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About COMET Auckland


The Trustees serve on a voluntary basis. They meet once a month and the Chairperson is required to submit a report to Auckland Council twice a year. 

Ginnie Denny- Chair

Ginnie Denny has held governance positions in a range of education-related organisations over the past 6 years. As a long-time supporter of COMET, she brings expertise in tertiary and adult education as well as business acumen to the board table. 

Professionally, Ginnie works at the interface of business and education to create sustainable training platforms that meet the needs of both individual learners and their workplaces. She has a special interest in strengthening adult literacy and numeracy provision. 
Ginnie has worked for the Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and various Industry Training Organisations and Private Training Establishments to develop robust systems and processes to improve learner outcomes.


Andrew Abernethy

Andrew is a corporate lawyer specialising in mergers and acquisitions and funds structuring.  He is qualified to practise in New York, England & Wales, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

He attended Victoria University of Wellington, University of Auckland, and the Law School at The University of Chicago.  He has spent most of his career abroad, practising in New York, London, Hong Kong and Dubai and is now based in Auckland, where his three children attend school.



Anne Candy

Anne is Te Amokura |Director of Orongonui – the Theological Ministry Education Unit of Te Pihopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau | Maori Anglican Church. She has served many years as a Bishop's Commissary and as Chair of Te Hui Amorangi ki Te Tai Tokerau Trust Board.

Anne was a previous Deputy Mayor of Manukau City, and elected member of the Counties Manukau District Health Board until her retirement in 2010. In her role as Chair of the Community and Public Health Advisory Committee and Pou - Mᾱori Advisory Committee on the Counties Manukau District Health Board, Anne was instrumental in the establishment of six Hauora Marae-based Health Centres.  

Anne is a founder of the Taonga Education Centre Charitable Trust and her advocacy has seen the establishment of the Teen Parent Unit. The Trust manages six Manurewa Early Childhood Centres in high deprivation areas. Anne’s experience in continuous improvement for Mᾱori and Pasifika, brings value to the New Zealand Management Academies' Advisory Group, and the Mental Health Foundation Board. She is a Life Member of the Maori Women's Welfare League, a Patron of the Manukau National Council of Women, and the Manurewa Returned and Services Association. She was an Auckland Council appointed director on the 2014/15 Tamaki Redevelopment Company Board.

Anne is of Tainui and Ngaiterangi descent and holds Secondary School Teaching qualifications, a Diploma in Theology, a Bachelor of Social Work, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business and is a Justice of the Peace. Her Mᾱori education leadership is acknowledged by the University of Auckland Business School as an inaugural recipient for the "Mira Szaszy Maori Alumni Award" and Ngāti Whātua recognise her as an "Atamira Icon". Anne’s service to Mᾱori development is recognised by her Companion of the Queen's Service Order.



Caroline (Ligi) Harris

Caroline is the national Pasifika Engagement Advisor for the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) Service IQ.  She works across multiple industries in the service sector to advance Pasifika success outcomes. She is also a member of the Māori and Pasifika forum group at the Industry Training Federation (ITF).  

Caroline has worked in education for over 20 years in various roles as teacher, course developer, education advisor, programme manager and leader of community initiated programmes, using her creative talents to innovate meaningful programmes for diverse people groups.  

Alongside her work, Caroline is a trustee member of the Community and Voluntary Sector Research Centre and is also studying for her Masters in Educational Leadership through Auckland University Technology (AUT). 

She lives in south Auckland caring for her elderly parent, and is of mixed heritage; Samoan (NZ), Chinese, American with ancestral links to Tonga.  


Jayne Mayerhofler

Jayne has been involved in the education industry for the past 9 years, working at a regional and national level, within the secondary schools sector. Here she has engaged with prospective students and their key influencers, to inspire and inform them to consider tertiary education.  

Jayne has a good understanding and in-depth knowledge of the compulsory education sector, having partnered with Principals and their staff to up-skill and empower youth to become tertiary ready, make well informed decisions and to feel a strong sense of belonging, connectedness with tertiary education.


Jignasha Patel

Jignasha joined Air New Zealand in 2004, as a Manager of Cargo, she now holds position as the General Manager in the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute. She has led commercial ventures up to $400M in revenue with $200M in consulting for businesses projects within New Zealand, Australia, and USA. Jignasha has gained significant experience in cargo, aviation, media and infrastructure in various roles from General Manager, Consultancy Program Director and as Head of Risk Management.

Originally from Fiji, Jignasha completed her high school and tertiary education in Auckland, graduating with an Auckland University Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Jignasha brings governance expertise in reporting to boards, audit committees, steering groups, executive teams and to the Leadership team at Air New Zealand.  Believing passionately in the philosophy of “giving back”, Jignasha is currently a member of: the ATEED Futures Group Board, the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs Focus on Ethnic Women Leadership, the Service IQ Industry Advisory Board, and on the committee of the JKP Charitable Education Trust supporting education for 4,500 girls in Northern India.


Jannitta Pilisi

Jannitta has extensive experience as a senior executive in the tertiary education sector.  She recently completed a contract with AUT University's South Campus in a community-engagement focussed role, and assisted the newly opened MOE Partnership School "Pacific Advance Senior School" as an Academic Board member.

She also served on the Tertiary Education Commission's Pasifika Working Group, preceded by 11 years of service as a directorate member of a large Private Training Establishment. Jannitta has successfully undertaken a number of local and international consulting projects which include business systems design, governance, advocacy, event management and legal advice. As a proud Kiwi-born Niuean, she also maintains strong connections with Aotearoa New Zealand's rich and diverse communities.



Amit Prasad

Amit Prasad joined our board in 2018. He  has spent more than two decades in financial and general management, including 12 years in the education sector. He currently works as a Director of Finance for the University of Auckland Business School.

Amit is originally from Fiji and began his career in an export-oriented fashion and textile industry. In his governance roles, Amit is involved with a few non-profits as Trustee, Finance/Audit Committee member and Remuneration Committee member. He is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, a Fellow of CPA Australia and holds an MBA from Deakin University, Melbourne.

Outside work he enjoys watching sports, travelling, mostly road trips and enjoys spending time with his partner and son.