Jesse Armstrong
   Founder + Kaihautū / Chief Executive Officer

Jesse is a visionary leader with a strong passion for Creativity and Innovation. He has a broad range of skillsets with expertise in 3D Printing, 3D  Design, Instructional Design and Workshop Facilitation. Jesse was born and raised in Papakura, South Auckland and is of Māori descent from Ngāti Hine and Waikato. By nature, Jesse is a natural-born maker who loves to work with rangatahi and inspire them to become the innovative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

  Andrea Fua
   Founder + Head of People & Culture

Andrea is the teine toa at the helm of operations at VAKA. She has skills in Project Management, Communications, Creative Writing, Instructional Design and Workshop Facilitation. Andrea has a passion for using Moana-centric pedagogy in business and STEAM education to make it more accessible and relevant for Māori and Pasifika people. Her parents are from Afega and Sale’aula in Sāmoa. She lives with her husband and their wild toddler in Manukau.

  Kynan Johnson-Jones
   Head of Growth + e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Kynan is a self-taught creative with a passion for helping rangatahi discover their own pathways to success. He has years of experience in working with youth and now works closely with schools and community organisations to help them develop their own 3D printing education initiatives. He is of Māori & Black American descent, with whakapapa to Ngāti Hine, Waikato and Arizona. Born and raised in Ōtāhuhu, Kynan has always held a deep love for South Auckland and it's people.

  Tu Wright
   Financial Administrator

Tu is our amazing money man taking care of the VAKA books. A recent graduate of AUT, Tu holds a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting. At VAKA, he handles all our invoicing, tax, financial reporting and payroll needs. Born and raised in Samoa, now living in Manurewa with his wife and three boys; Tu is passionate about using his finance skills to support the growth of small businesses in Aotearoa.

  TJ Buford
   Digtial Designer

TJ is a rare blend of creative and technical genius. As an alumni of AUT’s School of Art and Design, his diverse skills include Digital Design, Music Production and Game Design. TJ is of Sāmoan and African American descent and grew up in the underrated suburb of Ōtara in South Auckland. His background influences his style of facilitation and his creative work. TJ loves helping young people see anything is achievable with the right goals and motivations.

  Callum Fiu
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Callum is a gifted facilitator and artist with a broad skill set including Graphic Design, Videography, and Motion Graphics. The youngest of four, Callum grew up in Māngere East - a vibrant community that laid the groundwork for his love and passion for creative expression and social interaction. Held in high regard as an all-round Cool Cat and a witty MC, Callum brings energy and expertise from his Bachelor of Art and Design, majoring in Digital Design.

  Evalon Viliami
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Evalon (aka Loni) was born in Auckland and raised in Hamilton. She is passionate about working with people by helping them to solve their problems to meet their needs. She has a developed a natural interest in learning about Tongan culture, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. As the youngest of 6 siblings, Loni loves spending time, reconnecting with her family, recognizing that success requires a strong foundation of support. She is of Tongan descent, with ties to  Nukunuku, Fatai and Navutoka.

  Tanner Shepherd
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Tanner is driven to succeed and make his mark in the world. He discovered a real interest in technology while overseas and is now immersing himself in the world of 3D printing. His real passion is Mixed Martial Arts and he really enjoys the discipline it teaches while developing his physical and mental well-being. Tanner is new to 3D printing and but is starting to find a real love for it. He was born and raised in South Auckland and is the youngest of 13 from a blended whānau. Tanner is of Māori descent, with whakapapa to Ngāti Tamatera.

  Kalay Udy
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Kalay (aka Laki) is a bright young wahine Māori who has a deep reverence for her cultural heritage. Her greatest aspirations revolve around caring for the elders, practicing Rongoā (traditional Māori medicine) and software development. Laki is captivated by the endless possibilities of bringing imaginative ideas to life and transforming them into practical and useful things. Her interest in software developement led her to discover 3D printing and she believes it holds the potential to benefit everyone.

  Jaemen Busby
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Jaemen is a creative entrepreneur who has transitioned from the world of business to the education sector. He recently received his Bachelor of Education and is the Year 7 & 8 Māori enrichment teacher at Papakura Normal School. He is also a co-host of the MandateNZ podcast which is focussed on helping tackle mental health and well-being. Jaemen was born and raised in South Auckland with ties to Sataoa, Ti'avea, and Samatau and Te Rarawa. He proudly lives in Ōtara with his whānau.

  Patrick O'Halloran
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Patrick, is a gifted artist of Māori and Niuean descent with whakapapa to Rongomaiwahine and Alofi. He is a natural-born creative who has incredible drawing and painting skills. Patrick is interested in storytelling through film and art. He aspires to share meaningful stories that make a positive impact on others and loves the process of creative teaching. With his boundless talent and creative curiosity, Patrick is making moves that will surely paint a bright future for him and those he is able to teach.

  Cherie Shepherd
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Cherie is passionate about molding the future leaders of tomorrow. She loves travel, nature,  her whānau and rugby. With a background in business, marketing, transport, logistics, event management, and mental health, Cherie is naturally creative and has a developing interest in digital creativity. She has a range of skills  in team management, tactical thinking, risk management, facilitation, and developmental training. Cherie is of Māori descent from Ngāti Kahu, Waikato & Ngāpuhi.

  Ruarangi Pewhairangi
   e-STEAM¹⁰¹ Facilitator

Ruarangi (aka Rua) is a technology whisperer with a deep love for all things tech. His current focus is in live production, drones, and vehicles with a keen interest in 3D design, and 3D printing. Rua enjoys troubleshooting tech problems which he finds to be very fulfilling. He is a natural tinkerer who loves to understand and automate technology. Rua is the 3rd of 6 children and is of Māori descent from Ngāti Porou. He is also developing a keen interest in personal finance and entrepreneurship.