Meet the Team
Meet the Caring Families Aotearoa team! We are here to support families who open their homes and hearts to tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) in need of care and protection.
We also have a dedicated team of Regional Coordinators covering the country in ten regions. Our Regional Coordinators provide support and training to members.
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.
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.
Linda Surtees MNZM
Chief Executive Officer
Ph: 04 566 0294 to contact
Jennifer Hanson, EA to CEO
About Linda Surtees
Linda has lived experience as a foster parent including whanau care and Family Group Home care, where she formed many strong ties with tamariki she cared for. She 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 thousands of caregivers.
She has 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.
Kaitakawaenga (Cultural Advisor) & Coromandel Regional Coordinator
Ph: 00 281 5609
Mob : 027 501 0395
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.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Ph: 04 974 8204
Mob : 027 501 0330
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.
National Support Manager
Ph: 04 282 0490
Mob: 027 501 0398
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.
Critical Support Manager
Ph: 04 566 0299
Free: 0800 693 278
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.
Ph: 0800 693 32
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.
Ph: 04 282 0488
Mob : 027 501 0396
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.
Ph: 04 595 1286
Mob : 027 777 2216
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.
Ph: 04 595 1285
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
Cape Reinga down to bottom of North Head.
Ph: 09 283 9483
Mob: 027 566 0294
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!
Wellsford down to Mt Wellington.
Ph: 09 280 3862
Mob: 027 538 9691
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.
Manukau down to North Waikato.
Ph: 09 281 5609
Mob: 027 244 7371
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.
Bay Of Plenty down to Turangi.
Ph: 07 281 1137
Mob: 027 501 0393
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.
Hicks Bay to Norsewood.
Ph: 0800 693 323
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.
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
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.
Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast.
Ph: 03 929 6578
Mob: 027 369 3333
Lower South / Otago – Otemata down to Southland
Ph: 03 281 7495
Mob: 027 501 0392
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.
Canterbury – Kaikoura down to Waimate.
Ph: 03 470 1277
Mob: 027 501 0005
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.
National Office Team
Critical Support Coordinator
Ph: 0800 693 278
I originally hail from a farming community, close to the town of Waitara in Taranaki. Then moved to Lower Hutt when I got married. We have lived in Naenae for many years and raised our whānau here. I have been a caregiver with Open Home Foundation and Oranga Tamariki over the years with my amazing husband and three biological daughters. Currently, we have two beautiful whāngai mokos at home, who we are journeying through the teenage years.
I was trained as a social worker and have worked in a Teen Parent School and as a Victim Advisor for Ministry of Justice, then came to Caring Families Aotearoa in 2018 and love supporting and advocating for justice for tamariki and caregivers alike.
Ph: 0800 693 323
Jennifer has been working for Caring Families Aotearoa since 2015 and has been Linda’s Executive Assistant since 2019. She also provides HR support and is one of the Employment Relations Officers in the office. Jennifer holds a Legal Executive Diploma and worked in law firms prior to coming to Caring Families Aotearoa.
Ph: 0800 693 323
I have loved working for Caring Families Aotearoa for the past 7 years. My main area of focus during this time has been supporting the Regional Coordinator team in a variety of administrative duties. My hobbies are gardening, creating lovely craft projects, spending time with the Grandkids, and engaging with my havanese dog, Pepper.
Fundraising / Finance Officer
Ph: 0800 693 323
Ko Mataatua te waka.
Ko Ngāi te Rangi te Iwi.
Ko Ngāti Hē te hāpu
Ko Maungatapu te marae
Ko Tamapahore tōku tipuna
Ko Moihi tōku matua
Ko Evelyn tōku whaea
No Tauranga ahau
Ko Amy tōku ingoa
I joined Caring Families Aotearoa in 2022 and my role is admin support for both the Finance and Fundraising team. I have always been passionate about helping people and have almost 30 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector.
Ph: 0800 693 323
Why do I work for a charity? It is that feeling of doing good in your community and that you know that your work matters.
I started my career working in an office before training as a journalist. Working for community newspapers I developed a real sense of community, and it is that love of being able to help that makes this job as a fundraiser at Caring Families Aotearoa really worthwhile.
I am proud to work with some amazing professionals who are so dedicated to helping carers achieve their best and my input is to represent a funder’s generosity.
It’s great to be part of the Caring Families Aotearoa team as we are an awesome force to be reckoned with. We care for carers – it’s a simple as that.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Ph: 0800 693 323
Sammie is a natural creative. You will often find her working on social media content, curating the monthly newsletter, or raiding the office lolly drawer.
After graduating from the University of Otago in 2018, Sammie worked across a variety of industries, including beauty and cosmetics, administration, and B2B sales, before finding her passion for marketing and communications at Caring Families Aotearoa in 2022.
She is passionate about using her design and communication skills to create helpful and engaging content for those in the care sector.
Ph: 0800 693 323
Dagmar has a master’s degree in Tourism Management from Victoria University, and her research focused on volunteering, altruistic travel, and host-guest relationships in non-commercial tourism settings. Before coming to Caring Families Aotearoa, she worked in international development supporting volunteers in the Pacific, and the health care sector supporting children with high health needs. She coordinates in-person and online trainings for caregivers and works closely with the Regional Coordinators and the admin team.