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About the speakers

About The Speakers

For the 2014 Members Conference held in Auckland in March 2014 we had a wonderful array of speakers with our own Jill Worrall as convenor.

Jill Worrall MNZM holds a Masters in Social Work and is an Honorary Research Associate at Massey University.  She has been a Board member of both Youth Horizons Trust and GRG and is currently board chair of SAFE. She is a life member of the New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation, is on the Board of the International Foster Care Organisation and is a consultant to the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ. She is the mother of three sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren and with her late husband John, cared for several foster children over a period of twenty years. Jill was raised by extended family for the first half of her childhood. She wrote the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Handbook, undertook the GRG research on Grandparent and other kin caregivers 2005 and 2009 and developed and runs the SALT (Sharing and Learning Together) programme for GRG members together with Diana East.

Judge Laurence Ryan, New Zealand Principal Family Court Judge, was educated at Selwyn College, obtained an LLB at Auckland University and was admitted to the Bar in 1973. He became a Barrister sole in 1988 specialising in Family Law and was appointed to the District Court bench in 1996 with a Family Court warrant and Youth Court designation.  Judge Ryan was appointed Principal Family Court Judge of New Zealand in February 2013.

Hana Ellis, Barrister and Mediator (Nga Puhi/Ngati Porou) has been in practice 20 years and works as a barrister in South Auckland. She does a range of family law matters including acting for children, parents and grandparents and has a particular interest in vulnerable children with disabilities.

Dr Simon Rowley, Paediatrician, Brainwave Trust is a neonatal paediatrician at National Women’s Hospital as well as working with children of all ages in private practice in Auckland. Simon’s concern for the health and wellbeing of our children led him to become a Trustee for Brainwave as well as a presenter. His clinical experience, depth of medical knowledge and relaxed friendly manner make him a popular speaker to medically oriented groups as well as at conferences, seminars and talks to parents and caregivers.

Tricia Corin, Field Officer and Benefits Advocate, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust, has been raising her grandson who is nearly 18 years old, since he was a baby. She has developed a wealth of invaluable experience and knowledge of income support issues and social security legislation and at Minister Paula Bennett’s request is currently working with the Ministry of Social Development’s National Office to work on resolving problems and issues around policy implementation, particularly as they affect grandparents raising grandchildren. Tricia advocates for grandparents raising their grandchildren where needed when dealing with Work and Income New Zealand including representing clients at Benefits Review hearings and appeals to the Social Security Status Appeals Authority. 

Sandy Biggs, Auckland Manager, Work and Income New Zealand is responsible for a number of Work and Income service centres mainly covering the area from Avondale to Otahuhu. Most recently, Sandy has been leading a project with the Youth Service Support Unit for Work and Income and working closely with Youth Service providers around the country. Sandy has held senior roles with the Ministry of Social Development and its predecessor organisations since 2000.  Prior to this, she was a senior manager with Centrelink in Australia.

Pio Terei MNZM, is a talented  and entertaining New Zealand comedian, presenter, actor, writer and singer with many comedy shows to his credit including Pete and Pio, Pio!, The Life and Times of Te Tutu during the late 1990s until 2001. He has hosted on Intrepid Journeys: India and Big Saturday Night In and written pieces for New Zealand dramas Mataku and Spin Doctors.  Pio hosts his own fishing show on the Maori channel and is spokesperson for the New Zealand Coastguard. He is also a presenter and spokespreson for the Parenting Place (Parents Inc) and since 2003 he has presented  No Sweat Parenting / Manaaki Whânau shows around the country, and launched a new touring program called The Parenting Show with Pio in 2011. He has helped write and present two, thirteen part series of parenting programmes on Mâori TV called No Sweat Parenting / Manaaki Whânau 2009 and 2010. Pio has won Best Comedy Performer at the NZ Film and TV Awards twice. His series Pio! has won Best Comedy programme and his show Te Tutu became New Zealand on Air’s highest rating comedy programme.  Pio was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services to entertainment.

Catherine Atchison, Partner, Martelli McKegg is one of New Zealand's leading trust lawyers. She has broad experience in all aspects of family and business asset protection, trust management and estate planning. She became a partner at Martelli McKegg in 1988, after five years at Wilde Sapte, a major London law firm. Catherine is co-author of a number of publications in the field of estate planning and speaks regularly on the subject. Catherine sits on the board of several major charitable trusts and community organisations.

Alan Gluestein, Barrister, Wyndham Chambers has over 30 years legal experience mainly in litigation and since 2002 has specialised in family law. He is regularly appointed to represent children in matters involving their guardianship and welfare in the Family Court and has considerable experience in property relationship law, trust and estate litigation.  In particular he has extensive experience in Elder Law and is regularly appointed as Counsel for persons subject to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act as well as other parties engaging in proceedings under that Act, including cases involving disabled teenage and adult grandchildren where the Care of Children Act guardianship laws no longer apply.

Grant Cleland, Chief Executive of Workbridge has over 22 years experience working in the disability field. Born with a physical impairment, Spina Bifida, Grant uses a wheelchair for mobility. He therefore brings to Workbridge both lived and professional experience; particularly in employment, transition and tertiary education. Over the last 12 years Grant has developed 'Creative Solutions' offering project management, training, external supervision, mentoring, advocacy, group facilitation, research and strategic planning services.

Paul Nixon, Chief Social Worker, Child Youth and Family has over 20 years experience in child welfare and protection, always in a statutory setting and is originally from the United Kingdom.  Paul has been involved in a range of strategic and service development roles, and has always been interested and inspired by practice and innovations from New Zealand, particularly Family Group Conferences, Restorative Justice, and Whanau / Kinship Care. He has been in his role as Chief Social Worker since February 20

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis, Brainwave Trust is based in Christchurch. His professional background is in lecturing/teaching, child counselling, and educational systems/social service management and has worked with children in counselling settings relating to domestic violence, sexual abuse and childhood trauma. He is a father of three, a step-father to another three and has a background as a foster parent. He is a founding member of the Canterbury Brainwave group and is is a trustee of the Brainwave Trust. He also runs his own consultancy business, X Factor Education which he established to facilitate training, professional development and the application of neuroscientific research to practice. Nathan has also been a lecturer at the Christchurch College of Education, lecturing in human development, brain development, language and communication and risk and resilience. 

Nigel Latta ONZM, is a Clinicial Psychologist, family therapist, best-selling author, radio commentator on parenting issues and television broadcaster. He worked for 17 years as a forensic psychologist working with violent offenders which lead to his book Beyond the Darklands which inspired the making of the compelling television series and provided an insight into the minds of some of New Zealand’s most notorious criminals. Nigel has worked extensively with families and children and specialises in working with children with behavioural problems, from the simple to severe.  He has published several informative, pragmatic and highly entertaining books for families raising children, including Fathers Raising Daughters, Mothers Raising Sons, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers and most recently published in September 2013; The Modern Family Survival Guide.  He has hosted the hugely popular and entertaining parenting shows The Politically Incorrect Guide to Parenting and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown-ups. See more at Goldfishwisdom.

Shane Harris, SAFE Network is a Registered Social Worker who has been working in the Harmful Sexual Behaviour and Child Protection sectors since 2001.  Shane is the Social Work and Education Services Leader for the Auckland-based SAFE Network Inc.  SAFE provides specialist assessment and treatment services for children and adolescents who have concerning and harmful sexual behaviour, and adults who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour towards children.

Pat Buckley, Managing Director, Amped4Life
is the Founder of the Amped4Life Trust formed in 2002. Amped4Life is a non-profit organisation that was formed to help bring insight and understanding to teenagers about the dangers of substance abuse and the importance of making good choices. Pat is a dynamic and powerful speaker who has spoken to thousands of school children and teenagers throughout the country over the past decade leaving them with a powerful and authentic message which drives home the reality -”your life can change with one bad choice”.

The Hip-Operation Dance Crew are famous world-wide having featured on prime time American and Australian television as well as performing at the World Hip-Hop Championship Finals in Las Vegas in 2013, we are honoured and delighted to feature this fabulous and inspiring dance troupe from Waiheke Island. The group consisting of 28 senior citizens aged between 66 and 96 is the world’s oldest Hip Hop dance group whose motto is “respect and honour youth” using Hip Hop dance “as a vehicle to not only form stronger connections with our young people but to also promote attitudinal change in our society towards both aged persons and youth.”



About us 

Grandparents Raising GrandchildrenTM Trust NZ (GRG) is a registered Charitable Trust operating throughout New Zealand providing support services to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis. Our vision is for a community where grandparents raising grandchildren are empowered to provide a safe, secure and nurturing home for their grandchildren.

Charities Commission Registration CC20205

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Te tautoko i nga tupuna, mokopuna me te whanau.
Te awhina ia ratou ki te whakatutuki i nga putanga
pai i roto i to raatau oranga.
Supporting grandparents, grandchildren and whanau
to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.  



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