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Meet the Family Works Resolution Service team

Julia Hennessy, General Manager Family Works Central

Julia has been a senior leader in the social services sector for over 20 years. She has been working in children and family services, in both government and non- government roles, throughout her career. Julia qualified as a social worker and has moved from being a practitioner to a senior manager in both the UK and NZ. Julia has managed numerous projects, from design through to implementation, and ensured quality was a core component in every project. Julia sits on several local and international Boards within her scope of practice. These Boards are all promoting quality practice and supporting mechanisms for community engagement and empowerment.

Cheri Ratapu – Foster, Business Development Manager (No Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga ki Wharekauri me Tapuika)

Cheri has worked in the public service and not for profit sectors for over 30 years. Cheri has a long and accomplished history of working in communities supporting whānau/iwi in developing their goals and aspirations. Cheri is a member of the Family Works Senior Management Team, using her business skills and Māori world views to influence and design our service delivery models. Cheri leads the Māori caucus group, He Korowai Ratonga Māori Ratonga Whānau, and represents Family Works Central on the national Presbyterian Support New Zealand Te Roopu Pa Harakeke Cultural Advisors group.

Nici Nixon, Practice Development Manager

Nici has been a social worker for more than 25 years, with a particular focus on children and families. For the last 20 years, she has held supervisory and management roles in both government and NGOs. Nici is passionate about family support and child safety, and in many of her roles has been involved in care and protection services, supporting on issues of risk, child protection concerns and complex family dynamics. She is also an accredited family resolution mediator and has combined her experience of social work with vulnerable children and families to ensure delivery of Family Resolution Service is safe and responsive. She can also advise and guide in respect of our children’s voice approach.

Fiona Drinnan, Family Works Resolution Service Coordinator

Fiona has worked for 2 years as a Family Works Resolution Service coordinator. The Family Resolution Service is something Fiona really believes in, as it engages clients of all ages and cultures. She feels the service we provide for clients, introduces and consolidates skills they can use for conflict resolution for use throughout their lives. As a former school teacher, she is also passionate about the children’s voice service we deliver for our most important ‘clients’ – the children.

Wendy McMichael, Family Works Resolution Service Coordinator

Wendy has worked for Family Works since January 2019 and believes we provide a crucial role in resolving conflict amongst families when they separate. She loves a key feature of our process and approach which is advocating for the kids by providing them with a voice with Voice of Child. She loves being part of a caring team that strongly advocates inclusion of Te Reo and Tikanga in Family Resolution.

Corinne Edge, Family Works Resolution Service Coordinator

With the constants in Corinne’s work background being a focus on helping people and promoting change for good, helping parents seeking support through mediation feels like a natural fit. Corinne was formerly employed with Resolution Institute and as such brings excellent knowledge of Family Mediation Away from the office, Corinne’s time and energy is fully family focussed, with ‘time out’ for movies, music, bush and beach walks – oh, and coffee!

Megan Wilson, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Megan is a mediator accredited to do Family Dispute Resolution. As a registered nurse with over 20 years’ experience, Megan has extensive knowledge around child development and complex case management enabling her to engage and work with families during stressful situations. During this time she has worked in marae based clinics in New Zealand, with remote Indigenous communities In Australia and with refugees. She has been involved in various policy and steering groups at national and local levels both here and in Australia. Megan is also qualified to provide professional supervision.

Phillippa Elliott, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Phillippa Elliott is a Resolution Institute (LEADR) mediator, alternative dispute resolution mediator and ADR conflict and communication coach. She has owned an operated her own consultancy for 25 years and has worked nationally and internationally in training design and delivery.

Dr Robert Shaw, Counsellor & Family Works Resolution Mediator in Taranaki

Robert has a strong interest in achieving outcomes that are in the best interests of children. He is an executive member of the Institute of Educational and Developmental Psychology and a professional member of the New Zealand Psychological Society. He is an associate of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of New Zealand who accredited him to provide mediation for families. He provides individual and family counselling, and works with adolescents. Previously, he was a secondary school teacher in South Auckland and has worked in universities in New Zealand and overseas.

Sue Hurst, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Sue is a Resolution Institute (LEADR) mediator, and has completed a graduate diploma in Business Studies, dispute resolution and was awarded the FairWay Resolution Prize in Mediation. Sue facilitates our Parenting Through Separation Courses and her previous experience as an early childhood teacher and centre manager has given her an in-depth understanding of family dynamics and child development.


Sue Adams, Resolution Mediator in Wellington, Hutt Valley, Kapiti Coast, Porirua and Wairarapa

Sue is a qualified and experienced counsellor who commenced private practice in 1992 having work in many different Government Organisations and Medical Health Centres since 1980. She has worked in the area of Family Court Counselling and Communication/Conflict for 25 years. She is a member of New Zealand Counsellors and New Zealand Christian Counsellors. She is an experienced and professional mediator trained and accredited by the Resolution Institute since 2010 and Family Dispute Mediator accredited in 2014. She has completed many successful Family Disputes referrals.
She is qualified in Child Mental Health and is able to act as a Child Inclusive Specialist in Mediation cases when requested. Sue is a Professional Supervisor in both Counselling and Mediation.

Kate Walkinshaw, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Kate is a Resolution Institute (LEADR) mediator since October 2014 and a social worker with Family Works in Christchurch. She provides parenting support in the home, works with children in the school and home environment and advocates for families/whanau and children. Kate facilitates parenting programmes such as the Incredible Years Parenting programme and the Ministry of Justice Parenting Through Separation course. She also offers pre-mediation coaching and is a child voice practitioner.

Shona Hickey, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Shona has had a long term goal to work in the field of Family Dispute Resolution. She has a particular interest in ensuring tamariki/children have a voice and have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to finding workable solutions to issues that impact on the whole whanau/family.

Nigel Dunlop, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Nigel has been practising family law for over 30 years. He first trained in mediation 25 years ago and has since conducted over 3,500 hours of mediation in New Zealand. He has a high settlement rate for the 2,000+ mediation cases he has handled. Over his career he has represented hundreds of children in the Family Court and has published numerous articles about family dispute resolution.

Jackie Fitzsimmons, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Jackie is a NZAC and Resolution Institute (LEADR) mediator. She has been working in the industry for over 27 years as a family court counsellor, family disputes resolution mediator, preparation for mediation contractor and family therapist. She has a background in providing trauma informed therapy, group facilitation for stopping violence programmes and survivor groups, family court counselling and family therapy.

Helen Goatley, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Helen is a registered mediator and has been working as a social worker for the past 13 years working mostly with children and families. She is currently the Team Leader for a variety of family support services with Family Works, Presbyterian Support Southland.  Helen has been a Family Resolution Services mediator since December 2014 and enjoys assisting people to find their own solutions and the best way forward for their families.

Julie Forman, Family Works Resolution Mediator

Julie is a LEADR accredited mediator. She specialises in pre-mediation coaching and is a child’s voice practitioner.  Julie is an advocate for children, families and whanau, and provides family therapy, trauma counselling and counselling for individuals and couples.  For the past five years she has been involved in facilitating parenting programmes, such as Tuning into Kids and the Ministry of Justice Parenting Through Separation course.

Adele Dubarry, Resolution Mediator in Manawatu and Whanganui

A New Zealand citizen – Adele has practiced as a Barrister for many years in the UK ( since 1995 and South Australia from 2001 ) working exclusively in Family Law before returning to New Zealand in 2018. She has been a Panel member approved to undertake work for the Legal Services Commission both for private clients and representing the Independent Children’s Lawyer. She undertook mediation training with Resolution Institute in 2012 and qualified as a mediator and gained formal accreditation as a Family Dispute Mediator in 2019 on her return to New Zealand.

Mediating skills were called on all the time in my practice at the Bar, whether it was to broker a simple decision as to modest increases in time to one parent, to the identity of a real estate agent to be appointed for sale of property, to more complex issues involving domestic violence, complex and diverse family relationships, as well as cases involving physical and sexual abuse of children.
Adele lives in the Manawatu and covers family mediations for Palmerston North, Whanganui and the surrounding areas.

Marilyn Gilchrist, Resolution Mediator in Ashburton, Ahrustchurch, Timaru – West Coast, Hokitika and Greymouth

Marilyn has been a mediator for over 10 years, specialising in Family Disputes. In addition to Mediation qualifications, through (LEADR), Marylin has a Bachelor degrees in Law and Education, and a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. Marylin has been a Lawyer for 20 years, and is honoured to be regularly appointed by the Court to represent children in the Family Court, and youth in the Criminal Court.

Spending half her time in Ashburton, and half in Arthur’s Pass, Marylin practises law and completes mediations across the West Coast.

“I consider that Mediation is essentially a facilitated discussion between parties to explore possible solutions to a problem which will allow a negotiated resolution to a dispute. It provides a quick, relatively cost effective solution to resolving problems. I find that my experiences in professions other than as a lawyer have stood me in good stead for my role as a mediator, Lawyer for Children, Youth Advocate, and in general.”


Rodger Wilson, Resolution Mediator in Canterbury

Since 2014 Rodger has been an Associate (FDR) of the Arbitrators & Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) He is also a qualified social worker. He has spent 40 years working with children and families in various areas of New Zealand, and in the UK.

His work began as a social worker, progressing through to senior management, covering all areas of children and families statutory social work.

His principal goal within Family Dispute Resolution is to help parents mediate a better understanding of their children’s needs, thereby establishing an enhanced co-parenting relationship.

Suzy Armstrong, Resolution Mediator in West Coast – Greymouth, Hokitiki and Greymouth.

Suzy has 25 years of experience working in social care and is a registered socila worker ; as well as operating as a trained accredited (AMINZ) FDR mediator.
Suzy is an experienced FDR mediator, using her skills to assist families to resolve their disputes. She is experienced in solo and co-mediation, face-to-face and shuttle models as well as alternative dispute resolution. Her approach is to support parties impartially to find their own answers in a supportive, confidential, neutral environment; always ensuring the best interests of the child/ren are at the centre of negotiations. Working with diverse ethnic and cultural communities in the UK and New Zealand, Suzy is attentive to diversity ensuring a sensitive adaptable service is available for all.

Suzy is trained and experienced in a number of therapeutic interventions including Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioural approaches, Mediation, Family Systems approach, Motivational Interviewing, solution focussed, person centred, task oriented working. She is committed to providing a quality service and equal opportunities to all and is a firm believer that every individual is the expert in their own life and circumstances, already possessing the knowledge and skills to resolve problems

Stephen Thompson, Resolution Mediator in Dunedin, Invercargill and surrounding areas.

Stephen is a self-employed fulltime counsellor, supervisor and mediator with 20 plus years experience in Family Court and ACC counselling, mediation, restorative justice, family therapy, couples and relationship counselling, parental education and managerial supervision for a variety of both NGO and private sector employers. He has been accredited for FDR mediation with AMINZ since September 2019.

Lorraine Guthrie, Resolution Mediator in Oamarau and Dunedin.

Lorraine is an accredited Mediator and FDR mediator. She has achieved international accreditations in crisis prevention and conflict management models and is a trained family and couples counsellor, professional supervisor and facilitator. Lorraine is an experienced advocate having worked within the insurance and tertiary education sectors. She has also spent many years working with troubled youth in the social sector on human rights issues and in professional association and employment related disputes. Lorraine’s priority in mediation is facilitating parties to communicate in a useful way to achieve workable and sustainable future planning for children and their adult carers.

Robert Brace, Resolution Mediator in Porirua, Wellington and Hutt Valley.

Robert is a member of Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of NZ and has been a practising Family Court lawyer for many years. He states ‘it can be daunting for parents to make plans for their children following a separation but the mediation process has proved to be a positive and very productive process. When people take time to talk and listen in a safe environment, positive things can happen, often surprisingly. It has been a personal privilege for me to share the journeys of about 200 families as a mediator.

Marian Shore, Resolution Mediator in Oamarau, Dunedin, Central Otago.

Marian is a Resolution Institute accredited mediator – including Family Dispute Resolution, a Ministry of Justice accredited Restorative Justice facilitator and a ‘Parenting Through Separation’ tutor.

By using her mediation, coaching and mentoring skills, she has assisted many people resolve differences and guided them to resolve their own issues in the future.

She has been working in the restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution field for over 13 years and previously has a history of working within complex and high conflict scenarios. She has great experience in establishing good rapport trust and through this has great results in her work.

Deb Inder, Resolution Mediator in Wanaka, Queenstown and surrounding area.

Deb has over a dozen years of experience as a Family Lawyer and a Family Law Barrister. She is an accredited NZ Law Society Family Specialist Mediator and a member of the New Zealand Family Law Section. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in Child Centred Practice (with Distinction), a certificate in Child Inclusive Mediation and I am a PhD student undertaking a PhD examining Children’s Participation within the New Zealand Family Justice System.

As a Mediator, she aims to help parties stay out of Court, to facilitate excellent communication and to assist parties in creating parenting plans that are workable and meaningful for children.

Deb has been appointed as a Steering Group Member of the Children’s Rights Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (CRAANZ). CRAANZ Promotes the rights and wellbeing of children through advocacy and education using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other International Human Rights Instruments. CRAANZ also prepare and present the alternate report for New Zealand to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Ruth Wells, Resolution Mediator in Nelson, Blenheim and surrounding area.

Ruth is a Registered Social worker and Registered Counsellor and Mediator with extensive background in child and family therapy in both Otutahi and Whakatu regions. The wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi within their whanau and community is central to Ruth’s work with families. As parents choose to go their separate ways, Ruth supports and facilitates them to consider how their children may be impacted now and in the future by their decisions. Ruth prioritises in  maintaining a calm, safe and respectful working space. Ruth works for Family Works Presbyterian Support Upper South Island.

Richard Hales, Resolution Mediator in Taranaki.

As an experienced mediator of over 10 years, Richard has conducted many mediations, covering a range of mediation and conflict resolutions services to companies, community organisations, families, couples and individuals.

Richard is a Resolution Institute accredited Mediator and a Resolution Institute accredited Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediator, and has additional professional training and expertise in housing, employment and community mediation. He is a Practitioner Member of the Resolution Institute.

Richard’s professional qualifications include NZQA Level 5 in Mediation, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies.

Vanessa Harrison, Resolution Mediator in Taranaki.

Vanessa is a Resolution Institute (LEADR) mediator since July 2016, and facilitates non-violence and safety programmes to men and women at Family Works Taranaki. Vanessa has a background in secondary education, and has also worked in the mental health NGO sector.  Her goal is for parents to develop healthy ways to communicate and resolve problems, as this will benefit their children and contribute to them becoming resilient and happy young people.  Vanessa works for Family Works Presbyterian Support Central.

Lynda Manning, Resolution Mediator in Taranaki.

Lynda has been a lawyer for almost 30 years and has been working as a mediator for over 10 years.

One of the things Lynda likes about the mediation process is that the parties, if they agree, are in control of the outcomes for their children.

Lynda balances her mediation work with being a lawyer and regularly appears in the Family Court acting for children and vulnerable people, as well as the parties.

Away from work Lynda enjoys time with her children and exercising her dogs.

Nicole Parry, Resolution Mediator in Wellington, Porirua, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast.

Nicole Parry has 10 Years of experience as an accredited Mediator and is accredited by M.LEADR and AMINZ for  FDR. (Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand )  She is a Voice of the Child Practitioner and a Pre-Mediation Coach.  She is also a CINERGY® Conflict Management Coach. She holds an NZQA level 3 certificate in Child Protection.

Nicole has qualified teacher status in the UK and has extensive experience in teaching subjects including personal and social education at secondary schools.  She has also in taught law in the UK and has lectured the fields of employment law and dispute resolution in the UK and in NZ.

Nicole is skilled at bringing family members together to come to an agreement about the care of their children, even in contexts which can be emotional and difficult. She is also proficient at creating a safe environment for separated couples to find fair and acceptable solutions for their situations.

Karen Southall, Resolution Mediator in Taranaki.

Karen has worked within the social sector of the Taranaki community for 30 years.  She is committed to making a difference in people’s lives.  Karen works from a strength based approach, which firmly empowers individual, families and communities to identify their own strengths and acknowledge their abilities and skills.

She provide counselling and family mediation, having membership in both professions. She qualified for FDR in 2014. Karen also delivers FDR coaching and Child Voice.

She  lives in within a rural community surrounded by my whanau.  Karen works for Family Works Presbyterian Support Central.

We’re local and we’re here to help. Contact Family Works to register for Family Works Resolution Service (FWRS) or a Parenting through Separation course near you.