Rainbow Youth’s main contact is Executive Director – Tom Hamilton.
Our Staff are supported by our Youth Board Members and our Adult Advisors.
Tom Hamilton, Executive Director
Kia ora, I’m Tommy, the Executive Director of Rainbow Youth. I’m really into art, music, performance, and writing. My favorite things are meeting new people, going to live gigs and art stuff. I am 37 years old and I have zero ability to act cool or be fashionable, but I am capable of some crazy escapades and like to share a crazy story or two or three.
My job is to manage the Rainbow Youth drop-in centre and help people as much as I can. You often see me sitting at a computer, or talking on a phone, but please feel free to walk right in and make yourself at home. You can call me any time with questions. We have books and DVDs at the centre for people to watch and chill out with. If you are not sure of something, feel free to ask me.
This work is very gratifying. Every day I get to work at enhancing diversity and awareness of and for gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, fa’afafine and intersex youth. I think the most important thing in life is to care and ‘know who you are, be who you are’ which is why I am one lucky guy with a very unique and fabulous job. Email Tom.
Kestin Stewart, Education Coordinator
I’m Kestin, the Education Coordinator for Rainbow Youth. I’ve been involved with the organisation for a long time, around 5 years or so now. It was my main support system when I started transition and was the place where I gained much of my confidence and life skills. Whilst I was a volunteer, I was at times a facilitator for ID and G.I.Q and from 09-11 I also took on the position of Secretary on the Executive board.
A large proportion of my volunteer time at RY was as a shared story representative, where I would give my coming out story and answer questions (of which I have done, literally hundreds of times)
I am very passionate about the education we do here at Rainbow Youth and I think its some of our most important work. Our Affirming Diversity workshop tackles such topics as sexual orientation, homophobia, the coming out process and gender identity, I’ve often found that even if someone isn’t personally affected by these issues, they usually know or are related to someone who it does. So the knowledge they gain from the workshop helps them better understand and support those around them and creates more positive environments. If you’d like to get in touch to talk about delivering our Affirming Diversity workshop at your school or workplace, you can contact me at: email@example.com
Toni Duder, Digital Content & Social Media Manager
Here’s how I typically like to introduce myself: I’m a writer, poet, Gryffindor, equal rights junkie and a cat lover. I am in charge of all the internet stuff that goes on at Rainbow Youth and Curious.
I’ve been an out lesbian since I was 15, and it’s been a bumpy but very rewarding road. Rainbow Youth was always an organisation I knew of and if I had had a little more guts, I would have been at the drop-in centre all the time. Now I’m so so privileged to call it my place of employment.
Outside of tweeting, facebooking and posting on the RY and Curious websites, I study Screen Writing honours at the University of Auckland. I’ve been living in Auckland since I was 13 and came down here from Dargaville to go to boarding school.
I am so excited to be part of an organisation that helps confused and questioning queer and trans* youth as well as their families, friends and schools.
If you aren’t sick of my words yet, check out my twitter.
Rainbow Youth is governed by a volunteer board that consists of ten young people (under 28) who are elected each year at our annual general meeting. The youth board members are guided by three executive advisors.
Youth Board Members
Duncan Matthews, Chairperson
Daniel Chorley, Vice Chairperson
I’m 24 years old, born in NZ, and grew up both here and in the UK. I have a background in science and commerce and am currently undertaking my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland.
I have worked with Rainbow Youth for about 7 years, beginning as a group member when I was first coming out at the start of university. I have facilitated GQ, Rainbow Youth’s under-20s group for 6 years and have been a part of the Rainbow Youth Executive Board for about 5 terms. I have been lucky enough to have held the offices of Executive Secretary and Chairperson during my tenure.
I have also been involved with a multitude of queer youth groups and projects throughout NZ, most notably on the Executive of UniQ Auckland.
Working with Rainbow Youth has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has helped me gain confidence in myself and my skills, and has given me the opportunity to do things I would not have otherwise done, or thought myself capable of. It has given me the rare opportunity to help others who are confronting issues that many of us have faced in the past, and will continue to face. It has been amazing seeing the organisation grow over the past decade and I look forward to seeing what is in store for Rainbow Youth as the organisations expands its horizons.
Samantha Vickery, Treasurer
I’m Samantha and this year I’ve been elected Treasurer for Rainbow Youth. It’s my first term on the board, and I’m honoured to be taking on this role at such an exciting and important time for the organisation.
In terms of my background, I moved to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2003, and after complete high school here I went to the University of Auckland where I did undergraduate studies in Commerce and Arts and graduate studies in Commerce. By day I work at Fonterra’s head office in Auckland (my dad has referred to me more than once as a milk maid, but I’m happy to say that my role doesn’t involve any interaction with cows!). I hope to be able to transfer the skills I’ve learned in the industry to this role at Rainbow Youth.
I’m really looking forward to working with Rainbow Youth over the coming year and helping to drive the organisation forward. Every year it just keeps getting better and better, and I’m determined to make sure that we continue that trend this year!
Hannah Spyksma, Secretary
Kia ora tatau, I’m Hannah and this year I take on the role of secretary for the RY board which is exciting because I like all things to do with writing, (except spelling, I know – that’s a contradiction)!
I live in the central city with my lovely partner and our best friend and by day I’m a journalist. At all other times I can probably be found dreaming up adventures and new projects, or at a cafe with coffee and reading the paper. I grew up in Mangawhai & Langs Beach, Northland and I looooove the beach.
I’m super excited to be part of the dynamic and diverse Rainbow Youth board this year. It’s an exciting time for the organisation and for GLBT rights in general, and I feel privileged to be helping drive change in Aotearoa as we work towards creating a more equal, diverse and accepting society.
The belief that I try and live by is that at the end of the day we are all just people and our differences are not greater than our similarities. He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Ask me, what is the greatest thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.
Kira Smith, Transgender Rep
Morgan Cooke, Maori Rep
Kia Ora! I’m Aych and this is my first term on the Rainbow Youth Board.
I’m 24 years old and I’m just starting my honors year at AUT in the School of Art & Design. My work at the moment is looking at ways of using pop cultural mediums (like fashion, moving image and printed zines) to open up conversations on diverse gender identity. Creative is definitely an important word I use to describe my self!
I first started hanging out around Rainbow Youth a year ago just helping with bits and pieces so I’m excited to be involved this year in a more formal way. I’m a big fan of community and I think that it is in these environments that we grow the most.
I’m Ben, This is my second term in the board, and I loved it! I have been in Rainbow Youth for about 4 years now, I joined the board because I want to help our young queer community.
I started volunteering for Rainbow Youth as a Shared Experience Representitive (you should try it!) and Facilitator.
It all started by coming to I.D. and it was amazing, because you meet all sorts of different queer people all in one room.
Rainbow Youth had given me support, strength and courage to come out to my wider friends and family and I have made some very exciting life long friends.
I started the Rainbow Youth regional group Out&About with John A in East Auckland (only the NorthShore one exists that time) and it has been a very successful group.
I am the only Asian descent on the board, and I am proud to represent all the Asians on the board; I am a New Zealander with Hong Konger, Taiwanese, Japanese and Dutch descent.
I also volunteer in other places, in art scenes, and in Asian communities about sexual health.
Coming from wide range of backgrounds, I believe I can bring a lot of ideas into the Board. I personally believe Rainbow Youth has the ability to expand it’s potential.
I’m not all boring and serious though, I am just as normal as you are! I enjoy hanging around with friends and laugh together.
I feel so proud to be who I am, and so can you!
You’ll find me in I.D. and other Rainbow Youth events. Don’t be shy to get to know me.
feel free to email me too! firstname.lastname@example.org
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I’m Craig, and I’m one of the new Rainbow Youth board members. Before joining the board I was
one of the facilitators for ID, the group for 18-27-year-olds that meets every Sunday at the centre.
Before that I was involved with Rainbow Youth for several years as a member of the group.
I live in a super-chilled flat in Grey Lynn with a bunch of randoms who have become very good
friends. I’m currently finishing a Communications degree at AUT, and work part-time at TV3. I love
travel, and one of my goals in life is to go to every country in the world – I’ve been to nearly 50 so
My life wasn’t always this cool. I was thrown out of home by my parents when I came out as gay,
and Rainbow Youth was a huge help to me back then. This has made me really passionate about
fighting for equality here in Aoteroa, which is a big part of the reason I ran for board.
Carpe Diem – seize the day
Hey, I’m Laura and this is my first year on the Rainbow Youth board.
I got involved with Rainbow Youth at the start of this year when I did a three month internship
here for University. I am in my third year of studying a Bachelors of Social Work and am loving
it so far. My studies and my time at Rainbow Youth have cemented my passion for equality and
empowerment, and diversity.
I moved up here from Palmerston North in 2009 and really like it. I love finding new parts of the city
to explore on weekends, or staying at home working on a new craft project.
I’m a straight Ally, and I think it will be a positive example for others, and hopefully I can offer a fresh
perspective. I am looking forward to being a part of the development of Rainbow Youth over the
I’m 36 – I was born in the Netherlands to Dutch parents and grew up in the Waikato region and Southland. I came out as gay as an undergraduate student in Dunedin.
I was a Rainbow Youth (RY) member in the 1990′s (judging from the photos I only had one shirt back then – it was orange and brown). I live with my partner David out in Waiatarua and have a new found interest in possum control!
I’m a researcher, health professional and educator: as part of my PhD research I have been looking into ways to combat depression in queer youth; I used to work for Auckland District Health Board as an occupational therapist at the Kari Centre (child and youth mental health); and I also work part-time as a tutor and lecturer (in 2011 at both AUT and Auckland University).
I have volunteered to be an executive advisor (formerly known as adult advisor/s) for RY because I believe RY is a fantastic organisation and I want to support it so it can continue doing wonderful things for queer youth.