Our People

The Trust is fortunate to have the services of dedicated ex officio members, who provide advice and assistance to the Trustees. This team of professionals ensures that the Trustees are well informed in their philanthropic endeavours, enabling the Trust to make a significant impact in making New Zealand a better place.

Dame Lesley Max

Dame Lesley Max co-founded and currently co-Chairs Great Potentials Foundation, after 24 years as CEO. She introduced to New Zealand two education initiatives: HIPPY – Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters; and MATES – Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme. She also developed the Family Service Centre model.

Lesley was a Director of the Northern Regional Health Authority; and served on the Family Services National Advisory Committee; the Family Violence Advisory Committee; and the Community Advisory Committee to Vice Chancellors of the University of Auckland.

She is a former secondary school teacher, journalist and author (“Children: Endangered Species?” Penguin 1990). She was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 1993, an MBE in 1994 and was made a Dame Companion of the Order of New Zealand in 2010 for services to children.

She is the mother of four children and the grandmother of seven. Her personal motto: Every child wanted and nurtured.

Byron Bentley

Byron had a 44 year career in secondary education and for 6 years was Principal of Western Heights High School in Rotorua followed by 18 years as Principal of Macleans College in Auckland.

He was a recipient of a Woolf Fisher travelling Fellowship in 2002. He was Chairman of the Auckland Secondary Schools Heads Association (ASSHA) for 10 years, the governance body for the competition sport for all greater Auckland secondary schools, and was also on the NZ Schools Sports Executive (NZSSSA).

He has a continuing interest in fostering educational opportunities for students and leadership training for aspiring secondary school leaders. Byron lives in Auckland with his wife Terri. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Fuimaono Tuiasau

Talofa lava, Kia Ora and greetings.

I have worked in government and in the private sector and now teach at a decile 1 school in South Auckland, where successful educational experiences are the proven way to positive futures for students, families and their communities. I enjoy working with the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, under the Scholarship Programme to support young Maori and Pacifica scholarship students achieve their great potentials.

I am happily married and have 6 children and 8 grandchildren. I enjoy listening to classical and hip hop music, reading, and walking the dog – Buddah.

Geoff Burgess

Geoff’s career was in education, having been a school principal from 1984 to 2012 at three Independent Prep Schools: St Andrews in Christchurch, Southwell in Hamilton and Saint Kentigern in Remuera. In 2001 he gained his Master of Educational Management with First Class Honours from Auckland University. 

His focus was in building inclusive school communities, where opportunities for excellence were fostered within a strong framework of moral development and service to the community. He was a founding trustee of Life Education Trust Central Auckland of which he is now a life member and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 for services to education.

He is proud to have been an initiator of the Joyce Fisher Education Scholarships, which provide opportunities for Maori and Pacifica students to develop in leadership and community service. 

Geoff lives in Tauranga with his wife Barbara. They have two sons and four grandchildren.