We have a passionate Board of Trustees. They bring a wealth of experience as business professionals, business advisors and consultants, an ex-youth worker, parents, ex-foster parents, managers, farmers, and ‘horsey people’ that are excited about giving hope and life skills to youth and women. Many have been influenced by their own time around horses and the benefits they experienced.
Rachel Ralph - Founder and
Rachel grew up on a beef stud farm with 8 siblings and lots of animals. With a Pony Club background, her first jobs were on thoroughbred stud farms and later as a riding coach for beginners. She has travelled and lived overseas including the UK and Melbourne for over 20 years.
For about 5 years, Rachel and her husband opened their home to teenagers and young adults in need. They were foster parents with Open Home Foundation for about 3 years which had a profound impact on the way Hope Rising Farm was formed. Rachel loves walking and enjoying the great outdoors, drawing, vegetable gardening, community church life, a wide range of music, live theatre and a good film!
Rachel says, “I love young people and have a powerful desire to see them grow and to become all they can be. I love seeing a change in their thinking about what’s possible and to see ‘the lights go on’ in an area of their lives.
Steven Senn - Chairman
Steven has a diverse background in business ownership, start-ups, sales and management; with a sincere desire to raise outcomes and the value of organisations. This has led Steven into numerous roles as consultant, advisor and managing director for small and large organisations. The Hope Rising mission statement resonates with Steven’s values and heart for reaching youth and making positive changes in the lives of people and the community at large.
Aroha Gaylor - Trustee
Mihi atu ki a koe, Greetings to you. I am married to Wayne, we have 5 adult sons and 10 mokopuna who, along with our wider whanau, are our world. Tainui and Ngati Porou are my Iwi and we reside at Glen Massey, out of Ngaruawahia. I have 15 years experience in dairy farming and 15 years in beef and sheep farming. I was one of the guys, mustering, crutching, feeding contactors and parenting our boys. We prepared our boys for their future by including them in everything we did. Learning by doing. I did many years of endurance riding when managing a large station in Taranaki, learning so many skills from tough people of the land in Whangamomona. Moving to another station in the King Country we met like friends and horse trekked in some challenging places.This was once a favourite pastime. I bring 18 years of experience as an educator, 10 years leading as a Principal, motivating and encouraging staff and youth to aspire, inspire and achieve their dreams. I believe in the kaupapa/plan for Hope Rising Farm Charitable Trust and am humbled to be part of a special team, providing opportunities and hope for rangitahi/youth and wahine/woman.
I was born in South Africa, where I grew up with horses and have been riding horses since I was five years old and although I enjoyed participating in competitions; my greatest love was playing with my horses. I qualified as a Landscape Planner/Horticulturist as an adult, but shortly after, got married to my wonderful husband Rob, who was a dairy farmer at the time. I started giving riding lessons to the children from our district catering for all levels of experience including therapeutic riding for children with a variety of disabilities. I believe firmly in the benefits of children spending time horses and have seen significant benefits first hand with some of the children I worked with. In 2009, we moved to New Zealand and now live in the outskirts of Hamilton on a lifestyle block where I can indulge my equine interests. I have three great young adult children and am an administrator for a large agricultural firm. I have been involved with Hope Rising Trust since its inception and am excited about being on the board of Hope Rising Farm Trust. I see many opportunities to change the lives of the children that come.
Jeanie van Zweeden - Trustee
Jean has come on to the Board of Trustees, bringing her experience in a wide range of business related roles including Office Management for a Veterinary Clinic to IT Business Analysis for a Not for Profit in London. She has a passion to help young kids who are struggling with school and life in general. Jean has been riding off and on since before she was a teen herself and loves all things horse and farm.
Andy Ralph - Trustee
Andy trained as a Youth Worker and initially worked in this field for about 12 years with a number of youth employment organisations, ranging from local councils, churches, and community groups. He has had experience working with unemployed young people, people struggling with substance abuse, low-income families. Andy transitioned to computer training in large organisations for a while and returned to youth work to establish and coordinate a series of youth unemployment projects. He is currently in a role where he is able to invest in troubled young lives.