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 IT Operations Manager for Mitre 10 NZ, 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

Sapna Samant

Dr Sapna Samant is a medical professional, company director and creative head. After practising as a GP in India for nine years, Sapna requalified in New Zealand by 2012. She has a particular interest in the health of migrants and refugees, youth, and Māori and Pasifika communities.

With a Master’s degree in Film, Television and Media Studies from the University of Auckland, Sapna is also a creative. She worked as a freelance producer for Radio New Zealand from 2002 to 2009 and started her own media company in 2006. Her background includes writing and producing radio shows, short films and documentaries, predominantly telling stories about ethnic migrants and refugees. Sapna’s work has been nominated for and won awards, and her first short film as a writer-director was screened at five film festivals across the world.

Sapna is passionate about creating community and promoting representation. She has volunteered for Refugees As Survivors NZ, and worked on projects with the Auckland City Council. In 2018, Sapna established the Ruru Charitable Trust for the purpose of empowering and enabling ethnic creatives within the arts sector in New Zealand.

Outside work, Sapna enjoys spending time outdoors, practising yoga and meditation, reading, travelling and photography.

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.

Ireen Rahiman-Manuel
Ireen Rahiman-Manuel is an International Development Consultant, strategist and trusted advisor. She is the founder and director of Impactdev360, as well as family-led construction business Rapid Builders and Renovators in Auckland. With a strong background in project management and leadership, Ireen oversees a specialist development policy and planning team. She has managed programmes in various areas including health, education, environment, tourism and agriculture, and continues to work alongside leading agencies in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and across the Pacific.

Ireen completed a Masters of International Development, Sustainability Studies and Change Management from Massey University, and holds a Certification in Improvement and Change Management from Te Whatu Ora (Counties Manukau). She has also received several awards, including the Le Tautua Pasifika Leadership Programme Award, and a scholarship from the Women in Advanced Leadership Programme.

Ireen was previously elected to Auckland Council, where she co-chaired the Climate Change Working Group and sat on the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel. Ireen has served many other organisations as an advisor and consultant, which included her role as CEO of the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health in 2018.

Melino Maka

Melino Maka

Melino Maka is the Managing Director of Pasefika Solutions, with a strong background in business management and policy development. He is a leader within the Pacific community, which has involved advising New Zealand Parliament and non-governmental organisations on fostering bilateral relationships with Tonga.

With qualifications in Business Administration and Management, Melino has provided guidance to numerous Boards and Councils in the past. From 2001 to 2004, Melino was the Chair of Tonga Cyclone Relief, and was a member of the Ha’apai Cyclone Relief Committee in 2014. Melino has served as the Cultural Advisor to the NZ Rugby League and continues to serve as an Advisor to the Tonga National Rugby League Board.

Melino currently holds several positions, including Chair of the Tongan Advisory Council Charitable Trust, the President of Huelo Alzheimer’s Tonga, and he is a life member of the New Zealand Pacific Business Council.

Outside of these commitments, Melino enjoys sports, gardening and spending time with family.