National Board | ELPNZ

National Board

National Board 

Gurbrinder Aulakh, Chair

Gurbrinder Aulakh has more than 20 years’ combined overseas and New Zealand experience in the field of law.

A lawyer at a High Court in India, he was also an executive committee member of the High Court Bar and on the panel of boards, authorities and corporations. Gurbrinder has a degree in law and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Communication Skills and Sociology.

Having studied and requalified in New Zealand, and been admitted as a barrister and solicitor at the High Court in Auckland, Gurbrinder worked at law firms on the North Shore and central Auckland, before joining a city-based law firm with a focus on litigation. He now runs his private practice and is on the committee of the Auckland District Law Society. 

Gurbrinder served as the Deputy-Chair of the Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) for five years.  He has advised many social and community organisations and has been on ethnic media discussing community and legal issues. He has advised the Indian High Commission to New Zealand on legal matters.

He is fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Gurbrinder has had a long association with English Language Partners as an ESOL home tutor, committee member and Chair of the North Shore centre, a member of the Ethnic Advisory Group and as a member of the National Board.

Catherine Neill, Deputy Chair

I was born in New Zealand, but my family migrated to England when I was 11.  I came back in 2004 with my own family, and I have lived in Temuka, a small rural township in South Canterbury, ever since.  I have a BA (Hons) in Combined Studies from the University of Liverpool, and when I graduated I joined Portsmouth City Council as a trainee.  I qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in the UK and I now work as an auditor.  

I have a good grounding in the not-for-profit sector.  In addition to my current professional involvement with charitable organisations, I worked for the local education authority in Portsmouth, I was a high school bursar for 3 years, I have been on the PTA at my son’s primary and high schools, I am on the Board of Trustees at the high school and I am the treasurer of a regional sports partnership.  
I joined the committee of the Aoraki centre as the treasurer and have also served as the committee chair.  I am a volunteer home tutor and I look forward to learning something new every lesson.  I have been on the National Board since May 2014.

Anne Alkema

I am a researcher and evaluator who has worked in a variety of roles across the education sector. It started with roles on kindergarten and primary school committees, then as a secondary school English teacher and Head of Department. Following this came roles as a public servant with the Ministry of Education, one of which was to manage literacy and numeracy in the school sector.  For the last 11 years I have worked in the tertiary sector managing research programmes and conducting research and evaluation. I currently work as an independent contractor, and also for Heathrose Research and the Industry Training Federation. 

My main area of work is in adult literacy and numeracy where my focus has been on the economic and social impact of New Zealand government policies and the extent to which these policy settings are working for foundation learners. I have also conducted research and evaluation in policing, the health sector, the transport sector and the volunteer sector.

I hold a Master of Education from Victoria University of Wellington. Outside of work I love spending time with my grandchildren; on the golf course; and in the garden. 

Gillian Brookes

I work as HR and OD Manager for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  I have worked as an HR professional for around 12 years in both New Zealand and the UK in private, public and third sector organisations. I have been a member of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand since 2014 and a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development since July 2011.

I have a BSc in International Business (Economics); a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management; and a Certificate in Personnel Practice.
I was a Wellington centre committee member from May 2012 until December 2014. I have travelled to China, Mongolia, Australia and South and North America.

Amit Prasad 

I am Director of Finance for the University of Auckland. In my previous employment  I worked as a Facilitator for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand; Management Accountant for Hewlett Packard; Finance and Administration Manager Campus Group Limited and General Manager for Outdoor Designs Limited.  

I am also currently a trustee of the New Zealand Institute of Management Foundation and a member of the High Tech Youth Network Audit Committee. I have previously been a trustee of the Sustainability Institute Foundation and an Advisory Board Member to the New Zealand Institute of Management 
I am studying for my MBA, Corporate Governance Specialisation; have a Graduate Diploma in Business; a Bachelor of Applied Management (Financial Management Speciality); a Post-Graduate Certificate in Financial Administration; and a Diploma in Accounting Studies.
I have been an English Language Partners National Board member and a member of the Ethnic Advisory Group since 2013.

David Bromell

I have been a Principal Advisor in the Strategic Policy team at Environment Canterbury since July 2013. From 2003-13 I worked in policy advice roles in the Ministry of Social Development in Wellington and was acting Chief Policy Advisor 2012-13.

Prior to 2003, I worked in church social services and parish ministry. I have previous board experience as executive director of the Christchurch Methodist Mission (1998-2003), and on the Rehua Marae Trust Board, the Lifeline Christchurch Charitable Trust Board, the Christchurch Council of Christian Social Services Trust Board, the Otago-Southland Tertiary Chaplaincy Trust Board and the Archer Memorial Home Trust Board.
I have also worked in the tertiary education sector, as a tutor and lecturer at Otago University (1986-93), as Executive Officer of the Oamaru Campus of Otago Polytechnic (1993-96), and (on secondment) as Chief Policy Analyst in the Tertiary Group of the Ministry of Education (2008). I am a Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies in the School of Government at Victoria University (since 2008), and since 2012 have taught a course in political philosophy in the School’s Master of Public Policy programme. One of my research interests is ethnicity, identity and public policy, and I am a member of the NZ Political Studies Association and of the Population Association of New Zealand.
I have a PhD and BDHons in Theology and an MA in History.
I have been a volunteer ESOL home tutor (in Porirua and Christchurch) with English Language Partners since 2010.

Lloyd Davies

I am Co-Lead and Business Manager of Project Restore New Zealand, a national organisation that provides restorative justice services for people involved in sexual violence. In addition, I am self-employed as a mediator and celebrant.

My previous employment was in senior management in the social service, health and sport and recreation sectors including Alzheimer’s Tauranga, Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust, YMCA Tauranga, Diabetes Auckland, Totara Hospice South Auckland and Presbyterian Support Services. I have also provided management consulting services to various organisations.

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Management New Zealand, a Fellow of the New Zealand Trustees Association and past Associate of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute New Zealand. I have been a Justice of the Peace since 1997 and am past President of the Bay of Plenty Justices of the Peace Association.

I am also a National Board member of Literacy Aotearoa, past Chairperson of Literacy Bay of Plenty and member and past President of the Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise. I have an extensive background working with community organisations. I hold a Diploma in Law, Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Dispute Resolution), and a Diploma in Management.

I was introduced to the work of English Language Partners through my involvement as a member and then Chairperson of Literacy and Language Bay of Plenty (now Literacy Bay of Plenty).

I have been an English Language Partners New Zealand National Board member since 2012. While not from a language or literacy tutoring background, I have been very involved in the provision of education and training in wide range of settings with my main contribution to the Board being through governance and senior management experience in the not-for-profit sector.

Praful Rambhai 

I am currently Director of Prayent Consulting, and held a variety of positions with the former Manukau City Council including Director, Community and Economic Development; Director, Economic Development; and Director, Community Activities.

I have over 20 years’ experience in local government leadership and management, community development, economic development and civil engineering. I have developed extensive networks with local government, business, community and central government agencies.

I am Chair of the New Zealand Council Ramabai Mukti Mission and Deputy Chair of the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust. I have served on the executive of the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers for a number of years, and have been a member / trustee of a number of local trusts in Manukau, including the Otara Community Law Centre.

I have a PhD, Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) an am currently a member of the Institute of Directors and Institute of professional Engineers New Zealand.

I was Chair of English Language Partners Auckland South committee for three years and a member of the English Language Partners’ National Board when the organisation was previously under incorporated society status.

Kara Scally-Irvine


Nicola Sutton

Chief Executive

I have been Chief Executive of English Language Partners since 2011. Prior to that, I was Deputy Chief Executive for several years.
I have been involved with the organisation for the past two decades in a variety of paid and voluntary roles. I trained as a volunteer ESOL home tutor in Auckland West in the mid-1990’s and through this work I gained an insight into the challenges newcomers with limited or no English language skills encounter on a daily basis. I have worked with three families who all arrived here from war-torn nations. Through my work as a home tutor I became involved in developing resource libraries in three of our Auckland centres, used my finance background to carry out accounting and fundraising work, and was a programme coordinator and teacher in our Christchurch centre. 
I was elected to the National Board in 1999 and took on the role of Chair in 2001, a position I held until 2007. During this time, I completed a Graduate Diploma in Not-for-Profit Management and used the knowledge to train our centre committees in governance. 
Prior to my work with ELPNZ I spent time raising four sons as a stay-at-home mother. My previous work had been in financial administration, complaints resolution, and project management for a funding organisation. 
I have a Master in Commerce and Administration (Distinction) from Victoria University. 

Karun Shenoy

Sophie Ngo

I came to New Zealand from Vietnam. I have been in the journey of learning and mastering English through study and work. I hope to  to give back to the community by drawing on my extensive experience delivering information technology modernisation and business transformation projects. I share the vision, missions and values of English Language Partners, and as a Board member, I am keen to contribute through setting and overseeing strategic directions for ELPNZ’s advancement and long-term business sustainability. 

I have a Master in Business Management and a Bachelor with Honours in Accounting. My commercial experience ranges from Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, Finance, Financial Services, Logistics, to Cyber Security. I am currently a member of the Institute of Directors (New Zealand) and working towards becoming a chartered member through a formal training program offered by the Institute.

Jane von Dadelszen