Nicola grew up in Mt Maunganui and then moved to Hamilton early on in her childhood. With a some family land in Hahei (Coromandel) she spent most of her holidays and spare time at the beach. It is where she feels most connected and grounded.

With a background in education, not-for-profit and local government sectors,  much of her career has had a focus on young people. Most of her roles reflected ‘the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ scenario, working in service delivery, and she became more and more interested in how we as a sector can focus more on prevention. With a passion for people and wanting to boldly push boundaries through innovation, she joined the Healthy Families South Auckland team. “Being innovative and working in prevention systems means we have to be willing to challenge the status quo and the current systems, societal attitudes and beliefs that hold people in a state of ill-being,” she adds.

Nicola surrounds herself with inspirational people, both in her friends and collegues, but more importantly, she points out, are the young people she has worked with. Acknowledging their courage, resilience and determination to build a better future for generations to come.  

Current role and projects:
“I am a Lead Systems Innovator working on an initiative aiming to reduce alcohol harm in South Auckland. Currently there is an over-proliferation of alcohol stores in South Auckland which is increasing harm on individuals, whanau and the wider community. We are taking a systems approach by trying to disrupt the District Licencing process (where people apply for a new alcohol licence) to make it more equitable and accessible for communities to participate (object) and have a voice in the planning of their local environments. Democratizing communities voice is a priority for Healthy Families – communities should have a say in issues that affect their lives.

“I am also involved in a piece of work that is focused on Early Years Education. This is an exciting piece of work for me because we know is the first 1000 days of a child’s life that is crucial in terms of their development, wellbeing and ultimately influences their trajectory in life.”

What is your vision for health and wellbeing in South Auckland?
“For me it’s about wellbeing first.  Shifting the system to prioritise people and environment over profit.”

What is one funny/quirky/interesting thing that no-one knows about you?
I love to travel and experience new places, and I my next trip will be to the Phillipines.

What is your superpower?
I think kindness is my super power, it’s one of my values so I try to live by it.

Who is your favourite super hero and why?
Ma-Ti from Captain Planet. I loved him growing up because of his ‘heart’ superpower. He has natural empathy, understanding and a sense of calm – often being the voice of reason. He was also telepathic and could talk with animals!

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