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

AychKia 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

Toni-Web-1024x633 copyHere’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

Morgan WebKia 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:


Joe Gatland – Co-Chairperson

Joe Gatland - Co-ChairHi there!

My name is Joe, and  this is my second term on the RainbowYOUTH board, and I’m super excited to be one of the Co-Chairs this year! I’ve been involved in RainbowYOUTH since 2010, and I’ve loved every moment of it!

I first got involved with RainbowYOUTH in my last year of high school when I joined one of the regional groups, Out and About. I then later started going to ID  the 18-27 year old group, and eventually started facilitating the group.

In my first year on the board I worked with a fantastic team to help launch our Rainbow Ribbons campaign, as well as a bunch of other cool and exciting things! A little bit about me, I was born in New Zealand but I grew up in Malaysia, Thailand and Colorado (so I have a bit of a strange accent). I love the outdoors, and spend most of my free time out kayaking, biking, hiking, swimming, skating or just going on adventures!

If you have any questions or want to say hi my email is

Rachel Brebner – C0-ChairpersonRachel-Web-1024x627

I’m currently the co-chair for RainbowYOUTH and this is my first full term on the board. I grew up right here in Auckland and I’m twenty years old. Currently, I’m studying commerce (majoring in accounting and finance) and arts (majoring in psychology) at the University of Auckland after switching from mechatronics engineering, which I previously studied for two and a half years. In my spare time (not that I get much of it), I like to practice guitar, mess around with photography, spend time with my friends, and hang out at the beach.

In terms of RainbowYOUTH involvement, I started out as a member of GQ and attended for a year before stepping up to facilitate the group for almost two years. In May 2014, I joined the RainbowYOUTH board as secretary before starting my first full board term in July 2014 as the treasurer. I’ve also been a shared experiences representative and helped out around the drop-in centre. Through RainbowYOUTH, I’ve gained a lot of valuable learning experiences and met a lot of my closest friends. I’ve really enjoyed being able to give back to an organisation that’s given me so much and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for RY.

 Mel Govender – SecretaryMel-Web-1024x495

Mreow (=^.^=)

I’m Melanie and it’s my pleasure to be the secretary on the RainbowYOUTH board. This is my first term and I’m incredibly excited to be working with a great bunch of talented, inspiring and motivated human beings.

I joined the RainbowYOUTH family in 2012 as a volunteer member, and later became a facilitator of the I.D. group for 18-27 year olds. The experience of facilitating a group was fun, challenging and enriching and I was able to attend youth conferences, discuss LGBTQ issues and most importantly, I had the opportunity to give back to my community. Having lived in South Africa for 19 years, I was never exposed to queer culture and being a part of the RainbowYOUTH family has strengthened my passion for people and has fostered the desire to create a better future for our queer youth.

I have a background in gender and social psychology, and am currently completing my Masters in Educational Psychology. I’m passionate about education and I am also very interested in how culture and ethnicity influences the queer identity. During my term on the board I will work alongside others to extend RainbowYOUTH services into ethnically diverse communities; where I hope my personal and learnt experiences will assist in creating positive change for queer youth of all backgrounds.

Daniel ChorleyDaniel-Web-1024x556

My name is Daniel and I’m a general board member for RainbowYOUTH. I was born here but grew up both in NZ and in the UK. I have a background in science and commerce and am nearing the completion of a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Auckland, where I also teach.

I have worked with RainbowYOUTH for nearly 10  years, beginning as a group member when I was first coming out at the end of high school. I have facilitated GQ, RainbowYOUTH’s under-20s group for 6 years and have been a part of the Rainbow Youth Executive Board for  8 terms. I have been privileged to serve the organisation as Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer during my time here.

I have also been involved with a multitude of queer youth groups and projects throughout NZ, most notably on the Executive of UniQ Auckland.

Working with RainbowYOUTH has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has helped me gain confidence in myself and my skills, and has given me the opportunity to do things I would not have otherwise done, or thought myself capable of. It has given me the rare opportunity to help others who are confronting issues that many of us have faced in the past, and will continue to face. It has been amazing seeing the organisation grow over the past decade and I look forward to seeing what is in store for RainbowYOUTH as the organisation expands its horizons.

Jono Selu – Māori and Pacific RepJono-Web-e1415061488692-1024x555


Kia Ora, Talofa and Warm Pacific Greetings!

I’m Jono, your Māori and Pacific Representative on the RY board. I’m very excited to be serving my second term both in this position and on the board, and can’t wait to get into the thick of our Maori and Pacific Rainbow communities, as well as the broader work of RainbowYOUTH.

I spent 3 years as a facilitator for QWest and continue my amazing journey within RainbowYOUTH. I have also a varied background within the youth and health sectors. I’m a proud Scout, with 17 years membership, 5 years in leadership roles, and 2.5 terms on the National Council and National Youth Council. I’m an educator and health promoter for Auckland Sexual Health and have also worked in sexual violence prevention programmes. This year I also completed my Bachelor of Arts in Pacific Studies and Music through the University of Auckland after 6 long years of study!

Despite all of this, I’m quite a chilled out person, so don’t be afraid to come say hey if you see me around, and I look forward to making my small contribution towards creating awesome positive change in this world!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Taine Polkinghorne – Trans* Rep/TreasurerTaine-Web-1024x615


Hey! I’m Taine and I’m 24.

Reading books, drinking tea and listening to Frank Turner helped me come to terms with and begin my transition from female to male.

With a year of experience on the Board during the 2013-2014 term, I gained a better and clearer understanding of the way this organisation runs. RainbowYOUTH’s core values of being drug- and alcohol-free align with my personal life, and I believe this helps me to contribute to the vision and mission with energy.

On the Executive Board, I am able to work with people who inspire and challenge my way of thinking. I rowed competitively through my school years and enjoy taking part in dynamic teamwork.

I have just completed a BSc in Biology, and hope to pursue a post-graduate diploma in chronobiology, the study of biological rhythms.

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!

Beth MaynardBeth-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.


I’m Stace, I’m a 27 Year old disabled gender queer person This is my first term on the board. I got involved with RY because I wanted to help our community. Outside of RainbowYOUTH I spend a lot of time taking photos and drawing.

Anna Nelson – Executive AdvisorAnna-Web-1024x564

I am Anna and I’m proud to have a life time experience of unique physical function. As a result of injuries at birth I have cerebral palsy. I do not let this dictate my life, however, it does help create a very solid path at times.

I am Disability Student Advisor at AUT University, and a Diversityworks Trust Project Manager with responsibility for Diversity Promotion through Social Networking (DPSN).  Both roles have a huge range of colourful diversity, and incorporate supporting individuals with disabilities to succeed in their studies and in the lives.

Previous roles include Disability Advisor/Co-ordinator at WINTEC in Hamilton, and Community Worker at Auckland Disability Law.

I am proud to be an Executive Advisor for RainbowYOUTH because I strongly believe in the RY ethos and in supporting the RY board in the successful work RY does with and for the youth in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Alexander Stevens – Cultural AdvisorAlexander-Stevens-copy

Kia ora, ko Alexander Stevens toku ingoa. I’ve been involved with RY since 1996 as a previous member, facilitator and board member. My role as the cultural advisor is to work in partnership with RY to ensure a bi cultural approach can be weaved throughout the organisation. This process will have some amazing opportunities for both RY and people in the community wanting to be involved with us.

My professional background includes being a Counsellor, Kaupapa Māori Researcher and Adult Teacher in Health and Social sectors. I have a health science background specializing in empowerment and resiliency from addictions, mental health, sexual violence and suicide prevention. With an AUT Masters in Health Practice (Māori Health) and a Masters of Indigenous Studies (University of Otago) I will be working behind the scenes to ensure that the work done by RY empowers tangata whenua and other indigenous communities.

A Maori proverb best describes this work “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi,” “With your basket and my basket the people will live.” This proverb refers to co-operation and the combination of resources to get ahead.