Our Stories


We believe that the facilitators of LBS discussions must have an open mind and a breadth of experience, relating in equal measure to the academic, professional and personal sides of life. We are confident that each of us fulfils this requirement:

Lead Facilitators

Shaun Hotchkiss

Shaun Hotchkiss graduated from Westlake Boys' High School in 2001, from Auckland University in 2006 where he studied physics and maths, and from Oxford University in 2010 where he received a doctorate in theoretical physics (cosmology, specifically). Since then he has carried on doing cosmology research as a postdoctoral research fellow at Helsinki University, Sussex University and now Auckland University where he is currently based.

James Chapman-Richards

James Chapman-Richards completed secondary school at Long Bay College in 1999 and has graduated repeatedly from various universities since then. Currently completing a PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Auckland, he hopes that this qualification represents be the last time he will need to graduate from an educational institution. James's research specialisation is decision-making in young adulthood and he is a strong advocate of youth empowerment and positive youth development policies. In terms of personal interests, he enjoys discussing philosophy/politics, reading, writing, board games, running, and indoor rock-climbing

Facilitators

Angela Hollings (Waitakere)

Angela Hollings attended Westlake Girls' High School from 2013-17 and attended LBS as a student from 2016-17. She is currently a computer systems engineering student at the University of Auckland. Outside of lovingly staring at textbooks she is a member of Toastmasters, enjoys reading pop psychology books, and planning her life. 

Hanna Choi (Waitakere)

Hanna Choi attended Westlake Girls' High School and was part of LBS in her final couple years. She is currently studying statistics, logic and computation, and linguistics (or does she want to do maths instead?) at the University of Auckland. When she’s not stress baking, you can find her fencing, practicing karate, or watching Netflix with the ‘justification’ of learning languages. 

Gisela Theunissen (Westlake)

Gisela Theunissen attended Birkenhead College, and is now in her third year BSc majoring in Psychology and Statistics. As an aspiring Clinical Psychologist, mental and physical wellbeing is very important to her. In her spare time she enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with friends and family. 

Stevie Katavich-Barton (Westlake)

Stevie Katavich-Barton went to Westlake Girls’ High School and was a fellow member of LBS during her later years at school. Currently studying science and majoring in biology at the University of Auckland, she’s happy to see where the world will take her during this odd and confusing journey commonly known as ‘Life’. She’s a fan of hockey, baking, and the occasional comical remark. 

Victor van Eyk (Westlake)

Victor van Eyk attended Palmerston North Boys High School from 2013 to 2017 and first encountered LBS in 2018. He studies Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Auckland and believes that human interaction is a key component to both subjects. When not panicking over an assignment he likes reading, contemplating his life decisions, and doing his best to be boring. Outside of his room he enjoys inching his way up mountains, walking, and eating.

Friends of LBS

Finn Lowery

Finn Lowery graduated from Rangitoto College in 2008 and from the University of Auckland in 2015, where he studied law, politics and French. At the end of his degree, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to continue studying at the University of Oxford, but he has chosen to remain in New Zealand for the time being. He is currently working as a criminal lawyer at the Public Defence Service.

In his own time, Finn is very keen on sports and the outdoors, being a member of the North Harbour water polo team, and enjoying skiing, surfing and cycle-touring. In addition, Finn is passionate about foreign languages, culture and young people.

Kyle Church

Kyle Church graduated from Green Bay High School in 2004. He studied Politics and Philosophy at the University of Auckland, then went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education. Kyle has undertaken a wide variety of jobs from primary school teaching to political campaigning and now works in telecommunications.

Ruby Evenstar

Ruby Evenstar graduated from Wairarapa College in 2008 and from Victoria University of Wellington in 2015, where she studied Spanish and Linguistics. During this time she also worked for NZ's Accident Compensation Coorporation and studied abroad in Russia and Spain.

At the end of her degree she was awarded a scholarship in Modern Languages to continue postgraduate study however chose to move to Auckland and work as a project manager in web development.

Ruby is currently in the process of relocating to Melbourne where she plans to expand upon her project management skill set and find a way to incorporate her passion for languages and culture into her day job.