Honesty, Respect, Compassion,
Courage and Service
Lesley grew up in Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland. She is from Ngāpuhi (Hokianga) and Ngāti Ruanui (Taranaki).
What led you to working at Healthy Families South Auckland?
A family friend worked at Healthy Families and spoke to me about the great work I could be a part of, and I have been here ever since. I worked at Careers New Zealand for two years before coming here. I was a tutor at a local PTE for 8 and a half years before that. I’ve always lived and worked in our South Auckland community.
Who inspires you and why?
My husband Willie inspires me because he’s hard working and with everything he does he’s always thinking of myself, our two daughters, Jessica and Kelly and now our two grandsons, Jaxson and Bailey.
What is your current role?
Systems Innovator. We look at systems change and addressing the root causes of social problems, which are often embedded in our communities and look at what causes the system to behave in a certain way. We also work to sustain relationships we’ve built and help build leadership within.
What projects are you currently working on and what impact do they have on the community?
The main project I work in is “One Love”, helping residents in four allocated streets in Mangere to build social and cultural capital in many ways. We look at mobilising a thriving, safe and well-connected neighbourhood by activating community assets and local leadership including young people. I also help Chillion Sanerivi with our Do Good Feel Good young leaders and our Māori responsiveness team when needed.
My vision is for all our community in South Auckland to have the knowledge to help themselves and their families with health and wellbeing.
What is one funny/quirky/interesting thing that no-one knows about you?
Every time I go swimming in the open water, I think something’s going to grab me and pull me under.
What is your super power?
Healing ability – I would love to be able to help everyone with ailments both physically and mentally.
Who is your superhero?
My superhero is my mum who raised us kids. I was three years old when my dad was killed on the railways – he was only 36 years old. My mum continued to work full time and put us all through school and guide us into adulthood.