Grace Wesolowska, Te Karaka’s new CE, remembers her first charitable act as a young girl buying a brick to rebuild the Royal Castle in post-war Poland. This standout childhood memory marked the start of a lifelong commitment to helping those around her and has carried on through Grace’s professional life and in the upbringing of her two daughters.

Grace believes that philanthropy begins with a strong sense of community and togetherness rather than a focus on the individual. “It is the community that individuals create together, that is the engine that moves everyone forward,” she says.

Grace’s voluntary work has included establishing and managing a scholarship fund for engineering students in Europe and the Kids Safe interactive programme in New Zealand. She is particularly passionate about empowering the next generation, women and tackling the significant poverty gap in New Zealand.

In her new role at the Te Karaka she plans to combine her strengths in relationship building, leadership, business management and finance, gained from a successful career which has included leadership and executive roles in major multi-national engineering and IT companies in Australia, Europe and New Zealand.

“We are fortunate to have attracted someone of Grace’s calibre to build on what we have established for Taranaki. Her experience combined with her natural warmth makes her an ideal fit for our community foundation,” says Te Karaka Foundation Chairmen Ken Horner.

Originally from Poland, Grace is now proud to call Taranaki home. With ties to the farming community via her partner and his family and with a vested interest in ensuring Taranaki is a great place to raise a family for her daughter and young grandson, Grace is motivated to ensure Te Karaka continues to serve Taranaki and make the entire region a wonderful and prosperous place to live for all.