Because your support makes a difference!


Mary Wanhill

Once known as ‘Scary Mary’ for her daredevil accomplishments on a dirt bike, Mary Wanhill was forced into a change of direction after a career-ending injury in 2009. Since then, Mary has pursued a life of impacting young people  as the founder of Youth Encounter Ministries Trust. She has a passion to see youth be all that they can be as they navigate through life’s challenges. Click here to see more about Mary's backstory. 

Mary is both Managing Director and Youth Co-Ordinator. Using dirt bike riding as a tool along with her counselling diploma, Mary brings her insights and leadership to effectively engage with young people, creating powerful connections that have created a vibrant community of young people. 

Tracey Christian

Tracey joined our team in October 2016 as our Operations Manager, where she is responsible for the smooth running of the day-to-day operations as well as helping us to grow our services with her focus on sustainable funding to help achieve our vision and mission. Tracey is passionate about making a difference in the lives of our youth and believes strongly in giving them opportunities to grow and develop into the incredible young people their potential reveals.

Powhiri Bidois

Powhiri joined the Youth Encounter team in December 2020 as a Youth Mentor. Powhiri has a background as a professional rugby league player. He has more recently worked as a youth mentor in the Tauranga area. 

His introduction was when he had a couple of young mentees he was working with, complete a Dirt Bike therapy course with Mary. Looking back on his own life, Powhiri realises the positive impact significant coaches and mentors had on his life to bring him to the place he is today and desires to do the same for other rangatahi.

Maree Rauhala

Maree joined the team in October 2019 as our part-time Funding Co-Ordinator. She has a background in banking, admin and TESOL teaching.

Maree is married to Ilkka and they have three adult children and a son-in-law who have all participated in Encounter Camps and Ride Days over the years.

"I love being involved in an organisation that is making a positive difference in the  lives of our young people."

Parekotuku Herewini

Pare recently joined the team in September 2020 as a youth mentor. She is a volunteer firefighter and has a background in teaching.

Pare says, "One of my strengths is 'fun'. Youth Encounter shares an awesome atmosphere which allows our youth to have fun while believing in their true value. I am super-excited to connect and build relationships with our young people."

Ethan Milsom

Ethan first got involved  in Youth  Encounter  when he attended his first camp in 2016 at 14 years old. He is now a valued member of our team happy to competently cover a range of roles as required including: mentoring, instructing, running activities, equipment and whatever else Mary asks him to do. :-) 

Ethan says that Youth Encounter allows him to journey with  youth and  see changes and growth in their lives as well as having fun with awesome people!

Joel Natzke

Joel helps out in our all important Equipment area cleaning, servicing, checking and repairing any gear in use. He is also one of our mentors and an instructor for new dirt bike riders. Joel says "Encounter supported me all through youth, helping me grow up in a positive environment while pushing me to reach my fullest potential and having heaps of fun along the way.


Youth Encounter Governance includes nine members. Five are board of trustees (Bill, Paul, Greg Royce & Andrew) and four act as advisors to this board of trustees. This includes a secretary and treasurer (Fiona & Jo) and also the founders of the organisation (Joel and Mary Wanhill).  

Bill Tissingh - Chairperson

Bill has 30 years experience on the Trust Board of Kauaeranga Valley Christian Camp and has chaired that board for some 15 years. Bill is married to Ngaire and lives in a busy household with 11 children: 7 daughters and 4 sons. Bill is also involved in the wider community serving with Paeroa Christian School, Open Home Foundation and Paeroa Bible Chapel. He also served as chair on a local schooling improvement initiative known as SOAR@Paeroa. Bill is passionate about working with broken-hearted people.

Paul Fawcett

Paul heads up the development team at Bay Gold Ltd. Paul has been involved at different levels from orchard work to strategic direction and brings a wide range of skills and experience to the YEMT team. His interest and passion is in organisational growth and sustainability with a focus towards HR and Health and Safety governance. He also enjoys time with his wife, and a growing family of grandchildren at the beach and adventuring in the outdoors. Paul has been part of a number of different boards over the past 10 years, three which were NFP. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors in NZ and brings valuable skills and resources to the table.

Greg Martin

Greg manages his kiwifruit and avocado orchard at Welcome Bay on the outskirts of Tauranga. He is married to Heather and they have three adult children. Greg has put his hands to many practical projects and enjoys the adventure of outdoor work and hobbies. Greg is involved in Youth Encounter at an operational level as well as learning the ropes of governance. He is an open and willing learner, engaging in new challenges. Greg loves getting alongside the youth to help them find a better way forward in their lives. 

Royce McMurtrie

Royce is a former manager at Tui Ridge Park and Lakes Ranch Christian camps. He is a qualified teacher and is currently the principal at Paeroa Christian School. He is married and has five children. His great leadership qualities are bringing fresh insights to Youth Encounter.

Andrew & Fiona Clements

Andrew is one of the directors at Grayson Clements Lawyers in Hamilton. His qualifications are LL.B/BA & TEP. He is often found travelling abroad with his work and believes in looking after people, delivering commercial and pragmatic advice through his work. Andrew balances work life with family life having three teenagers and his wife Fiona. He is in touch with today’s youth culture and has a passion to see them reach their full potential in life. Fiona fills the vital role as our board secretary.

Jo Watson - Treasurer

Jo is a qualified accountant and currently works for Deloitte New Zealand in Hamilton. She has been involved in overseas and local mission work with children and young people and has a heart to see change but an understanding of what it takes behind the scenes. Jo believes she has a calling to use her accounting skills in the not-for-profit sector and is growing in her development of this calling.  


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