Rākau Tautoko founder and Managing Director, Tara Moala, has worked alongside communities for 20 years in various capacities and on diverse projects. She is well-networked across Tāmaki, the community in which she also lives and raises her whanau.
She has complemented her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Masters of Social Work Applied (1st class honors), her thesis focusing on Māori cultural identity based in an urban setting. She currently works at Tāmaki Regeneration Company as a Service and System Designer and is furthering her education doing a fellowship at University of Melbourne in a Masters of Social Change.
Tara offers a kete of knowledge and skills required to facilitate social and community change. Her collaborative approach has motivated many community members and groups to take action and ownership of local initiatives. Tara creates opportunities for other organisations, practitioners and community members to co-design, participate in and take shared ownership of developing projects. As our lead practitioner, Tara oversees all other Rākau Tautoko practitioner work and manages all contracts Rākau Tautoko holds.
Our Rākau Tautoko Practitioner Whānau
We currently have sixteen Rākau Tautoko practitioners in our collective, we come together regularly and support each other in the work that we do. Our Senior Practitioners support our Community Practitioners as per the tuakana-teina model. Read more about our key practitioners below.
Jo is a skilled Social Worker that has worked in the field for many years including working alongside young mums with a caseload and programme management at Te Waipuna Puawai. Jo is currently working part time for ACC managing a caseload for Specialist Rehabilitation Services across Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. In her Community Development work, she has worked as a mentor in the Technical Training programme for young people, and facilitated Capability Workshops for the communities of Maungakiekie and Tāmaki. Jo has also co-developed with the community of Tāmaki a Live Lightly project to help build awareness around the impact on the earth and ways of educating people to shift their habits. She was involved in The Early Years Hub Empathy interviews for Tāmaki Response – supporting the young families of Tāmaki to share their thoughts around what would be ideal for an Early Years Hub to be like.
The latest projects Jo has been involved in, is the Capability Growth in Panama/Riverside Community, supporting a local residents group and wider community development initiatives. The other being involved with the Kai Collective project under Aotearoa Kai Journey, providing communication support with the community groups engaging with the community and working on developing wider social responses and supports in this sector.
Jo is passionate about people and making positive connections and has a love for hearing each person’s individual journey.
Ren works across Tāmaki and Maungakiekie in a variety of different capacities. As well as being a Rākau Tautoko Community Practitioner, Ren is a refugee resettlement volunteer with the Red Cross, an Independent Celebrant and has completed a Bachelor of Leadership for Change.
She has been a Rākau Tautoko practitioner since 2017 working on community development, workshops, empathy interviewing, capability building and project management. She loves to see positive change and is an admin and organisation Queen!
She loves meeting new people and has a knack for making everyone feel relaxed. If she looks familiar, it may be because she is Tara’s sister!
Tyrone was raised in a very community minded home. He said he owes a lot of his passion for community to his parents and wider family having run many groups and events in community. You could say he has been building his practice since he was child but he has worked alongside community formally since 2014.
Tyrone has a real desire to see people who have experienced inter generational hardship thrive. Tyrone believes his biggest skill is the ability to learn quick and adapt. He enjoys storytelling and uses it through his practice to bring community together.
Tyrone has worked on such project as TIES: Tāmaki Inclusive Engagement Strategy and making it digital for people in the community and beyond to consume.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Jasmine began her journey with Rākau Tautoko at Hub Zero. The waste reduction kaupapa aligned with her personal values and deep appreciation for Papatūānuku. Since moving on from Hub Zero, much of her work is still centred around engaging with the community about sustainability through events and focus groups.
Currently, she mentors and leads the Phenomenal Young Women youth group in Maungakiekie-Tāmaki. Together they talk, make art and listen to music which allows Jasmine to embrace the creative and nurturing aspects of her personality! In 2022 she is working towards her goal of becoming a peer support specialist and will be completing a certificate of health and wellbeing with a focus on mental health and addiction.
Nikki Korte has worked as a practitioner on projects in Tamaki and Maungakiekie. She has organised and presented at community workshops in order to help people interested in starting their own business. Nikki has collaborated with community organisations to understand the needs of parents of pre-schoolers in Tamaki and used co-design to create activities for pre-schoolers in Tamaki. Nikki has an accounting background so also does accounting work for small businesses.
Alex is currently studying Criminology and Pacific Studies at University of Auckland and is an easy going person who goes with the flow and an awesome team player.
Her first community related work was with a group called Flipping East in 2019 on one of their projects: activation of community spaces.
She started her journey with Rākau Tautoko in 2021 with the Phenomenal Young Women programme which has been an awesome learning step. What she loves about Phenomenal Young Women, is the new learning experience it has been, the positive impact it has on others and the relationships built within and outside the programme.
Alex considers herself to be born and raised in Glen Innes and her favourite thing about living in Tāmaki is the childhood memories, of course the takeaways and bakeries, and that family live close by. In her free time, Alex enjoys watching anime, action movies and spending time with friends.
See the projects Alex has worked on with Rākau Tautoko to date.
Mara-Shelle is a Rakau Tautoko Practitioner & Creative. She grew up the eldest of two younger siblings & one older brother in West Auckland, and is Māori & Cook Islander. Mara is passionate about the Arts – digital graphic design & traditional mediums (like watercolour).
She currently calls Pakuranga home where she resides with her partner & dog, Scooby.
Mara’s favourite thing about Tāmaki is the rich diversity in people and places, specifically reflected in the large array of cuisines available! What Mara loves best about Rākau Tautoko is that we value community perspective.
Candace has been working in the Tāmaki community since 2014 and began in grassroots community-led waste minimisation education with Tāmaki Waste Reduction Action Project. She has since branched out into community development work as a practitioner for Rākau Tautoko. Candace has a Bachelor of Arts and experience in media and communications and community engagement. In her downtime she enjoys cooking and gardening and spending time with her family.
Julia has been connected with the Tamaki communities in various forms since moving to Tamaki Makaurau from Australia in 2011. Julia’s professional background is in social work, counselling and supervision.
Julia worked with Rakau Tautoko on the Inclusive Streets project in 2018 and had been involved with the HEART Movement as a change agent for some years.
Julia’s skills and special interests include narrative and qualitative interviewing and research, working alongside women to help them realise their potential and step into their power and exploring how body movement practices, yoga and mindfulness can support healing and wellbeing.
Currently Inactive Practitioners…
We have had many different people join us at different times for our projects and in their community work journey. Special acknowledgement to one of our original practitioners – Dickie Humphries, who is now working at Auckland Council and has his own social enterprise Tu Moana, who we love to work alongside. Other practitioners we have worked with are Trish and Nat Atasani, Melefatai Palavi, Simon Li, Latisha Kauta, Loma Pepa, Prerna Chaudhary and Rosita Sua.
For four years Tracey managed Tāmaki Community Development Trust. During this time she was actively involved in Rākau Tautoko projects, served on the HEART Movement Advisory Board and the board of Tāmaki Budgeting. She now lives in Central Christchurch and is the Manager of Restorative Justice Services Ōtautahi Christchurch. Tracey is also currently a category judge for the New Zealander of the Year Awards. She is passionate about community-led development as well as supporting the wellbeing of those who work in the community and social service sector.
Anna has a long and treasured connection with the Tamaki community, starting her career as a Youth Worker in the area. Her career has spanned across a range of sectors but has always had a focus on creating space for family and community to lead. Now, 20 years later, Anna enjoys the opportunity to give back to Tamaki in different ways, previously as a member of the board of Te Waipuna Puawai and now through Rakau Tautoko.
Partners of Rākau Tautoko
We love working with the following groups and organisations in partnership. We are committed to working with and supporting these groups and value their expertise.