About Kahu Youth Trust

On this page, you can meet our incredible Kahu Youth team, find out more about our funders and supporters, meet our Board of Trustees and learn about the history of Kahu Youth Trust.

Meet our amazing team

We’re a talented and committed group of Youth Workers who love nothing more than to work with the youth of the Upper Clutha. We’re responsible for running drop-in sessions, regular term-time programmes as well as our incredible school holiday programmes. Importantly, we are also here to work with you one-on-one if you need our help! Come and have a chat.

Anna Sutherland

Operations Director
Pronouns: She/ Her
Loves: animals, dance, skiing and spreadsheets.
Hates: having to charge things.
Email: manager@kahuyouthtrust.org

Anna Sutherland is our Operations Director.  Anna joins the organization with a wealth of knowledge in the empowerment and delivery of programs for youth, having managed at another charity, Inclusion Foundation for over a decade.

Anna started her career in the charity sector starting out in 2009 as a Dance Educator, teaching a small group of kids with Down syndrome. Word spread and classes grew, and the dance program was formalised as a charity called emotion21 (now Inclusion Foundation).

During her time at Inclusion Foundation she took on a multitude of roles – often at the same time! As Artistic Director she took great pride in creating meaningful opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities including; International performance tours to India and South Africa, collaborations with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cira and The Australian Ballet School and new innovative programs to meet the community’s needs. More recently as emotion21’s Manager she led the community with care though covid lockdowns, launching virtual classes to allow people with Down Syndrome from across Australia to stay connected and moving. Anna has a Dip. of Leadership and Management. 

Anna is a passionate and highly skilled individual that will bring leadership, mentorship, enthusiasm and drive to the Kahu Youth team.

Linda ‘Mini’ Spove

Youth Development Worker / Program and Events Coordinator
Pronouns: She/Her
Loves: Travelling, Sports and very salty liquorice
Hates: Bullying. Dislikes: Coffee, being cold and gardening.
Email: mini@kahuyouthtrust.org

Mini left Stockholm to go on her big OE, she fell in love with a kiwi and never made it back to Sweden. The city mouse turned into a country mouse and has called Wanaka home for the past 10 years and is very happy to live in paradise with her husband and two kids. 

Her real name is Linda however she’s been called Mini since her partner pointed out “all Swedes are tall except Linda”, hence Miniswede which later on got shortened to: Mini.

After several years of administration jobs around town and with her nursing background, she decided to change the direction her career was headed and is ticking along towards her Social work degree. She has always had a desire to help others and to make a positive impact on people’s lives. 

When she isn’t at Kahu Youth or studying, you will most likely find her with her very busy boys, either down the skatepark or on the football field during summer and up the ski fields in winter. On the weekends the family likes  to go camping and reset in nature. Ohau is an all-time favourite, the Nachos there are to die for! 

She is extremely excited to take over the grand responsibility after our superstar Samantha Strong as Program and event coordinator. Mini’s passion for our young people and new challenges will shine through our programmes and will hopefully inspire Wānaka’s youth to be leaders of tomorrow.


Helen Akintoye

Youth Worker
Pronouns: She/Her
Loves: animals, peppermint tea,  action movies, playing games and dancing.
Hates: coffee, washing the dishes and wet socks. 
Email: helen@kahuyouthtrust.org

Helen was born and raised in Manchester, England but recently moved to Wanaka and joined the vibrant Kahu Youth team. Helen has always lived in the city but is keen to get involved in outdoor activities and learn about the Wanaka ways.

Helen’s working background has always been supporting young people in a variation of ways. This has allowed Helen to work in different settings supporting children and young people. Helen enjoys creating new experiences for those around her. She completed her BA in Childhood and Youth studies joint with Criminology.  

She has always enjoyed working with young people and creating new experiences

Prior to joining the Kahu team, Helen spent a year exploring Australia, during this time she tried her hand at picking blueberries. It is safe to say she has never looked at blueberries the same. With this thirst to explore Helen travelled parts of South East Asia where she found her love for Asian cuisine. Her favourite places to visit were Malaysia, Bali and Sri Lanka where she learnt about the beautiful unique culture and costumes. The enriching experience has followed Helen and is evident in her thinking and practice.  

During her downtime Helen has grown a great love for baking, although she is not one for always following the recipe she can whip up a great Victorian sponge. Helen generally is very active so you will see her bouncing  around Kahu trying to get the young people or the staff to play a game or two with her. Be warned she does love a good game of snap or any card. Helen’s secret talent is being able to get the young people thinking with a good riddle.

Helen has expressed how excited she is to bring her youthful energy to Kahu Youth and potentially host her very own mini Great Kahu Bake off.

Rayner Swartz

Youth Worker / Entertainment Engineer
Pronouns: He/Him
Loves: Sending a hard project out on the rocks! Having Musical Jams with anyone and everyone. Geeking out with board games and friends.
Hates: Wrinkly fingers when they have been wet for too long. Coffee without cream. When you’re ripping your favourite dance moves and the music cuts out.
Email; rayner@kahuyouthtrust.org

Rayner is a South African born kiwi with an appetite for adventure! Rayner studied Psychology and Biology overseas (Wellington, The North Island).


Rayner is a keen rock climber and the moments he is not engaging with youth, you will find him clambering and hanging on for the sends.  He found his passion for youth work while in Germany, working in educational Summer camps, which mixed fun and learning into one delectable dish.  


Returning to New Zealand Rayner settled in the playground of Wanaka, where he was recruited to Kahu Youth while fire spinning at Matariki. Rayner loves his time there and runs programmes for kids, and does youth engagement. Whether chatting about adventures, video games or youth issues, Rayner is committed to helping youth develop and grow in the Upper Clutha. 


He runs a joint programme with MINT called the Korimako collective, which helps additional needs youth partake in fun in the community, and interacting with youth volunteers from the community. He also runs a Thursday after school adventure club and has taken over SAGA, Wanakas LGBTQIA+ inclusive group. 

Maxime ‘Max’ Brochu

Youth Development Worker
Pronouns: She/Her
Loves: Dogs, a really good carve on skis, bluebird day up the hill after a massive snowstorm, amazing desserts, taking naps, hiking and Christmas.
Hates: Pickles, burnt popcorn, rain in the middle of winter, spiders, traffic and messy rooms.
Email: maxime@kahuyouthtrust.org

Max is a Canadian who was raised hiking, skiing, camping, ice skating, cycling, roller blading and having her weekend filled with activities. On rainy days (or too cold to play outside), she was a big fan of legos and was watching the same movies over and over with her siblings. Max and her siblings all have different personalities and hobbies, which brought them to learn at quite an early age about sharing, caring, compromising and patience with one another. These values followed Max’s throughout her life. 

Max grew up in a big family where there were always younger kids and toddlers. Her and her two siblings have always been the ones entertaining the youngest during family dinners, it then became natural for Max to care about youth. In high school, she participated in a ‘mini psychologue’ program, a cycling camp and did a lot of volunteering. Her first job was as a ski instructor, which she still considers as a dream job. She also has experience in health care such as youth centre, elderly centre and a centre for additional need and homeless people, 

Max’s lifelong dream was to be able to ski for her birthday and visit Middle Earth, so when she decided to take a gap year, New Zealand was the perfect choice. She landed in Auckland in February 2020, with the intention of staying for a year, then visiting Australia and South East Asia before heading home to finish her studies. Due to the circumstances of the world, she ’got stuck’ in the country (thank you Covid!). She fell in love with Aotearoa and the people and moved to Wanaka for the 2021 winter season working for Cardrona, and adored the Wanaka vibe. While waiting for her new visa to come in, she volunteered for Kahu Youth for a couple of months, where she got to learn our values and what we do for our community. Kahu being the dream place to get her social work career started, she accepted this new position and she is more than happy to be part of the team!

Markus Hermanns

Youth Development Worker / Enviro Guru
Pronouns: He/Him
Loves: My favourite human and animal, Nature, Outdoors and Wanaka.
Hates: binary thinking, waste, ignorance and cognitive dissonance.
Email: markus@markushermanns.com

Markus was born and raised in a rural area in Germany. Early on in his life, he had to look after his younger siblings. Through that experience and responsibility, Markus developed a passion and interest in caring and looking after, coaching, training, guiding, educating, facilitating and teaching others. 

Markus started his professional career as an soldier and officer in the German Army before choosing New Zealand as his new home. After finishing his studies in German, Geography and Education in Germany, he immigrated to New Zealand in 2012 where he started to work as a child care and youth worker as well as a teacher assistant in Wellington. After gaining his teaching diploma at Canterbury University in 2014, Markus moved to Wanaka and started to teach at Wanaka Primary School.

In 2022, Markus started to also work for Kahu Youth and currently runs the Grounded Enviro Programme and helps out at other events and programmes.

Chevaun ‘Chev’ Libaude

Youth Development Worker
Pronouns: She/Her
Loves: My Cat Basil, music and dancing with headphones in, sense of humour and swimming underwater with my eyes open
Hates: High heel shoes, bad attitudes, spiders (any kind no matter WHAT), people who don’t button up there tops in line.
Email: chevaun@kahuyouthtrust.org

Chev hails from across the ditch! Born in France but raised in Australia, she is currently completing her Bachelor in Social Work through Massey University. Chev has been in the hospitality industry for the last 20 years while bringing up her daughter, who is a local Wanaka gal through and through. Over the last 3 years, she has been mainly studying and working music festival events but decided to hang up the hospo reins and embark on the journey she is studying, working with kids as a youth worker here at Kahu Youth!

Chev is as enthusiastic as the kids that come each day! Even though some kids tower over her, she has the kick and drive that is needed to keep up with all the RAD youth that come through, creating a safe space to support and enhance our rangatahi is her priority!

Kahu Youth is backed by a huge team of supporters.

We simply couldn’t do this without the generosity of numerous funders, sponsors and supporters. There are so many organisations which help to make it possible for us to reach more young people in the community.

Meet our Trustees

Kahu Youth has a Board of Trustees which is responsible for the overall direction, strategy and governance of the Kahu Youth Trust. These people have been chosen to give Kahu Youth a broad based governance structure and an appropriate mix of experience and expertise.

<strong>Randal Dobbs</strong>
Randal Dobbs

Joined 2019 / Chair
Pronoun: He/Him
Randal and his wife came to Wanaka in 2017. They have 4 adult children. Randal joined Kahu Youth in 2019 and has a broad background in business marketing and governance. He has 25+ years involvement in School Board, Community and Sport Foundations and a continuing strong interest in helping the community to provide the best possible environment for the youth

<strong>Maggie Antone</strong>
Maggie Antone

Joined 2020 / Trustee
Pronoun: She/Her
Maggie is a mother and support crew to her very active twin teenage girls. Having held senior leadership positions with global advertising agencies, she brings valuable experience from her work helping leading brands thrive, across a range of industries from retail to telecommunications to not-for-profits. Maggie’s appetite for new challenges and passion to give back, so that our community is better today and tomorrow, ensures that Kahu Youth delivers extensive value to the Upper Clutha and is why she is proud to be a member of the board.

<strong>Kylie Stevens</strong>
Kylie Stevens

Joined 2021 / Trustee
Pronoun: She/Her
Kylie grew up in Cromwell and after spending time overseas has settled in Wanaka with her husband and son. She has spent her career working in multinational organisations, most recently in a key operations role. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and has a keen eye for compliance and reporting, ensuring that Kahu Youth operates smoothly and reports back to funders with full transparency.

<strong>Chris Waugh</strong>
Chris Waugh

Joined 2020 / Trustee
Pronoun: He/Him
Chris is an experienced English teacher with long-standing links to Wānaka. In 2020, Chris was awarded Supreme Award for Innovation in Education whilst working at Mt Aspiring College. He is now Head of English at Christ’s College, Christchurch. Chris is passionate about youth wellbeing and a healthy approach to sport/fitness.

Emily Black

Joined 2023 / Trustee
Pronoun: She/Her

Emily grew up in Australia and spend years travelling abroad before making her way to Wanaka in 2020. Emily works for a large non-government organisation in a leadership role in community based mental health service. Emily is passionate about all things mental health and youth well-being. 


Clare Bridle

Joined 2023 / Trustee
Pronoun: She/Her

Clare moved to Wanaka with her husband and two children in 2022. She is a fundraising, marketing and governance professional with over 20 years of experience working in the non-profit sector in key leadership roles. Clare is passionate about community and the importance of working together to build connection and belonging.


Our history

Kahu Youth Trust began in July 2003, after the community recognised the need for a youth voice, along with youth-based activities and events within the Upper Clutha community.

Tarn Felton was Kahu Youth’s first Youth Worker, based in a tiny office in the old Community Networks building on Dunmore Street. He was the sole Youth Worker for four years, and kept the youth service running despite limited space, resources and money. It was during this time that the boys’ and girls’ adventure clubs began, along with one-on-one sessions, a Youth Council and involvement with the YATA (Youth Access to Alcohol) which included a mock crash once a year. Tarn also spent time at Mount Aspiring College as a floating teacher assistant, as well as supporting families and young people through whatever problems they faced at the time.

In 2006 we ran our first M.A.S.H (Mellow and Safe Haven) tent at Rippon Music Festival, a chill out place for those who feel unwell. Also that year the Youth Council sponsored a Tibetan child and tried to raise money to go to Tibet to meet him.

Richard Elvey joined Kahu Youth part time working alongside Tarn from 2007, which meant that for the first time we had two Youth Workers on the team. Kahu Youth organised our first street parade in October, 2008 replacing the Wanakafest parade for that year. A year later, Tarn left for pastures new, and Kim Holmes joined Kahu Youth – meaning for the first time that we had two full time Youth Workers.

The Crib, as it was named by the first young visitors, officially opened in May 2009, though young people were visiting as early as February. The Crib was Wānaka’s first ever youth club, and before long we began our drop in sessions on Friday and Saturday nights.

In 2009, our first holiday programmes were started and 17 year old Sophia DeWaal launched Bluemoon, fun alcohol free events for young people. The Youth Workers started working with the student council and SADD (Students Against Driving Drunk) at Mount Aspiring College, replacing the youth council.

Other new initiatives in 2009 included ‘Wānaka’s young change makers’ a group of active young people promoting sustainable practice in the Upper Clutha in partnership with Enviroschools.  We also organised our first official Wānakafest Parade and Cardboard Boat Race.  

2010 saw us consolidate our existing programmes. The number of young people using our space rose steadily through the year and we added some new events and activities including a “Youth Club on the Park” at Wānakafest and our first Matariki event, a small pot luck dinner at the Arts centre.

In the decade between 2010 and 2020, Kahu Youth Trust evolved further. The team continued to grow with the likes of Angie Griffiths, Claire “Frenchy” French and many others. We moved into a much bigger, brighter Crib at 11 Russell Street, Wānaka and a year later took delivery of an 11 seater van which opened up the wider Upper Clutha area to our youth, as well as allowing more spontaneity and youth led decisions within our existing activities.

Matariki grew to become a huge community event on the lakefront involving over 1,000 locals, performances, bonfires and a huge hangi – and this is now Kahu Youth’s flagship annual event. Bluemoon grew to become a committee of five young people aged 14 – 19. We also ran a 10 week Radio course learning how to organise, run and present radio shows. The youth involved produce ‘The Crib sessions’ a for youth, by youth radio show on Wānakabeats from 4 to 4:30pm on weekdays.

By 2020, we had three paid Youth Workers on the staff, with other volunteers and contractors working with us as required. Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and the need for social distancing, we still managed to work with youth and deliver programmes during the remainder of 2020.

During 2019 and 2020, our Board of Trustees developed a longer term strategy for the organisation, and secured much more stable, substantial and longer term funding for Kahu Youth Trust. As part of both the planning exercise and securing of funding, the Board decided to re-organise Kahu Youth to enable stronger delivery of services, reach more youth and work even more closely with funding and community partners. This reorganisation was completed mid way through 2021.

Kahu Youth still runs all our most successful programmes and are always planning more new exciting projects and opportunities for young people in the Upper Clutha area. Kahu Youth continues to grow, adapt and learn to meet the constantly changing needs of our wonderful, vibrant community and the amazing young people that live within it.