Our Staff

Maria Ramsay

Maria Ramsay

Chief Executive

Maria was appointed as Chief Executive in 2014, having joined the Trust team in 2006 in the position of Trust Manager. Since commencing in her role, Maria has been integral in steering the Trust through significant operational and strategic development. With the Trust’s maturity has come added responsibility and increasing engagement with key partners. 

As well as her role as Chief Executive Maria is the Secretariat for the Trust's companies – TSB Group Ltd, TSB Group Capital Ltd and TSB Group Investments Ltd.

Prior to starting at the Trust, Maria was the Manager of Service Delivery at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth’s Library, Museum and Visitor Information Centre,  as well as its Acting Manager.

Originally training as a Comprehensive Registered Nurse, Maria worked for 11 years at Taranaki District Health Board in various roles. In addition, she managed rest homes and private hospitals.

Away from the Trust she is the Chair of Netball Taranaki, a Board Member of the Elite Athletes Foundation, as well as a Community Mentor with a community mentoring scheme run through Venture Taranaki.

Dion Maaka

Dion Maaka

Finance, Risk and Group Strategy ...

CA BBS, PGDip AgriCom

Dion has recently joined the team as Finance Risk and Group Strategy leader, a role which has been recruited in response to the increased financial and strategic planning needs of TSB Group.

Born and raised in Taranaki, Dion brings a wealth of experience gained through Executive financial roles at Taranaki based organisations PKW Incorporation and WITT.

A Chartered Accountant, Dion began his accounting career in New Plymouth prior to leaving NZ in 1999 where he worked extensively in London, Dublin and Melbourne over a ten-year period.

In the community Dion has been a Trustee for Mahia Mai a Whai Tara Trust and St John Bosco School. Currently Dion is the Chair of Te Rua o te Moko Ltd and an Associate Director for Te Kiwai o Ngaruahine Ltd.

Dion has a passion for all things Taranaki and looks forward to making a significant contribution to the aspirations of the Trust.

Keri Wanoa

Keri Wanoa

Manutaki Whai Hua Maori

Ngati Porou

Keri comes to the Trust in the new position of Manutaki Whai Hua Maori – Maori Partnerships and Outcomes Leader. This role supports the Trust’s commitment to working in partnership with Taranaki Iwi and our Maori community.

Previously Pouwhakahaere/Trust Manager for Te Reo o Taranaki Charitable Trust, Keri’s work is underpinned by a strong cultural base with extensive experience in community, immersion education and indigenous design sectors.

Keri returned with her partner Hemi Sundgren home to Taranaki to raise their three children. Over the last 15 years she has been an advocate for positive change alongside the Taranaki Maori community with a portfolio that spans many roles within the education, community and creative sectors.

Keri is passionate about her work in the cultural space and is committed to the Trust’s vision of empowering and helping our communities achieve their hopes and aspirations.

Leighton Littlewood

Leighton Littlewood

Philanthropic Strategy Leader

Leighton leads the policy, strategy and implementation of the Trust's Funding framework. This includes management and delivery of research and development of the Trust's Strategic Philanthropy, Innovative Philanthropy and Impact investment, as well as implementation, facilitation and related communication.  Leighton is also responsible for funding related community relationship management, reporting and evaluation.

Commencing work with the Trust in 2016, Leighton was originally appointed as the Trust's Programme, Funding and Facilitation Leader, then held the role of Community Investment and Funding Leader. 

Prior to starting with the Trust, Leighton worked for over 10 years in the community development field at the New Plymouth District Council, including five years as manager of its Community Development and Community Funding services. 

Leighton has also worked as an Outdoor Educator/Facilitator and has an Arts degree from Massey University, majoring in History and Politics.

In addition to his work at the Trust, Leighton is a Community Mentor within the community mentoring pilot programme, operating from Venture Taranaki.

Tania Pirini

Tania Pirini

Chief Executive's PA / Board ...

Tania is Personal Assistant to Maria Ramsay, the Trust's Chief Executive, as well as Board Support to the Board of Trustees.  

This is a varied role which sees Tania arranging Board meetings, minute taking for the Trust's entities, managing Board invitations, travel and accommodation, and a myriad of other duties that help keep the work of the Board running effectively.

With the Trust since 2006, Tania's previous experience includes 16 years with the New Plymouth District Council in various roles including Office Manager at the Taranaki Museum, and PA to Manager of Puke Ariki. 

In the community, Tania is a voluntary Committee Member with the Te Kupenga Stone Sculpture Society, which organises a biennial stone-carving event in New Plymouth and is also Secretary for Together Grow Better Community Trust working within the Marfell Community.

Danae Etches

Danae Etches

Communication Leader

Dip Strategic Communication, Dip PR & Communication Management, NZLS Cert, ALIANZA/RLIANZA

With the Trust since 2009, Danae is responsible for communication management including the Trust's website, annual report, e-newsletter and social media, and assists with the development and action of strategies and plans, including engagement and collaboration with the Trust's diverse stakeholders. 

With a long-term passion for connecting people, knowledge and resources, Danae trained as a professional librarian and manager working for many years with Auckland Libraries, New Plymouth Libraries and Puke Ariki developing and managing public library services, programmes and events. Danae then worked as a self-employed writer/ researcher, communication and project consultant, and as Technical Administrator for WOMAD NZ, prior to joining the Trust.

Danae is currently completing a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Communication, and volunteers as a community mentor with the Taranaki Community Mentors programme operated through Venture Taranaki, and as a Workshop Facilitator with The Wheelhouse.

Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant

Senior Grants Advisor

BA

With the Trust since 2011, Kathryn is responsible for the management of grant funds distributed to community groups, including; application management and applicant facilitation, management of the Trust's community funding process, grants related research and assessment, and managing granted related community relationships.  Kathryn also works on the Trust's special projects and provides strategic assistance, assists with the Trust's learning and reporting processes.  

Prior to her current role Kathryn held the position of Grants Co-ordinator and Grants Advisor with the Trust.

Previously, Kathryn was employed as the Customer Service Manager with a Wellington-based legal publisher and software provider after gaining an arts degree from Victoria University. She returned to Taranaki and started with the Trust in 2011 as Grants Co-ordinator.

Kapoi Mathieson

Kapoi Mathieson

Matatuhi Putea - Grants Advisor

BA (HONS)

Kapoi is a member of the Trust’s grants team, with responsibility for assisting with grants management and grants related community engagement. The role is ‘hands on’ processing and managing grant applications and getting out and about around the Taranaki region, facilitating community engagement with the Trust’s grant making processes.

Kapoi is actively involved in nurturing and promoting the Trust’s community connections, enhancing new and existing relationships and increasing awareness and knowledge about our funding work within the community.

A key focus is working with Maori and Iwi organisations, as well as wider Taranaki community groups to facilitate positive outcomes and results in the Trust’s Community Wellbeing, Arts, Culture & Heritage and Environment funding areas.

Kapoi comes to us with a background in Maori radio broadcasting and has spent the last five years in the Heritage sector. She is an active trustee of a Waikato-based radio station and is current Chair – a position she has held for the last 3 years.

Sarah Birchler

Sarah Birchler

Grants and System Administrator

BBS 

Sarah is responsible for the administration of the Trust's Grants database and has overall responsibility for the oversight and delivery of; database administration, applicant registrations, grant reporting, and assisting the grants team to manage and improve the grants process.

Starting with the Trust in 2013, prior to her current role Sarah was the Trust's Operations and Information Advisor, and previous to that held the role of Grants and Administration Team Support. 

Before working at the Trust, Sarah managed the office at Northpoint Baptist Church and worked as budget advisor for the New Plymouth Budget Advisory Service. She also worked as a business analyst at Taranaki District Health Board, and has a business degree from Massey University, majoring in Maths. 

With an active presence out and about in the community Sarah continues to be a volunteer budget advisor and is a volunteer with the Taranaki Time Bank.

Zoe Taylor

Zoe Taylor

Team Support

BA INT STUDIES & JAPANESE

With the Trust since July 2017, Zoe is responsible for supporting the Trust's work with community organisations, undertaking a range of administration duties. Zoe has responsibility for the delivery of reception duties, supporting accounting functions and providing general assistance and support to Trust applicants and the staff team. 

Zoe has a keen personal interest in meeting new people from the community and forming strong relationships. In 2008, Zoe went on a student exchange to Nagasaki, Japan and attended Isahaya Commercial High School where she first discovered her love of Kendo (The Way of the Sword) and gained her 1st Kyu certificate.

On her return to New Zealand in early 2009, Zoe attended what is now known as the IPU New Zealand Tertiary Institute where she gained her Bachelor of International Studies and in Japanese. Zoe has formed several close friendships with people from all over the world during her time at IPU and still has a very keen interest in Japanese culture and language today.

Zoe moved to New Plymouth after travel in Europe earlier this year and are completely in love with the Taranaki region.

In her spare time Zoe can be found playing soccer for the local Ranger’s Women’s team, enjoying a nice coffee and eggs benny at one of our many amazing cafes and spending time with her three gorgeous nieces and whanau.