Toiora NZ

Meet The Team

Davina Thompson Toiora NZ

Davina Thompson


Meet Davina, our dedicated Team Leader, whose passion lies in sports and youth development. Her love for coaching and mentoring young individuals stems from her own childhood, where sports played a pivotal role in keeping her on the right path.
With the privilege of traveling the world, both as a player and coach, Davina brings a wealth of experience to our rangatahi. She is committed to sharing her knowledge, empowering them to pursue greater opportunities. In addition to her role, Davina actively connects with IWI and community organizations to ensure our youth receive comprehensive support.
Davina is not only a Cross Fit and rugby coach but also a fervent supporter of youth sports teams on weekends.
Clayton Thompson Toiora Logistics and Mentor Team Leader

Clayton Thompson

Logistics and Mentor Team Leader

Meet Clayton Thompson, our Logistics and Mentor Leader at the School of Hard Knocks. Clayton’s remarkable capacity to work with young people shines through in his role.

He provides a steadfast and reliable presence by personally picking up rangatahi every day from their homes and accompanying them to work. As a dedicated mentor, Clayton offers crucial support, seamlessly bridging rangatahi into work environments.

His passion lies in empowering these youth, ensuring they not only secure employment but also thrive in their new work environments.

Clayton is the rock for our team and rangatahi, providing unwavering support, guidance, and coaching to youth sports teams.

Marino Playle

Youth Leader

Meet Marino Playe, our dedicated Youth Leader who plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between our rangatahi, coaches, and mentors.
As a rangatahi himself, Marino serves as a living example, demonstrating to our rangatahi that embracing new challenges is not only possible but empowering. His encouragement and guidance are invaluable.
Marino’s talents extend beyond youth leadership; he’s also a remarkable athlete, leading Cross Fit classes, and has a diverse range of interests, from geopolitics to culture and well-being.
Renee Cruickshank Toiora Program Coordinator and Social Worker

Renee Cruickshank

Program Coordinator and Social Worker

Meet Renee, our dedicated Program Coordinator and Social Worker, bringing nearly a decade of experience in youth support to our team. Renee is a driving force behind our program’s success, ensuring that rangatahi achieve their work-ready milestones and are fully prepared for real-world work environments.
Beyond her role in empowering our youth, Renee plays a pivotal part in handling reporting duties to our funding partners and ensures that our achievements are meticulously recorded. She also shares the inspiring success stories of our rangatahi, extending their impact all the way to policy makers in Wellington.
Hugo Fitzsimmons Toiora NZ

Hugo Fitzsimmons


In 2016, Hugo embarked on a pioneering journey by founding and launching the School of Hard Knocks education course and Television series in New Zealand.

His vision brought together various government and corporate entities, including ACC, NZ Rugby, and NZ Police, to support this transformative initiative. Notably, in late 2018, SOHK secured funding from MBIE’s He Poutama Rangatahi fund, extending the program’s impact for five successful years in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Jonty Fernandex Toiora NZ

Jonty Fernandez


Jonty, a passionate coach and community advocate, joined the School of Hard Knocks team in 2019.

With a global perspective gained from extensive travel, Jonty remains deeply connected to his roots in rural New Zealand, specifically Pukeatua, Waikato. His unwavering commitment drives program and coaching developments, continuously improving the support offered to rangatahi.

Jonty also plays a pivotal role in liaising with government agencies and contributes to the leadership of the team, ensuring the program’s success in empowering young individuals on their path to employment and a purposeful life.

Joe Harawira

Joe Harawira


John Kirwan SOHK Strategic Advisor

Sir John Kirwan


Toiora NZ

With the right support network, we believe anything is possible