Our People

Sameli Tongalea (Registered Nurse)

Managing Director / Clinical & Community Services Lead

Sameli brings strong leadership and clinical skills to our team, with her vast experience in the establishment of community health and social services, having worked with Maori and Pasifika Providers across the Midland Region. She is an experienced Mental Health Nurse with Adult, Elderly, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, in Primary Health and Secondary Mental Health services. Specifically, Sameli has an interest in family wellbeing. She provides mentoring support for young Pasifika women to consolidate their leadership skills and to achieve their goals and aspirations, as well as working with families to identify skill-sets within their own and building on these for their own prosperity. However, her greatest role is that of Nana to 13 grandchildren, of which, the majority are girls! Sameli and her family are from Avatele, Niue Island, from which the name AvaNiu has been derived.

Morgan Nehoff-Muir

Accounts and Operations

Having moved from Auckland a few years ago with her lovely daughter (Nina), Morgan brings over a decade of banking, customer service and management skills and experience to our “work family”. Morgan’s experience plays a key role in ensuring our financial systems and processes are robust and “fit for purpose” for our small business environment. Her positive outlook and mentoring of our younger team members is highly valued, as is her contribution to the many Pasifika community initiatives our organisation is involved in. Additionally, we’ve had the privilege of seeing Nina grow into a delightful “little person”

Chris Tongalea

Trades – Painting Team Lead

Chris’ role and experience has played an important role in our organisation’s ability to diversify and has demonstrated that identifying skill-sets within our own family, creates potential for young Pasifika to enter into business ownership. In his role, Chris has consolidated his vast accumulated knowledge of the painting industry and is combining this with learning about business management. He has nearly 20 years experience in the painting trade, having left school and going straight into the trade. His skills and experience has been gained locally as well as a few years in Australia. He is working on new housing developments and renovations alongside his team mates, Matt and Kimaere. His spare time is spent with his young family – daughters (Areta, Izrael, Stevie, Luse-Vai, Te Mauri) and son (Toby)


Our Support Team

Lulu Tongalea


Lulu uses her community volunteer experience with the Greerton Lions’ Club to co-ordinate our Matua Lelei Seniors Group. When she is not doing her community work, she is employed fulltime elsewhere, in a Financial Administrator position.

Tapaita Hakaumotu


Paita in her capacity as a long-standing volunteer is very much part of our “work family”. Paita has utilized the opportunities that have come her way and has demonstrated that goals can be achieved when there is a willingness to learn, willingness to reach out for support and a determination to succeed. In addition to her supporting our organisation, Paita is a stalwart for her Tongan Fellowship group, the Siasi Tonga Houeiki Church and loves to sing. Paita is also employed as a reliever at local Early Childhood Education Centres.

Maria Krause


Maria’s involvement with our organisation started as our van driver for the Ako Auloa Fanau Group services. She is now the driver for the Matua Lelei Senior Support Group, supporting Lulu. She is from Germany. When Maria is not volunteering for our organisation, she is busy with the Greerton Lions Club or busy with her photography.


Ane Ahio


Talofa Lava & Warm Pacific Greetings,

Ane Suemai-Ahio, is a NZ first born generation to her parents who hail from the beautiful islands of Samoa. Ane and her family have ties to the villages of Salelologa and Falelima in Savai’i, and Falefa, Utuali’i, and Satitoa i Aleipata in Upolu. Ane joined AvaNiu Pasifika as a Project Manager in March this year, co-ordinating cultural competency workshops with Early Childhood Centre staff to enhance their engagement with Pacific families and students. Ane’s favourite part about working with AvaNiu is being in a space that shares the same passion for our Pacific community whilst sharing aligned values of Faith, Family, Love & Prosperity. Ane has four years experience working for the University of Waikato as a Pacific Student Advisor and currently works part time with Kiwibank. In this capacity, Ane loves to help Pacific peoples reach their financial & career goals.