The organisation was first set up in 1982 with support from the club services and was called Eastern Bay Achievement Trust. Initially it was set up as a sheltered workshop for people with a disability or experience of mental illness. 

Board of Trustees

Principles: how we will work

The Trust is committed to:

  • The inclusion of all people in their communities

  • Inspiring people to reach their full potential and have a good quality of life

  • Working cooperatively with other community groups

  • Respecting and implementing the dual heritage of the partners of Te Tiriti O Waitangi

  • Developing positive working relationships and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity

  • Respecting the cultural diversity of people and encouraging people of all ethnicities to use the Trust’s facilities and services


Aims: what we will do

  • To support all people to be included in their communities, whanau/hapu/iwi

  • To give priority support to people who have been marginalised by physical, sensory or intellectual impairment or mental illness

  • To encourage communities, organisations and government agencies to include and support people with a disability or experience of a mental illness in their activities

  • To increase knowledge and options of work (paid and unpaid), education and other activities available to people with a disability or mental illness, encourage them to make choices and participate

  • To provide accessible advocacy, support and referral people needing this support

  • To actively promote recognition, equality and respect for people with a disability and/or experience of mental illness in their communities and in government agencies

  • To use education to further the Trust’s aims

  • To support all people to share their ideas and skills to build an inclusive community spirit




Julie was elected Board Chair in 2014 after having gained governance experience as a Whakatane District Councillor. Julie brings leadership experience to the role having been a Local Government second tier Manager with 48 staff.

Being a board member has meant being part of a great committed team trying to make a difference to the lives of the people we partner and the environment.

As well as being a board member Julie also works full time and is a Whakatane District Councillor. 



Deputy Chair

Poihaere was elected Deputy Chair in 2012 and brings the gift of Reo Maori and culture. Poihaere has great knowledge of Ngati Awa history and iwi hapu, as well as Tuhoe, Whakatohea, and the Whakatane district.

Poihaere has enjoyed learning about how a board functions and the distinction between governance and organisation.

Poihaere belongs to several disability organisations that overlap including an advocacy group to the council, Maori Stroke Group, Timebank, Permaculture NZ, Kaapo Maori Aotearoa Inc, Disability Support Services Consumer Consortium, Te Ika a Maui, Eastern Bay Villages.

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Tania was elected Secretary in 2018 and brings important research and networking skills along with great community connections. Tania has been involved with teenagers and education for over 20 years and can bring the perspective of the youth. Tania is a committee member of the Whakatane District Council Sister Cities and is the coordinator for 'Friendship City Exchange' with Shibukawa, Japan. 




Colin was appointed Treasurer in 2017 and brings with him a wealth of financial skills due to his accounting background. Colin is a Chartered Accountant and also a partner in a local accounting firm, FARMit Accountants. 

Colin also has experience working with charities and not-for-profit organisations. 

Along with Pou Whakaaro , Colin is also a Trustee of a number of our great local organisations, such as, Life Education Trust EBOP, The e-Network Trust and the Whakatane District Council Mayoral Relief Fund Charitable Trust.

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Marianne was appointed a board member in 2014 and uses here extensive legal knowledge, which she has acquired over 30 plus years of being in legal practice in the Whakatane area

Marianne is passionate about the Pou Whakaaro's cause and values being a part of the outcome of the people we partner.

As well as a Pou Whakaaro trustee Marianne has also been an Active Rotarian since 2005.



People's Representative

Carol was appointed the People's Representative in 2012. Carol brings the voice of the people we partner to the board. She will always speak up, and is always helping people. 

Carols loves being a board member and enjoys meeting other people.  As well as being a board member, Carol is also a member of the Disability Resource Centre and the Baptist Church Group. 




Wiel was elected as a Trustee in 2014. Wiel brings his expereince of social work to the board and 20 years experience and knowledge of the public health system.

Colin is passionate about his role as a trustee and believes strongly in the people we partner as well as the trustees who share the same goals; to encourage  the people we partner to be  courageous and achieve their dreams.

As well as a trustee Wiel is also the chair person for the Manawahe District Society Inc. 




General Manager

In 2008 I had the privilege of joining Pou Whakaaro as the General Manager. At that time I saw that Pou Whakaaro was an organisation that truly practiced working in collaboration with the people who used the services. Since this time I have come to appreciate the willingness of the Board and team to develop innovative practice that keeps partnership at its core, and to watch the organisation grow.

Seeing the people we partner achieve their aspirations, including running Micro Businesses continues to inspire me and makes working here a rewarding experience.

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