With its head office in Hamilton, the Young Workers Resource Centre (YWRC) is a non-profit organisation founded September 3, 1993. We proudly lead the way in New Zealand employment rights for young workers, because they’re the group most exploited. For that reason, we provide our employment support to anyone under 35 for FREE!

A part of what we do is help rangatahi experiencing mistreatment at work. Usually this starts with an employee getting in touch via the Get Help section of our website. Then we learn more about the young person’s employment issue and talk them through the options. We want to enable young workers to make informed decisions about their own employment.

Sometimes we can solve a problem with a couple of conversations on the phone and an email. Other times we’ll suggest a meeting so we can get to the bottom of things. There’s no one way of coming to the rescue. Every case and situation is unique!

The other key service we offer is the delivery of employment education workshops specifically designed for those in, or about about to go into early employment experiences.

YWRC education comes in the form of a 50-minute, interactive workshop, with activity book for rangatahi entering, or about to enter the workforce.

Our Team

Mel Martin

Service Manager

who we are - mel martin service manager

As well as having an interest in social justice, Mel has a lot of time and passion for helping support young people through their early life experiences. She understands that these experiences shape who rangatahi grow to become, and advocates for access to all opportunities, for all people. 

Outside of the YWRC, Mel is a director, stage manager, playwright, poet, and theatre enthusiast. With a love for alternative theatre, and challenging subject matter, she is the co-founder of BlackBox Creative, and LOUD Creative, and is the Vice President for Hamilton Musical Theatre, based out of Riverlea Theatre.

Tony Stevens

Business Manager

who we are - tony stevens business manager

Tony is a passionate advocate for justice, equity, and fair opportunities for all workers. As well as having served as a past Manager of the YWRC, and organiser for the NZNO and FIRST Union, Tony has also been involved in Stand Up, the youth union movement. He believes that we must act now to preserve the planet and the future for our upcoming generations.

As well as being a bit of a revolutionist at heart, Tony is the dad of two young humans, and a current Psychology student at the University of Waikato. He has a keen interest in health, and sport psychology.

Jono Freebairn

Waikato Educator

who we are - kauri tearaura educator

By day, Jono has the mammoth task of empowering students throughout the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and King Country with the YWRC’s employment education workshops. His passion for workers’ rights and demanding better treatment across the hospitality industry has armed him with the necessary drive to acheivable equitable employment outcomes for rangatahi.

Outside of the YWRC, Jono is a performer/actor which gives his workshop presentations a significant edge, and makes him not only the ideal person to get young workers excited about their own positive, early employment experiences, but also an engaging teacher and facilitator.

Matariki Roche

Young Worker Advocate

matariki roche

Matariki Roche, Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāti Huri, was raised on Waiheke Island Surrounded by a tight knit community abundant in advocates and agitators. She pursued her passion for te reo Māori and social change at Victoria University where she studied Te Reo Māori, Māori Studies and Sociology.

Earlier this year Matariki moved to Hamilton, closer to where her tūpuna and whānau are from. Matariki’s leadership and governance roles include being the first elected youth representative for Waiheke Island onto the Auckland Council Youth Advisory Panel, establishing the island’s youth council.

Caitlin Wilson

Help Centre Coordinator

Caitlin Wilson

Caitlin has spent the last four years with the Member Support Centre of First Union providing support to First Union members; she is also one of three co-convenors for Stand Up, the youth union movement. Caitlin holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and two PGDips, one in Education and one in educational psychology.

Ongoing Education and learning is a core value for Caitlin and she is passionate about facilitating young workers to understand and assert their rights and addressing legislation and practice around dealing with workplace bullying.

OIiver Cull

Auckland Educator

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Oliver is a trained secondary school teacher with an academic background in sociology and geography. He holds an MA in Human Geography, and his research has addressed recent forms of worker organising.

He carries a belief in social change close to his heart, practising this through his involvement in activism and teaching. He has most recently been involved in Auckland Action Against Poverty, and outside of the YWRC continues to tutor young people while pursuing interests in health, science fiction and electronic music.

Past Staff (Click to Drop Down)
  • Kauri Tearaura (2020)
  • Julia Wikeepa (2019)
  • Zanian Steele (2017)
  • Erina Stockman (2016)
  • Cheyenne Scown
  • Kylie Zinsli
  • Linda Radosinksa
  • Ana Ngamoki
  • Thomas Stubbs
  • Sonya Church
  • Rose Fitzell
  • Jenny Patching
  • Sue Kennedy
  • Ivan Hodgetts
  • Mark Smith
  • Joseph Rao
  • Julie Poupard
  • Robert Parton
  • Catherine Hodges (1993)

Governance Board

Arnold Andrews


about us - vice chairperson

Arnold works for the HCC and specialises in Events. His work bases him at venues like the Claudelands Events Centre, FMG Stadium and Seddon Park. Arnold has a Masters in Business Management and has involved himself with projects ranging from mental health to rights of young workers. Being a fitness enthusiast, he likes to spend his leisure days running half marathons.

Kawena Jones

Vice Chairperson

about us - board member

Kawena sits on a number of Trusts and committees including Te Ahurei Rangatahi Trust, Skycity Community Trust and Oomaero Marae. Kawena is passionate about advancing employment and education outcomes, and brings to the YWRC experience in cross agency collaboration, relationship management and programme development and design

Suiyi Ye


about us - Treasurer

Suiyi is a new graduate from the University of Waikato with a Business Management degree, majoring in accounting.
Suiyi loves the power of positive thinking within the YWRC and she feels very fortunate to be involved with the YWRC.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching movies and spending time with her friends and family.

Ayesha Arshad


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Ayesha is…

Nicola Paul

Board Member

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Nicola is studying a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) majoring in Psychology at Te Whare Wānanga O Waikato. Nicola encountered the YWRC in 2020, which inspired her to go on to help other young exploited workers. Nicola formed the Student Employees Association, and she also works as a tutor for both of the first year psychology papers at Waikato University.

Zoe Port

Board Member

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Zoe is…

Kauri Tearaura

Board Member

who we are - kauri tearaura educator

Kauri is passionate about rangatahi and their success, and has an employment advocacy and education background through his own time as Waikato Educator at the Young Workers Resource Centre! This eventually led him to the role of vocational Pathways Coordinator at Rototuna High Schools in Hamilton, and a member of the Stewardship Group for Youth Employability Aotearoa.

Position Open

Board Member

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Past Chairpersons (Click to Drop Down)
  • Melissa Goodman (2019-2021)
  • Jason Sebestian (2017-2019)
  • Daniel Marshall (2014-2017)
  • Megan Morris ( 2010-2014)
  • Bob Anderson (1993-2010)

Donate to the YWRC


For the price of a cup of coffee, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of
NZ rangatahi, who are some of our country’s most exploited and lowest paid employees…

Get Free Employment Help

Get in touch with the Young Workers Resource Centre if you or someone you know is experiencing issues/mistreatment in the workplace.