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Meet our staff

Tarn Felton


Tel +64 3 479 3792

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Ko Tarn Felton ahau
Ko Ngati Paoa, rātou Ko Ngati Whanaunga Ko Aerani ōku iwi

Growing up in an eclectic whānau fostered my deep passion for advocating for people’s rights to feel safe, nurtured and supported within their communities. A career in the community development sector has helped to continue this passion and I have spent the last 20 years addressing local needs, working with young people, and collaborating with whānau and communities.

I am excited to be part of the team as the Support Manager for Te Whare Tāwharau and I look forward to helping to create a centre that is focused on supporting and advocating for people who need sound advice and a caring hand.

When I am not buried in assignments, I love to keep it real, throw myself into nature and embrace the elements with my dog Blue.

Melanie Piri

Melanie Piri imageStudent Engagement Co-ordinator

Hi, I’m excited to be the Student Engagement Co-ordinator at Te Whare Tāwharau. I graduated from Otago a few moons ago where I studied Community and Family Studies. Since then I have been working in various roles in tertiary education and in sport and recreation. I’m passionate about our University community and doing my part to keep our community safe and supported. I’m looking forward to further spreading the word to our community about the great work that the team at Te Whare Tāwharau do.

When I’m not at work I’m hanging out with my three sons and our ninja dog, running the amazing mountains and trails around Dunedin, renovating my house and playing/watching any sport under the sun.

Chelsea Rhyne-Slijkerman

Chelsea Rhyne-Slijkerman 2022 imageTraining, Development and Support Co-ordinator

Tel +64 3 479 3791

Tēnā koutou katoa,

I started my time at Te Whare Tāwharau as a volunteer in their first intake in 2018 while I was studying towards my Master’s in Social Work and working part time as an Assistant Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology. I have since returned in 2020 as a Social Worker in Placement and now as the Training, Development and Support Co-ordinator.

I love working within the community of the University and providing support and advocacy to our students and staff. I believe we can all learn from each other and the strong student focus on this within the centre encourages this.

Outside of my role at the centre you will find me working towards my Master’s in Social Work, covered in paint and mud at our local play centre with my children or on the beach with our four dogs.

Cam Young

Cam Young imagePacific Student Navigator

Kia orana!

I am the youngest of six children and am of Cook Islands, Sāmoan and European descent. Born in the mighty Hawke's Bay, it was both a culture and temperature shock moving to Dunedin. I am now in my final year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Anatomy, minoring in Pacific Islands Studies.

I am passionate about community, Pacific health and sexual well-being. This role provides me the privilege of engaging with our Pacific students and helping facilitate comfortable, safe environments to talk about taboo health topics. I believe our Pacific students have great power and that there is much strength in overcoming adversity as a collective community. I am excited to support the development and growth of our Pacific community through this role!

I am a values-driven individual, focused on expressing courage, love and vibrancy in all that I do. In my spare time, you will find me at the movie theatre or grabbing ice cream with friends.

Meitaki ma'ata e kia manuia!

Michelle Knowler

Michelle Knowler imagePacific Student Navigator

Halo Olgeta,

I am from the village of Hog Harbour on the island of Santo, Vanuatu, and Timaru, New Zealand. I grew up in Vanuatu with my family, then travelled back across the moana to start tertiary study in Christchurch. I graduated from Ara Polytechnic with two NZ Diplomas in Applied Science. A few years later, I am in Dunedin studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB).

My role as a Pacific Student Navigator is to help develop sexual violence prevention programmes through a Pacific lens. Growing up in a Pacific community, I acknowledge that topics on sex and sexual violence are taboo and the consequences of this silence can be detrimental. I am passionate about addressing these issues and creating a space where our students feel safe to seek information and gain support about any aspect of their health and well-being.

Respect, humility and service are the values that guide me in creating a culturally responsible and safer university for my Pacific community.

I enjoy being outdoors, dancing and hanging out with my friends when I am not working or studying.

Tankio tumas

Prevention workshop facilitators 2022

  • Georgia King
  • Alisha Jefferis
  • Katie Plant
  • Sam Fennessy
  • Olivia Antonievich
  • Jordan Quensell
  • Charlie Humphrey
  • Anna Britz
  • Rachel Tombs
  • Lydia Le Gros
  • Rachel Fisken
  • Sophie Dix
  • Olivia Trass
  • Leslie Heseri
  • Niruthmie Pallawala
  • Ahi Kaitai-Mullane
  • Eileen Corcoran
  • Julia McIntyre
  • Lucien Er
  • Tamara Dick
  • Jay Bailey
  • Parnia Narimasa
  • Sophie Hursthouse
  • Isabella Sutherland

Peer support volunteers 2022

  • Anna Britz
  • Georgia King
  • Alisha Jefferis
  • Niruthmie Pallawala
  • Jay Bailey
  • Jordan Quensell
  • Rhian Aitken
  • Hannah Walling
  • Rebecca Cumming
  • Rachel Fisken
  • Katie Plant
  • Tessa Hill
  • Sam Fennessey
  • Olivia Rose

Former staff

  • Sylvia Bellingham (Prevention workshop facilitator)
  • Associate Professor Melanie Beres (Academic Director)
  • Michaela Corcoran (Prevention workshop facilitator)
  • Jordan Dougherty (Student Engagement Advocate)
  • Angela Eketone-Kelly (Outreach Co-ordinator, 2018)
  • Katie Graham (Research Fellow)
  • Therese Lam
  • Cassidy McCosh (Prevention workshop facilitator)
  • Rachel Shaw (Prevention Co-ordinator)
  • Tim Smith (Prevention workshop facilitator)
  • Zoran Stojanov (Evaluation Co-ordinator)
  • Salamasina Tofa (Prevention workshop facilitator)