• Shalini presenting awards to St. John youth cadets.
  • Siya, Shalini, Ajay and Arihaan Mehra, Yu Min Kim.

Inspiring youth and students in the community

Meet Shalini Mehra of Pinehill.

Shalini Mehra was born in India and came to New Zealand in 2001 with husband Ajay, who had been living in Auckland since early 2000. They have two children: a daughter Siya, aged 14 years and son Arihaan aged 7 years. They go to Rangitoto College and Murrays Bay School respectively. Shalini works in the IT sector and her first job was as a software developer at Auckland University of Technology. She is currently working at Datacom as Practice Lead Functional Consultant in Salesforce practice.

What do you love most about living in Pinehill?
I love its proximity to all kinds of amenities, and it is quite safe. It also does not take me long to commute to my work in the city using public transport. There are so many beaches nearby, which is awesome!

How long have you lived here?
We moved here about 11 years ago. Siya, my daughter was only three at the time. Ajay and I welcomed our son Arihaan much after we moved here.

What activities or organisations are you involved with? Why are you passionate about this? 
I volunteer at St. Johns as one of the youth cadet leaders in the Rosedale division. As part of that I teach primary school aged children (8 - 11 years) first aid, health care, leadership and general life skills. 

I decided to join the St. John organisation late last year as my children had been going there for the last few years, Siya as a cadet and Arihaan as a penguin. What has really motivated me to join St. John is their basic value of caring for others selflessly. As part of their youth programme, they are educating our children to become responsible citizens of our planet. As we know, St. John is a charity and  people involved are volunteers; the cadet and penguin programmes are run by people who are passionate about making this world a better place for our future generation and they are doing it tirelessly and selflessly by investing in our children. I have the same passion and I have seen the impact of their effort in my children and therefore I decided to join as a youth leader.

I also host an international student, Yu Min, from Rangitoto College. She is from Japan and has been with us for nearly one year. My family and I like providing a nice home to the children who come to New Zealand for study. As a parent, I know that it can be quite stressful for parents to send their child to a different country with different language, culture and society. We chose Rangitoto school students as we live close by and Siya is also a student there. In addition to providing a nice home and family to our students, we also want our children to be exposed to other cultures of the world. I can say that it has been working quite well for Yu Min and us. 

What else might you be involved with if you had more time?
I am yet to think about what I might be involved with next. I am working full time and currently quite happy with what I am doing now. 

Tell us about a place that is a secret gem in your suburb?
I love taking the cliff walk between Murrays Bay and Rothesay Bay with the ocean on one side - it's so pretty.

Do you have a favourite local event that you look forward to each year?
I look forward to the Anzac Day parade in Browns Bay and the Mairangi Bay Christmas Parade as my daughter is generally involved with both of those events. Pinehill is very close to these two suburbs so for me those two are the local events I look forward to.

If you could change one aspect about your suburb what would it be? 
I feel that the residents need to interact with each other more. I don’t see active community spirit, at least in my street.

Who would you most like to have as a neighbour and why?
I would like a family who are willing to be friends with their neighbours regardless of any cultural or ethnicity differences. I would love my neighbourhood to become one big happy community of people who look after each other and have fun together.

Issue 108 April 2020