Mena Antonio's life story

Mena weaves together the many threads of her experience in her work as a coach; in governance, community leadership, project management, Pacifica, and as a parent. She brings enquiry and courage, and she has a great ability to tune in and to gently challenge.

Diana Jones, Executive Coach and Board Chair.



My parents modeled a hard work ethic and active engagement with their community, values which I have embraced in my life.


I remember my mother leaving home at midnight to clean offices in Wellington then returning at dawn to get her seven kids ready for school. She went on to open a Samoan language nest after graduating with a diploma in early childhood education. My father was a lay clergyman and worked as a Watersider.


From their example, I believe anyone, with the right support, unyielding faith and applied action can achieve their dream.


Work & family

After completing a law degree and serving five years in the NZ Army, I worked in project management in the corporate and public service sector in both New Zealand and the UK.


I raised my family in Wairarapa and currently sit on a range of governing boards, including as an elected Masterton Licensing Trust Trustee – one of only two women to hold this role in the Trust’s nearly 30-year history.


I have trained with the NZ Institute of Directors and have several years of governance experience, currently sitting on boards that govern in areas including health, tourism, social housing, community funding and the arts.

I also hold postgraduate qualifications in communications management and museum and heritage studies.


I am the recipient of a Tindall Foundation Pacific Scholarship to attend the prestigious Global Women Break Through Leadership Programme 2016 in Auckland.




© The Diaspora Way 2016