“What I really value about Think Papanui is the focus on the local community,” says Simon. “I’m standing as a Community Board candidate so that I can continue to contribute at this local level. I’m also involved in some really exciting community projects in my employment at Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi, and if I’m successful in being elected to the Community Board, I’ll still have the capacity to see those projects through to completion.”
In 2016 Simon founded the Think Papanui community engagement initiative, and he is still involved on a daily basis. Think Papanui’s aim is to share information on City Council consultations, Community Board agenda items and decisions, local projects in action, and generally what’s happening in the community. “This has helped keep the community informed,” says Simon, “and has also helped me keep in touch with local government and our community”.
Simon has had the privilege of working in a leadership role at Papanui-based youth and community development organisation Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi since 2011. For a large part of that time he has been involved with the school attendance service, supporting children, whānau/families, and schools. He has also worked in areas including youth employment and alternative education.
Previously Simon worked for Tait Communications in marketing management, and has volunteered with the Papanui Youth Development Trust. He has served on boards including the Papanui Baptist Freedom Trust, Pillars – the charity working nationally with children of prisoners, and the Casebrook Intermediate School Board of Trustees. He is a previous Vodafone Foundation World of Difference recipient, and has completed two Canterbury University postgraduate courses for leaders in the community sector.