Meet the team

Director – Whaingaroa (Raglan) Waikato

Helen Ritchie

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Helens passion is in natural resource matters and she has led several action research projects in rural communities.
Helen is a co-founder of Participatory Techniques Ltd.

She is an experienced facilitator and researcher with a background in community and environmental projects. She has led several action research projects about engaging rural communities in environmental management and conservation.

She has been involved in the design and delivery of facilitation training for community members, local and central government staff, the Enviroschools programme and Te Aho Tū Roa. Her own facilitation and research practice is focused on environment, agriculture and development issues. It includes helping groups and agencies with strategic planning, community involvement and adult learning.

Helen is an expert in designing stakeholder engagement and consultation processes for complex natural resource matters. She is an authorised trainer for the Technology of Participation (ToP™) Facilitative Leadership Program through the Institute of Cultural Affairs (Australia).

Director – Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington)

Michelle Rush

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Michelle’s passion is realising the potential of authentic participation among a diverse group to make a difference to the lives of people and the planet anywhere and everywhere.

She is a facilitator, trainer and consultant specialising in public participation and stakeholder engagement. Michelle has a background in natural resource management and policy. She has led a variety of social research and evaluation projects on people’s responses to environmental matters, and she has an academic and practical knowledge of change management, including extension and rural development. Michelle has 30 years’ experience as a professional facilitator working with the private, public and voluntary sectors. Michelle has designed and delivered training courses on how to work effectively with the community in conservation and environmental education throughout New Zealand.

Michelle is an authorised trainer for the Technology of Participation Facilitative Leadership Program through the Institute of Cultural Affairs (Australia). Michelle is a Certified ToP™ Facilitator.


Te Mauri Tau

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Te Mauri Tau  are our training partners for our courses held in Whaingaroa (Raglan). The aim of this partnership is to infuse the training with understandings and experiences drawn from Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). These perspectives enrich the training and better prepare facilitators to work in New Zealand contexts.

Tuihana Bosch & Katarina Mataira are the founders of Te Mauri Tau.

Te Mauri Tau Incorporated is a kaupapa Māori education organisation operating from Whaingaroa (Raglan). Drawing wisdom from traditional Māori understandings, their aim is to enhance the well-being of the individual, whānau, community and environment, and involve all people who wish to participate. Our Whaingaroa training workshops are held at Te Pūtahi, the base from which Te Mauri Tau offers manaakitanga (care and hospitality) and an experience of sustainable living on the whenua of Papaora.

Associate – Dannevirke, Hawke’s Bay

Katerina Kupenga

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Katerina is an Associate of Participatory Techniques Ltd, Director of AraHina Consultancy and Chief Executive for Te Herenga Tāngata Charitable Trust.

She is a Māori facilitator, trainer and leadership coach with a depth of knowledge in coaching for performance, strategic planning, team building, culture, and leadership. Katerina grew this coaching approach within the banking sector, including design and facilitation of training components, both nationally and internationally. She then went on to work with school principals across Aotearoa delivering strategic planning and leadership programmes and is now an independent facilitator, coach, and director of AraHina Consultancy.

Katerina aims to work with hapū, iwi, and community groups to facilitate positive change in Aotearoa, New Zealand. She specialises in facilitating Strategic Planning Workshops through a te ao Māori lens.

Over the past 20 years, Katerina has raised her four sons within Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa and has played key roles in establishing strategies that improve and promote kaupapa Māori. She is also a certified workplace and business coach and is currently working towards becoming a Certified ToP™ Facilitator and ToP™ trainer through the Institute of Cultural Affairs (Australasia).

Associate – Ōtautahi, Christchurch, South Island

Nicholas Williams

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Nicholas is an Associate of Participatory Techniques Ltd.

Nicholas is a skilled and experienced facilitator, coach, and learning consultant who is dedicated to empowering teams to develop effective leadership and organisational transformation and uplift the hauora well-being of all people in their communities.

Recognised for his collaborative and inclusive facilitation style and deep commitment to cultural responsiveness and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Nicholas has successfully led nation-wide education leadership development programmes and facilitated strategic planning with numerous public-sector, non-for-profit, and kaupapa Māori organisations.

Nicholas is an accredited Leadership Development Centre Facilitator and Ministry of Education Professional Learning and Development Provider, as well as member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). He is currently working towards Certification as a ToP™ Facilitator and ToP™ trainer through the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

With his diverse qualifications and expertise in Education, Psychology, Mātauranga Māori, and Commerce, Nicholas facilitates positive change for individuals and teams throughout Aotearoa. Mauri Ora!

Associate – Te Awamutu, Waikato

Robyn Irving

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Robyn is an Associate of Participatory Techniques Ltd.

Robyn draws on 20 years’ experience of facilitation to work respectfully with diverse groups seeking cooperative relationships, developing agreement and commitment.

Building on her education and experience as a botanical consultant Robyn has developed a working knowledge of facilitation in the field of Learning for Sustainability, primarily facilitation of Enviroschools and locally specific Environmental Education programmes, including co-construction of a number of resources.

Robyn works with clients to clarify facilitation needs, the purpose and timing, plan for appropriate outcomes and to ensure that everyone is engaged and well prepared. The facilitation methods she uses are participatory, inclusive and interactive. An experienced independent facilitator such as Robyn allows all participants to equally contribute to a well-constructed process.

Robyn works part time for Toimata Foundation in the role of resource support.

Robyn has completed all seven modules of the Technology of Participation Facilitative Leadership Program, and holds a Diploma in Facilitative Management.

Robyn is a qualified Technology of Participation Facilitative Leadership program trainer for program modules 1- 3.

Contributing Trainer – Canberra, Australia

Mark Butz

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Mark is a contributing trainer for Participatory Techniques Ltd and a Director of Futures By Design in Canberra.

Mark has a background in science and environmental management and is an accomplished facilitator of stakeholder and community participation and engagement. Mark has particular expertise in the emerging field of cultural translation – bridging gaps of communication and understanding between participants from different political, administrative, technical, scientific and community spheres.

Mark applies his experience in training others in facilitation, communication, participatory leadership, influencing and negotiating.

Mark is an experienced writer, editor and proofreader of scientific/technical, quasi-legal, historical/biographical, geographical, educational and promotional materials.

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