RAW Board

Annah Profile

Annah Stretton

Founder and CEO

Annah is the founder of the Annah Stretton fashion label, a successful New Zealand entrepreneur, author of five books and speaker. With a strong online platform and 11 retail stores, her philanthropic efforts provide substantial support to a very wide range of charitable groups and organisations across New Zealand.

In 2013 she set up the Stretton Foundation and from this came her first initiative – RAW (Reclaim Another Woman). RAW was launched in the Waikato in February 2014, working with incarcerated recidivist offenders, the strength of this work is such that, in September 2015 she was awarded the EY / ASB Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

In 2016 Annah created Kia Puāwai which supports charitable organisations delivering social services within the community with wellness programmes. Kia Puàwai wants to protect the wellness of the people out there doing good. In 2018 the latest initiative The Good Collective is working to connect charities and not-for-profit organisations in the Waikato with professional service providers who are prepared to deliver high-quality work at discounted rates for its members.

For both her business and philanthropic work Annah was selected as one of the ten semi-finalists for 2018 New Zealander of the Year. Annah is currently on the chair of the Waikato women’s refuge and a board member of UNICEF NZ.

Annah as a speaker
Ruahine Profile

Ruahine Albert

Chair and Cultural Advisor

My name is Ruahine Albert and I have been residing in Kirikiriroa for 40 years. When I reflect on my life, as this submission has required that I do, I realise that my entire life has been focused on or around justice.

From birth, I have been a part of and witness to and working for reform, accountability, equity and transformation of harm being done in our communities. I have experienced first-hand the barriers that many of our people face and understand the difficulties of breaking free from the shackles of inequity.

Through my journey as QSM, JP and Chief Executive of Te Whakaruruhau and all of the numerous groups and panels that I have been a part of, my overarching purpose has always been to make a difference in the community. I continue to work passionately towards positive change, representing and giving a voice to those who too often go unheard.

My own path, through the many and varied experiences which bring me to this point, is that I walk in the footsteps and shadow of my ancestors. Pride in my birthright and a lifetime of social activism, I believe, has prepared me for the next step in my journey.

Tuia I runga
Tuia I raro
Tuia I roto
Tuia I waho
Tuia te here tangata
Ka rongo to po, Ka rongo te ao
Haumie, Hui e….. Taiki e

Ko Pirongia me Tongariro nga Maunga
Ko Waipa me Puniu nga awa
Ko Taupo nui a Tia te moana
Ko Paretekawa me Kare kawa nga hapu
Ko Poukura te marae
Ko Tainui me Te Arawa nga waka
Ko Ruahine Albert toku ingoa

He mokopuna au no nga kawai rangatahi o ia waka
He kanohi, he ringa raupa hoki au mot e iwi Maori
Ko aku aronga matapono ko te tika, te pono me te rangimarie

Paula Profile

Paula O’Neill

Tīhei mauri ora!
Nō te tai tokerau ahau.
Ko Kurahaupo te waka.
Ko Ngāti Kurī, ko Ngāti Porou, ko Ngāpuhi ngā iwi.
Ko Ratahi te ingoa whānau.
Ko Paula O’Neill ahau.

I was born and raised in Kaikoura in the South Island, but I whakapapa to a place called Te Kao, which is a town on the Aupouri Peninsula of Northland, New Zealand.

I have worked in our communities for the past 20 years in various roles. The last 14.5 years was dedicated to Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections). I have held many different leadership roles within Probation and the Prison space at a District, Regional, National and International level. What I learnt was when people experience significant trauma throughout their whole lives, it impacts and shifts the way they see themselves and view the world. This was extremely evident when working with wahine in the Prison space. It was at this time my path crossed with Annah and her sister Bex, who were leading such incredible mahi with our wahine out of Auckland Region Womens Corrections Facility. As I continued to learn and understand how RAW supported these wahine, it became very apparent there was a real need for this type of wrap-around ongoing support. I observed first-hand wahine going from strength to strength with the support from RAW. This often leads to them thriving in the community, never taking a backward step and supporting others to be able to see the changes which could be achieved.

Moving forward I feel very blessed and honoured to have been asked to be part of the RAW mahi once again. I believe the work which is done in this space transforms lives and supports wahine to be able to reintegrate back into society with a wraparound mechanism, which has proven to be successful.

‘Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi”
With your basket and my basket the people will live, referring to co-operation and the combination of resources to get ahead.

Tony Profile

Tony Hope

Tony refers to himself as an Intraprenuer, who after 18 years of successful partnership with Annah Stretton, has deliberately blended his fascination of human behaviours and his extensive educational background with the realities of the business world.

While human relationships have dominated his work for nearly two decades it has been the evolution of the RAW model that has reignited his ‘knowledge practise’ passions – Just how do we transfer what needs to be known to those who need this knowledge most? Tony is also spending time investing in the pastoral care of the RAW whānau, gaining a greater understanding of their individual needs as they begin their truly remarkable journey to becoming positive, productive and passionate members of our communities.

Tony currently works as a consultant to groups wishing to achieve operational success though the celebration of team growth.

Fiona Profile

Fiona Harland

Fiona has 24 years recruitment industry experience and owns a successful South Auckland boutique Recruitment agency with her husband John. Fiona stepped away from full time recruiting in 2016 when she and John relocated to Hawkes Bay. She however remains actively involved in the business, working on it not in it.

When introduced to Annah in Sept 2014, Fiona jumped at the opportunity to work as a mentor on a weekly basis, at Auckland Women’s Correctional Facility. She reluctantly gave this away on her relocation to Hawkes Bay however has always maintained a close connection to many of the women that she supported, and has continued to advocate and assist RAW in the game changing work this foundation is achieving.

Having always been a passionate advocate for disadvantaged and marginalised members of her community, Fiona has sat on the Auckland Dress for Success Board, The Graeme Dingle Foundation Hawkes Bay Board and is delighted to be welcomed back into the RAW family.

Roma Balzer


Ko Rotokakahi, ko Tauranga Moana oku roto me to moana
Ko Te Arawa, ko Ngati Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui oku iwi
Ko Tuhourangi, ko Ngati Pikiao, ko Ngati Hangarau oku hapu

In the beginning I believed that if we worked hard and focusedon eradicating injustices and violence towards women and children, society would be safer for our grandsons and granddaughters. Now as veteran of 40 plus years in the battered women’s movement I have a greater understanding of what prevented and continues to prevent this from happening. The great transformation of society I have worked towards may not happen in my lifetime however I have accepted that my ‘rest of life’ vocation is to be the squeaky wheel, to keep the vision alive and to not go down with a whimper but with a resounding bang. No time to waste, there is too much work still to be done.

Shannon Profile

Shannon Stevens

In 2018, having spent half her adult life in prison, Shannon was fortunate enough to meet Annah and Rebecca. Together they embarked on a transformative journey. Recognising that substantial shifts and extensive learnings were essential to achieve desired outcomes, Shannon was determined to make a difference. What struck Shannon, initially with an absolute disbelief, was the unwavering dedication, commitment, and the abundant resources that RAW, an organization focused on helping disadvantaged and marginalised women within the prison system, was willing to invest. Witnessing this unrelenting and lifelong support gave Shannon renewed hope, fuelling her resolve to contribute to positive change on a much larger scale that simply her own, and uplift the lives of wāhine in need.

Thanks to a Waikato University RAW scholarship, Shannon was able to pursue her passion for human behaviour. She is currently undertaking a degree in social sciences with ambitions to graduate with a PhD, driven by her aspirations to help others break the cycle of recidivism and become exemplary role models for future tamariki and mokopuna.


Steven Stark

Steven is a Chartered Accountant, who has been a Partner at accountancy firm PKF for the past 12 years.

Steve’s background includes being the youngest McDonald’s Franchisee globally at the time at the age of just 23, before returning to university to study Chartered Accountancy.

Steve’s professional career has specialised in the area of Transaction Advisory (including due diligence, business valuation, succession planning and capital raising) which accompanied his Business Advisory practice. His parallel business experience has greatly assisted in adding value to his clients throughout his career.


Vivien Maidaborn


Human Rights has been the enduring theme of my career. I am struck by how much of the services, projects and protest we engaged in and thought would make things better over the last 30 years has failed. Now my focus is on systemic change. How do we disrupt big systems, resource people for a rapidly changing world, and most of all hold in our hearts, and minds the value of every single person.

Working at UNICEF means I am part of an international and global effort on behalf of every child, my time at Loomio taught me about using technology and the internet for social change, and now at RAW I am interested in new social change models that draw from the best of entrepreneurial business and the best of values and person centred community responses. It is such an important inquiry – if our social services fail to support people to succeed then we must keep shifting and changing the supports we offer.

Sumudu Thode

Board Legal Advisor

Sumudu is the Board’s Legal Adviser and provides legal support to answer RAW women’s legal questions.

Sumudu is the Principal at Thode Utting & Co. lawyers who have offices in Albany Auckland, Puhoi and Whangarei. Sumudu graduated from the University of Auckland with conjoint degrees in Law and Commerce and has been practicing as a criminal defence lawyer for over 10 years, appearing in both the District and High Courts. Sumudu also attends Parole Board hearings and is on the Police Detention Legal Assistance (PDLA) phone list in both Auckland and Northland.

She is also the Director of Integral Reports Limited, who provide reports about people’s background, upbringing and culture to the Court, to assist with sentencing. Integral Reports Ltd also provides reports that assist with Parole Hearings.

Sumudu is a strong believer in having a voice and having being heard. Through her work with the Raw Board, she’s hoping she is able to contribute to the voice, strength and opportunities the Board provides for the RAW women.

Paul Profile

Dr Paul Wood

Dr Paul Wood is an expert in helping people cope more effectively with stress and figure out how to have better lives. Paul’s expertise comes from his study in psychology and his personal experience of turning his life around. At 18 Paul was a drug-addicted school-drop out beginning a prison sentence of over ten years for killing his drug dealer. These days he is a husband and father, runs a successful business, and is a regular contributor in the media. Paul’s second book, Mental Fitness: Build your mind for strength and resilience every day, was another instant best-seller, following the release of his first top-selling book; How to Escape from Prison.

Paul is an inspiring and energising public speaker and workshop facilitator; he generously supports a number of charities, including RAW, with speaking engagements aimed at helping audiences to develop a growth mindset, be effective and resilient at navigating change, and ultimately, realise their full potential.


Rebecca Profile

Rebecca Skilton


I have a background in registered nursing, specialising in mental health, with a passion for strengthening and empowering vulnerable people within the community. During my 25-year nursing career, I took a keen interest in forensic mental health and its outcomes as it seemed to be a persistent revolving door scenario.

Since 2014, I have worked in RAW (Reclaim AnotherWoman), an innovative social impact start-up that I helped to conceptualise with my sister Annah Stretton. RAW was conceived in response to the degradation in mental health that we saw in marginalised communities. We went in with the conviction that if we approached the social issues facing individuals in our communities at both a holistic and personalised level, the outcomes could be different. Our ultimate goal was to break intergenerational cycles of offending, educational underachievement, violence and poverty and empower wahine to sustain, support and lift their whānau.

My role encompasses both the practical planning and implementation of the re-integrative rehabilitative model on a daily basis, and the fostering of its ongoing growth and development in conjunction with key stakeholders.

Today, in its ninth year of operation, RAW’s outcomes have exceeded all initial targets. We are now witnessing the intergenerational effect that the RAW mahi set out to impact and grow come to fruition; our RAW wahine are sustainably supporting their whānau.

A copy of my full resume is available here.


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