Meet the Sport Waitākere Board of Trustees.

Dr Katie Bruffy (Chairperson)

Katie is orginally from Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a PhD in sport management and is currently the Head of Community Studies and Bridgepoint at Unitec Te Pūkenga in Mt Albert and Henderson.  

Katie has lectured and researched in sport management and as part of her role at Unitec, leads teams who partner with our communities across sectors including early childhood, sport, recreation and exercise, foundational education and language studies.

She is passionate about creating opportunities for equitable access to play, sport and active recreation in the West Auckland community.

Nicola Mills

Nicola is a born and bred Aucklander, passionate about health and wellbeing.

She is currently a senior finance executive at Auckland Council and was previously the principal advisor on strategic financial matters to the Mayor of Auckland and an Assurance Director at PwC.

Nicola is a Chartered Accountant and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Post-graduate Diploma in Commerce (Economics). She frequently enjoys Auckland’s cycle-ways and hiking trails and is on the side-lines at her daughter’s Saturday netball games.

Darna Appleyard

(Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Te Whakatohea)

Darna resides in Te Atatū with her husband of 27 years and a 15 year old boy named Rehutai. She is a self confessed Waka Ama and E-bike enthusiast, with both her husband and son being high performance waka ama paddlers competing at international level. Their whānau hobby is waka ama and the whānau have spent much of their spare time, competing and volunteering in the Waka Ama movement.

Darna is a self-described ‘equity challenger’, working to disrupt the distribution and programming of health resources to achieve health equity for Māori. 

Darna has a strong background Māori Health, and has worked in a wide range of programme and project management roles within the Māori development and health sectors. With close to ten years’ experience at a District Health Board (DHB) planning and funding level, she has held programme management roles in a variety of portfolios, spanning Māori Health, Cancer Care, Youth Health and Planning. Darna currently works as a part-time Research Fellow on a number of rangatahi mental health and suicide related research projects. ​​​​​​​

She has received health excellence awards, for both cancer control and youth health projects during my District Health Board tenure, and was one of seven Vodafone World of Difference Award recipients in2012 and worked on a project to promote resilience and reduce suicide risk among Morehu – ‘Tatai Whetu ki te Rangi’. Darna was also recently featured as Nuku Women - Mana Wahine #61 in a digital magazine featuring 100 ‘kick-arse [sic] indigenous women’.

Michael Holmes (Deputy Chairperson)

(Ngāti Ranginui)

Tēnā koutou. Ko Tauranga tōku hau kainga, ko Ngāti Ranginui tōku iwi, Ko Ngai Te Ahi tōku hapū, Ko Michael Holmes ahau.

While not born in West Auckland, Michael was certainly raised here, having moved to Whenuapai in 1976. Michael went to Waitākere College, and the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor of Commerce. Michael played club rugby at Waitematā, and Club Cricket at Waitematā and Suburbs New Lynn.

Since finishing University Michael has worked largely in consumer goods, developing his business management skills with a number of large multi-national companies, and a few smaller SMEs. Still living in West Auckland, he now raises two daughters with his wife Hinekura, and is excited by the opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to him.

Robin Taua-Gordon 

(Te Kawerau a Maki)

Ko Waiti, Waiaua me Pawarenga ngā awa.
Ko Puketora, Makeao me Ongaro ngā maunga.
Ko Tainui, Mataatua me Mamari ngā waka.
​​​​​​​Ko Te Kawerau a Maki, Te Whakatohea me Te Rarawa ngā iwi.

Robin works for Te Kawerau a Maki as the Executive Officer of the Mana Tangata Unit. Her role involves protecting and enhancing the cultural, social and environmental values of Te Kawerau a Maki, mana whenua of West Auckland.

A proud resident of West Auckland who is passionate about empowering Māori and, in particular, young people. Robin has been involved in education for over 30 years and is currently completing a Master’s in Education at Auckland University. Robin was on the Auckland Conservation Board from 2017 - 2020 and is the Chairperson of Te Kawerau Iwi Tiaki Trust. Robin loves anything to do with the ocean and walking in the Waitakere Ranges, on opened tracks of course.

Te toto o te tangata he kai, te oranga o te tangata, he whenua, he oneone - While food provides the blood in our veins, our health is drawn from the land and soils.

Jarrod Walton

​​​​​​​Jarrod is a tax specialist with experience as a tax manager at KPMG Auckland, Jarrod joined Chapmans Chartered Accountants in 2008 and is now a partner at the firm. He was admitted to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2004 and has since become passionate about helping local business in West Auckland succeed.

Jarrod joined the Sport Waitakere Board in 2015 and has spent the last 6 years presiding as chair. 

Janet Tuitama

Janet is of Samoan descent, and part of the first generation diaspora in Aotearoa where her parents migrated from Samoa in the 1960s. She was raised in Glendene and has been married to Sidney Tuitama for 29 years with two young adults, Josiah 24 years old, and Sylvana 22 years old. Janet and her whānau live in Te Atatu South.

Janet comes to us with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and learnings from a Pasifika Indigenous lens. Her life journey has taken her and her whānau to nations around the world working with Indigenous communities to engage with, and equip villages and communities vital supplies and knowledge.

Janet has worked in many different spaces but when she finally stepped out of the corporate legal sector after 25 years she realised that my heart, soul and mind was in community. Becoming a school chaplain in 2015 at Robertson Road School, Mangere South Auckland was only the start of her Indigenous Wellbeing Practice which has continued to evolve today. She completed 7 years at the school including the wellbeing portfolio which was a huge responsibility, especially during COVID-19 and seeing vulnerable Pasifika community and families desperate for help.

In February 2023, Janet resigned from the school and stepped into Directorship of Seed 2 Harvest Trust fulltime (this is the amazing community roopu who are now in our old office pre-fab at Waitemata Rugby Club grounds). Janets role with Seed 2 Harvest is fully active and engaging with an amazing team of committed people who are diverse, inclusive of all, culturally-led and passionate about seeing our community thrive and strive for the best of themselves.

Janets academic achievements include: 2015 Diploma in Christian Ministries - Chaplaincy, 2020 Bachelor of Leadership for Change at Otago Polytechnic - Capable NZ and 2022-2023 He Waka Hiringa: Masters of Applied Indigenous Knowledge at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Tamaki Makaurau.  She also holds ICF Executive & Organisational Coaching Certificate ACSTH Trained and is an accredited School and Sports Chaplain.

Nick Rowland

Nick is a thought-provoking marketing and partnerships expert born and raised in Taranaki.

Nick moved to Auckland in 2013 and established his own business, Side by Side in 2016 as an agency that assists sports, charities, and brands to develop win/win/win partnerships.

Working across a wide range of sectors Nick is passionate about what sports provide and is fuelled by assisting organisations in driving for commercial outcomes that result in mutually beneficial alignments.

Ivan Harré ​​​​​​​

Ivan was raised in Fiji and came to live in Auckland in the mid-1970s. 

His experiences in the Pacific community at that time, have shaped his work as a Sports and Media Consultant, currently leading the Pacific Sporting Partnership Programme at Netball New Zealand.  

Ivan has deep family roots in West Auckland, having raised three boys in the west. He is passionate about the benefits sport can bring to the health and wellbeing of our people and communities, and finding ways to equip our sport and recreation systems to achieve this.

Graeme Read

Graeme lives in Riverhead with his wife Heather, sons Lachie (4) and Max (2) and their 2 dogs. His whānau are very active, and he can often be seen out with his young family especially on the sidelines of the Riverhead Athletics Club over the summer months.

Graeme’s passion for sport and wellbeing stems from when he was a young child, playing many different sports but it was within athletics he found his niche. Graeme was a sprinter for New Zealand at under 18 and under 20 levels, with a personal highlight being a 5th place finish in the 200m at the World Youth Championships in 2003 behind a certain Usain Bolt! Graeme has also been a member of age group Auckland Cricket teams before choosing to focus on athletics.

Since entering a career in paid employment, he has developed a broad range of skills especially within audit, accounting and finance, a key attribute the Sport Waitākere board were looking for in their recruitment process. Having held a number of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) roles in a range of health organisations, currently Graeme is the General Manager – Finance for Southern Cross Healthcare, an organisation that has revenue in excess of $500m per year.

Graeme is deeply passionate about the positive health and wellbeing benefits that come from being active and engaged in community, and hopes that he can contribute to ensuring opportunities to be active are accessible to all as he embarks upon his journey with us.​​​​​​​