Meet The Team
Founder and Farm Manager
Rachel founded Hope Rising Farm in 2012 and since then has supported students, as well as working in Buddy training, animal care, communications and everything in between!
Rachel is a connector, and is always engaging with people around her, supporting others and making new friends. Rachel has an un-ending passion for helping young people and women.
You can find her out on the farm with students, in the office, or very occasionally she gets time for a ride!
Operations Manager and Buddy
Jeanie van Zweeden
Jean started working as a buddy for Hope Rising Farm in February 2020, after returning from working in the UK for 11 years. She has been our Operations Manager from 2021.
Jean has had an involvement with horses and riding since she was a child. However, while in the UK she became aware of how impactful handling horses and being around horses can be to people, especially those who are vulnerable.
She is excited about seeing how the work of the Trust will impact children in the community that are struggling with difficult life situations.
Office Manager, Buddy and Event Co-ordinator
Maria was born in England, and came to New Zealand in 1987. For 22 years she lived on a 3500-acre sheep and beef farm but recently downsized to a lifestyle block.
She is an experienced Administrator, and has many years of working with the public, and organising public sporting events.
She competed on her own horses for many years and worked extensively as a groom for a top 3 Day Event competitor while in the UK.
She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of the vulnerable children and women that are struggling in our communities and looking forward to seeing many more lives changed at Hope Rising Farm.
Programme Manager, Buddy and Arts Therapist
Eve joined us initially in 2014 as a general volunteer, then left to study and later returned to us with a Master's in Arts Therapy and became a Buddy.
Eve also does arts therapy sessions with our students.
She loves the way the farm provides a unique mix of creativity, animal experience and time in the outdoors.
Eve's enthusiasm is infectious and her ready smile and can-do belief in her students encourages them to try new things.
Horse Care Assistant, Social Media Manager and Buddy
Heidi has a wealth of experience in riding, working with young people and managing horses.
Heidi has been working with horses for 10+ years, schooling young horses and teaching lessons.
She owns 3 horses of her own, rides in both English and Western, and was Assistant Centre Coordinator for Waikato Equitherapy for 4 years.
Heidi's knowledge and lovely way with young people means her students at HRF gain confidence with animals as well as confidence in themselves. Heidi also does photography on the side, she's a published author and recently got married!