Our Tangata

We’re all about growing positive connections between people. While we are an organisation with the usual organisational structures, we try to act more like an extended family or social movement.

Our whānau

Our whānau are the many and diverse people and groups we get to work alongside. They are our Local Experts. They guide our mahi and they are our best teachers.

Our kaimahi

About 70 people work for Wesley. They are based in teams and work across the greater Wellington region. We are a diverse workforce spanning ages, cultures, and backgrounds. We think this is what helps keep us vibrant! 

Our roles span whānau, kaimahi, social work, community development, youth work, social media, property, administration and finance, tenancy management, environment, sustainable kai, local economies and financial support.

Our leadership team

Our approach to leadership is to ‘hold the space for new possibilities to emerge’. Our formal leadership team aims to foster this approach across all levels of the organisation, strengthen internal and external connections and help the organisation navigate the obstacles and grasp the opportunities.

David Hanna - Director 

A fifth generation Pākeha, David whakapapas to Scotland and Ireland. He has a background in youthwork, public policy and Methodism. He’s a leader in community-led development and grassroots-led systems change. As well as being Director of Wesley Community Action David is also a member of the national leadership team of Inspiring Communities. 

Andrea McKenzie – General Manager
Ngāti Tūwharetoa me Te Āta Haunui a Pāpārangi toku iwi. No Whanganui ahau.

Andrea is a highly experienced and qualified social worker and supervisor. She has leadership experience in a diverse range of settings including traditional child, youth and family and older person services, as well as community development led spaces.

Claire Booth – Manager Te Waka Haumaru (older persons team)

English born and New Zealand raised, Claire has worked as a social worker and a counsellor. She has training in solution-focussed, strengths-based, narrative therapy as well as systemic family therapy. She has worked for NGOs, in major teaching hospitals in Australia and the UK, and in palliative care, private practice, and in public service. Claire has a passion for strength-based practice and a deep knowledge of the health care system.  

Kena Duignan – Innovation Lead

Kena is currently on a one year secondment with Wellington City Council helping with their climate change policy.

Kirsten Gendall – Funding / Taiao Lead 

Born and bred in Te Awa Kairangi, Kirsten's paid work background is varied, including policy, evaluation, retail, funding, and community work. She has a strong passion for protecting our taiao and is energised by being part of solutions that enhance this beautiful place we inhabit.

Moira Lawler – Innovation Lead 

Moira is a first-generation New Zealander of English and Irish parents.  She and her partner have raised three boys in Pukerua Bay and have been rewarded with a grandson living next door. Her background is in strategic thinking and systems change. 

Moira is on a 1-year contract as our Innovation Lead. The role includes oversight of Te Hiko, our centre for community innovation, which she believes is important in showing us that communities can develop their own responses to system failure.

Jotham Kasibante – Finance and Property Manager

Lizzie Makalio  – Manager Waitangirua

Lizzie whakapapas to Scotland and Kuki Airani (Cook Islands). She has a background in youth work and social work and she is a leader in creating grassroots movements and spaces that grow whānau champions.

Makerita Makapelu – Manager Cannons Creek 

Born in Samoa and raised in Porirua, Makerita whakapapas to the villages of Leauva’a and Sa’anapu. She has a background in performing arts and youth work. She’s a leader in community-led development and grassroots led systems change. She values dreaming big with the Porirua community.

Ruth Nichol – Communications Lead

Ruth is a former journalist who has more recently worked for a number of not-for-profit organisations.    

Sarah Packman – Manager Te Waka Kotahi

Born in Balclutha and raised in Wellington, Sarah has a background in helping to prevent family violence.  Her role involves supporting the team of kaimahi, including our foster parents and social workers, caring for young people in care.

Sheree Ryder – Manager Te Kākano 

Ngāti Tūwharetoa / Ngāti Ranginui

Sheree is a registered social worker, a kapa haka exponent, a Māmā and a Kuia. She is passionate about our tamariki/mokopuna and about ensuring they have the best start in life.

Sarah Scott – Practice Manager 

Rangitāne o Wairau/Scottish/Irish whakapapa. 

Sarah is a learner, a developer and a coach. She’s an advocate for whānau-led, tamariki- centred practice and is passionate about fairness, equity and justice. 

Lisa Tagaloa – Kaitiaki

Ngā uri a Māui nō Tokelau/Samoa/Ngāpuhi. 

Lisa is a bicultural supervisor, a musician a mum and a kuia. She leads the mamae-mana-aroha model. Her life purpose is to nurture and strengthen spaces to elevate connection at a mauri/heart level.

Tāneora Ryall – Pou Tikanga

Our Board

Our Board brings together diverse skills and experience to guide the strategic direction of Wesley Community Action.  As a part of the Methodist Church of NZ, the Board is accountable to the annual conference that operates on a bicultural power-sharing model.

Peter Glensor (Chair)

Peter is a former Methodist minister who has worked in the NGO sector for more than 40 years. He’s been involved in groups working in aid and development, youth work, social services, housing, and health services. 

Peter has served on both the Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards. He was also a Hutt City councillor and a member of the Wellington Regional Council.  

He is currently on the board of the Problem Gambling Foundation and of Palmerston North Methodist Social Services and he chairs the Methodist Alliance's work on housing. His latest passion is a Tiriti-based climate assembly in Porirua, in partnership with Ngati Toa Rangatira.

Dr Roger Blakeley

Dr Roger Blakeley has been chief executive of the Porirua City Council, the  Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for the Environment. He is a past chair of the Paris-based OECD Environment Committee. 

He has served as an independent director in local and central government and he has  been an elected member of the Capital and Coast District Health Board and the Wellington Regional Council. He has served on numerous boards in the not-for-profit sector.  

Roger has deep roots in the Methodist Church. He is descended from Rev John Hobbs, a Wesleyan missionary based in Hokianga who served as an interpreter for several chiefs who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi. He was the Vice President of the New Zealand Methodist Youth Movement in the late 1960s. 

Leah Haines

Leah is a strategic communications practitioner, with particular expertise in issues related to the wellbeing of children, and in crisis and change communications. She has led media and communications teams in the public, political and NGO. Her professional interest is in the area of children's rights and social justice.

Leah has worked as a journalist in New Zealand and overseas. Leah is descended from Methodist minister and missionary John Hobbs and his wife Jane, of Mangungu Mission in the Hokianga.

David Hanna

David is the Director of Wesley Community Action. He is also a member of the national leadership team of Inspiring Communities. 

David  has worked across a wide range of charitable and community-led development projects at both government and grass-roots levels. Through this he has developed skills in the areas of positive youth development, public policy process, management, systems thinking, leadership, and community-led development. 

His energy and interest is sparked by the way in which groups, organisations and communities can organise themselves to contribute positive change in people’s lives. He is committed to inclusive perspectives and incorporating knowledge of biculturalism and the Treaty of Waitangi as well as grounding his work in an authentic spirituality.

Hiueni Nuku

Hiueni is manager of the Porirua Union and Community Health Service in Cannons Creek. He is the Methodist Minister for the Tongan Congregation at the Tawa Union Church and for the Lower Hutt Tongan Parish. 

He is also chair of the Wellington Tongan Leaders Council and a board member of the Pacific Business Trust, Living Wage Aotearoa and Siaola Vahefonua Tonga Methodist Mission. He is a member of the Komiti Pasifika, Victoria University Wellington.

In June 2022 Hiueni was awarded with the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Tongan and Pacific communities.  

Dr Kate Prickett

Dr Kate Prickett is the Director of the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families and Children, Awhi Rito, at Victoria University of Wellington. She is a family sociologist and demographer, researching how family wellbeing and child development are affected and supported by the contexts that families interact with—such as parents’ work and early childcare—and how families’ wellbeing is impacted by broader social factors, such as poverty and public policies.

Eugene Ryder

Patria Tamaka 

Ko Taranaki rātou ko Karioi, ko Pirongia, ko Maungarake ōku maunga
Ko Patea rātou ko Waikato, ko Ruamahanga ōku awa
Ko Aotea rātou ko Tainui, ko Tamatea te Arikinui no Takitimu ōku waka
Ko Ngāti Ruanui rātou ko Waikato, ko Ngāti Kahungunu ōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Tūpito rātou ko Ngāti Mahanga, ko Ngāti Tāhinga, ko Taneroroa ōku hapū
Ko Pariroa rātou ko Poihākena, ko Pukerewa, ko Weraroa, ko Hurunuiorangi ōku marae
Ko Tamaka rātou ko Pairama, ko Riki, ko Anaru Tuhōkairangi (Andrews) ōku whānau
Ko Patria Tamaka tōku ingoa
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Patria was born in Patea and moved a couple of years later to Pōneke. She eventually  settled in Te Awakairangi (Lower Hutt) where she has lived for more than 30 years. 

Patria has worked for Hutt Union & Community Health Service, Te Runanga o Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika (now known as: Te Runanga o Te Atiawa), and E Tū Whānau (Ministry of Social Development).  In these roles she has learnt the difference between a job versus responsibility, a programme versus kaupapa and she is deeply connected to them because they all contributed in shaping the person she is today. She has been board member of Pomare Taita Community Trust since it began in 2001.

Nicola Teague Grundy

Nicola is currently one of the ministry team at Wesley Wellington Methodist Parish. She is also the Synod Superintendent for the Lower North Island Methodist region.  

Nicola has worked for the Methodist Church for many years and has previous experience in a leadership role with Methodist Mission Southern and more recently as Academic Registrar at Trinity Theological College.  She has twice been the Vice President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand.  

Murray Wu

Murray is strategy professional with expertise in strategy development and strategy execution. He has been employed in strategy roles across a variety of public and private sectors, including manufacturing, social services, financial services, and defence.

Our partners

We’re just one organisation in a wider ecosystem of groups and organisations working for change.  We work in partnership with a wide range of other organisations including:

Government partners

Our main government partners are:

  • Oranga Tamariki – supporting our work with families and rangatahi (Family Start, Social Worker in Schools, Strengthening Families, Mana Whānau) 
  • Ministry of Social Development – helping to build financial stability in low-income families and responding to  elder abuse (Kahukura, kai sovereignty work, Elder Abuse Response Service) 
  • Te Whatu Ora – supporting isolated older people and helping access services (Supported Independent Living, Wellington Region Fruit and Vege Coop, possibly one more)  
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Development – building social houses
  • Lotteries Commission – support for community activities and facilities.

Funding partners  

We are very grateful to the support we get from our funding partners, and particularly their willingness to provide high-trust, flexible funding.

Many thanks to:

  • Department of Internal Affairs – Lottery Community Fund 
  • Fincap 
  • Hutt City Council 
  • J R McKenzie Trust
  • Methodist Church of New Zealand / Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa
  • Nuku Ora 
  • St Davids Trust  
  • The Tindall Foundation 
  • Todd Foundation 
  • Trust House 
  • Wellington Community Fund 
  • Wellington Methodist Education and Endowment Trust
  • Winton and Margaret Bear Charitable Trust 

Iwi partners

We work in partnership with several iwi including:

  • Te Roopu Awhina Toa – Hapori project with Oranga Tamariki
  • Te Runanga o Ngāti Toarangatira – People’s Voices Forum (held in March 2020), Ngahere Korowai (reforestation project in Porirua East) 
  • Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa Ki Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui – exploring a new birthing centre at Wesley Rātā Village

Learning and community partners / members

  • Methodist Alliance
  • New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services 
  • Community Housing Aotearoa
  • Inspiring Communities
  • Just Change – a network of doers and donors working for equitable change
  • Porirua City Council
  • Hutt City Council