0800 693 323


Meet Our Team

Caring Families Aotearoa is here to support families who open their homes and hearts to tamariki (children) and rangitahi (young people) in need of care and protection.

Regional Coordinators

We also have a dedicated team of Regional Coordinators covering the country in ten regions. Our Regional Coordinators provide support and training to members.

Leadership Team

We are led by a group of nine who form the Leadership Team. This team is jointly responsible for progressing the vision and for all strategic, financial, legal, operational and reputational matters.

Our Governors

We are governed by eight dedicated board members. They decide the strategic direction for Caring Families Aotearoa, ensuring that care families are enabled, supported and trained to provide safe and nurturing homes.

Leadership Team

Linda Surtees MNZM

Chief Executive Officer

Ph: 04 566 0294 to contact
Jennifer Hanson, EA to CEO

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About Linda Surtees

Linda has been with Caring Families Aotearoa since 2010 and CEO since 2012. She is a strong advocate for caregiving families to receive robust, collaborative support and training, and has ensured these supports have reached 4,659 caregivers.

She has also been involved in developing the new National Care Standards and establishing the Extraordinary Care Package for children in Permanent or Whanau Care.  She continues today as Chair of the Extraordinary Care Fund Panel. In 2019 Linda received an MNZM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her contribution to children and the state.

Nyvonne Krause

Kaitakawaenga (Cultural Advisor) & Coromandel Regional Coordinator

Ph: 00 281 5609
Mob : 027 501 0395

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About Nyvonne Krause

Ko Pāku te Maunga

Ko Tairua te Awa

Ko Tainui, Te Aupouri me Maniapoto ngā Iwi

Ko Marutūahu te tangata

Ko Ngati Rautao te hapuu

Ko Ōturu te Marae

Ko Amotahi Pouaka raua Ko Waiwera Tuaea ōku tupuna

Ko Reremoana tōku whaea

Ko Nyvonne tōku ingoa

My caregiver journey started when my husband and I took on a voluntary role for Hato Petera College as Mātua Atawhai.  We then accepted the challenge of Family Home Parents for Child Youth & Family.  Whanau took us to Perth where we worked as Professional Therapeutic Caregivers for an NGO and where I developed a true understanding of therapeutic parenting by attending every course I could.  On my return to Aotearoa, I attended a DDP workshop where pennies dropped like rain for me.  PACE is a natural way of being that requires a simple concept, connection, and connection is a feeling.  And you can’t fake feelings.

Samantha Lenik

Marketing and Communications Manager

Ph: 04 974 8204
Mob : 027 501 0330

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About Samantha Lenik

Samantha’s background is in communications, event organising and project coordination in corporate and NGO roles. She has worked and lived in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and enjoys connecting and meeting with people from all walks of life. Samantha is also the vice president of a charity, New Zealand Pompe Network, through which she advocates for equitable health outcomes for rare disorders in New Zealand.

Stephanie James-Sadler

National Support Manager

Ph: 04 282 0490
Mob: 027 501 0398

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About Stephanie James-Sadler

Stephanie manages the Regional Coordinators across New Zealand, having an overview of supporting members and the support groups aligned with Caring Families Aoteaora. Stephanie has foster care experience and has a knowledge of working across the sector, education and health.

Megan Fitzgibbon

Critical Support Manager

Ph: 04 566 0299
Free: 0800 693 278

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About Megan Fitzgibbon

Megan completed her post graduate degree in Clinical Psychology in South Africa and worked alongside the police and a community intervention center with a focus on Trauma, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Play Therapy. Before coming to Caring Families Aotearoa, she worked in MSD’s Historical Claims team who dealt with historic claims of abuse in state care.

Di Marshall

Office Manager

Ph: 0800 693 32

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About Di Marshall

Di has been with Caring Families since 2020 and has many years of experience in Administration and Early Childhood Education mostly in the NGO Sector. She has also been a respite carer, giving her valuable insights into the role our Caregivers hold in creating and maintaining safe and welcoming homes for tamariki. Di values the role that Caring Families Aotearoa have in supporting caregivers to parent tamariki in a way that supports wellbeing and healing. Di manages the admin team who look after our Membership and Training databases as well as supporting our National office staff and our Regional Coordinators.

Jenni Anderson

Fundraising Manager

Ph: 04 282 0488
Mob : 027 501 0396

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About Jenni Anderson

Jenni is a born communicator and connector. She holds a Diploma of Education, as she initially thought that her career path lay in the classroom. However, after nearly two decades of connecting people with causes and helping generous Kiwis to become the solution to the needs within society, she has well and truly found her calling as a fundraiser.

Jenni has raised significant sums for many national charities, including Stroke Foundation, Diabetes New Zealand and Victim Support.

She has a passion to see the vulnerable groups within our community supported to thrive. She also wishes to see the kind-hearted people working with these groups well-supported and adequately resourced to do the incredible work that they do.

Sally Moffatt

Programme Manager

Ph: 04 595 1286
Mob : 027 777 2216

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About Sally Moffatt

Sally Moffatt is the Programme Manager for Caring Families Aotearoa. She holds a Diploma of Teaching and a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood). Sally is a skilled facilitator, delivering the Foundations for Attachment programme to caregivers across Aotearoa. Sally has an in-depth knowledge of developmental trauma, attachment, therapeutic parenting and the impact of developmental trauma on the developing brain. She has a passion to change the way we parent children and young people who have experienced maltreatment so that their trajectory in life changes for the better.

Rob Surtees


Ph: 04 595 1285

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About Rob Surtees

Rob’s professional interests lay with Family Therapy and parenting children with attachment disorders. He has a degree in counselling, has completed study in Psychotherapy, and has experience in foster caring. Travelling the country, Rob has delivered training in Kim Goldings “Foundations of Attachment” and provided more in-depth levels of understanding for foster carers. He believes anyone who cares for, or makes decisions for children in foster care needs to have an understanding of the trauma these children have experienced.

Regional Coordinators Team

RuruHana (Leanne) Brownie

Upper North

Cape Reinga down to bottom of North Head.

Ph: 09 283 9483
Mob: 027 566 0294

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About RuruHana

Ko Ngati Pukenga, ko Ngapuhi nui tonu, ko Kotīmana (Scots) ahau

No Whangārei ki Te Tai Tokerau

My husband Dennis and I were respite carers through Oranga Tamariki for 12 years.

I’ve lived and worked in Whangārei most my life.

We have five Tamariki and nine Mokopuna who we don’t see often enough!

Christie McGiven

Wellsford down to Mt Wellington.

Ph: 09 280 3862
Mob: 027 538 9691

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About Christie

Christie has a varied not-for-profit background in learning support, group facilitation, volunteer and operational management. She has worked across education, family support and the disability sector for the past eight years. Christie joined the team in 2021 and enjoys working collaboratively to support caregivers and their whānau to feel more connected, confident and resourced.

Nu'umoe Collins

Auckland South

Manukau down to North Waikato.

Ph: 09 281 5609
Mob: 027 244 7371

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About Nu'umoe

I am a New Zealand born Samoan and the eldest of 7, a mother of one and aiga/whānau caregiver of two. I am passionate about connection, service and continual learning, and as a caregiver, I have undertaken training with Caring Families Aotearoa on the Foundations for Attachment course. I have 15 years of service working for a contract provider to the Ministry of Social Development, where I took pride in providing holistic, wrap-around support services for individuals and their whanau, in the roles of facilitator; advocate, pastoral care and more recently as a youth worker. I look forward to supporting you on your caregiver journey.


Christine Frost

Central North

Bay Of Plenty down to Turangi.

Ph: 07 281 1137
Mob: 027 501 0393

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About Christine

Christine is passionate about creating opportunities for individuals, whānau (families), and groups to flourish and to achieve a state of Mauri Ora (total wellbeing) working within a holistic approach. Christine has an extensive work history in Community, Social, and Education sectors. She is focused on a strength-based and solution-focused approach to enable whānau to achieve positive outcomes. She is currently a whānau caregiver of three beautiful tamariki and a mother to two.

James Uri

East Coast

Hicks Bay to Norsewood.

Ph: 0800 693 323

Mob: 0272046908

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About James

I’m excited to have the opportunity to get out there and support you in whatever way Caring Families Aotearoa and I can.

To give you a little bit of background about me, I am Cook Island Māori, a Whānau foster parent of four beautiful children that we have had for six years.  This means I’m a father of 13 children, with ten still at home.

I would like to become more invested with the caregiving community; meeting you, our wonderful foster/whānau/kin caregivers, be it through phone calls or face to face meetings, and supporting you. I am on this journey just like you.

Ebony Phillips

Lower North – Levin down to Wellington, (including Wairarapa).  North West – Awakino to Purero & South to the West of the Mountain ranges

Ph: 0800 693 323

Mob: 027 501 0394

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My background is in building communities, advocating for different groups, seeing the need and helping to build change. For me personally, I love the term whāngai (foster) because it expresses my spiritual, emotional, and physical connection to caregiving. Not only am I a whāngai parent, but I am also a whāngai sister, a whāngai aunty and a whāngai cousin. My experience with whāngai is personal to me as it is interwoven into every aspect of my life, and I hope to share, support, advocate and help you through your journey of caregiving where I can.

Denise Green

Upper South

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast.

Ph: 03 929 6578
Mob: 027 369 3333

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About Denise
I have been with Caring Families Aotearoa since 2015 as Regional Coordinator in the Upper South region. I have 25 years experience as a caregiver and have completed Level 1 training in DDP. I remain committed to supporting caregivers in the Nelson/Tasman, Marlborough and West Coast areas.
Jared Paranihi

Lower South / OtagoOtemata down to Southland

Ph: 03 281 7495

Mob: 027 501 0392

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About Jared

I am very passionate about supporting, advocating for, and training caregivers. I am also a caregiver of four beautiful tamariki under the age of seven, and prior to joining Caring Families Aotearoa, I was nominated for the 2022 Excellence in Foster Care Awards.

I also study child and family psychology and serve as chair of two school boards of trustees. We have amazing caregivers in our region and I look forward to working alongside you.

Caroline Graetz

Canterbury – Kaikoura down to Waimate.

Ph: 03 470 1277

Mob: 027 501 0005

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About Caroline

My name is Caroline, and along with Jared, I am a Regional Coordinator for Canterbury and the Lower South.

I was born in Berlin, Germany, however, on my travels, I fell in love with the people and culture of New Zealand. So much so that I have visited and worked in New Zealand multiple times, one of these times as a Social Worker at the Canterbury Men’s Centre in Christchurch.


Some other facts about me are that I love dogs and being outdoors – snowboarding, and hiking in the Canterbury Hills.

I hope my wealth of local and international experience can support you, should you need it. I look forward to meeting you all.