Elected Officers

The 2016 Rainbow Auckland Executive comprises of 11 elected volunteer officers:

  • Craig Bonnington, President
  • Lea Carlson, Secretary and Events
  • Roger Hiscock, Treasurer
  • Hamish Wood, Membership
  • Bruce Kilmister, Affiliates & Relationship Management
  • Candice Collier, Marketing and Communications
  • Richy James, Events & Community Relations
  • Zakk d’Larté, Marketing and Communications, Digital Media
  • Koro Dickinson, Sponsorship
  • Sebastian Obermeier, Membership & Events
  • Murray Smallfield, Events
Contact Us

Words from our President

“I’m excited to lead a strong and diverse elected group of volunteers who are passionate about strengthening business and community relationships” – Craig Bonnington


Media Enquiries

Please contact Craig Bonnington, President.

Membership Enquiries

Please contact Hamish Wood, Membership Representative.

Events Enquiries

If you would like to host a Business After 5 (BA5) event or have any queries about our events as a Member or non-Member please get in touch with Lea Carlson, Events Representative.

Digital/Social Media Enquiries

If you would like to promote an event, or project on the Rainbow Auckland social media, please contact Zakk d’Larté, Digital Media Representative.

For all other enquires please email info@rainbowauckland.org.nz.

Get to Know Our Executive

Learn more about the leadership team that keeps Rainbow Auckland going.

Executive Biographies

Craig Bonnington

I feel privileged to hold the role of President of Rainbow Auckland and look to improve the experience for members and volunteers through my business and community experience. 

During my time in the leadership role, I will be working with the team to:

  • Continue and expand on the work we do to add value to Rainbow affirming non profit, business and corporate members. 
  • Create a welcoming and inclusive environment to staff of these organisations, and to individuals across the diverse range of affinity groups and segments of our wider community. 
  • Connect formally and informally with other Rainbow affirming organisations to help build a stronger community. 
  • Create opportunities for volunteers to get involved, make valuable and professional and personal connections, give back to and support our community, grow and to have FUN doing it. 

Having been involved with Rainbow Auckland for nearly 10 years, predominantly in the membership team, I’ve seen the organisation progressively grow and evolve.

Business has long been the focus of Rainbow Auckland under its previous guise of the Gay Auckland Business Association (GABA). I currently run my own business as a mortgage adviser. But my background in business comes from a commerce degree, and a 15 year career with ANZ in relationship, management and business development roles with business banking. 

During this time I worked closely with the diversity team at ANZ, heading up the ANZ Pride Network. Working to bring an inclusive and supportive environment to staff, working with staff and management but also collaborating with industry peers and community organisation to develop and enhance the initiative. 

Through this work I got to know OUTLine, who have been a much needed and long standing provider of phone, and now also face-to-face counselling services. After completing my training I volunteered on the phone lines. This is an experience I highly recommend as it gives an amazing insight and empathy into the challenges that face our LGBTI+ community. 

There are parts of our community that are vulnerable. That is ultimately where the funds raised through Rainbow Auckland and the intangible benefits of creating an inclusive environment and society can help. 

But there is also an abundance of strength, difference, affinity, resilience, talent and love – and I welcome anyone who wants to be a part of it to experience this to join us at Rainbow Auckland. 

Lea Carlson

Masters of Educational Leadership, Bachelor of Teaching and Learning, Diploma of Education Management, Higher Diploma of Teaching, and Diploma Teaching

Lea is the Secretary of the Rainbow Auckland Executive Council. She is an educator with 35 years experience within 4 countries. Currently she is working as a Regional Coordinator for the University of Waikato in Restorative Practice. Prior to that Lea was Principal of a school in the United Arab Emirates as part of a Reform Project for local Arab children. She worked as Head of Primary at a Private school in Kuwait, taught in England and has had various leadership and teaching roles during her career in New Zealand schools. Lea is an enthusiastic traveller and has travelled through 65 countries so far, with many more on her bucket list.

Lea wants to encourage other professionals to join Rainbow Auckland who perhaps don’t have their own business, but have skills and experience in a range of fields which would enhance our network and benefit our Rainbow community.

Roger Hiscock

Over 6 years ago, a former president asked Roger if he would  become the Treasurer for GABA and it’s a role he still holds. Over that time, he has seen the organisation go through cycles. At the moment, we are entering into a growth which he believes is exciting and is looking forward to seeing the growth of Rainbow Auckland.

Roger is a chartered accountant, born and raised in Auckland. He has his own practice which keeps him very busy with little spare time. The role of a chartered accountant is not boring; as well as understanding your business, he has to be a marriage counsellor, mediator, marketing guru, psychologist, confident and a myriad of other roles. “Preparing the tax return is the easy part!”, he says.

Hamish Wood

Hamish grew up in the Manawatu before moving to Wellington where he lived for 8 years. In December 2015 he moved to Auckland with Westpac where he now leads the Voice of Customer programme in the Customer Experience, Brand and Marketing Team. Hamish is a founding member of GLOBAL (Westpac’s LGBT+ Employee Action Group) and is currently the deputy chair. He is also the co-chair of the Westpac Youth Network which consists of 700+ Westpac employees who are under 30 from across the country. 

Hamish is excited to be on the Rainbow Auckland Executive Committee. This will be the first Rainbow Community organisation he has been involved with. Hamish will lead the membership team and hopes to build a strong membership proposition and build membership numbers. 

You can find out more about Hamish on his LinkedIn page: https://nz.linkedin.com/in/hamishswood

Bruce Kilmister

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Candice Collier

Candice was born in Southampton, England and currently lives with her partner Fiona in Glen Eden, Auckland. She has worked in the UK and NZ across multiple disciplines including local government, not for profit and 10 years in the financial services Industry leading initiatives in sustainability, diversity and inclusion, brand, marketing and customer experience.

Candice was part of the Hero Committee in 2005-2006 to help rebuild the Hero brand and reconnect the Community, Business and the Council. For the past two years, Candice has been co-Chair of GLOBAL, Westpac’s employee action group for LGBT+ employees and their allies. In that time she has led and motivated a team of 16 committee members to develop and implement GLOBAL’s strategy to increase workplace inclusion for LGBTI employees. These include an Ally campaign which saw the increase in membership by 80%, Westpac being awarded the Rainbow Tick, leading Westpac’s first entry in the Auckland Pride Parade.

As a proud Kiwi and Auckland resident with networks across New Zealand and the UK, Candice is passionate about sharing and promoting knowledge and collaborating on the development of positive solutions related to LGBT+ issues.

Richard James

With a professional background in finance, Richy runs a small Business Consultancy practice, specialising in providing Finance and Management advice to predominately small to medium sized businesses. As well as this, he has had a number of other businesses, including running an Automotive Workshop in Onehunga, a Bar and Restaurant on K’ Road, and more recently, pop-up Homeware stores in Victoria Park and Ponsonby.

Richard has been involved with Rainbow Auckland for the past 15+ years. During that time he has been on the Executive, holding the position of Treasurer for a number of years, and one term as President. Richard has also been on the GABA Charitable Trust as a Trustee.

His other community involvment has included

  • Trustee of New Zealand AIDS Foundation
  • Executive Member of HERO Inc.
  • Involved in running PRIDE 2009
  • Heroic Gardens Festival Committee
  • Founding (and continuing) Member of Auckland Pride Festival Inc.

As well as providing a historical perspective to Rainbow Auckland, his current role on the Executive is to lead the Events team and manage Community Relationships.

Having been involved with Rainbow Auckland for a long time, he believes he has a wealth of knowledge about the events that we have run in the past. He has been associated with a large number of community organisations and believes he has the right skills and experience to manage the relationships with our community partners and stakeholders.

Zakk d’Larté

Born and raised in Auckland, Zakk is a designer at heart with nearly five years’ experience working with print and digital media. Trading as d’Larté Designs, Zakk’s fresh and innovative approach to design has lead him to work with major companies such as 20th Century Fox, Trelise Cooper, Resene and Cadbury.

Aside from design, Zakk has a passion to push the boundaries of androgyny and has a creative team that inspires and motivates his gender-fluidity. This stems from his addiction to both the music and fashion of pop culture and the way they meticulously combine together.

Through some difficult life experiences, Zakk found a purpose to be both an advocate and catalyst for difference. He prides himself as being a young person with conviction and a vision to empower youth around the world to take a stand in our communities. He endeavours to provide opportunities that will inspire the younger members of our community to be active and evoke change. He is an artistic, focused and detail-oriented individual with a desire to make a difference.

Because of these passions, this lead Zakk to joining the Auckland Pride Festival Board this year too, which will work harmoniously with Rainbow Auckland. One of his roles is to help raise visibility for transgender and gender non-conforming people, by educating the public and bringing attention to the issues that our communities face.

Koro Dickinson

Koro is of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu descent. Born and raised in Southland. He is an international relations and trade expert. A former New Zealand diplomat, and New Zealand representative age group triathlete.

He currently manages Auckland’s international relations activity as a global partnerships and strategy advisor at Auckland Council. He is also completing a Masters of Business Administration degree at the University of Auckland.

He previously worked with New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in New Zealand, Australia and Canada specialising in trade and economic issues.

Prior to joining MFAT, he completed a post-graduate degree with first class honors in political science at the University of Otago. He also completed a marketing management at Iowa State University in the United States.

Koro has been a member of Rainbow Auckland since 2015. He is passionate about Auckland, bees and addressing child poverty. He lives with his husband in Maungakiekie-Tāmaki (One Tree Hill).

Sebastian Obermeier

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Murray Smallfield

Born a Jaffa with English, Scottish, Maori -Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri – and a little Jewish heritage (descendant of Samuel and Ngawini Yates) with worldy experience. I grew up in Herne Bay in the 60’s when much of Ponsonby was of Maori and Pacific Island origin plus there were two orphanages that contributed to my school. There was also the extremes of Pakeha socio/economic background from the early wealth on the northern slopes to the poverty of Freemans Bay. This gave me a very early understanding and acceptance of human diversity which has been invaluable in my working and personal life.

After graduating from Auckland University in 1981 with a civil engineering degree I joined the consultancy practice BCHF (Beca) and entered the corporate world.  After just over 30 years with Beca I retired as one of the technical directors (Civil) in 2012 primarily to help with care for my parents and aunt.  My career with Beca took me to many projects and roles within NZ and overseas. Notable developing country work was extensive time in Belize, Tanzania, India, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. I also ran the Beca Melbourne Civil section for 3 years.

In my personal life I have been fortunate to have been happily married to Vanessa for over 15 years and then partner to the late Dr Chris Thomas for 7 years. The fact that the three of us got on so well together was a challenge to many yet it reinforced my view that people are who we are and to stereotype or be judgemental of others is usually detrimental to our relationships with each other and, ultimately, our own well-being.