Duncan Matthews - General ManagerDuncan Matthews – General Manager

Hi, I’m Duncan, the General Manager at RainbowYOUTH.

I started out life down in the Waikato, got a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences from Waikato University, moved to Auckland to be a software developer.

My passion is working with other people, helping people to achieve what they’re capable of, and constantly learning about anything and everything.

Like many other people, I walked past the door to RainbowYOUTH a few times before finally having the courage to walk in! Having been involved with RY for 6 years now, I’m so happy I did. RainbowYOUTH is an amazing organisation, not only for what it achieves in the community, in schools and nationally, but in the way 10 young peers can come together and govern an organisation of this size.

As GM, I get to work closely with each other person you see on this page. If you get the chance to work with or make friends with any one of them, take it! RainbowYOUTH has an amazing bunch of volunteers and staff behind it, each of whom has made me a better person for knowing them.

Have any ideas? Comments? Get in touch!

Email me on, or find me on LinkedIn: Duncan Matthews.

Aych McArdle – Education Director

Kia Ora! I’m Aych, the Education Director at RainbowYOUTH. My responsibilities include training our educators, coordinating workshops with schools, organizing professional development courses and overseeing the strategic development of our education programme. I’m very lucky to work with such a great team!

I have recently completed my Masters of Art and Design from AUT. My thesis explored the power of collaborative arts practice in generating self-representational narratives of gender diverse people in Auckland’s rainbow spaces. I also have a keen interest in the language we use to describe our queer and gender diverse identities. I presented a paper to the Perspectives on Progress 2013 conference on the use of gender neutral language in mainstream news media.

Outside of work and study I can be found drinking lots of tea (actually, I drink quite a lot of tea at work!) and getting up to some sort of creative mischief.

If you are interested in getting involved in our education programme as an educator, shared experience representative or having us visit your school or workplace drop me an email:

Toni Duder – Communications Manager

Here’s how I typically like to introduce myself: I’m a writer, poet, Gryffindor, equal rights junkie and a cat lover. I am in charge of all the internet, communications and event promotion stuff that goes on at RainbowYOUTH. I also am the project manager and creator of RY’s I’m Local Project.

I’ve been an out lesbian since I was 15, and it’s been a bumpy but very rewarding road. RainbowYOUTH was always an organisation I knew of and if I had had a little more guts, I would have been at the drop-in centre all the time. Now I’m privileged to call it my place of employment.

Outside of my work at RainbowYOUTH, I’ve got my Masters in screenwriting at the University of Auckland and try and get as many stories out of my head as possible. I’ve been living in Auckland since I was 13 and came down here from Dargaville to go to boarding school.

I am so excited to be part of an organisation that helps both out and questioning queer and trans* youth as well as their families, friends and schools.

Get in touch on my email:

Chase Fox – Fundraising Coordinator

Chase WebBest described as the queer Beavis and Butthead.

I was born and bred in in the cultural and actual capital of Aoteatora, Wellington. Entering the “Queer Community” at thirteen, I’ve been around the block a few times and been involved in tons of different projects, groups and activities – from support groups, to activism, to all the paperwork that keeps everything going. Outside of queer stuff, I navigated activism around youth, disability, sex work and more, as well as leading roles in Cadets, Youth Councils and community theatres.

All of that experience comes into play in my role as Fundraising Coordinator – colloquially, “The Money Man”. Spending 4+ years navigating funding from tiny local boards all the way up to Ministry of Social Development has given me a great range of skills that I hope to apply to the role and keep RainbowYOUTH rolling.

Outside of all the emails and forms of work, I’m a typical bogan boy – I like video games, cruising on my bike, writing a bit of terrible poetry, socializing, and spending waaaay too much time watching bad TV. I spent most of 2014 hitch-hiking, tramping and cycling around the North Island, couch surfing where I could and getting myself a whole lot of life experience in a short space of time, so settling down in Auckland is my next challenge for life.

Morgan Butler – Support Coordinator

Kia ora whānau, ko Morgan taku ingoa!

I’m the Support Coordinator for RainbowYOUTH, my role involves looking after the groups and interns, but also providing direct support to young people who contact RainbowYOUTH. I’ve nearly finished my diploma in Youth Work and am looking forward to using my skills in my job.

I was born in Australia but my whānau quickly moved to New Zealand when I was three. My New Zealand roots are from Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tainui and Ngāpuhi. A lot of my whānau are involved with volunteering for many types of community, so I wanted to follow in their foot steps.

I lived in Hamilton for most of my life, and being a young queer I found out about a queer and trans* group called Waikato Queer Youth (WaQuY)! I started helping out and volunteering for WaQuY when I was 14, and that’s really what got me in to wanting to help out with our community. When I moved to Auckland to study I started volunteering for RY, and they say if you stick around enough people will start to pay you… What can I say, they started to pay me :D

Outside of work I have a cat named Alaska and she is beautiful and sassy. I live in West Auckland and I love it! I enjoy going to Muriwai, either for a swim or to take my cat for a walk on the beach. I enjoy watching the Kardashians, long car rides, finding new places to climb/swim, or just going to the Domain late at night and looking at the city lights.

If you want to know anymore, give me an email:

Aram Wu – National Projects Coordinator

Pema_WEB你好!我的名字是Aram,我在 RainbowYOUTH(彩虹青年)的职位是国家项目协调员。我也是亚裔社区团体EquAsian的组织者之一。

Hi! My name is Aram and my position in RainbowYOUTH is the National Projects Coordinator. One of the projects is to roll out a easily accessible online resource called Inside Out throughout New Zealand.

I am also one of the organisers for our rainbow Asian community group called EquAsian. I’m currently finishing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Chinese at the University of Auckland. I’m passionate about advocacy work that recognises diversity by applying intersectionality and social justice theories.

Outside of work and Uni, I enjoy spending time with friends going to new places to eat new things.

Jason Smith – Administration Assistant

Jason_Web_300x158Hey there, my name is Jason and I’m a male. 

I have CP, I enjoy all genders of life. I enjoy music, playing on the laptop at home and a female cat whose name is Taffy. I enjoy socialising and going out to parties.

If you want more information, please don’t be shy to email me:



Amanda Parkinson – Co-chairAmanda_WEB

Kia ora!

I’m the co-chair here at RainbowYOUTH. I am a Sydney native but Waikato local, with a love for human rights that penetrates all areas of health and wellbeing.

In previous years I have worked in mainstream media both here and across the ditch, but now dedicate my time to health campaigns – particularly in the Waikato.

I’m excited to be the first co-chair person outside of Auckland, and I think this speaks to the growth we’re going to see this year across Aotearoa.

My involvement with RY is in its infancy, but that gives us an opportunity to grow together. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and the challenges you all throw my way.

Torranice Campel – Co-chair, Trans* Rep

Kia ora,

My name is Torranice Campel I am honoured to announce that this is my first term being on the RainbowYOUTH Board. It is a blessing to serve alongside amazing people who also share a similar passion as me which is working for and with youth. I strongly believe in youth voice, partnership and unity by working together we can all make positive change that benefits our whole community.

I was born and raised in Mangere East, South Auckland where I am currently living, employed by ME Family Services in Te Punawai Service having the best job in the world where I work with gender and sexuality questioning, cultural terminology identifying and LGBTQI youth and their families. I also chair Otahuhu – Mangere Youth Group which is a youth mechanism component for our community and lastly I am in my second year of full time study at Te Wanagna o Aotearoa in Mangere for Bachelor of Applied Social Work Degree.

Beth Maynard – TreasurerBeth-Web-e1415060759652


I’m Beth, and this is my first term on the Rainbow Youth board.

I’m 17 and in my last year of high school on the North Shore, where I attend one of Rainbow Youth’s regional groups. I was born in the UK and moved here with my family ten years ago. In my spare time I play the flute, read history and watch movies, and I can’t wait to start uni here in Auckland next year!

I’ve been involved with Rainbow Youth as a member for three years now, and the support and services Rainbow Youth offered as a young teenager changed my life. I’m overjoyed to be working with an organisation that offers so much to so many young people in New Zealand and to which I personally owe so much. I’m in awe of all the incredible work I’ve seen thus far and I can’t wait to keep working with some of these fantastic people for years to come.

Aaliyah Zionov – Secretary

Hi, I’m Aaliyah, an 18 year old Jewish disabled trans girl. I’ve been involved in the queer community as a participant, a contributor and an activist since I was about 15 or 16, through a constantly shifting identity, and RainbowYOUTH has been a really fundamental part of that.

As the Secretary for this year’s board, I’m really interested in making sure everyone’s voices are heard and the discourses are represented accurately and without power imbalances. I want to help to develop what RainbowYOUTH can do to centre and meet the needs of its more marginalised youth, and am especially interested in boosting transfeminine voices.

Outside of that, I’m studying for my Bachelor of Social Work at Auckland Uni, and I’m a passionate music nerd, record collector, and DJ. You’ll mostly find me hanging out with my flatmates, socializing, walking around listening to music, making bad art, and reading queer theory.

Avery WatsonAvery_WEB

​​Hey. My name is Avery and I’m​ a 14-year-old transguy with a passion for visual art.​

I grew up here in Auckland, where I’m currently in secondary school. I learnt about RY through a friend and started attending GQ on a regular basis at the beginning of 2015.
I​ hope to be able to make a difference to the world; or, failing that, make a positive impact on the way LGBT individuals are embraced by the wider community.

Outside of RY, my passions include pretty much anything under the umbrella of ‘art’, languages, reading anything and everything, and working as part of the ‘HPSS Communities Habitat’ as a Diversity Leader.

Emilie Rākete – Māori & Pacific Rep

Kia ora!

I’m Emmy Rākete and I’m really happy to be on this year’s board. I’m a student, activist, wahine Māori and trans woman from Tāmaki Makaurau. Like everyone else here, I’m really excited to nurture and grow RainbowYOUTH’s ability to protect our young people. Part of that means that, in my role as Māori and Pacific Representative, I’m responsible for ensuring that Te Tiriti o Waitangi sits at the center of everything we do.

Outside of activist stuff, my hobbies are mostly embarrassing nerd shit – I’m passionate about collecting Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks from the 1970s + arguing about inane memes on the internet. Arohanui!

Justine Sachs

Hi, I’m Justine, a 20 year old queer Jewish woman. I come to RainbowYOUTH from a long background in activism and politics, including university politics, queer and student activism, and Young Labour, and want to bring this knowledge into my duties as a board member.

I hope to contribute to RainbowYOUTH’s growing physical and organisational landscape, to its ability to help queer youth on a material level, and to its growing Jewish presence. I’m also passionate about feminism, celebrity gossip, and cats, and am in my 3rd year of studying sociology and politics at Auckland University.

Natasha GaffinNatasha Gaffin - Board Member


My name is Tash and this is my first term on the RainbowYOUTH board. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to work amongst such amazing people toward the betterment of this incredibly important organisation.

I have lived in Auckland my whole life and I am currently in my final year of High School. I first became involved with RainbowYOUTH in 2013 when I began regularly attending one of the regional groups Queer4Shore, after a year or so I became a group facilitator.

The experiences and friendships that I gained through being a facilitator made me interested in getting involved with RainbowYOUTH as the organisation had had such an integral influence on my life, and I suppose that’s really why I am here today!

Nicky ThorburnNicky_WEB

Hey Guys!
My name is Nicky, and I am a teenage transgender woman from Pukekohe, Auckland. It still shocks me that I am privileged to be on my first term as a Board Member for Rainbow Youth!
Gender-identity has been an ongoing struggle for me ever since I was a little one. I’ve had my fair share of bullying, discrimination and struggles that have all helped shape me into the woman that I am today and provided myself with the fortunate opportunity to live the most authentic life I can.
Outside of my RY responsibilities, you’ll find me studying at Uni, reading TMZ, Catching up on the latest Keeping Up With The Kardashians episode, or planning on how to spend this weeks clothing budget…
I can’t wait to embark on this journey to help continue and/or improve the fabulous services that we as RY are able to offer.
With love,
Nicky Thorburn.

Sophie Sills

Kia ora,

My name is Sophie and I am fortunate enough to be joining the RainbowYOUTH board this year.

My family hails from Dargaville, Auckland, Tauranga, and Scotland, but I have lived in Auckland my whole life. I am studying a Master of Arts in Gender and Critical Psychology at the University of Auckland, doing research about what it is like to be queer in sport. In the past, I have also done research with young people about rape culture, social media, and activism.

I am passionate about social justice and feminism, and when I am not reading about them at University, I am reading about them on Tumblr. I spend the rest of my free time playing football.

I’m excited to contribute to the work RainbowYOUTH does, and continue the hard work of the previous boards who came before me.