About Qtopia

Qtopia is an advocacy, social change, and social support service for the whole LGBTQIA+ rainbow community, based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, and working throughout Te Waipounamu the South Island.

Our vision is for all rainbow people to thrive in a society that supports, celebrates, and treasures them, and for Aotearoa to be a leader in health and wellbeing outcomes for our LGBTQIA+ whānau.

Qtopia is the only organisation providing the level of work we do in Ōtautahi Christchurch and across Te Waipounamu. We specialise in social change and systems change. We work with complex contexts, reaching single-sex schools, faith-based communities, and communities affected by geographic isolation – uplifting anyone trying to make a difference for our community.

Meet the team

Jennifer Shields

Jennifer Shields

Interim Director | she/they

Jennifer has a background in fine art and sociology, and has been working in rainbow community advocacy for the last ten years, with a specialist focus on gender-affirming healthcare. She’s been working for Qtopia for three years, and outside of work is living her cottagecore dream with her partner and collecting too many film cameras.

Kerry Brown

Kerry

Lead Facilitator & Peer Support Worker | they/them

Alongside trans welfare roles at Gender Minorities Aotearoa, PATHA and Qtopia, Kerry has worked in ecological education at several sites across Aotearoa, particularly drawn to natural history and te ao Māori. Kerry completed an MA in creative writing in 2012 and is always interested to hear about stories, whether that's a novel you couldn’t put down, or something you’re working on yourself.

Charlie Hamlin

Charlie

Peer Support Worker | they/them

Charlie has a background in English literature, and has been working in organisations that provide community and personal support for a few years. They are passionate about people, queerness, and always learning. Outside of work they love art, frolicking in nature, and generally having fun!

Zane Kirner

Zane

Peer Support Worker | he/him

Kia ora!

Ko Zane ahau
Ko Te Arawa,Tūhoe, Te uri o hau aku iwi
Ko Te Kirikaramu te ingoa whānau

Zane is a proud Māori transman with a background in music and the trades. He is passionate about youth work here in Ōtautahi, loves working with his hands and can't be too far from the beach.

Meagan Mathers

Mugs

Peer Support Worker | they/them

Mugs is a peer support worker at Qtopia. Mugs enjoys spending time with friends and whānau, being their happy queer self, and adventuring in nature. They also love playing with creativity in art, especially abstract painting! Mugs' background is in primary school teaching, and psychology.

Our board

Our volunteer board helps us make a difference in the lives of LGBTQIA+ people, their whānau, and their communities.

Sidney

Co-Chair | he/any

Sidney Gig-Jan Wong 黃吉贊 was born in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai. His ancestral villages are in Szeyap, Dunggun, and Fatsaan. Sidney has familial links to Hong Kong and Macau. He now lives in Ōtautahi with his partner. In the community, Sidney advocates for and supports LGBTQIA+ communities across Aotearoa through his role as chair of the Ethnic Rainbow Alliance and Qtopia. He is also part of the governance boards for the Christchurch Heroes, Bad Apple Gay, and the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Health Advisory Group (CHAG) at Pegasus Health.

Sidney has a broad range of professional interests with an academic background in linguistics and data science. He is a community advocate and researcher.

Cynthia

General Member | she/her/ia

Cynthia’s background is in social work, mental health and leadership. She currently works as Rainbow Lead for Emerge Aotearoa, a national NGO providing mental health, addictions, health, disability and housing services. She also has a private consultancy offering professional supervision. Cynthia lives with her partner of 15 + years and weekends are for friends, family & motorbike riding!

Kaspar

General Member | they/them

Kaspar works at the University of Canterbury, where they manage a research lab, and are the Rainbow Te Kahukura rep for the UC branch of the Tertiary Education Union. Outside work, they enjoy designing and sewing quilts, playing Dungeons & Dragons, making videos for YouTube, and trying to reconcile their love of travel with their guilt about their carbon footprint.

Erin Spencer

Erin

General Member | she/her

Erin Spencer is originally from California and currently studying towards a PhD at the University of Canterbury looking at intersectional queer equity in outdoor recreation. Previously, she worked as a government analyst with the California Natural Resources Agency and holds additional experience in environmental and wildlife policy.