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two sheep in a field

Our Board

Christina Baird
Christina Baird

Board Chair

Christina Baird is a psychologist, who has a private practice equipping and growing reflective human service workers.  She is passionate about translating psychological concepts, theories and research into everyday skills and habits that take people from languishing to flourishing. The focus of her work includes providing coaching, assessment and external supervision to individuals in ministry, mission and other human services.  She has over 14 years experience in the not-for-profit sector and has worked as a tertiary lecturer/tutor, a church administrator, and as a telephone counsellor for children.  She also spent 5 years working as a leader in tertiary student ministry, and over 7 years working in personnel development for a mission agency.  Christina loves learning and so has a PhD in psychology, a graduate diploma in theology a postgraduate diploma in psychological practice and is a member of the NZ Psychological Society.  She enjoys the energy of big cities and lives in Auckland, with a veterinarian, an 11 year old gymnast, a small white dog and a bossy Burmese cat who likes to interrupt zoom calls.

Akira's journey began in Japan, where he was born into a Shinto family. At the age of 20, he embraced Christianity through a Navigator Bible study. Professionally, Akira possesses a diverse skill set, including experience in sales, customer service, quality control, and marketing. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics, a Postgraduate Diploma in TJAFL, and a Master's degree in JS.

Akira became a Navigator worker in Japan before making the life-changing decision to move to New Zealand in 1997. There, he became one of the founding members of ISMNZ and led Japanese ministry teams, serving international students from diverse backgrounds. Akira and his wife Kikuko currently reside in Palmerston North and have a son and two grandchildren.

Akira believes that he can make a meaningful contribution to the ISM Board by improving communication between the Board and staff and providing practical strategies to further the ministry's mission.

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Akira Doi

Board Member

Ernest is a Chartered Accountant, currently working for a local chartered accountant firm in Palmerston North. He was born and raised in Indonesia. Around Christmas 2014, he flew over to New Zealand leaving his sister and parents to pursue tertiary study. He knows how challenging it is for international students to study abroad miles away from their family. After spending several years in New Zealand, he fell in love with the lifestyle and decided to call Palmerston North home for his current season in life. He volunteers at a local church and is a part of young adult groups. He has also been involved in business as a mission, helping with their accounting. Ernest is an eager learner and always willing to contribute according to his capacity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports to keep him fit – he is currently obsessed with basketball!

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Ernest Sulivan

Board Member

Jason Chang

Board Member

As a child in an immigrant family, moving from Taiwan to New Zealand in 1999, I experienced first-hand what it was like to live in an unfamiliar culture. My wife Danielle was herself an international student from China.


Around 15 years ago, I experienced the life-changing impact of student ministry as I came to faith through the student ministry at our local church. I have been a part of our student ministry team for over 15 years, and over the last 10 years I have been entrusted to lead the team that serves the student ministry, where most attendees are Chinese international students. Danielle has faithfully served as the children’s ministry at our local church for around 10 years.


As a founding board member of the Asian Community Transformation Trust (ACTT), my role is to develop and supervise a mental health coaching programme for the local diverse Asian community, as well as run a parenting education workshop. 


As a practicing psychiatrist since 2018, I hope to bring my experience in mental health to enrich the team at ISMNZ.

Mario is from the Philippines and came to New Zealand in 2001 as a volunteer for ISMNZ. Before coming to New Zealand, Mario was the Executive Officer of REACH, a disciplemaking ministry working in university campuses throughout the Philippines. Mario and his wife Saling have been involved in the national leadership of REACH which was founded by Gene Tabor, the former Philippines National Director of The Navigators. Mario and Saling live in Palmerston North with their daughter and three beautiful grandchildren who have roots from Ngati Porou Iwi.

Mario and Saling have lived in Wellington, Porirua, Hamilton and Palmerston North and ministered to international students whichever city they live in. They have always opened their home to international students so these students can have a 'home away from home' experience.

Mario has served for a time on the ISMNZ board and as the regional leader for the ISMNZ Auckland and Hamilton areas. Mario brings to ISMNZ his knowledge and experiences from the education, health and social services sectors.

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Mario Garcia

Board Member

Tony Rasmussen

Board Member

Tony became a Christian at the age of 19 and was discipled through the Navigator Ministry at Massey University in Palmerston North. Apart from a period teaching, he has spent most of his career working in the museum sector as a social history curator, researcher and writer in Palmerston North, Auckland and Masterton. Through the ministry of others in his own life, Tony's life has been deeply impacted by Jesus' command to make disciples among the nations, and the life-long transformation God brings about in people' lives expressed in Paul's words to the Philippians: "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (1:6).


In 2019, Tony and his wife Janine, a graduate of Otago University, left their jobs to travel to Germany where they participated in an Arts-based Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Part of this time was spent living in Cyprus and Egypt. Tony is currently completing theological studies at Laidlaw college. Tony and Janine are members of Crossroads Church in Palmerston North where they lead a small group and serve on the Missions Committee. Their son Alex is currently studying at the University of Otago. Both Tony and Janine were founding members of ISMNZ.

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