Christina Barruel

Head of Peace Education

Head of Peace Education, Christina Barruel has trained thousands of student peer mediators and teachers during her 28 year association with the Peace Foundation as a Cool Schools Programme Coordinator and in her current role. As Head of Peace Education, she leads a national team of five programme facilitators as well as office staff, interns and volunteers. Christina has introduced the Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme to schools in Fiji, Hong Kong, Iceland, and Los Angeles. During 2018, Christina developed and facilitated a four week practical conflict resolution module for a Level 4 paper at AUT. Components of this module were taught to Japanese students over two days at Hirosaki University in northern Japan later that same year.

During 2013, Christina was recognized for her outstanding contribution to peace education in New Zealand and was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. This enabled her to spend time learning skills and techniques with an organization in Seattle, Washington State, who provide successful peer mediation programmes for schools throughout the USA. In 2015 she was awarded a scholarship from Resolution Institute which enabled her to train and become accredited as an adult mediator.

Christina continues to remain passionate about her mahi (work). She considers it a privilege to work in kura (schools) teaching peaceful conflict resolution and peer mediation skills … what she loves most. Furthermore, she says, “I have the opportunity every day to remind myself… I must practice what I preach!” Christina enjoys cycling, running, Ceroc dancing, yoga and is a sought after marriage celebrant in her spare time. Social activities with her partner, family (grandchildren in particular) and friends, always bring great joy and happiness.

John Reichert

Finance Manager

John brings stability and focus to The Peace Foundation based on his extensive experience in the management of small to mid-sized companies. Before coming to the Peace Foundation in 2017, John’s work experience was mostly in for-profit businesses. He is happy to now contribute to a more peaceful world through his work with The Peace Foundation.

“It’s my job to create a platform that puts our team in the best possible position to deliver our educational programmes. Providing a solid financial foundation is at the core of creating organisation stability and enabling the entity to pursue opportunities as they arise.” Originally from the United States, John now lives in New Zealand with his three kids and enjoys sharing the beauty and simplicity of the Kiwi lifestyle.

Lisa Swinburn

Family Programme Coordinator/Facilitator & School Programmes Facilitator

Lisa is a mother of two young adults, a qualified teacher, certified mediator and programme facilitator for professionals, families and youth who need support in their relationships. She has helped thousands of families and youth discover more about themselves and develop stronger connections with others by facilitating a variety of educational programmes through her work with the Peace Foundation and Greenlight Foundation in New Zealand.

Lisa has been facilitating the Peace Foundation’s Leadership through Peer Mediation, Cools Schools and Mindful Family Communication Programme for over a decade. This has allowed her to undertake intensive training in modern relational methodologies and parent coach education with Dr Shefali Tsabary and other experts including Dr’s John and Julie Gottman, Dan Siegel and Dr. Richard Bolstad. Lisa is also a certified and experienced life-coach with qualifications in positive psychology (NLP) and mindfulness.

Knowing the importance of finding personal meaning and purpose in life, she was grateful to be part of the first Project Wayfinder Facilitator Teacher training in July 2018 and now also co-leads Youth Leadership Retreats and workshops to ignite transformation in youth. This exciting programme designed at Stanford University School, helps youth explore their inner world, and develop strategies and practices to live happier, more compassionate, and purposeful lives that positively contribute to the world. Lisa’s purpose is to create inclusive experiences that uplift and inspire authenticity, personal growth and awareness.
Lisa currently lives in beautiful Wanaka with her partner and enjoys every opportunity to connect with her family and friends.


Mari Gordon

Peace Education Administrator & Internship Coordinator

Mari is a creative, “outside the box” thinker who loves to experiment with new things and adventure into the “unknown”. She is drawn to people who are wise, grounded and patient. She feels the most fulfilled when she is helping people and animals as well as being in nature and exercising. Her work experience includes ESoL, administration, facilitation, counselling, social media management and streamlining operational structures in the workplace.  

Olivia shimasaki

Youth Programmes Coordinator

Olivia Shimasaki holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology and first-class Honours in Human Services from the University of Canterbury. She is extremely passionate about human rights, and nuclear disarmament. In 2019, she travelled to Japan and around New Zealand to research nuclear narratives through interviews with test veterans, Hibakusha (a Japanese term used to refer to individuals exposed to an atomic bomb and/or its radiation) and individuals who work with those exposed to nuclear radiation. She had the privilege to hear oral histories of those directly impacted by nuclear weapons which inspired her to join their efforts in pursuing peace. In this role as Youth Programmes Coordinator for the South Island of Aotearoa, Olivia hopes to inspire youth to engage in current nuclear and peace-related topics. Prior to joining The Peace Foundation, Olivia had volunteered and worked for multiple non-governmental organisations which advocated for human dignity and social justice.