15% households with school aged children without internet access       39% of Aucklanders born overseas       82% of 18 year olds have NCEA Level 2       22% unemployment for 15-24 year olds       94.6% attend pre-school       1 in 4 children in poverty       79% pass NCEA Literacy in Yr 11       76% at or above national reading standards starting high school

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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 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 support learning.

Ginnie currently holds the Chair for Ako Books – a social enterprise producing in Early Childhood Education resources and is a Trustee on New Zealand Equine Education Trust.


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.


Barbara Cavanagh

Barbara is the foundation principal of Albany Senior High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She started her teaching career as an English and Drama teacher and she has taught in a wide range of schools including Northcote College in Auckland and Fairfield College in Hamilton. Barbara has had two previous principalships - at Ngaruawahia High School and Te Awamutu

College, both in the Waikato. She is passionate about education, has worked on many of the professional bodies that mentor and support teachers and principals and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of establishing the first state funded senior high school in New Zealand. Barbara has a strong commitment to developing the talent that every student brings to the school to fully prepare them for the next stage of their lives. This commitment extends to developing the talents of the staff to ensure that Albany Senior High School continues to grow the educational leaders of the future.



Julie Dent

Julie is an early childhood teacher and is currently the Programme Leader for Early Childhood Education at the New Zealand School of Education (NZSE). She is also the National Moderator (acting) ECE for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

She is involved in advocacy for young children and is the secretary for the Auckland Chapter of OMEP, an international organisation that advocates for young children worldwide. Julie is also on the Board of Trustees for a school in West Auckland where she lives.



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.



Brian Putt

Brian is a self employed town planner with 38 years of professional work in local, district, regional and central government planning.  He has a long involvement with North Shore community organisations from his time as a councillor on the former Northcote Borough Council (from 1980 – 1989).

He was part of the establishment of Awataha Marae and Onepoto Awhina.  Brian was an elected councillor on the inaugural North Shore City Council from 1982 – 1992.  He chaired the Northcote Soccer Club for six years and was member and Chair of the Northcote College Board of Trustees for seven years.  He was the North Shore appointee to the AUT Board for three years.

Brian’s interests remain in the strategic purpose and function of community development.  He sees his professional skills as a valuable tool to assist in helping NSCSS confront and liaise with central and local government organisations.  Brian is married with four adult children and four grandchildren.  He has lived in Northcote for 38 years.

Brian is a visiting lecturer to Unitec School of Architecture (since 2003).  He is currently chair of the Birkdale Beachhaven Community Project and inaugural convenor of the Kaipatiki Public Arts Trust.