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David White, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Author and Anti-Violence Campaigner and his wife Pam became grandparent caregivers in 2009 following the tragic death of their daughter through domestic violence. Since joining GRG and appreciating that support, he has since worked tirelessly helping others, particularly campaigning against domestic violence including speaking to many groups and organisations, from primary school children on showing respect to each other, to prison inmates on a better way to live. He has written two books on NZ’s violence issues, the first Helen – The Helen Meads Tragedy and Family Violence: Lifting New Zealand’s Dark Cloud in which he details what we can do to end family violence.  

Summit Speakers and Workshop Presenters

Sharon Lee, M.Ed. Waikato University, Researcher has been a practicing counsellor, family therapist, supervisor and consultant for 35+ years. She has worked in the areas of child protection, sexual abuse, and family violence. Sharon has worked with individuals, couples, families and groups and is a Member of NZAC (New Zealand Association of Counsellors) and has also worked with GRG as a Field Officer. Sharon is married, has five adult children and ten grandchildren. She was also privileged to have been parented by her Grandparents.

Dr Liz Gordon, Researcher and Director, Pūkeko Research Ltd, works at the interface of social policy, education and justice. She has a PhD in education and is a qualified but non-practicing lawyer. She is involved in governance and support roles in a range of community organisations (e.g. she is currently President of Pillars) and research organisations (on the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the NZ Council for Educational Research).  
Experienced in community research and evaluation, with involvement in a number of research projects in the past funded by Lotteries Community Sector Research Fund that engages community organisations in research approaches, Liz led the GRG 2016 Grandparent and Whanau Caregiver Survey from March to the end of May 2016.  She will shortly be leading a further study funded by the Law Foundation for GRG Trust NZ with grandparents who have views on the Family Court as it operated prior to 2014, in particular exploring key themes such as access to justice, cost, court processes (especially length and timing), difficulties with mediation, and looking at whether there are indications that the new Family Court system provides a more effective resolution process than the old.

Christina Stroud, CEO, - which incorporates a residential center that specialises in methamphetamine recovery, corporate recovery programs, a series of books and training aids and informative speaking events. Christina is an Entrepreneur, an Adventure Based Trainer, Creative Learning Facilitator and after completing a degree in Organisational Psychology, she founded and directed a coaching/coach training company setting industry standards. She gained a reputation for an uncompromising love of success. Amongst her clients were corporate executives, Olympic stars and business owners.
Her focus turned to methamphetamine recovery after the loss of a friend in 2000 through the dirty drug. Christina sits on two trusts mandated to stop the supply and demand of meth, currently working on a national symposium, programs in prisons and a book tour. Christina has just been named an Alumni of Distinction by Massey University for 2015. She will be speaking and setting up recovery centres and training across Australia.  

For more information see

Ashna Storey, Grandparent and former Social Worker is now retired and raising her grandson in the South Island after working as a social worker for Shine for almost 14 years, during which time she was also contracted to two CYF sites to work along the social workers where domestic violence compromised the well-being of children. After raising her own children and working in the late 70’s and early 80’s with Cambodian Boat refugees she attained her degree in Social Work and has also worked in Child Protection and Mental Health areas. 

Sandy McPhee, Director, Next Steps Training Providers qualified as a professional counsellor with the New Zealand Institute of Professional Counselling and is an experienced training facilitator working with foster carers having had broad experience in her career across a range of sectors including work in the disability sector and delivering Triple P parenting programmes.  Since 2013 she has provided training for new and experienced foster carers for Key Assets and Next Steps Training Providers and has a wealth of knowledge, expertise and life experience of the issues facing foster carers. Together with her husband, Sandy is currently managing a residential support and life skills home for teen mothers for the Youth Horizons Trust.

Jonelle McNeill, Operations Manager-Upper North, Barnardos NZ is a qualified Registered Social Worker with over 16 years’ experience in statutory Child Protection in Auckland prior to moving into the NGO sector last year. She is passionate about joining up with others to develop effective care experiences for children in care, and especially mokopuna Maori. Her iwi affiliations are Tapuika/Te Arawa and lives with her three daughters & partner in Manurewa, South Auckland.
Nancy Jelavich, Foster Care Manager-Upper North, Barnardos NZ is a qualified registered Social Worker (Bachelor in Social Work), and holds a diploma in child-protection and post-grad certificate in Supervision.  Nancy has been a Social Worker for 13 years working with vulnerable children and families including grandparents raising their grandchildren.  For the past 2 years she has been employed by Barnardos as the Foster Care Service Manager.  She is particularly interested in Trauma-informed Care and has been a Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Instructor for the past 6 years.

Rebecca Barson, National Manager Care, Child Youth and Family is a qualified and registered social worker with over 23 years’ experience of working with children, families and their caregivers in statutory care and protection services both here in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom.  Rebecca is passionate about improving services for caregivers, both whānau and non- whānau, to ensure that children and young people are at the centre of everything that we do.  Rebecca lives in Wellington with her partner and two teenage sons.

Julie O’Brien, Stand Children’s Services Tu Maia Whanauis a registered Social Worker who has worked with Stand Children’s Services for the past 7 years. She leads a team providing therapeutic residential care for vulnerable children. Having developed a strong interest in neuroscience, trauma and attachment, Julie has been integral in bringing about better understanding of trauma behaviour, supporting her team to meet the needs of children in their care. Julie worked for 5 years as an Advisor with the Tertiary Education Commission (ACE/ second-chance learning and Gateway/ Vocational learning), and for 17 years as a Probation Officer/ service manager and trainer for the Department of Corrections. She has a qualification in training and development.


Sue Haldane, is the driving force behind MIND OVER MANNER.  Her life work has been predominantly with youth, directing in secondary schools and devising new theatre works. She has facilitated theatre workshops with refugees, multicultural and differently-abled groups – and also used communication role play techniques extensively in schools, prisons, with legal, medical and other professional groups and with kids on the street. 

As a result of all this combined experience, and as a parent of a teen with ASD, Susan has developed her own extensive knowledge of the cognitively diverse individual and what their specific needs may be. 

She has presented MIND OVER MANNER at the International Symposium of Critical Journeys in Applied Theatre, The Altogether Autism Conference, Speech Language Therapy Masters students at Auckland University and has recently studied with Temple Grandin and Reclaiming Youth International in America as professional development for MIND OVER MANNER'S Applied Theatre approach.

MIND OVER MANNER is a charity organisation that presents workshops designed to strengthen the communication and connection with those children who think, learn and work differently.

For more information please go to




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.  



Contact us

Member Support 
Outside Auckland Freephone
0800 472 637      

Auckland Landline or Mobile Phone Callers
(09) 418 3753 

National Support Office
9:00am - 2:00pm
09 418 3753

PO Box 34-892
Auckland 0746
New Zealand

Email GRG Office

Mitre 10 Community of the Year 2013

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