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​Paepae Tohutohu Hapori Matawaka

Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel

​The role of the Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel

The Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel offers advice based on their experiences living as people from ethnic cultures, to help us improve outcomes for this community.

They will:

  • identify the issues that are important to people from ethnic cultures
  • provide advice on our regional strategies, policies and plans
  • help us to effectively engage with people from ethnic cultures.

Read about the term of the new panel.

​Members of the panel

Members of the Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel.

Standing from left to right: Abdul Mohamud, Ogonna Nweke, Aadil Basha, Eva Chen, Rozeendra Kumar, Acacia Cochise, Luke Qin, Ireen Rahiman-Manuel. Seated from left to right: Krish Naidu, Cr Kerrin Leoni, Jasmine Yang, Parminder Singh.

Aadil Basha

Aadil is a proud Aucklander, he possesses solid understanding and knowledge of ethnic diversity in Auckland city.

He is passionate to see healthy inclusive growth and regards it as with more awareness and participation that we will achieve and establish greater development.

Through his living experiences he aims for our most diverse city Tāmaki Makaurau to harness its true potential.

He is a finance professional and self-employed. He believes in paying it forward which has led him to volunteer in various non-profit boards including Waitākere Ethnic Board, an organisation working for ethnic and wider communities to build stronger and diverse west Auckland.

Aadil is ardent about building communities that thrive, where we empower people of all nationalities and background, to excel, contribute, and participate towards its growth.

A firm believer that from diversity springs richness, Aadil hails from Chennai, India, and is a polyglot who speaks four languages.

He is a board member of Whau River Catchment Trust and a member of Auckland Interfaith Council.

Acacia Cochise

Originally from America, Acacia has worked in Aotearoa and internationally across education, youth, community, and inclusion.

In leadership and governance roles, she has facilitated organisational strategy, promoted progress, and capacity building through principles of self-determination and recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

She has a Masters in Indigenous Studies, a PhD in Pacific Studies, a Certificate in Indigenous Peoples policy from Columbia University and completed postdoctoral research in program evaluation.

She has extensively studied and researched experiential education programs and interventions for multicultural students and held leadership roles in the field of diversity, inclusion and community empowerment.

She is particularly dedicated to this because of her own diverse heritage which includes roots in Black American and Native American cultures.

She believes in strengths-based approaches and practices intersectionality.

She is passionate about supporting vulnerable youth, new moms, people of colour (POC) and black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) women, the LGBTQAI+ communities, and people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their goals.

She currently works as Community Engagement Manager at Ventia.

Eva Chen

Eva Chen is a former international student and a mother-of-four.

Her children inspired her to work in grassroot communities to build a safer, fairer and more cohesive future for the younger generations.

As co-founder of Wellbeing Charitable Trust, Eva has been working alongside the Asian community since 2014 for family violence prevention, school bully victim support and racism awareness.

She is also co-founder of the Hawaiki Project – a platform for youth Māori to engage with indigenous people around the world since 2017.

Eva is a founding member of the Mt Roskill collective, working on supporting grassroots communities through COVID-19 and natural disasters.

As a community connector and a community changemaker Eva is passionate about bringing wider community members to the table and sits on various advisory groups.

She is a member of:

  • Ethnic Advisory group in Asian Family Services
  • Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel in Auckland Council
  • Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques
  • National Action Plan Against Racism in Ministry of Justice.

Ireen Rahiman-Manuel

Ireen Rahiman-Manuel is a Fijian Indian.

She is the founder and director of Impactdev360, a specialist agency of Pacific, ethnic, and other policy and development practitioners based in New Zealand and abroad.

She has over 20 years of experience in design and planning, impact measurement, and working within many sectors in New Zealand, Australia, and 16 Pacific Island countries.

This is Ireen’s second term on Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel for Auckland Council.

She holds a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning degree from the University of Canterbury and a Masters in International Development from Massey University, New Zealand.

Ireen has specialist skills in thoughtful leadership. She has taken lead roles in the development of numerous national strategic and implementation plans. These include work in planning and policy development, sector strengthening, and societal wellbeing.

She has extensive experience in leading large and complex strategic programmes of work in dynamic settings.

She is a strategist, trusted advisor, and international development consultant.

Ireen advises on specific projects or programmes of development for transformational activities for:

  • governments and international agencies
  • non-profits
  • governance boards
  • corporations
  • communities.

Krish Naidu

Krish is a fourth generation Fijian Indian and hails from Rakiraki, Fiji Islands.

After arriving in New Zealand in the year 2000, he attended James Cook High School, Tuakau College and Papatoetoe High.

Later he did his tertiary studies at the University of Auckland Business School.

He has been working in the community since his youth as:

  • former chair of University of Auckland Fiji club
  • Project K mentor to youths in South Auckland
  • former elected member for Papatoetoe in the Manukau Youth Council.

Krish is the current president for Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand, a passionate and strong advocate of Fijian Indian heritage, identity, and the diaspora.

He appears often in mainstream and ethnic media giving his voice, perspectives, and advocacy on matters regarding the Fijian community.

In 2021 and 2022 he received leadership awards for services to the Fijian community.

By profession, he is a senior lecturer and program manager at Otago Polytechnic Auckland Campus.

Krish sits on several education and community boards including Ormiston Primary School, Ormiston Junior College, Ormiston Senior College and Deputy Chair, Ormiston Primary School.

Krish dearly cares about domestic violence in the community and is a NZ white ribbon ambassador.

Krish is also a court interpreter in Hindi and Fijian Hindi and a mentor with the Young Enterprise Scheme.

Abdul Mohamud

Originally from Kenya, Abdul Mohamud migrated to New Zealand and settled in Auckland 10 years ago.

Given the city’s cultural diversity, Auckland gave Abdul a sense of belonging.

He has never looked back.

With a deep passion for creating welcoming, equitable, and thriving communities, Abdul has worked tirelessly to help immigrant and refugee communities integrate and thrive in their new lives in Auckland.

He co-founded the Africa-New Zealand Business Chamber to promote trade between New Zealand and African nations.

He is also a trustee of Umma Trust, an organisation that supports the successful settlement of refugee and migrant communities.

Abdul is a graduate in International Studies and is also completing a law degree at AUT.

 In his free time, Abdul enjoys exploring new neighbourhoods, sampling local cuisine, reading and writing, and volunteering with organisations that share his values.

Ogonna Nweke

Ogonna Nweke is a Nigerian- Kiwi who graduated from the University of Auckland where she studied law, politics and international relations.

Now a consultant at Ernst and Young her passion lies in change making and advocacy.

She has been involved in youth mahi in advisory at places ranging from Auckland Council, ProCare PHO to non-profits.

She is also passionate about gender and women and is a mentor at DearEM – a youth project of HELP Auckland.

Parminder Singh

A radio presenter, Justice of Peace, White Ribbon Ambassador, police advisor and author, Parminder Singh ‘Papatoetoe’ manages several responsibilities.

Originally from Punjab, his native village is Sataur and he was born in Mahilpur (Hoshiarpur), Singh moved to Sydney in 1998 and relocated to New Zealand in 2001 with his family.

Parminder had to cross barriers like any other migrant but always tended to devote his time to volunteer work for this diverse society.

He has a deep understanding of South Asian cultural, religious, and social issues, as he has worked as a New Zealand police advisor since 2016.

He believes in the real meaning of ‘inclusiveness’.

He always loves to acknowledge different languages and heritages, to maintain the harmonious environment of Tāmaki Makaurau.

As a learner, a New Zealander, a police advisor, and a follower of the Sikh religion, he believes in the following Maori proverb:

‘He aha te mea nui o te ao’

(What is the most important thing in the world?)

‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’

(It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.)

Rozeendra Ronish Kumar

Rozeendra Ronish Kumar is an Indo-Fijian who was born and raised in the Fiji Islands.

He completed his secondary education before migrating to New Zealand.

Since moving to New Zealand, Roz has worked in the banking and finance industry and currently works for the Ministry of Social Development.

Roz is a marriage and civil union celebrant of New Zealand, a Justice of Peace (JP) and an ambassador for the Universal Peace Federation of New Zealand. 

Jasmine Yang

Jasmine Yang, born and raised in China, subsequently pursued her Year 13 and tertiary education in New Zealand.

She obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies and Psychology.

With over 10 years' experience, Jasmine has been actively involved in operating non-profit organisations and charities.

She has taken on significant roles as the founder and member of the board of trustees in multiple charitable organisations.

Additionally, Jasmine possesses expertise in new media and public relations, as well as radio and television.

Currently, she serves as the Chief Executive Officer of JEM Media and is a member of the Chinese Specialist Advisory Group.

Jasmine maintains a continuous connection with the Asian community, specifically the local Chinese community.

Luke Qin

Luke Qin is an experienced community advocate, having volunteered with many community organisations across New Zealand.

He has served as Chair of Hutt City Council Community Funding Panel, and Panel Member of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities Development Fund.

He currently leads Kiwibank's International Trade Finance strategy and offering and serves as:

  • an elected board member of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
  • executive committee member of the New Zealand China Council
  • board advisor for Global Cities New Zealand
  • freelance writer for Asia Media Centre
  • elected board director of Transparency International New Zealand.

He is also a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, and Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum Emerging Leaders Programme.

Luke was awarded a Community Service Award by Multicultural New Zealand, a Long Service Medal by Fire and Emergency New Zealand for his service as a qualified volunteer firefighter and successfully completed the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge to raise funds for charity.

​Meetings of the panel

The Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel holds scheduled meetings and a number of workshops with staff each year.

For dates, agendas and minutes, see Ethnic Communities Advisory Panel meetings.

Get in touch with the panel

Email to:

  • attend a meeting
  • present at a meeting
  • find more information.

Demographic advisory panels terms of reference


For the latest end of term report, see Auckland Council Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel end of term report 2019.

​Our advisory board members


From left to right: Eva Chen,Najira Khanam, Kathy Yan, Mohamud Mohamed, Sunil Kaushal, Carol Guler, Farrukh Gul Qaisrani, Ireen Manuel, Fatumatah Bah.


Carol Guler

Carol was born in Santiago, Chile. She is a graphic designer by profession and came to New Zealand in 2009 on a working holiday visa. In 2011, she studied at the University of Waikato where she graduated with a master's in Business and Management.

In 2015 she founded international student recruitment agency Step into New Zealand which gives her the privilege of working with students from Latin American and European countries.

She loves being involved with her community and helping other immigrants adapt to New Zealand as she understands that it is a big change which can also be very challenging.

She loves travelling and meeting new cultures, and has visited different countries in Asia, Europe and America.


Farrukh Gul Qaisrani

Farrukh Gul Qaisrani migrated to New Zealand from Pakistan with his family in 2002 and has since made New Zealand his home. He has three beautiful children and he prides himself on being a caring father.

Farrukh has extensive experience in the community and received the community service award of the year in 2019 from the Pakistan Association of New Zealand. He was extensively involved in the Christchurch shootings relief operations in March 2019 on behalf of the New Zealand Police.

Farrukh has a diverse educational background and holds a BSc in Mathematics and economics, a master's in Business Administration as well as law degrees from both Pakistan and New Zealand.

He is admitted to practice law in three countries namely New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan and is currently employed as a Senior Prosecutor with New Zealand Police.

Prior to joining the New Zealand Police, Farrukh has worked for the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Primary Industries and has extensive knowledge of the Public Sector operations and policies.

He brings a wealth of policy, legal and community experience to his new role.


Fatumata Bah

Fatumata Bah is a former refugee from Sierra Leone, West Africa.

She recently graduated from Auckland University of Technology where she studied a conjoint degree; a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Psychology and a Bachelor of Business majoring in Management.

Fatumata is now a Strategy and Business Design Consulting Analyst at Deloitte.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Fatumata completed an internship at the Executive Office of the Secretary-General at the United Nations in New York, where she was reporting to the senior gender advisor.

Fatumata is passionate about advocating for women's rights, cultural intelligence (CQ), diversity and inclusion.


Eva Chen

Eva Chen is a community connector. She is the co-founder of Wellbeing Charitable Trust working alongside the Asian community since 2014 and the co-founder of the Hawaiki Project (2017), a platform for young Maori to engage with indigenous people around the world.

She is also a SKIP Champion with Oranga Tamariki SKIP programme working with immigrant communities.

She is a former international student, a mother-of-four and a community change maker.


Ireen Manuel

Ireen is from Fiji and is an immigrant to New Zealand.

She has years of experience of working within the ethnic community in education, social development, justice, health and community development, which provide a good background in planning, policy and development work.

As an international development consultant, she aims to influence change and improvement by working alongside communities, government, development agencies and stakeholders at regional, national and international levels.

Having lived in many parts of New Zealand, she has diverse understanding and working knowledge with many ethnic communities. She has worked with underserved communities in isolated regions on policies and programmes of work that promote inclusion and equality for all.


Mohamud Mohamed

Mohamud Mohamed is passionate about issues of social justice, human rights and gender equality.

He has been actively involved in various community activities and has combined his passion for human rights and social justice for vulnerable and marginalised communities with his academic studies.

Born in Somalia, he came to New Zealand as a young child with no understanding of English. Today he works as a policy advisor in the public sector and holds a Master of Arts (Hons) in Policy Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Social Sciences and Conflict Resolution.

Mohamud was a finalist in the Kiwibank Local Hero category of the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards. He has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and also taught New Zealand Politics and Co-operative Education at Auckland University of Technology.

He served on the Puketāpapa Local Board Youth Caucus and is an alumnus of the Office of Ethnic Communities Youth Leadership Programme.

Mohamud also served on the board of Migrant Action Trust and was the chair of Onkod Somali Youth Development Inc.


Sunil Kaushal

Sunil was the chair of the previous term's Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and is the current president of one of the largest Indian Associations in New Zealand.

He is well-connected in the multi-ethnic community with a range of governance roles at local, business and cultural levels including being a member of his local community patrol and head of Strategic Relations for India New Zealand Business Council among other community roles.

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