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Te Rōpū Kaitohutohu Take Hapori Iwi Takatāpui

Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel

​The role of the Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel

The Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel offers advice based on their experiences living as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) people, to help us improve outcomes for this community.

They will:

  • identify issues that are important to members of rainbow communities
  • provide advice on our regional strategies, policies and plans
  • help us to effectively engage with rainbow communities.

Read about the term of the new panel.

​Members of the panel

Members of the Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel. 

Ella Sargison

Ella Sargison is a short-statured, well-travelled rainbow member with a degree in Education.

She is currently the Tāmaki Makaurau School Coordinator for InsideOut Kōaro.

In this role, she works in schools across Auckland with Rainbow Diversity groups, parents and whānau, as well as facilitating workshops for staff and students.

She has lived experience in the disabled and queer community and descends from Te Arawa.

She runs the LPNZ (Little People of New Zealand) Rainbow group and has been a camp counsellor in Harbour Camps, New Hampshire, United States for transgender and nonbinary youth.

With a background in education and non-profit/ charity work, Ella sees the importance in standing up for those from minority groups and is passionate about positive representation amongst the rainbow, takatāpui and disabled communities.

Eric Chou

Eric Chou was born and raised in Taiwan and notes “I inherited Taiwanese indigenous blood, so I am Austronesian”.

Eric is a hotel manager and volunteer at the Taiwanese Hwa-Hsia Society of New Zealand in charge of public relations and community engagement.

Josh Martin

Josh Martin (Te Arawa/Ngā Puhi) is a champion for community and youth empowerment with over two decades of experience.

He was a founding member of Prestige Dance Crew, where he played a critical role in building New Zealand's hip-hop dance community, earning the country's first-ever medal at the Hip Hop International dance competition in 2006.

Now, as the Community and Youth Development Director of Shore Junction - a youth innovation hub in Takapuna - Josh and his team have built membership up to almost 3000 rangatahi in just over two years.

Moreover, during the 100-day lockdown, the team created the world's first Discord-hosted digital youth centre, providing a vital means of connection, engagement, and mental health support which has garnered national recognition.

Josh's dynamic leadership experience underpins his commitment to advocating for inclusivity and empowerment.

Luis Meirelles

Luis Meirelles whakapapas to Brazil with a rich cultural heritage, including indigenous, African, and Italian roots.

With a career dedicated to serving the community, Luis has a Bachelor's degree in communications and is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in human rights.

He currently serves as a Practice Team Leader and Rainbow Development Coordinator at Youthline, where he uses his skills and experience to tautoko rangatahi and promote inclusion.

Luis is deeply committed to advocating for the rights of indigenous and queer communities, and works tirelessly to promote equality and social justice, while creating safe rainbow spaces.

With his experience and passion for Human Rights, Luis set his sight on working with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the United Nations, as he believes these organizations offer unique opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people around the world.

Max Tweedie

Max Tweedie (he/him) is a prominent activist and campaigner for Aotearoa’s rainbow and takatāpui communities.

He is the former Executive Director of Auckland Pride, led the petition and campaign to ban conversion practices, and continues to champion the voices of rainbow communities.

Mik Breitenbach

Mik Breitenbach (they/them/she) is a neurodiverse non-binary queer individual, originally from South Africa.

Since leaving South Africa in 2001, Mik has lived in Qatar, Australia and Aotearoa.

They studied at the University of Auckland and hold both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts, with their Masters dissertation exploring the evolving constructs of masculinity within Aotearoa. 

Mik’s passions are grounded in community engagement and place-based initiatives.

This led them to engage with the New Zealand Red Cross through Youth Hui programmes on leadership and social issues. 

As well as this, they are active in the arts and cultural sphere within Tāmaki Makaurau.

Tux Hika

Tux is Takatāpui with strong interpersonal skills and experience of navigating diverse needs and in working collaboratively to achieve outcomes.

He credits this to his role in capturing and celebrating Auckland’s rainbow community through photography and writing contributions to LGBTQ publication Express magazine for the past decade.

Tux feels that the council has helped to create a positive shift in attitudes towards rainbow communities – particularly in south Auckland.

 However, he feels there is more that can be done to reduce violence towards rainbow people, increase rainbow visibility throughout the region, support trans inclusion in sport and recreation and consider the needs of rainbow seniors.

Dave Krause  

Sarah-Michelle Hansen-Vaeau


Teresa Platt

Teresa has worked for over 20 years in central government and not-for-profit organisations on regional and national projects.

She has extensive experience working in governance, providing secretariat services to Trust boards and community committees for the Department of Internal Affairs in the Community Development area.

A contractor for the last decade, she has worked on large national projects for NZ Post and the Ministry of Education.

Teresa’s passion is collaborating within the not-for-profit sector and she has worked with HELP Auckland, Presbyterian Support Northern and several smaller youth-based trusts.

Teresa is the co-chair of the Pacific Rainbow Games Trust, an organisation hosting an LGBTQI+ multi-sport event in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2024 (Rainbow Games Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland).

She also sits on the board of the Charlotte Lesbian Museum.

Teresa has completed a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and Master in Public Management and is currently finishing a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling at the University of Auckland.

She and her wife foster children through Key Assets, volunteer on the Dominion Road School Parents Group and help out with puppies through Auckland Puppy Rescue.

Theo Van de Klundert

​Meetings of the panel

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

Scheduled meetings are open to the public.

For dates, agendas and minutes, see Rainbow 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

​From left to right: Lee Grabarek, Fale Andrew Lesā, Aych McArdle, Jack Byrne, John Kingi, Tux Hika, Julie Watson, Max Tweedie.


Aych McArdle

Aych McArdle is a community advocate and human rights defender based in Tāmaki Makaurau.

They work in the intersection between health, education and social services.

Aych is co-chairperson of OUTLine, human rights researcher at the Intersex Trust of Aotearoa New Zealand, and project collaborator at ReFrame.


Fale Andrew Lesā JP

Fale Andrew Lesā is a strong advocate for the Pacific rainbow community.

He is keen to ensure that Auckland celebrates its unique diversity and serves as a safe space for all minorities.

He has represented his community for many years, beginning in 2009 when he was elected to the Manukau City Council Pacific Island Advisory Committee.

Following that appointment, he was elected to the board at Manurewa High School where he was vice chairman for the past decade.

Fale is a policy consultant at the Asian Development Bank and has a number of other governance roles in health, education and conservation.

He is a funding assessor at Creative New Zealand and sits on the youth advisory board at Philanthropy New Zealand.

Both roles allow him to support the aspirations of Auckland's rainbow community.


Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne is a Pākehā trans man and human rights researcher.

He was born in Māwhera/ Greymouth and now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau.

From 2005-2014 he worked at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission as project manager for the Transgender Inquiry.

Jack has worked on other national, regional and international research projects and advocacy campaigns including co-authoring Counting Ourselves: the Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-binary Health Survey.

Jack is a founder for the online group New Zealand Trans Guys, chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA), on the Advisory Board for the Asia Pacific Transgender Network, and supports a network for rainbow asylum seekers and refugees in Aotearoa.


John Kingi

John Kingi is of Maniapoto, Raukawa, Waikato-Tainui and Ngāpuhi descent and is a born and raised Aucklander.

He works at the University of Auckland and has a conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in political science and history.

John has a passion for Māori affairs, rainbow issues, equity and family law. This has led to a number of roles, including a term as chair of Rainbow Youth and student union president. He also served as co-chair of the Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel from 2017-2019.

He is pleased to be returning to the panel to continue to provide a perspective as a rainbow Aucklander to the important work of Auckland Council.


Julie Watson

Following a teaching career, Julie Watson worked for two decades at the Human Rights Commission.

One of her highlights of that time was working on the To Be Who I Am: Transgender Inquiry and as part of the Intersex Roundtable.

Currently she is a programme manager for Silver Rainbow and Rainbow Tick and the production manager for Samesame but Different – Aotearoa's only LGBTIQ+ writers festival.

She is also director of TAP IN, which aims to create respectful workplaces, safe places to explore issues and promote the telling and hearing of stories.

Julie was a member of the panel in the previous term.


Max Tweedie

Max Tweedie is the director of the Auckland Pride Festival, Auckland's arts, cultural, and community festival for rainbow communities.

His background is in community mahi and activism, including working for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, and presenting the Parliamentary petition to ban conversion therapy.


Teresa Platt

Teresa Platt has a variety of different roles. She is the mother of two children, foster parent for Key Assets, a project manager in the NGO and government sectors, and runs her own specialty bakery.

Teresa has a Masters of Arts in Women's Studies from the University of Auckland. This has focused her interest in working on lesbian and rainbow family issues in her communities.

She is particularly interested in the experiences of children of rainbow parents at schools in Tāmaki Makaurau and the issues facing rainbow families in general.

With a background in community development at the Department of Internal Affairs, Teresa has led teams to help local communities get funding for local needs.

She has also worked previously for the council on policy and projects for people experiencing homelessness, and in the health sector looking at issues for people leaving prisons.


Tux Hika

Tux Hika is takatāpui with strong interpersonal skills and experience in navigating diverse needs and working collaboratively.

He also captures and celebrates Auckland's rainbow community through photography and contributing to LGBTQ publication Express for the past decade.

Tux feels that the council has helped to create a positive shift in attitudes towards rainbow communities – particularly in south Auckland.

However, he feels more can be done to reduce violence towards rainbow people, increase rainbow visibility throughout the region, support trans inclusion in sport and recreation, and consider the needs of rainbow seniors.

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