Governance & Support

Bill Takerei

Bill Takerei

Kaumātua Advisor

Bill Takerei is a Trustee of the Otara Network Action Committee and currently the CE of Te Waipuna Puawai. Bill has worked in the health, social services and education sector and has over 25 years’ experience as a Senior Manager/CEO in managing non-government organisations. Bill has a strong passion and connection with Otara with its reputation for being an innovative community with a multi-cultural population and believes Sistema Aotearoa ki Otara is a great example of what can be achieved in working together with a community to develop its young people and families to provide access to opportunities and gain success never seen before.

Dame Lesley Max


Hon. Chris Finlayson


Sistema Aotearoa Trust

Sistema Aotearoa trustees are directly connected to the community and are responsible for: overseeing innovative and high-level programme development; building engagement through strong relationships with local and central government and significant funders; fiscal management and ensuring all legislative requirements are met. The trustees bring many years of specialist knowledge and a deep commitment to the programme’s philosophy and aims.

Bernardine Vester


Bernardine has led a number of innovative educational projects and community development initiatives in South Auckland over many years. Bernardine served as chair of Ako Mātātupu – Teach First NZ and is a trustee with Te Tuhi contemporary art space.

Alan Lyth


Alan Lyth, who recently retired as principal of Bairds Mainfreight Primary School, brings to the Trust many years of experience in the education sector.

Adeleina Loto-Meleisea


Adeleina is a lawyer from Manurewa who is committed to using her expertise to support the development of South Auckland communities. Adeleina brings her leadership experience with the Counties Manukau Rugby League Zone Board to support the governance of Sistema Aotearoa.

Linah Talamaivao


Parent representative Linah is a proud supporter of Sistema Aotearoa and active in supporting her local Ōtara community. Linah and her husband Peter have 4 children as part of the Sistema Aotearoa programme across intermediate, secondary and university age groups. 

Tasha Hohaia


Tasha brings her experience of working with Iwi (Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Ngāti Hauā) and a range of boards, as well as her legal background and connection with the Ōtara community to support the governance team of Sistema Aotearoa.

Dr Te Oti Rakena


Dr Te Oti Rakena is Manutaki Tuitui Rāwaho and Kairuruku Voice at Te Whare o ngā Pūkōrero Pūoro – The University of Auckland School of Music. He is an active performer and researcher, with diverse interests including community music and has participated in a number of research initiatives aimed at improving the quality of education for indigenous and minority students in New Zealand.

His vocal students have included several high profile New Zealand singers, including Hadleigh Adams, Moses Mackay of Sol3 Mio, Benson Wilson, Samson Setu and Manase Latu.

Ruth Sio-Lokam


Ruth Sio-Lokam is a chartered accountant and Managing Director of Akono Advisory Ltd, bringing her extensive financial experience to her role as trustee for Sistema Aotearoa Trust.

Octavia Fa'aea

Octavia Fa'aea

Youth Mentor

As a student in the programme since 2011, and now following a tertiary pathway as she trains as a teacher, Octavia deeply understands the needs of our ākonga and the challenges they face. Working with the Rangatahi Leadership Council, Octavia will support rangatahi and help them develop strategies to achieve the goals that they set for themselves, helping to empower them and develop their ideas, supporting the continued growth of the programme.

Partner Organisations

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Sistema Aotearoa has positive and special partnership with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra that provides the young people with unique, inspirational opportunities and the programme with high level support.

There is a close musical working relationship with the orchestra players and students. A number of the tutors are also APO casual players and through the APOPS partnership programme, APO musicians often visit mentor Sistema Aotearoa ākonga . This relationship with the APO provides numerous opportunities which bring the world of a professional musician to life for the children. Students & whānau are supported to attend concerts extending their experience of orchestral music, and performance opportunities are provided including advanced students playing ‘side by side’ with the orchestra and meeting international artists.

The Sistema Aotearoa Trust receives no financial support from the APO, however the APO provides infrastructure support with a services agreement between the two organisations ensuring a high standard of programme operation and close partnership working.

For more information on the APO visit their website here.

Ōtara Music Arts Centre (OMAC)


Sistema Aotearoa has a unique relationship with and is based at Ōtara Music Arts Centre (ŌMAC), in the heart of Ōtara. We rent space at this Auckland Council facility and we are proud to base our after-school Programme at ŌMAC, utilising the excellent and varied facilities. This includes the Main Hall for orchestral rehearsals, and the studios and breakout spaces for sectional rehearsals and group teaching of Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Trumpet, Trombone & Drumming. Our ākonga tell us that they love coming to ŌMAC and that it feels like a second home to them. As a major user for the past 11 years, Sistema Aotearoa enjoys being part of the friendly and creative environment at the centre. OMAC hosts both local and international music talent from many performing genres (eg hip-hop, bands, Polynesian and Māori music) and Sistema Aotearoa is included in their concerts and events broadening the young peoples’ musical experiences. Associated with OMAC is a large open air performance stage in the Ōtara town centre where Sistema Aotearoa holds regular community concerts.

Strategic Partners


We have developed cooperation and partnership agreements to consolidate and develop our relationships with strategic partners for the benefit of our ākonga and whānau. These include: the New Zealand String Quartet with Helene Pohl, Monique Lapins, Gillian Ansell and Rolf Gjeltsen, Pacifica Arts Centre working with Jarcinda Stowers-Ama and Tuaratini Ra’a and the University of Auckland School of Music, with Head of School David Chisholm and Kairuruku Strings / Orchestra & Professional Teaching Fellow of Violin, Mark Bennett. This strategic approach maximises the outcomes and impact for our tamariki and whānau, helps develop the musical ecosystem for communities in Tāmaki Makaurau, and creates a range of opportunities and pathways not possible if we worked on our own.

Partner Schools

Sistema Aotearoa is proud to work with 8 partner primary schools in Ōtara. Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Bairds Mainfreight Primary School, East Tamaki School, Te Kura Kaupapa o Piripono, Wymondley Road School, St John the Evangelist Catholic School, Rongomai School, Dawson Primary and Mayfield Primary School all have a close partnership with Sistema Aotearoa. Some teaching for junior levels takes place in the schools, with schools providing space and support for the programme. The schools and the programme work together to enhance students’ learning, participating in school events such as prize-givings and providing concert outings. Teaching staff also enjoy learning new skills alongside their students, and Sistema Aotearoa provides opportunities to expand the learning environment.






Sistema Aotearoa
PO Box 61-171, Ōtara, Manukau, 2159
Phone: 021 618 922