My passions revolve around life, humility and service. I enjoy relating to others and empowering our Pasifika communities to achieve their full potential and wellbeing. I also strongly support embracing our culture and spirituality.

I have a clinical background in the mental health and addictions sector, specialising in Pasifika youth. Over the past 10 years, I have been fortunate to hold leadership and clinical roles with Tupu Services and the Waitemata District Health Board. 

I'm in my final year of a Masters programme in health sciences. I've engaged in studies covering many of my passions, including Pacific health, addictions, youth health, mental health, public health, counselling, biblical and pastoral counselling, leadership and management and clinical supervision. 

Born in Christchurch, I was raised by my mother Siapo in South Auckland with my sister Rosa. My mother and father hail from Upolu, Samoa, from the villages of Mulifanua and Faleatiu. I'm joyfully married to wife Catherine and we have four beautiful children, Mia, Mason, Jesse and Jonty.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. - Phil 2:3

Nalei Taufa
Project lead - researcher

Nalei Taufa

BHSc(Hons), MA Public Health

Project lead - researcher

09 261 3422

My name is Nalei Taufa and I am a researcher at Le Va, working primarily in the violence prevention team.

I am extremely passionate about praxis research as a conduit to improve the significant health inequities that Pasifika experience in Aotearoa.

I come from a large Tongan family of 12 and grew up in a traditional Pasifika family. My parents instilled in us the value of love, God and the gospel, family, servitude and education.

I have been researching or in research roles for eight years, and have a strong interest in qualitative methodologies (particularly working with youth and women), whereby the voices, rich narratives, perspectives and experiences of Pasifika are explored and represented accurately in literature.

Most recently, I worked as a researcher with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. My role including reviewing ED data-sets that indicated alcohol related harm for policy changes. My main work was in the early childhood team, where I worked alongside tertiary providers to embed public health cornerstones of physical activity, prevention of communicable illness and nutrition into curriculum of training kaioko that would serve the tamariki of Tamaki Makaurau.

During my time as a researcher and health promoter, I have worked with the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Health and Innovation, the Heart Foundation, New Zealand Gynaecological Foundation, Health Research Council, Workforce and Development, ViDa study, Malatest International and Pacific Department at the School of Population Health.

Recently, I was a research assistant for a Health Research Council funded post-doctorate led by Dr. Tamasin Taylor, exploring Pasifika attrition rates for the bariatric surgery program.

In future, I strive to complete a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and merge learning in this programme with my pastoral care background, to ultimately serve Pasifika peoples. It is widely known that there is a significant underrepresentation of Pasifika in mental health, clinical psychology and in health in general; thus - I can see myself serving in this space of need throughout my career and ministry.

Soli deo gloria - to God be all the glory

Waimarama Roa

Project support

09 261 3418

I work for Le Va as project support, providing assistance across the team where needed. The majority of my work is within the Pasifika for Life (FLO) suicide prevention team, ensuring our projects go smoothly while bringing a youth perspective to the table.

I am currently in my fifth year at the University of Auckland, studying towards my law degree and my arts degree in Maori and Pacific studies. Working with Le Va has given me some insight into the struggles facing our Maori and Pasifika communities. This experience allows me to transfer what I’ve learnt back into my studies, and continues to fuel my desire to improve the quality of life for my people.

My whānau, partner and friends keep me grounded, providing me with the support and encouragement I need to reach each milestone. I am both my mum’s youngest child and my dad’s oldest, so I draw strength from my relationships with my siblings and the role that I play within our whānau.

I come from a long line of strong, independent and successful women who have pushed me to dream big and strive for excellence - moulding me in to the young woman I am today.

Nei rā te mihi ki a koutou katoa mō tōu aroha me tōu āwhina mai ki ahau.

Tūwhitia te hopo! Feel the fear and do it anyway

Jimmy Clarke
Senior project coordinator

Jimmy Clarke

Senior project coordinator

09 261 3426

Malo le soifua maua ma le lagi mama

I joined Le Va in May 2018 as a senior project coordinator with Le Va's Pasifika for Life (FLO) suicide prevention programme.

My role is to support and deliver culturally appropriate initiatives to and for Pasifika communities. Overall, my role strengthens relationships, and inspires our communities to reach their full potential.

I have over 25 years’ work experience in many different areas, including trade certificate qualifications in commercial printing and carpentry, 10 years’ experience with youth justice community probation roles with the Queensland state government, as well as roles in not-for-profit community-based youth organisations in Brisbane and for the Department of Corrections/Serco in New Zealand.

My work in the justice sector included assessments and treatment for young male offenders, delivering rehabilitation programmes to adult males dealing with complex behavioural needs, along with alcohol-related and serious sexual offenders.

I was proudly born in Hastings in the Ngati Kahungunu region, raised in Tamaki Makaurau and spent most of my adult life in Yuggera country in Brisbane, Australia. My Samoan connections are to the villages of Saina, Fasito’o Uta, Letogo and Vailoa Faleata.

I am blessed and privileged to be a father of two sons and three daughters, and a grandfather to three beautiful grandchildren.

Ia manuia

O le ala i le pule o le tautua - the pathway to leadership is through service

Renee Siaosi
Senior project coordinator

Renee Siaosi

BA Conflict Resolution

Senior project coordinator

09 261 3437

Talofa lava

I’m Renee Siaosi, and I joined the Le Va team in March 2018. My role is senior project coordinator for Le Va's violence prevention team. I am very excited to work for an organisation that isfocused on Pasifika reaching their full potential.

My passion has been working with those in need, and my career has focused on the social sector area for many years.

Most recently, I worked as a manager at Women’s Refuge. Within that role I saw the effects of violence and the generational impact that it can have. The need to reduce the statistics for our Pasifika communities (as well as for all New Zealanders) is more important than ever before. I also have worked in administration and was an early childhood teacher for several years.

I was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, and my heritage is Maori and Samoan. My Maori mother’s iwi, Nga Ruahine, is from Taranaki. My Samoan father’s village connections on my grandfather's side is Fugalei and Sapapali and my grandmother’s village district of Faleasiu, Upolu.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in conflict resolution with a minor in social science from Auckland University of Technology.

Steve Cribb
National training lead

Steve Cribb

National training lead

09 261 3417

Kia Ora

My role at Le Va is primarily working on the LifeKeepers national programme supporting communities to be better equipped to address suicide.

I am of Maori and Pakeha descent. My Mum’s parents travelled to NZ from England on the same boat but didn't meet until they courted in Rotorua. My Dad’s whanau hail from the King country, my Iwi is Ngaati Maniapoto and my Hapuu is Ngaati Urumumia from Otorohanga. I have two beautiful school age daughters who occupy a big portion of my spare time. They have got me running them around to their hip hop dance classes and an ever changing range of extracurricular activities (not complaining – kind of am).

The majority of my working life has been supporting young people towards better health outcomes. I completed a Bachelor of Human Services and majored in Youth and I am trained in mental health and adult education. I have done some study in Law and in Te Reo and I have just started working towards a P.G. Diploma in Business.

I am really excited to be involved with the great work that Le Va produces and look forward to seeing great outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Naaku noa


Do the mahi, get the treats”


Ruby Tuesday
National training coordinator

Ruby Tuesday

BA (Hons), MA (Distinction), GDip Teaching

National training coordinator

09 261 3434

As National Training Co-ordinator, my role is to make sure that the LifeKeepers team have everything they need. I do all I can to support my team, from taking minutes and booking flights, to analysing data and creating resources.

Professionally, I come from an adult education background, and have experience in programme design, resource development, and literacy and numeracy instruction. My work in this field has been primarily with Pacific and Refugee and Migrant communities, and I am passionate about using education as a tool to empower and equip learners.

My academic background is in religious studies, and I love exploring the intersection of religion, culture, and identity, especially through film and literature.

I am Pākehā, and of Irish and Scottish descent. My family come from Belfast on my father’s side, and Glasgow on my mother’s.  I’m currently learning to speak Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) and this has really helped me to connect with my cultural heritage.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you" - Isaiah 43:2


Joseph Lundon
National training lead

Joseph Lundon

BEd Dip Teaching

National training lead

09 261 3432

Iti te kupu nui te korero
Hikurangi te Maunga, Waiapu te Awa, Ngati Porou te Iwi
Sheltered by the sacred mountain, Hikurangi, as it greets the morning sun, nurished by the rushing waters of the Waiapu, nestled amongst the descendants of Porourangi bringing with me the teachings and knowledge of my ancestors, I welcome the opportunity to join Le Va.
For the past 18 years I have been blessed to work in both the secondary and tertiary education sector teaching and mentoring young people to achieve their goals. My most recent role as the National Relationship Manager - Police and Corrections for Te Wananga o Aotearoa allowed me to embrace my passion for education, fitness and wellbeing. Here I got to see tangible outcomes, people making positive changes and transformation through education within our communities.
I have come to Le Va as the National Training Lead for LifeKeepers, tasked with empowering individuals with the tools and knowledge to build communities of care, that can support those at risk and provide them with the appropriate guidance.
I look forward to the challenges the role brings and the chance to make a positive impact on what is an issue for all peoples to address.

Ma te korero ka mohio, Ma te mohio ka marama, ma te marama ka matau, Ma te matau ka ora ai te iwi".

"Through discussion we learn, through learning we are enlightened, through enlightenment we are empowered, through empowerment the wellbeing of the people is achieved".


Apollo Taito
Senior manager and mental health lead

Apollo Taito

PGDipBus, Masters in Health Management (honours)

Senior manager and mental health lead

09 261 3435


I joined Le Va in May 2017 and want to develop health services that are innovative, relevant and service user and family/aiga centred.

As a professional manager with more than 15 years in the mental health sector, I have worked in the NGO, Pasifika Mental Health and Addictions, Primary Care and District Adult Mental Health sectors.

I bring to Le Va, a comprehensive history as a leader and senior manager in adult district mental health and addiction services, with 10 years’ experience in clinical management roles.  I have led mental health strategy transformations within the DHB that include acute service review, referrals management, governance infrastructure implementation, and talking therapies.

I completed a Masters in Health Management and I'm currently completing a PhD part-time, focusing on Pacific mental health leadership in DHB settings.

I am of Samoan descent, born and raised in Auckland. My father is from Upolu, the village of Saleimoa. My mother form Upolu, the village of Vaiee.

When I am not working at Le Va, I am serving as a part-time soldier with the New Zealand Army, and I am an active Vegan.

Tanya Zombos


Project lead

09 261 3431

Talofa lava,

My role is to support our team and the work we do by ensuring continuous improvement on our quality administration, processes and systems of operation.  I support and coordinate Le Va communications.

My professional career has been working within the private education sector for almost 14 years, with seven years in Youth training and development, working with predominantly Pasifika and Māori.  I have held several leadership roles with strong focus on operational management, leadership, reporting, planning and development.

I am passionate about social justice and change, and providing solutions to problems; both in business and with all people.

I have completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration with the University of Auckland. I am of Samoan and Greek descent, and proud of my heritage.

Yvonne Kainuku-Walsh
Senior project coordinator

Yvonne Kainuku-Walsh


Senior project coordinator

09 261 3425

Kia Orana, 

I am privileged to be a part of the Le Va team, primarily working on the FLO: Pasifika for Life Suicide Prevention Programme, primarily supporting and reporting on 17 Community Funded Initiatives.  I have also been fortunate to co-ordinate and support the Youth Action Komiti, a small group of young Pasifika who co-created our Growing Pasifika Solutions (GPS) 2016 conference.

As a registered nurse, with over 20 years’ experience, I initially began my career specialising in Sexual/Reproductive Health, then progressing to Adolescent Health to evolve nurse-led clinics.  During this time I completed my PG dip at University of Auckland (UoA).  On completion, I accepted a position at UoA with their undergraduate degree in Youth Work.  I then took a position within the Auckland District Health to project manage work on the 2010-2015 Youth Health Improvement Plan.  Simultaneously, I have been the Executive Officer for Pacific Society for Reproductive Health: a network involved in the Maternal Health Sector across 15 Pacific Island Countries.  Finally, for the last eight years, I’ve been part of the 91ZM Sealed Section crew as the resident ‘sexologist’.

I am of Cook Islands and Irish descent. On my Kuki Airani side my kopu tangata connects to the villages of Ngatangiia and Titikaveka, our vaka is Takitimu.  On my Irish side we link to the County of Tyron.  I am a proud mother of four children. I’m passionate about exercise and grateful for the lessons I’ve learnt on my pathway to playing sport at an international level - teaching me a lot about team work, commitment and how hard work pays off. 

Leilani Fina'i Clarke
Manager suicide prevention

Leilani Fina'i Clarke

Manager suicide prevention

09 261 3423

Talofa Lava,

I currently lead the FLO Talanoa suicide prevention education programme that aims to equip our Pasifika families and communities with the right tools and information to prevent suicide.

I have 13 years’ experience within the New Zealand public sector, having worked for both the Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Corrections. My strengths are in training strategy, planning, needs analysis and delivery for adult learners, having led the development and implementation of varying training initiatives on both a regional and national level.

I have worked on various projects over the years in both creating and re-contextualising a range of staff training packages within the Department of Corrections, ranging from frontline staff to senior management. I have experience in large scale design and implementation projects in Change management supporting staff through organisational change and transition.

I have also worked within the Pacific community as the Regional Pacific advisor, to enhance services and engagement with Pacific offenders, their families and Pacific communities.

Finally, I am the Company Director and co-founder of family based Theatre Company Kinetic Wayfinding, that focuses the concepts of wellbeing through a holistic theatre approach working with youth. 

So’o le fau i le fau – Unity is strength.


Ellyna Fidow
Executive assistant

Ellyna Fidow

Executive assistant

09 261 3487

My role here at Le Va is managing day-to-day office operations. My key duties include supporting our CE, planning, stakeholder engagements, appointments scheduling, correspondence preparation and editing, report management, presentations and making travel and guest arrangements. I also organise and maintain files and records, provide quality customer service and ensure a professional working environment is maintained.

My experience is quite varied and vast, including areas such as finance and incoming sales, consultancy work for NZ Post, personal assistant to the CEO of telecommunications company Balance Communication, programme coordinator with the faculty of education, administrator for Tupu services, personal assistant to the CEO of Takanga a Fohe, administrator at South Seas medical centre, green prescription consultant and cancer patient carer.

My family members include my mother, father, older sister, brother and his wife, younger sister, three nieces and a nephew. My ties are to Samoa - Samatau, Saoluafata, Vaiala, Lalovaea, Tufuiopa in Apia as well as Safotu in Savaii.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Ben Tameifuna
Senior project coordinator

Ben Tameifuna

Senior project coordinator

09 261 3486

I joined the Le Va team in November 2014 and have worked in the health sector for more than 15 years.

My passion is working with people, particularly moving towards positive outcomes for our Pacific people and communities. This is reflected in my role which is responsible for improving access to disability support services for Pasifika people and breaking down barriers around stigma in the Pasifika community.

I’ve also worked in mental health for more than eight years in various roles including coordinator for consumer support services, community support worker and also youth facilitator for the Like Minds Like Mine project. Before joining Le Va I was an Intensive Service Coordinator at Taikura Trust, for the intellectual disability/mental health stream. I facilitated holistic needs based assessments and coordinated appropriate supports for people with disabilities, many of them Pasifika families in the Auckland area.

I am of Tongan descent and was born and raised in Auckland. My father, Ikamafana, hails from Niua, though born and raised in Kolofo’ou Nuku’alofa. My mother, Alisi, is from Vaini, Tongatapu.  I am a father of four beautiful kids. 

Oua lau e kafo kae lau e lava – Stay positive and count your blessings.


Saveatama Eroni Clarke
Cultural and relationships manager

Saveatama Eroni Clarke

Cultural and relationships manager

09 261 3413

Malo lava le Soifua ma le lagi e mama.

I am the Cultural and Relationship Manager for Le Va. I work to ensure cultural appropriateness and safety across our projects, and I also connect with our current networks and stakeholders.

My role is about fostering leadership across our health sectors, providing support to building a strong and capable workforce that leads our communities to reach their full potential.

My background has been very focused on working with and building Pacific communities. Firstly, I have been privileged to experience life as a professional sportsman playing rugby for the All Blacks, Samoa, Auckland and the Blues for over 15 years, applying many of the positive characteristics of sport to the non-sports world.

Overlapping, and following on from my sports life, I’ve worked in pastoral care and support services through the church - leading and advising in promotions and careers for tertiary education, and personal development, facilitating leadership programmes at all levels; from students and athletes through to corporate groups and one-on-one training.  I have also served the community at governance level, from Pacific Business Trust to a local church board.

I started my Pasifika health career in Alcohol, Drug and Gambling counselling, with the vibrant team at Tupu Services under Takanga a Fohe at Waitemata DHB in 2011. After two years there, I came to Le Va and joined an amazing team of Pacific professionals serving our Pacific health workforces and our Pacific communities.  Ia manuia.

Denise Kingi-'Ulu'ave
Senior research and clinical manager

Denise Kingi-'Ulu'ave

MA (Hons), PGDipClinPsych

Senior research and clinical manager

09 261 3476

I am a registered clinical psychologist of Tongan descent and hold a senior manager position at Le Va.

I am responsible for providing clinical leadership direction and oversight across Le Va’s programmes, and also lead a small team within Le Va delivering New Zealand’s first national Pasifika suicide prevention programme - FLO: Pasifika for Life which is funded by the Ministry of Health. 

I graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology from Massey University (Palmerston North) and am privileged to have served the community in my extensive career as a clinical psychologist and in service roles within the health sector (most recently leading the establishment of Pasifika services as MidCentral DHB Pacific Portfolio Manager for Funding and Planning).

I have been published in several journals and have provided clinical and cultural advice on numerous projects and advisory groups nationwide.  In my career as a psychologist I have worked in New Zealand prisons, mental health services (Adult, Child and Family) and Māori mental health in New Zealand and Australia. Finally, I currently chair Pasifikology, which is a national network of Pasifika psychologists in NZ.

Abba Fidow
Senior manager

Abba Fidow

B.Comm, B.A (First Class Honours)

Senior manager

09 261 3484

My role as senior manager, quality, for Le Va means I am tasked with ensuring quality planning and delivery of Le Va’s projects, programmes or engagements. That is fortunate for me, as I get to connect in with the whole team, and support their work and activities.

Across the team, we all endeavour to deliver quality outcomes through better planning and processes, but also ensuring we act in line with our cultural and community values.

I have worked in policy and strategy roles across central and local government for more than 15 years; as a senior policy analyst at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (now Pacific Peoples) and the Ministry of Social Development, and as a manager of community and social policy within Auckland Council.

I am Samoan, and thankful for my hard working parents from Togafu’afu’a and Gagaifolevao on Upolu. I am passionate about family, particularly as Jacinta’s husband, and Cisco, James and Peter’s father. I have degrees in Commerce and Arts, including First Class Honours in Political Science from the University of Canterbury.  I enjoy working with others that are driven to make big changes for those in need – but don’t take themselves too seriously, and have a sense of humour.

Esther Faitala
Senior project coordinator

Esther Faitala


Senior project coordinator

09 261 3485

With an educational background in community and population health, I have served the health sector for eight years.  Prior to joining Le Va, I worked as an intern with the Māori Health team at Taranaki DHB, before securing full time employment at Counties Manukau DHB, assisting Pacific qualified nurses become NZ registered nurses. This led me to joining Le Va in 2011, where I continued to contribute to Workforce Development programmes.

My role revolves around enhancing responses of health and disability services and supporting the development of the Pacific Health workforce. 

Born in Auckland and raised the ‘fa’asamoa’ by parents who come from the villages of Satupa’itea and Apolima in Samoa, it is a great passion of mine to see positive changes within Pasifika families.

Have patience, God isn't finished yet" - Phillipians 1:6

Dr Monique Faleafa

DClinPsy, MNZM

Chief executive

Executive Assistant's DDI - 09 261 3487

Monique has served Pacific communities in the not-for-profit sector, district health boards, academia and social services for nearly 20 years as a clinician, as an advocate for improving health and social outcomes for Pacific communities, and better well being for all New Zealanders.

As founding Chief Executive of Le Va Monique is a firm believer in supporting her team to be at their peak performance, delivering services based on traditional values but delivered with contemporary execution.

Monique is a Clinical Psychologist and also contributes to her communities at governance levels: currently deputy chair for the Health Promotion Agency, Deputy Chair for the New Zealand Psychologists' Board, board member for the Health Research Council of New Zealand, ‘A Better Start’ MBIE Science Challenge Board, and the ACC Sexual Violence Prevention Board. Monique is a Member of the NZ Order of Merit and a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence awards. Internationally she is a mental health advisor to Australia’s National Rugby League, is an Alumni of the commonwealth Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue, and one of two Pacific Associate Members of Global Women. 



Levaopolo Seupule Tiava'asu'e

Le Va Matua

Levao is the Matua for Le Va and as a respected cultural knowledge holder in Pacific communities, provides cultural and spiritual knowledge, guidance, wisdom, protection, and safety for Le Va and its people.

Levao Tiava’asu’e has worked under the umbrella of the Waitemata District Health Board for almost 15 years. Initially brought into Isa Lei (Pacific community mental health services) to provide cultural leadership and a sense of unifying a disjointed pacific sector, he has seen the positive change at Isa Lei and Tupu (Pacific regional addiction services).

Together with others Pacific leaders such as Dr Francis Agnew and Pulotu Bruce Levi, Levao has helped to shape and influence mental health and addictions sector widely. He championed the formation of the Matua Council for Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards. He has also worked hard to ensure that the Pacific workforce grew in capacity and capability.

Levao’s personal vision is to see Pacific peoples succeed in the workforce, with more young Pacific leaders leading the advancement of Pasefika in New Zealand. One of his core goals is that only through Unity with humility and respect of one another can this be achieved. He calls it “No Corruption.”

Levao believes Le Va and others must also work with tangata whenua, oakeha and other ethnities with love and compassion.

Now working part time, he is spending more time with his children and grandchildren who are starting to excel in sports. He has five children and 20 grandchildren! A composer and writer of music, he has been the choir master at his church for many years. He often preaches on a Sunday morning at his Methodist church in Glen Eden.

Levao believes that when he fully retires, he is confident that he will leave the sector in a better space because of the many high calibre young Pacific leaders and NGOs, like Le Va, who are ready to take on the mantle of leadership for our Pacific families and communities.

“O le ala I le Pule o le Tautua,” is one of his favourite Samoan proverbs, which translates to “The Pathway to leadership is through service."