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Our Active Board Leads by Example

One of First Foundation’s greatest assets is its board. Like everyone in our community, our trustees care deeply about supporting our scholars to successful futures. As a board, they offer governance, direction, fiscal oversight and strategic advice. They also do much more.

Each First Foundation board member is so invested in our shared mission that they make a personal contribution. It’s a testament to their character and the compelling impact they see first-hand.

First Foundation Board Chair Rich Easton

Rich Easton

Our chair, Rich Easton, has been involved with First Foundation for more than ten years. Rich first became aware of the programme when he managed a team at Spark that took on a scholar to mentor and another for work experience.  Since then, Rich has not only joined the board and stepped up to lead it, he’s mentored five scholars.

Rich says the connection to youth development is so vital to New Zealand. 

“It’s great to have conversations that broaden your thinking. Working with the scholars has helped me understand more about the challenges for younger people.”  

“I was delighted when I was invited to become a First Foundation trustee four years ago, and now have the honour of being Chair. I’ve enjoyed being able to offer hands-on support as a mentor. And the more I get to know the organisation, the more impressed I am about its value.” 

You can read more about Rich’s insights on First Foundation’s mentoring here.

It’s clear Rich is a good influence on the scholars he’s mentored; one is Tau, who now sits alongside him as a trustee.


Tuputau Lelaulu

Tau is of Samoan descent and grew up in South Auckland. In 2009, he earned his place in the programme and brings a scholar’s perspective to the board. Tau has now achieved his dream of becoming an architect and contributing to a more equitable world.

Tau’s university qualification has helped him relieve his family from financial stress. His talent has become an inspiration for other rangatahi to follow their dreams. Tau was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Cadimage Group Student Design Awards, New Zealand’s top prize for final year architecture students. He was selected for his indigenous Pacific-styled concepts.

Following university, Tau launched MAU Studio to focus on regenerating environments that enhance well-being. He’s sought out for his perspective on better housing solutions for the Pacific community.

Tau believes a sustainable future for business requires an organisational culture that values youth development in Aotearoa. As well as embracing this in his day-to-day work and serving on our Board, Tau is a First Foundation mentor. We’re incredibly fortunate to have him.

Every one of our Trustees has an equally powerful and inspiring story. You can read more about them here.