Meet The Team

The HALO Training team consists of leaders who have real-world leadership experience. Leaders who know what it takes to lead high performing teams, in complex environments. We share the lessons learned and provide practical leadership tools that apply directly to business.

Tony Groves

Co Founder and Lead Trainer

Tony’s professional experience spans 16 years in the military and security community, where he specialised in intelligence operations and risk management. Tony’s operational deployments include Timor-leste, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Tony is a co-founder of HALO Training, and has a passion for helping people overcome the challenges of leadership through his lessons learned from the battlefield, as well as overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcoholism. He holds a Master’s degree in Counter-terrorism Studies, and a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership.   

Maria Topia-Groves

Co Founder and Operations Manager
Maria has an extensive background in customer service gained from a vast range of diverse industries including hospitality, construction, media and health and wellness.

As co-founder and Director of HALO Training, Maria runs the day-to-day operations as well as supporting the team in the background.

Darren Folau


Darren’s professional background spans 28 years as a Police Officer, the majority of which was spent in the Criminal Investigation Branch where he specialised in areas of Child Protection, National Security and Organised Crime.  

When not working in partnership with HALO, you will find Darren running his business, Healthy Fit Strong Ltd which delivers personal, organisational and community health and wellbeing coaching and development. 

He’s earned himself a Bachelor of Health Science degree and qualifications in fitness, strength and conditioning and nutrition as well as being awarded a Queens Service Medal for services to the New Zealand Police.

James Burtin


James has worked for NZDF for over 11 years in a variety of roles. This includes being a uniformed section commander in the infantry, and multiple civilian roles in the Institute for Leader Development, Health and Safety Directorate, Navy Office of Strategy Management, and NZDF Enterprise Analytics. He has also spent time in the private sector working as a Senior Business Consultant for the Big 4, and Manager of Analytics and Insights for Trade Me.

James has earned himself a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Criminology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Industrial/Organisational Psychology, and is currently completing his Masters in Applied Data Science. 

Paul Thoroughgood


As a part of his 27 years as a Police Officer in the New Zealand Police, Paul joined the Armed Offender Squad (AOS) in 1990.  A year later he joined the Special Tactics Group (STG), where he worked as an Operator over the next 11 years. After being promoted to Sergeant he became one of the two team leaders for Southern STG.

Paul was involved in many pre-plan operations and responded to numerous emergency callouts and also worked with international partners in Australia and the Pacific region. After leaving the Police in 2012, Paul completed a building apprenticeship as a Carpenter. 

With a passion for helping others be their best Paul is a life-long learner who believes if you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards. 

Our leadership workshops are designed to help your organisation further develop its leadership capability.