Meet the Team
Founder, Head of Advocacy
Robson aims to lead the delivery of catalytic change in the Auckland Community that makes a real difference in the lives of Pasifika and Māori youth and their families.
In his former role as a youth development worker for the NZ Police, Robson frequently came across Pasifika and Māori youth who didn’t have the literacy skills to do something as basic as write an apology letter. The numbers of young people who were unable to read or write stuck with Robson, and in 2010 he established TYMS in memory of his late father, Tuilaepa Ropisone Tavita.
Robson’s Dad Tuilaepa came to New Zealand from the island of Samoa with nothing but his personal self-belief, and dedicated his whole life making sure his family grew up understanding the importance of honesty, integrity, loyalty, and a good work ethic. It is these values that Robson is committed to passing on to the young people that he works with.
Robson holds a Bachelor of Social Practice and a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching. He is currently studying towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Not-for-Profit Management. Robson has over 30 years of experience working with young people both personally and professionally.
Lawyer and former professional rugby player Dale joined TYMS in early 2015 after working in property development and the law.
Dale's passion to see pacific and maori young people achieve their full potential and live their best lives drew him to commit to this new journey serving his community alongside his friend Robson Tavita.
Dale comes from a proud samoan family of ten so understands very well the importance of a strong family unit and culture. Like many other pacific, Dale's parents Ruta and Sam came from Samoa in the seventies for better opportunities for their kids. Dale like his siblings has a strong sporting background representing Manu Samoa and playing professionally in the UK for 9 years.
Dale has a real passion for helping young people and has been involved in working with youth through initiatives such as the Young Dads programme. He has first-hand experience of mentoring and support and the difference it can make to the lives of young people, having been blessed with many role models/mentors and a strong supportive family.
Mary-Ellen is a qualified Social Worker and has a Bachelor of Social Practice.
She has a passion for working with families and youth, driven by the dream to see all young people feel safe and loved in their homes, schools, and communities. Mary-Ellen loves creative work and regularly translates this talent into strengths-based programs that ensure young people themselves and their families, teachers and others around them see the 'good and potential' and continue to build on these, rather than the negatives. Her role as the Practice Manager complements this by making certain all our programs and practices are safe and of a quality standard.
Mary-Ellen is no stranger to the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland; she highly recommends it for hiking, especially during the cold winter season.