Meet the board

Great Potential Foundation’s Board of Trustees consists of volunteer Trustees and provides governance for the organisation. Each Trustee makes a unique and valuable contribution, bringing a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience to Great Potentials Foundation


Angus Fletcher - Chairman

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Angus Fletcher has had a long career in business, principally with Fletcher Challenge and a longstanding involvement in a wide variety of ‘not for profit’ community based organisations. Many of these community activities are directed to young people and involve education initiatives.

Currently his trusteeships include the Fletcher Trust, Business in the Community, the Methodist Employment Generation Fund and For The Sake Of Our Children Trust.  What these trusts have in common with Great Potentials is that they all make a positive difference to our communities and society.


Great Potentials is a unique New Zealand not-for-profit trust with its multiple and inter-related programmes directed at children, youth and families at critical stages of development. The Board of Trustees views its key role as encouraging and supporting staff in the collective endeavours to achieve the Foundation’s goals and shared vision.
— Angus Fletcher

Dame Lesley Max - Co-Founder and Trustee

Dame Lesley Max is the Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of Great Potentials Foundation.

Her background includes University of Auckland; secondary school teaching, mainly in London; freelance journalism, principally for METRO and writing. Her book “Children: Endangered Species?” (Penguin, 1990) has been profoundly influential in New Zealand.

Dame Lesley co-founded Great Potentials Foundation (originally known as Pacific Foundation) in 1990, together with businessman, author and broadcaster, Gordon Dryden. Lesley created the Family Service Centre model, introduced HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters) in New Zealand, and developed MATES (Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme).

Awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship, Lesley studied successful interventions in child protection and education in five countries. On her return, she was influential in the establishment of Family Start in New Zealand.

Lesley is patron of Family Help Trust, the National Council of Women, and Teach First NZ.

She has been appointed to a number of roles by Governments, including as a Director of the Northern Regional Health Authority, and a member of the Family Violence Advisory Committee to successive Ministers.

She was a founding supporter of the Brainwave Trust and has filled advisory roles for a number of tertiary institutions.

Lesley was awarded a MBE in 1994 and was made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010 for services to the community.


Louise Surynt, Trustee

Louise has worked voluntarily for Great Potentials for three years and joined the board at the end of 2009. She has spent many years helping with the set up and running her husband’s medical practice in Manurewa where many low decile families live. In 2014, Louise graduated from Bachelor of Education and is now a teacher. As a dedicated mother of three and an educator, she is passionate about children and believes that every child has the right to be loved, nurtured and given the right start in life.


Dr Leeanne Mataira, Trustee

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Leeanne is a dentist working in Newmarket, Auckland.  She grew up in Dunedin where she attended Queen’s High School and the University of Otago, where she completed her dental degree in 1990.  In 1994, Leeanne completed a Masters degree in restorative dentistry at University of London.  She returned to New Zealand in 2003 with a young family of four children and has since then been working full time for her family and as a dentist.   Focus on her family and improving social outcomes for all New Zealanders motivates Leeanne’s involvement with Great Potentials.

“I joined as a trustee of Great Potentials in 2013 and I regard it as an honour and privilege to have been asked to contribute.  The outstanding work Great Potentials provides clearly improves the lives and the outcomes for many young New Zealanders and their families.  Having community based support, a focus on family initiated solutions and providing educational assistance is so valuable and critical in nurturing and growing our young people.  I appreciated and benefited from these things when I was growing up, and I have a strong desire to contribute something back through Great Potentials”.


Lady Barbara Harvey, Trustee

Barbara, Lady Harvey, is a registered nurse and midwife, now retired.  She worked in Waitakere City for over 20 years.  Barbara has also been closely involved with community development, serving ten years as Chair on the Board of Trustees of Green Bay High School.  Barbara now works as a marriage and funeral celebrant continuing her interest in assisting people at crucial times in their lives.


Fuimaono Tuiasau, Trustee

Fuimaono graduated from Auckland University with a BA and LLB and then practised for many years as a senior lawyer. Fuimaono then joined the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Auckland Chamber of Commerce with a focus on policy, research and operational projects. Fuimaono now manages a range of strategic and operational relationships, and has a strong interest in innovative approaches to community and business development.

Fuimaono is currently Trustee of the NZ Youth Mentoring Trust, and Director of Affinity Services, Lifeline Aotearoa and New Zealand Transparency International. 


Wendy Schofield - Secretary &Treasurer

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Wendy is a Chartered Accountant in public practice and has been involved with Great Potentials since 1994. Prior to having children Wendy was a senior Manager in Business Services at Deloitte, Touche, Tohmatsu.



In memory of
Dr Zoe During
(1925-2008)

Dr Zoe During was a founding trustee of Great Potentials. 

Her contribution to the Foundation was of the highest importance and she is greatly missed by our CEO and Founder Dame Lesley Max, our Board of Trustees and all the staff. 

A Medical Officer of Health for 39 years, Dr Zoe During worked in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Hamilton and Auckland.  She was responsible for many innovative programmes, including follow-up care for discharged psychiatric patients.  She was a trail-blazer in sexuality programmes and health education in New Zealand.  She was a member of the first Child Protection Team in Mangere, and was a mainstay of Health Camps.  Dr During, who held the qualifications MBCHB and MCCM, was awarded an MBE in 1985 for her services to children.

Dr Zoe During was a woman with an unsentimental understanding of life in poverty who provided Great Potentials Foundation with the important framework for our family work.  It was Dr During who in 1987 drew Dame Lesley Max’s attention to a monograph of HIPPY.  The outcome of this conversation is many thousands of New Zealanders enjoying educational success and warmer family relationships as a result of the implementation of HIPPY in New Zealand.

Dr Zoe During combined intellectual brilliance with clinical expertise and a lifelong commitment to the welfare of those less fortunate.  Her clarity of thought, generous spirit and immense breadth of knowledge strengthened Great Potentials and those who work in it.