2019 Board Member Applicants

Check out the applicants for our Executive Board for the 2019/2020 term! Voting will occur at our AGM this weekend.

Co-Chairperson - Two Terms (1 Position Available)

Tycho Vandenburg

Kia ora! I’m Tycho, a queer trans person who is currently completing a PhD in community psychology, exploring the lived experiences of homeless trans and gender diverse people. This work can be pretty tough, so I’ve found my antidote in playing video games, riding anything with two wheels, and co-parenting two cat children (and getting them tattooed on my body!). 

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I want to support Rainbow Youth in their mahi and organisational development in the coming years. As an organisation, RY has an incredibly important role in shaping the social climate of Aotearoa, and I want to support, contribute, and grow their capabilities going forward. I have developed a range of skills that are highly valuable in the non-profit sphere, which I love to share with others. I also value the opportunity to learn from others doing work in this context. Getting to work with a such talented and dynamic team of staff and volunteers is also a big bonus! I also have an unshakeable commitment towards working at the grass-roots level with our diverse queer and trans whanau. I have been volunteering in various forms for over six years now, and - quite frankly - I’m also not sure I know how to function without this kind of work in my life.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

For over 5 years I was the co-director of Breaking Boundaries, a grass-roots queer and trans creative arts organisation. In this role I was responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the organisation, including sourcing and managing finances, liaising with community stakeholders, and developing our online systems. Through this work I’ve become adept at navigating challenging non-profit environments, and can submit a funding application with my eyes closed! More recently, I have been contracted as the Designer for Social Impact at Mind Over Manner, an organisation that uses theatre to ignite social change, particularly in the realm of neurodiversity. In this role I have been working closely with the Creative Director to shape the strategy of the organisation, secure funding, produce innovative resources, and work towards organisational sustainability.

Treasurer (1 Position Available)

Joel Gatland

Note: Joel has also applied for a General Board member position

I’m Joel, a genderqueer 26-year-old engineering student at AUT. I’m from East Auckland but grew up living in South East Asia and America with my family. I first got involved in RainbowYOUTH in 2010 and have been involved in different capacities including as a facilitator, intern and on the board as a Secretary and Co-chairperson. I love adventure and fill my down time by playing with my cats and refereeing with the Pirate City Rollers (a local Roller Derby team).

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

RainbowYOUTH is an incredibly important organisation which staff and volunteers have helped grow into a place which is safe for all queer and gender diverse young people. I have personally experienced how life changing the work done at RY can be and I want to do anything I can to ensure that RY continues to grow. Last year I took part in a 10-month leadership program called Be. Leadership. This program helped me to develop skills in thinking about leadership from an accessibility perspective and gave me the skills and motivation to create social change.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I am applying for the position of Treasurer. I have some work experience as a Business Analyst from before returning to university. In this role I was responsible for some of the financial accounting and put a lot of work into designing reports which were accessible and easy for all staff to understand. I also love numbers and after reviewing the job description I think I would be a good fit for this role.

Secretary (1 Position Available)

Lee Grabarek

(He/Him or They/Them)
Note: Lee has also applied for a General Board member position

My name is Lee Grabarek (he/him or they/them). I am originally from the United States where I went to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts to get my BA in social justice, youth studies, and gender studies. I came to New Zealand to live in Auckland with my partner and have now been calling New Zealand “home” for the past four years. 

During my time in New Zealand, I’ve worked closely with the rainbow community, interning and working with RainbowYOUTH and now working with Auckland Sexual Health as a sexual health educator for high schools and community groups throughout the Auckland region. I love working with young people, so having the opportunity to work closely with students in high schools around topics of sexuality, gender, safe sex, etc., makes working as a sexual health educator a dream job. 

When not working, I love being outside--it’s my favourite place to socialise and centre myself. I’m a huge cycling fan and try to ride my bike whenever I get the chance. I also like to tramp, rock climb with friends, and kayak. Along with being outside, I love travelling (aside from those long-haul flights). Seeing new places and trying to understand other cultures makes me feel alive.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

As someone who identifies as transgender, queer, and who works closely with the rainbow community, I understand the invaluable importance of RainbowYOUTH’s work in the lives of young rainbow people. Having access to affirming and factual gender, sexuality, and identity education is limited for so many young people. I see the consequences of this limited access to proper gender, sexuality, and identity education on a daily basis both personally and professionally. Young people are being bullied, emotionally and physically abused/neglected by unaccepting family, suffering from mental health issues, and generally feeling alone and without support. RainbowYOUTH is such a powerful source of education and support for these rainbow young people. Whether it’s finding I’m Local resources in their school hauora centre, seeing the “If It’s Not Gay; It’s Not Gay” video online, attending a peer support group, or simply emailing RainbowYOUTH for information on identity, when young people access RainbowYOUTH, they access compassion and acceptance for their rainbow identity. 

I want to ensure that RainbowYOUTH continues to better the lives of rainbow young people and the wider community. To do so, I’m committed to helping RainbowYOUTH fulfill its values of inclusion and acceptance, achieve its administrative and organisational duties, and effectively use its resources to achieve new organisation goals. 

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I bring with me a variety of skills that I believe would lend to my position as secretary or general board member. I pride myself on my ability to prioritise tasks--whether its my work or personal schedule--in order to bring about the most time efficiency. I practice my task management on a daily basis as I constantly need to arrange and rearrange meetings across schools, organisations, and different audiences. 

I also have an ability to facilitate meetings in small and large group settings. My leadership style is characterised by my empathy, intuitively knowing when to step up or step back to allow for voices to be heard, and my commitment to staying on topic.  

Lending to my leadership abilities is my ability to connect with different types of people on a relatable yet professional level. I connect to people best through showing genuine interest in the topics they find important, using humour to help others feel more comfortable, and reflecting confidence and friendliness in my body language. 

Finally, I bring to this position connections with stakeholders and the target audience of RainbowYOUTH: rainbow young people. I have various working relationships with organisations such as Family Planning, New Zealand Aids Foundation, Rape Prevention Education, Auckland Sexual Health, and OUTline. More importantly, I have very close relationships with students, guidance counsellors, nurses, and teachers across twenty four schools in Auckland. These students and staff provide such an intimate glimpse into rainbow issues affecting young people and offer ways that these issues can be addressed. Having this position as board member, would allow me to support creating policies and plans that accurately reflect the voices of the young people who need RainbowYOUTH most.

Taylor Mitchell


Note: Taylor has also applied for a General Board member position

Hi, I’m Taylor! I’m a 24 year old queer, cis woman who grew up and studied in Auckland, although have recently been away from NZ on and off for the past year while studying and working in London. 

I started work this year as a graduate lawyer in the environment team at Russell McVeagh, although I’ve worked in the legal sector throughout university. While at uni, I was heavily involved in a number of volunteer roles including with UN Youth NZ, as a mentor through the MATES Great Potentials program and as a sailing instructor for young people with disabilities at Sailability Auckland. 

 In my spare time, I like to befriend the street cats of Eden Terrace, binge watch TV dramas with my partner and go on beach walks with my dog Skye.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

Throughout university, I tended to engage in Auckland’s queer community on more of a social side of things – while most of my other time was taken up with studies and volunteering for other charity groups. This changed while I was living in the UK, getting involved in a grassroots run Queer Camp group, and loving it so much I ran an Auckland version when I got back in January! Since then, I’ve also been involved in the LGBT & disability strategy groups at my job at Russell McVeagh, as part of their broader diversity and inclusion program. Running for RY Board seemed like a great next step – a position where I can use my legal and charity experience to give back to queer youth in a positive way. I would love to help out the board in any way I can and contribute to what I think is just an awesome organisation.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

  • I’m a confident writer and speaker from my involvement with UN Youth and my time at university. I’m happy to take on any report writing or public speaking roles as needed.
  • I have excellent time management, having juggled university, work and volunteer commitments over the past 6 years.
  • I have experience working in charities to develop and uphold visions and values, and to take on governance roles. 
  • My legal background and training has improved my abilities for critical thinking, research and problem solving. It has also given me the skills and knowledge to address potential legal problems which may arise in the role.

Micaella Stone

Note: Micaella has also applied for a General Board member position

I’m Micaella, a 21 year old student from Auckland. I love being outdoors, DIY projects and spending time with my partner and our four-legged family. I first got involved with RainbowYOUTH as very shy, very closeted sixteen year old. At seventeen, I became a facilitator for GQ, our under-18s peer support group. Since then I’ve thrown myself into the RY whānau – acting as a Rōpū leader at a facilitator hui, featuring in several videos,  growing the presence of GQ, and becoming Executive Board member. 

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I know first-hand the difference a supportive community can make. I want to help grow RainbowYOUTH so that future rangatahi and their whanau can access this support too.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I would be a good fit for the 2019/2020 executive board term because I am passionate, reliable and knowledgeable about the organisation. I enjoy learning and developing new skills. I have experience serving on the RainbowYOUTH board, as well as experience keeping records and taking minutes. 

Uday Bhatia

Note: Uday has also applied for the Tangata Whenua Rep position & a General Board member position

I am a 17 year old school student, and have always been keen to help people. I am Pansexual and love every person out there. I am a student leader and have always been the best I can in Academics and Extra curricular activities, I am part of various groups and organizations. I have a lot of family and friends but I consider every Rainbow person being a special part of my family. 

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

Rainbow people are my family and what all comfort and strength they have to offer is tremendous. They have given me a lot and if I can help them back in any ways I would love to, So if I become a board member, surely I hope I can make a difference, and I believe if you are capable enough to help even one person, your life has a meaning. And I want to be a role model and a leader in future, and being a board member is one of the step can can put me one step closer to my goals. 

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I believe I have good Management skill, communication skill, leadership skill, Time management skill. I have a good sense of humor and have good knowledge of Human psychology and have psychotherapy skills as well. I too have some good negotiatioin skills.

Tangata Whenua Rep (1 Position Available)

Cinnamon Lindsay


Kia ora koutou, my name is Cinnamon and I am a queer cis wahine (Ngāti Whatua, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi). I am currently a research assistant and tutor at the University of Auckland. I have been the Tangata Whenua rep for the last year and would love to continue on in this role for 2019. 

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I have loved being on the RY Board for the last year. I love being part of such a passionate, progressive, and bold group of young people and really want to continue my mahi with RY. There are some new projects I want to get involved with this year and I hope to continue working alongside such amazing people to realise RY's aspirations around honoring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I have learnt a lot over the last year about governance and am really keen to continue working towards RY's goals. I am particularly passionate about working further on the Te Haerenga Hōu project and promoting RY research relationships and research possibilities. It is amazing to get to know the staff better over the last few months and I really value being part of such a passionate team.

General Board Member (3 Positions Available)

Cleopatra Matthews


Hello! My name is Cleo and I am a 27 year old queer woman. Last year I married the woman of my dreams! We live with our flatmates in an old Ponsonby villa, shared with our high maintenance cat (who easily takes up half the bed!). I was very lucky to grow up in a liberal and open community which helped shape the person I am today. Despite that, when my mum came out, my brothers and I were at times teased and bullied. This made us resilient and fight more for what we believe in! I am a passionate advocate for equality and equity, an average but eager dancer, runner and saxophone tooter.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I want to be a RY Board Member because I really care about the great work you do! It is so important to do what we can to support one another and help create a better future for young people and rangatahi. I have skills, knowledge and passion that I'd love to give back to the community.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I was a youth worker for two years at Youthline and trained their crisis line staff, as well as volunteering at Women's Refuge. This work developed my empathy and compassion, as well as teaching me how to deal with sometimes tough situations. I am currently working in the public sector as a community and social policy analyst, so my day to day job has to do with engaging with diverse groups of people and working together to improve the lives and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Primarily my job involves analysis and in depth research. Most of all I am a determined and capable person. My Masters degree focused on young people, my legal background and gender studies papers should also help!

Finn Teiniker


Kia ora, my name is Finn Teiniker and I am a 23 year old queer, non-binary resident of Tamaki Makaurau. I am hugely passionate about queer, transgender and intersex rights and plan on devoting my life to this work. I am a (recent) volunteer with Outline and have worked for the non-profit Breaking Boundaries in the past. Currently I am working at Auckland Central City Library as a Library Assistant on the Communities team. My work, along with general library duties, involves creating gender diversity and safety and inclusion for gender minorities within the workplace.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I would love to be a member of the Rainbow Youth board as I am striving to create as much positive change as possible for our rainbow community. I believe that working within Rainbow Youth would be an amazing opportunity to meet the direct needs of many vulnerable people, especially our youth. I wholeheartedly believe that there is so much work to be done and that if we apply ourselves (and our funding) in the correct way we will be able to create the change we need, slowly but surely.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I have a wide range of experience working with and for our LGBTI+ community. From phone support to public events, I consider myself an active part of the community. Along with this experience, I have excellent analytical and numerical skills which I believe is vital for discussions around funding and for problem solving.

Kathryn Hickey


Kia ora koutou! I'm a proudly queer Pākehā 27yo. My pronouns are she/her.

I’ve spent most of my life questioning my identity. I currently identify as a pansexual tomboy. This may change as I continue my journey of self-discovery and realisation. 

I grew up in Auckland, I’ve been here most of my life. While at uni, I volunteered actively in the rainbow community. After that, I spent a couple of years connecting and educating people in Taranaki through the museum and libraries. Then I went to France, where I taught English and volunteered at the local blind foundation. 

In my free time I can be found hanging out with friends, cooking, or tramping.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I want to support and guide Rainbow Youth in its good work supporting rangatahi at all stages of their journey. 

I have experienced being on the edge of the rainbow community, especially as a young person questioning my identity. I want to ensure the rainbow community is as welcoming as it can be so that rainbow rangatahi have access to the support that I was not able to receive during my journey of self discovery, especially for those who don’t fit into neat binary boxes, or who face intersecting barriers and discrimination.

Rainbow Youth’s work providing support and resources for rainbow rangatahi is vital to the wellbeing of our community. It is helping a generation grow up knowing who they are, with access to the support they need. It combats some of the most serious problems facing the rainbow community as a result of current and historic stigma and trauma, including violence, homelessness, and mental health distress.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I’m organised and motivated. I am an event manager, a teacher, and a problem solver.

I can analyse issues and goals to formulate strategic paths forward. I can get along with anyone, regardless of political stance or other differences. These skills will help me work together with other board members and staff to guide Rainbow Youth as it grows and reaches more rangatahi.

I have experience working with and delivering education to disabled people. My skills in this area include making events, resources and promotional material accessible. This gives me the ability to assess and minimise, reduce or remove a wide range of barriers for disabled rangatahi. 

I’m passionate about trans rights – I try to be the best ally I can to everyone on the rainbow spectrum.

Lee Lamont

My name is Lee Lamont, I'm a 23 year old non-binary man living in central Auckland. I'm a florist by profession, and am hoping to branch out into the funeral industry one day. I found RainbowYouth through the support manager at the Auckland drop-in centre, who inspired me to become an intern there at the start of 2019. I have been a mentor figure to several young queer youths over the years, and this part of my life is very important to me, so being involved with Rainbow Youth just seemed a natural choice for me. 

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I am passionate about the work that Rainbow Youth does, and this position to be able to do more within the community is an incredible opportunity. I have a lot of respect for this organisation and the members within it, and to be able to work alongside these people would be such a unique and invaluable experience. I would love the opportunity to commit myself to this cause that i believe in, and will do my best to live up to the expectations of my peers.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

I've been described as "pretty onto it", and I pride myself on my hardworking attitude and thorough approach to life. I like to apply myself to my full abilities in everything I do, and believe that listening is the best way to finding solutions. My time as an intern at the Auckland drop-in centre has given me good insight into the organisation, and a good relationship with the staff there. My experience in the Floristry industry has given me important skillsets in relating to, and working with people; whether they are grieving funeral attendees, long-standing corporation clients, or everyday customers. I believe that my level-headedness and considerate mindset would be an invaluable addition to the Rainbow Youth Board.

Logan Hamley


Kia ora, he uri ahau nō Ngāti Ranga me te iwi Pākehā. Kei te pito o Tāmaki au e noho ana engari i kuraina ahau i Dilworth, ā, i whānau mai ai au ki Mangatawhiri me Waiuku. I tēnei wā, kei te whai au i te tohu o te mātai hinengaro i te whare wānanga o Tāmaki.

Tell us why you want to be an RY board member

I tērā tau, ko au tētahi o ngā kaipōari o RY, nō rēira, kei te hiahia au ki te whai wāhi anō hei whakamana i ngā takatāpui i roto i te hāpori whānui.

What particular skills do you think you have that make you suitable for the position(s) you've selected?

He kaha au ki te rangahau me te whakarongo. Ko tētahi mea nui, ko tāku whai i te reo me ōna tikanga. He akonga ahau i te mātai hinengaro anō hoki, nā reira, kei te rata au ki te hohou rongo me te āta whakarongo ki te ngako o ngā kōrero, kātahi ka whakautu.