The Youth Team

Richard Elvey

Richard hails from the heart of the East End of London, and has always had a passion for both working with young people and organising events. By the time he went to University to study theatre design in 1999, he was already organising club nights and small outdoor events as well as DJ’ing around the South East of England. In 2001 Richard began working in the events industry, working his way up to the role of Crew boss and Assistant Artistic Director, being heavily involved in huge shows like the Brit Awards, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Bon Jovi tours.  

During this time he began to work with troubled young men in the Greater London area, visiting both care homes and secure units as a Youth Advocate and Independent visitor. The work was as challenging as it was rewarding.  

Gradually his youth work grew and at the end of 2005, he changed career to begin working as a special needs assistant in secondary schools, focusing mainly on behavioural issues and worked as an assistant Youth Worker at a local club as well as continuing his work in the care homes of London.  

Richard began working part time for Kahu Youth in 2007, gradually increasing his involvement and hours until January 2009 when he went full time. Now with a level 6 Diploma in youth work under his belt and as an accredited youth work assessor with the NZQA, he uses his experience to add large scale youth events and activities to the activities Kahu Youth offers the young people of the Upper Clutha region.  


Sarah Blechert

Sarah was born in the west of Germany, in a small village called Wenden. Her passion for youth work grew through volunteering as a social worker in Kenya and doing an eight month internship in a Secondary School in India. Following these experiences she decided to study social work in Berlin. Meanwhile Sarah worked as a chaperone for people with special needs and took them on trips through Europe supporting the clients with their independent living and daily activities. During the time she studied Sarah worked in a refugee’s accommodation to support children and young people in settling down and accustoming themselves in the country. As the big city life gave her the possibility to work as an actress, Sarah made use of her experience and organised various team activities and theatre groups in order to overcome prejudices and discrimination.

Sarah had found her passion for adventure-based training and was convinced that experiencing life in different societies and their cultures helps to refresh the brain and rethink long cherished routines and behaviours. Due to that she decided to do her internship abroad. As if by fate she found our youth club’s website and thought:”WOW! I wanna be part of that!” From February until August 2017 she did her Youth Worker’s internship with us. She sadly had to go back to Germany to finish her university studies but she flew back knowing and hoping it wouldn’t be the last time she has worked at Kahu Youth. After she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work, not sure if there would be a position available any time soon, she sold all her belongings including her flat, put all her eggs in one basket and came back to Wanaka in August 2018. As fate had it AGAIN a position opened up soon after, and she applied – successfully getting the job and starting full time in December 2018.

Sarah saw Kahu Youth as the perfect job since her internship and as her heart beats for running various activities and spending time with the young people, we are delighted to have Sarah as a full time youth worker.


Angie Lister

Angie works part time with us, after returning from maternity leave. She worked as our other full time youth worker for 7 years before that.
Angie grew up on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. Her first experience working with youth was as a swimming coach in America for a summer camp when she was 18. She studied Sports Science at Surrey University in the South of England for two years before travelling and working in many different countries. Her experiences travelling, especially the people she met made her realise that her passion lies with helping others in the community, especially youth. 

In March 2007 she arrived in Auckland to explore New Zealand travelling as far north as she could all the way to Stewart Island. Arriving in Wanaka for a winter season in 2007 she instantly fell in love with the place and knew that she wanted to make Wanaka her home. She began getting involved with the local community as much as possible, first by beginning a girl’s mountain biking club.

Angie also began volunteering for St John as a first aider, which she did with pride for over two years. She became a New Zealand resident in July 2010 and when the opportunity to work at Kahu Youth came up shortly after she knew instantly that it was her dream job: working with youth, helping the community and using all the skills that she has acquired throughout her education and experience.