Taranaki’s successful youth business internship and mentoring programme, ACCELERATOR, matches motivated and engaged year 12 and 13 students with local business mentors once a week over the second term of the school year. Students also meet weekly as a group and hear from inspirational speakers and their coaches. Download Accelerator information.


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Little Fighters Fun Run Fundraiser 2018

Accelerator 2018 students have been invited to help raise funds for The Little Fighters Trust. Accelerator coach Dinnie Moeahu is an ambassador for the trust and is helping to raise the $80,000 needed to sponsor a room at Ronald McDonald House in Auckland (video herefull story here).

On June 24 from 11am, Accelerator students past and present will join Dinnie on a short run from the Wind Wand to East End SLSC and back. While the run is short, it is hoped the money raised will be big. All runners will be sponsored and every cent raised will be donated to the The Little Fighters Trust. 

Sponsorship money can be paid to 15 3953 0576969 01. Particulars: funrun   Code: First name   Reference: Surname

Taranaki Futures GM Warwick Foy says, "the purpose of the event is to raise money and awareness of Little Fighters and to wrap the vision and principles of Accelerator around a practical activity and, to help students to learn that giving is as important as taking."


 Download Sponsor Form

Meet the 2018 Coaches

Abbie White, Client Service Coordinator, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce
Abbie works at the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce as the Client Service Coordinator. She studied a Bachelor of Communications with a major of Public Relations and a minor of Media Studies at Massey University. She manages the marketing and communications throughout the Chamber including the website, social media and the quarterly magazine. Abbie is also on the Taranaki Young Professional’s Committee and the local National Party Committee. Abbie has learnt that hard work, determination and working as a team player can add significant value and opportunity to help you grow and develop

Blake Habib, Real Estate Salesperson, Professionals Real Estate
Blake works as a real estate salesperson for Professionals Real Estate and volunteers at the Westown Hospice shop. Using his spare time aged 13 to 16, Blake designed websites to sell online services to businesses worldwide, purchase and re-sell trending products from China through TradeMe and promote discounted hotels and travel packages through his website Having transitioned immediately into real estate from his high schooling education at Francis Douglas Memorial College, Blake has a relevant understanding of the students Taranaki Futures are trying to impact. Blake is passionate about showcasing other employment opportunities available to students in our region.

Blanton Smith, News Director, Taranaki Daily News
My name is Blanton Smith and I work as a News Director in Stuff's Taranaki office. Along with three other News Directors and the Editor I look after the day to day running of the newsroom, the Taranaki Daily News and two community newspapers. We're responsible for commissioning stories, publishing them online, promoting them through the Stuff website and social media channels and laying them out in the paper. Outside of work, I am married to Freyja and have a 1-year-old son named Otis. I am a keen surfer and can't wait until my son is old enough to take to the water with me.

Daniel Fleming, General Manager and Co-owner, King & Queen Hotels Suites 
Daniel moved back home in 2013 to open the King & Queen Hotel Suites, New Plymouth’s leading luxury boutique hotel located in the thriving West End Precinct.
Prior to opening the King & Queen Hotel he worked in hotels throughout New Zealand and Australia with companies such as InterContinental, Millennium and Sheraton. 
Daniel is currently the Deputy Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, Deputy Chair of the Business and Retail Association, Chair of the West End Precinct and an Advisor to the WITT Council.

Dinnie Moeahu, Entrepeneur
Kia ora, Ko Dinnie Moeahu tōku ingoa. I am the second youngest of seven siblings made up of five boys and girls. I am married to Sonya Moeahu and have two handsome boys Christian and Kaia. I am an entrepreneur who is passionate about community and giving back. I am the founder and owner of Taranaki’s premier entertainment company Dman Entertainment and I’m excited to share my knowledge with the next generation of game changers. Nga mihi.

Ellen Varoy, Marketer, IVHQ
Ellen is the Head of Marketing at International Volunteer HQ, the world's largest volunteer travel organisation, which has supported over 80,000 travellers to volunteer overseas. Ellen started as the first marketer for IVHQ in 2012 with a focus on building a trusted global brand through a community-focused approach to digital marketing. As a global organisation operating out of New Plymouth, digital marketing is at the heart of IVHQ and Ellen's role is focused on ensuring they are reaching a sustainable number of volunteers to support their projects around the world. This approach is connecting people from over 100 different countries with meaningful travel opportunities across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Pacific and USA.

Ian Skipworth, General Manager (Service Delivery and Operational Services Electricity), Powerco
Ian leads Powerco’s Electricity Service Delivery and Operational Teams. He joined Powerco in 2018. Ian is a chartered engineer with 25 years’ experience in industrial engineering, high precision manufacturing and continuous chemical processing sectors. He has previously held business leadership positions in the UK, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia before returning to New Zealand to join Powerco. Before working for Powerco Ian lead a business transformation programme for Nexans based in Melbourne.

Jessica Parker, Event Co-ordinator, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce
Jessica works at the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce as the Events Co-ordinator, responsible for all event management from small one off presentations to the large signature events – TSB Top Shop and Taranaki Business Excellence Awards run annually. Jessica studied Tourism and Hospitality Management in Christchurch before starting a career in hospitality sales and marketing. After moving to the UK she worked in events and marketing management throughout the UK and Europe for two high profile corporate banks over eight years. Jess’s career experience also includes working as Operations and Logistics manager for a hot air balloon company in Turkey and working in India for the inaugural IPL cricket tournament. Jessica is a firm believer in grabbing opportunities with both hands and making the most of the experiences that come from these – seize the day!

Michelle Ramage, Attendance Officer, Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki
Michelle is an Attendance Officer (formally Truancy Officer) for Tu Tama Wahine and covers all schools between Egmont Village and Patea. Michelle is the founder of Roderique Hope Emergency Housing Trust which assists families in Taranaki who are homeless with a place to stay for a period of 12 weeks and wrap around support to get them back on their feet. Michelle loves to travel – especially to Queenstown. Michelle is a passionate social entrepreneur and a firm believer in seeing something through to the finish coupled with dedication and hard work

Momo Martin, National Account Manager
My name is Momo, and I am a foodie. I am also passionate about social justice, people and commerce; and enjoy finding ways to weave these together. I currently own a food business called Pancake Theory, creating bespoke cakes, catering and wholesale foods. I am fortunate to be able use my business to support local charities though donations, catering and collections. I also work as a National Account Manager for a local furniture company, and more recently have become a mummy to a baby girl. Congratulations on joining the Accelerator programme! I am looking forward to meeting you, and being a coach again this year!

Richard Williams, Director, Billings Lawyers
Richard is a Director at Billings Lawyers. He has 13 years’ experience in international, national and provincial law firms, specialising in business and property law. Richard is passionate about Taranaki and its people and seeing both of them prosper. He has built up a large network of business contacts throughout Taranaki and has a good appreciation of what businesses want and what makes our community hum.

Richie Shearer, QP Sports
Richard Shearer owns Taranaki based business QP Sport, a niche producer and exporter of sports protection products. His background was in the petrochemical engineering and IT industries, but his real passion is growing businesses.

Sarah Lee, Accelerator Coordinator, Taranaki Futures
Sarah Lee has been involved in recruitment for 18 years. She believes that all local people can hope for satisfying and productive employment in Taranaki. Recently, Sarah was the driving force behind Step Up Taranaki - where she got the whole region dancing. Step Up filming, set to iconic Taranaki song Poi E, took place over 18 months. While the project was a coup in itself - the world's largest choreographed dance video - Sarah made cross-sector contacts and connections that made her the ideal person to lead Accelerator 2017, where she placed more than 80 young people into work place mentoring.

Stacey Hitchcock, NPDC Councillor
Elected in 2016, Stacey is the youngest Councillor on the New Plymouth District Council and also holds the role of Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee. Stacey has held leadership and governance roles in various organisations over the last 12 years. With a background in youth development and event/venue management she moved to West Auckland in 2005 to start ZEAL (an inner city youth creative arts and music venue) before returning to Taranaki and getting involved in local and central government politics. When not at work Stacey is an avid outdoor adventurer. whether it be alpine climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding or anything that involves exploring and not being in an office, and is currently completing a Masters in Public Policy.

Warwick Foy, General Manager, Taranaki Futures
Warwick is a former secondary school teacher and the general manager of Taranaki Futures. He has been an Accelerator director and coach since the programme's inception under Jonathan Young MP. Warwick believes that all students should have a chance to experience a work placement as part of their education because employers value attitude and experience above qualifications which they expect students to have anyway. Warwick also works with schools as they change their programmes to suit a wider range of learning styles and student pathways. Warwick is a father of three and enjoys brewing, cooking, the gym, music and travelling. 

Wayne McDonald, Executive Recruiter, NES Global
Wayne’s career has been dedicated to working with people and matching them to jobs that help achieve their career goals and positively influence their lives.
Wayne has a passion for working as an Executive Recruiter (head-hunter) as he gets to use his people skills, inquisitive nature and knowledge of business to work with business leaders to help identify and attract the talent they need to help their businesses achieve their strategic goals. Outside of work, Wayne loves sport and passionately watches and plays football and is an avid Manchester United fan. He also enjoys traveling and it’s one of Wayne’s ongoing goals to travel to more countries than his age (this goal never gets old).





ACCELERATOR was developed in 2016 by the MP for New Plymouth, Jonathan Young. Since 2017, the programme has been run by Taranaki Futures. 


Jonathan Young, MP for New Plymouth opens Accelerator 2017

ACCELERATOR 2018 Business Hosts

Thanks to the following Taranaki businesses for hosting ACCELERATOR students this year.

Andrew Judd Optometrist
Billings Lawyers
Boon Architects Ltd
Cat and Mouse
Conductive Education
Fitzroy Optometrist
Greg Brien Physio
Jonathan Young
Juno Gin
King and Queen Hotel Suites
New Plymouth District Council
NPE Tech
QP Sports
Quinn Law
Razz Print
Remax  - Anne Wilson
Southern Cross
Taranaki Medlab
Taranaki Orthodontics
Taranaki Daily News
The Accounting Group
Third Eye Investigations
Todd Energy
Van Dycks