Meet our people

Our multi-cultural, multi-generational organisation is a reflection of New Zealand’s vibrant society.

Our dedicated and caring team members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and experiences. They share a passion for supporting families to live well and enjoy life and a belief that every person deserves respect, compassion and dignity regardless of their situation.

We have mediators located throughout the lower North and upper-South Island, and many are available for online meetings.

Our qualified and experienced mediators are here to help you and your whānau reach sustainable parenting agreements that everyone is happy with.

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Julia Hennessy

Julia Hennessy

General Manager Family Works Central

Central Office

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.

Nici Nixon

Nici Nixon

Practice Development Manager

Central Office

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.

Cheri Ratapu-Foster

Cheri Ratapu-Foster

Business Development Manager

Central Office

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.

Rebecca Pohe

Rebecca Pohe

Family Works Resolution Manager

Central Office

Rebecca has 26+ years working with diverse family/whanau and community groups, including 13 years in the UK focusing on Child Protection. She was the Child Protection and Safeguarding Lead for a school of 1600 pupils from vast religious, cultural and diverse backgrounds.
Rebecca is an experienced trainer facilitator in the primary handling and early detection of maltreatment and abuse within the child protection setting. With that in mind, Rebecca has whàngai/fostered children for 20+ years in New Zealand and England.

Rebecca has managed a national call centre team with satellite offices across the country in the wellbeing sector. Whereby responsible for and overseeing risk assessments, triaging calls, allocating out and matching to client need, rapid and critical incident response, multi-agency support and organisational workplace well-being. Rebecca is trained in the New Zealand Coordinated Incident Management System, managing emergency situations and is Crisis Intervention Stress Management trained, prevent and manage critical incidents stress and trauma. Rebecca is also a Board member and a Responder.

Rebecca has recently completed her Mediator training where she intends to put her skills, knowledge and background into family dispute resolution.

Kate Walkinshaw

Kate Walkinshaw

Family Works Resolution Mediator

Canterbury

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

Shona Hickey

Family Works Resolution Mediator

Canterbury

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.

Megan Wilson

Megan Wilson

Family Works Resolution Mediator

Canterbury

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

Phillippa Elliott

Family Works Resolution Mediator

Canterbury

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.

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

Counsellor & Family Works Resolution Mediator

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.