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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 the issues that are important to the rainbow community
  • provide advice on our regional strategies, policies and plans
  • help us effectively engage with the rainbow community.

Panel members

  • Councillor Richard Hills
  • David Gurney (Lead officer)
  • Rhion Munro (Deputy officer)
  • John Kingi (Co-chairperson)
  • Aych McArdle (Co-chairperson)
  • Campbell Clarkson
  • Fale Andrew Lesā JP
  • Jack Byrne
  • Julie Watson
  • Max Tweedie
  • Teresa Platt
  • Tux Hika.

Meetings of the panel

The Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel holds three scheduled meetings and up to seven meetings 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

To attend or present at a meeting of the Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel, or find more information, email


Demographic advisory panels terms of reference


For the latest end of term report, see Auckland Council Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel end of term report for the 2017-2019 term.


Meet our advisory panel members

​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.