our team

Our whanau is currently made up of 12 staff members:

Vanushi Walters, General Manager (PT)A New Zealand lawyer of Sri Lankan origin, Vanushi is the Senior Solicitor at YouthLaw.  Vanushi first got involved with YouthLaw as a volunteer back when she was a law student at the University of Auckland. She returned to YouthLaw after working for a number of organisations in the field of human rights, including serving for six years as a member of Amnesty International’s Global Executive Committee and completing her Masters in International Human Rights Law at Oxford.  Vanushi’s most impressive party trick is that she can juggle!
Jennifer Walsh, Senior Solicitor Jen, born in New Zealand, but with family ties to Malaysia and Vietnam, worked in commercial law firms for several years before joining YouthLaw where she feels at home. Jen loves her job because she feels she is making a difference every day and finds helping young people incredibly rewarding. Jen received advice from YouthLaw when she was younger and was then inspired to enroll in a law degree and since gained a masters degree. If Jen could be reincarnated, she would come back as a cat.
  Joanna Maskell, Solicitor (PT)Joanna has been working at YouthLaw since June 2011.  Prior to YouthLaw, she worked in London for ten years as a child protection lawyer and for a couple of years as a family lawyer in Auckland. She really enjoys being part of the YouthLaw team because of the variety of case work and the opportunity to help young people. She also enjoys the human rights aspect of the work. Outside of work she enjoys going to the movies, watching TV talent shows and singing with her choir.
  Manawa Pomare, Solicitor After graduating from Waikato University, Manawa joined YouthLaw as a graduate solicitor in 2010.  Manawa enjoys the variety of cases that she is able to work with at YouthLaw and has cultivated particular interests in family and criminal law. When she is not at work, Manawa enjoys  travelling, cooking or just watching a movie or two. If Manawa was a shoe, she would be a sneaker, so she could travel the world in comfort.
Velda Chan, SolicitorVelda immigrated to NZ from Hong Kong at a young age and can never answer the question of whether she likes NZ or HK more because they’re so different yet both such fantastic gems in their own way. Prior to working at YouthLaw, Velda volunteered here whilst attending University, and loved how you know that you’re assisting a physical person rather than just a name on a piece of paper. Velda is the fix-it person in the office who attempts to fix everything from the photocopier to plants. She has an addiction to Korean entertainment and frequents the noraebang (Korean karaoke) to sing the latest Korean pop.
  Kenton Starr, Graduate Solicitor Kenton was keen to work in community law and joined us at the beginning of 2015. He has been involved with youth work for a number of years and enjoys the opportunity to work with and help young people, as well as the wide range of legal issues YouthLaw deals with. Kenton also has particular interests in criminal and international law. A recent highlight for Kenton was spending some time traveling in South Asia last year, where he interned in India with an organisation working against modern day slavery. He is a big fan of getting outdoors to explore and is known for always having a stash of chocolate close to his desk to share.
Mira Taitz, Legal Education Coordinator (On Maternity leave) Mira joined YouthLaw in August 2012. Prior to joining YouthLaw, Mira worked as a language teacher and as a research assistant on projects working to improve the justice system. Mira has an MA in Anthropology. Mira loves spending time with her family and getting outdoors, and in another life she would have been a comic book artist.
Karen Davis, Operations Manager Karen has been working in the community sector for quite a while, with groups working for social justice, unemployed and beneficiaries, and community education.  She enjoys helping groups run well and making sure the bills are paid, but only if it’s a not for profit.   Karen was born in Yorkshire, the best county in Britain, and has lived in New Zealand since she was 12.  She loves travel and is always trying to learn new languages – the latest is Spanish.
  Annie Tavalea, Legal Education Facilitator (PT) Annie came to YouthLaw as a volunteer in 2014. She enjoyed the organisation so much she decided to take a part-time job as administrator in early 2015. She is also completing a BA/LLB at the University of Auckland. What Annie loves about YouthLaw is the community-focused nature of the work and the workplace. Annie loves cooking, catching the sunrise, and toasting marshmallows over a fire with family and friends. If she wasn’t pursuing the law, she would like to have been a builder.
  Martina Wright, Administrative Assistant



We also heavily rely on around 20 volunteers each academic term to help us run a smooth and efficient service.