Two Waikato community leaders have been appointed to spearhead an initiative that aims to improve the wellbeing of the region’s population by 2030.

Delwyn Abraham and Mike Rolton have been named co-chairpersons of the Waikato Wellbeing Project’s kaitiaki advisory board.

Launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a summit in Hamilton in February last year, the project has identified 10 targets which, if achieved, will end poverty, fight inequality and take action on climate change.

The targets are based on the 17, United National Sustainable Development Goals, but have been adapted to meet unique challenges facing the Waikato region.

Abraham, of Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Whātua and Ngā Puhi descent, was endorsed by Waikato-Tainui. She has much experience in both private and public sector initiatives, as well as a deep appreciation of cultural, social and economic wellbeing in the Waikato.

“The Waikato Wellbeing Project is a vehicle for meaningful, innovative change across our diverse communities. Its success is reliant on the collective and inclusive approach that generates greater equitable outcomes for our mokopuna to flourish.”

Rolton is the general manager of St Vincent de Paul in Hamilton and works with communities to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable people His career spans local, national and international business and not-for-profit sectors.

The pair are joined on the advisory board by Justin Connolly, Dujon Cullingford, Maxine Graham, Samantha Lee, Jannat Maqbool, Don Scarlet and Chris Williams.

Short profiles for each board member can be viewed at

Harvey Brookes, the project’s executive director, said the appointments would provide fresh perspectives and “an extraordinary depth of experience” to ensure the organisation delivered on the expectations of communities.

“Our board comprises of experienced community leaders who bring a wide range of perspectives and strong skillsets in systems thinking, human-centred design, social change and te ao Māori,” said Brookes.

The advisory board met online for its inaugural hui on Monday.