Our Board

The Drowning Prevention Auckland Board

John Holley - Chairperson

John Holley

John Holley is a senior Operational/ICT professional with a track record of successfully leading and delivering innovative/transformational business change projects. He is currently the General Manager Outsourcing & Support for SAS IT, having previously held a series of executive roles in business technology and ICT.

He is the board chair for Accelerating Auckland was a board member for ChildFund NZ for eight years . He has also been a board chair for for two schools (Henderson North School and Liston College).

He is also a reserve officer in the New Zealand Army. His time with the Army has included a planning officer (and NZ Senior National Officer) for the UN Mission in South Sudan for seven months in 2013/14, and was the planning officer for a NZ Army Battalion in East Timor in 2001/2.

John is a passionate supporter of Auckland rugby and cricket, and the Blues.

Dr Kevin Moran - ONZM

DPA Board Member Kevin Moran


  1. Drowning Prevention Auckland Inc (DPA)
  2. Surf Lifesaving New Zealand
  3. University of Auckland


Brief Bio


Kevin is a recently retired Principal Lecturer in Physical Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland. Kevin has had a lifelong commitment to drowning prevention as a lifeguard, researcher, and educator. He has been a frontline surf lifeguard for over 50 years, still currently patrolling one of New Zealand’s rugged west coast beaches at Muriwai, near Auckland where he has been awarded Life Membership. In 2010 he was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Surf Life Saving Northern.

Professional positions include: member of the International Advisory Committee for the WHO 2014 Drowning Report; member of the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) Research and Information Committee; Co-chair of the International Task Force on Open Water Drowning Prevention; foundation member of the New Zealand Drowning Prevention Council, and Foundation Chairman of Watersafe Auckland Inc (WAI) from 1994-2012.
In 2014 he was awarded the Water Safety New Zealand Award for his “outstanding contribution to water safety” and the 2014 Irish Medal by the Lifesaving Foundation in international recognition of “his exceptional contribution to the saving of lives from drowning.” He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours list 2015 for “services to water safety”.

He is the author of two books on water safety and drowning prevention, has published 50+ papers in international journals, and presented 60+ papers at more than 20 international conferences in the last decade.

Gene Watene
Gene Watene is an advocate with a particular passion for family centric water safety and lowering the drowning rate of under five year olds.

Gene brings extensive co-ordination and leadership skills from his long careers in both the construction and roading industries, particularly from his current role as shift manager for Fonterra Takanini. Growing up in West Auckland, Gene fostered a life-long connection to water, from kai gathering with his family as a child to teaching himself to surf at the age of 19. This led to work as a surfing instructor/coach at Muriwai Surf School. His local beach is now Okahu Bay in East Auckland where he and his family swim and participate in waka ama and stand-up paddle boarding.

Part of Gene’s role on the Drowning Prevention Auckland board will be representing the Tāmaki Makaurau iwi Ngāti Whātua from his father as well as Ngāti Porou iwi from Tolaga Bay on the East Coast, on his mother’s side. His vision for Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland is to see more families enjoying the water around them while safely building their children’s water confidence and competence. He taught his own sons to swim at a young age and has always encouraged friends and family to do the same.

Dr Sapna Samant
Richard Pamatatau

Richard Pamatatau


(BA (Auckland); Cert Tertiary Teaching)

Skills & Experience

Richard is a journalism academic at AUT University, teaching at both under and post-graduate levels in the School of Communication Studies, part of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies. He teaches media law and ethics, writing, the reporting of public and political bodies and broadcasting. He researches identity, media strategy, death and ritual, social media and how public policy is framed in the media landscape. Outside of the University, Richard is on the Auckland Museum and Red Cross Pacific Advisory Boards and is a former member of the Auckland Council Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel. He has been a surf lifeguard, long distance triathlete and spends as much as time possible sailing. Richard is passionate about Auckland and want to be in a place where people are able to use and play in its many water environments with safety top of mind.

Berin Wong

Berin is born and bred a New Zealander who grew up in Auckland but worked in the UK, Australia and China.  Berin is a deeply experienced finance professional and currently Chief Financial Officer for SGS New Zealand Limited. He has been with SGS for over fourteen years and during this time overseen Procurements, Property, Insurance, Payroll, IT, Tax and Finance supporting periods of growth and business investment.  Prior to joining SGS, he had roles with Tyco NZ Ltd and Carter Holt Harvey Ltd.  Berin has a BCom (Accounting and Information Systems) and an MBA, both from the University of Auckland.

Berin is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand. He previously served as a Board of Trustee for a low decile high school for five years on the Board, Finance Committee and Disciplinary Committee.

Berin joins DPA with an interest in making a difference within a not-for-profit setting and understands the need for drowning prevention across Auckland’s diverse communities.

Ireen Rahiman-Manuel
Melino Maka