Global Ambassadors

Project Steering Group

The people who work both in sight and behind the scenes to make this project a reality.

Jay Tihema

Steering Group / Mentor & Role Model

Jay relocated to Tauranga from his hometown Whanganui almost a decade ago, where he has been involved in many youth and community-based initiatives since. Jay currently continues his mahi on a contract and voluntary basis with various education providers, agencies, industry reps, charities and community groups in the wider BOP area. He is dedicated to creating platforms for young leaders to thrive and guide the direction of Aotearoa, and always keen to collaborate with like-minds to make it happen.

Emelie Verseput

Log Cabin Studios NZ, Wā Kai, Venture Centre
Steering Group / Mentor & Role Model

Emelie was born in Zeeland in The Netherlands and moved to New Zealand in 2017. She studied Marketing and Strategic Management at the University of Waikato while working with Groundswell Festival of Innovation, Tauranga Startup Weekend, Global Swim Pro and Venture Centre.She now works as an Entrepreneurship Support Project Lead and Young Enterprise Regional Coordinator at Venture Centre. She has a passion for working with youth, creating experiences for people and hosting community / impact focussed events.Emelie is co-founder of Wā Kai, a meal-sharing startup underpinned by Maori values. She does contracting work in Marketing with her own business Log Cabin Studios.In her spare time you can find her in the ocean (swimming, diving, surfing, sailing), or in the mountains hiking or snowboarding.

Kurt Cordice

Enigmatic Global - Projects Director
Project Lead / Facilitator (he/him)

Kurt left Canada in 1996, and has been working as part of global teams and global programs ever since. He specialises in designing experiential education programs, and works towards greater diversity and inclusion at the community and organisational levels. Kurt is currently the Projects Director of Enigmatic Global and leads The Global Swim Project and the Global Ambassdors Project as part of his protfolio. He is also currently doing a directed study of Transformative Learning through the Centre for Tertairy Teaching and Learning, University of Waikato.

Melissa Gillingham

Education Tauranga / Priority One
Steering Group Member (she/her)

Melissa is the Regional Relationship Manager at Education Tauranga, the organisation which promotes and supports international education in the Bay of Plenty region. Melissa is proud be part of a network of people who value the importance of having a global world view.  She loves to celebrate cultural uniqueness and hear different perspectives. She also enjoys finding the common ground which unites us all as citizens of the world.

Haidee Kalirai

Tauranga City Council - Diversity & Culture Advisor
Steering Group Member (she/her)

Haidee was born in Cambridge in the Waikato. She completed her graduate degree from University of Waikato’s psychology faculty. Her working background has been in community development, with a focus on refugee resettlement and migrant settlement. Her passion for working in this area stems from her family background, in which her grandparents and father migrated to New Zealand from northern India.

Haidee is keen to showcase the positive contributions of migrants and the benefits diversity brings to our sub-region, along with establishing ways to build a greater sense of belonging for newcomers. She is passionate about community-led development and is a newcomer to Tauranga herself, moving here just over two years ago from Hamilton.