Our Team

Meet the Autism New Zealand nationwide team empowering people living with autism through information, support and education.
Karen Lonergan
Auckland
Karen Lonergan
National Outreach Manager
Auckland
Karen Lonergan
National Outreach Manager

Tamatekapua te tupuna
Te Arawa te waka
Te Arawa/Ngati Tuwharetoa nga iwi

I have worked as Manager in the disability sector for 34 years for a variety of organisations across the country and have been with Autism New Zealand since 2010.

Janine Felton
Auckland
Janine Felton
Outreach Coordinator
Auckland
Janine Felton
Outreach Coordinator

I am passionate about assisting people and walking alongside those who are struggling. I recently worked in the Residential Disability Sector which included adults with ASD. I’m an advocate of neurodiversity and facilitate our Youth and Adult Social Group

Megan Stokes
Auckland
Megan Stokes
Outreach Coordinator
Auckland
Megan Stokes
Outreach Coordinator

I am married and have a blended family of five children with one grandbaby. Our youngest son who is 19 has Autism. I love making connections in the community, helping families and individuals and spreading the word about the wonderful world of Autism.

Gabrielle Lennon
CANTERBURY / WEST COAST
Gabrielle Lennon
Outreach Coordinator
CANTERBURY / WEST COAST
Gabrielle Lennon
Outreach Coordinator

I have a Humanities degree and qualifications in Behavioural Analysis and picture exchange communication systems. I have 11 years’ experience working with supports and behavioural strategies for autism in schools, homes and employment.

Jeff Johnson
Canterbury / West Coast
Jeff Johnson
Adult Social Group Support Facilitator
Canterbury / West Coast
Jeff Johnson
Adult Social Group Support Facilitator

Nicole West
Gisborne
Nicole West
Outreach Coordinator
Gisborne
Nicole West
Outreach Coordinator

I grew up in Gisborne and am the mother of three teenage sons. My eldest is on the spectrum. I have two-part time positions: Outreach Coordinator for Autism New Zealand and Coordinator for Growing Through Grief Eastland. I love gardening and yoga.

Jill Hounsell
Nelson / Marlborough
Jill Hounsell
Outreach Coordinator
Nelson / Marlborough
Jill Hounsell
Outreach Coordinator

I started with Autism NZ in 2001 as a Volunteer/ Chairperson and in 2012 as an Outreach Coordinator. My son was diagnosed with ASD in 2000 at 18 months. I have had the privilege to meet many amazing families, enabling me to learn so much about Autism.

Sharon Oliver
Otago
Sharon Oliver
Outreach Coordinator
Otago
Sharon Oliver
Outreach Coordinator

I started with Autism New Zealand in 2002. I like to help parents navigate this path called Autism Spectrum, as I too am on this path. I try to help parents through pathways they need to travel and provide a listening ear from someone who understands.

Tammy Hutchins
Rotorua
Tammy Hutchins
Outreach Coordinator
Rotorua
Tammy Hutchins
Outreach Coordinator

I have been working with Autism New Zealand since 2015.
I have eight children, two children with ASD – so it’s fair to say that “there is never a dull moment in our lives”.

Wendy Jenkins
Southland
Wendy Jenkins
Outreach Coordinator
Southland
Wendy Jenkins
Outreach Coordinator

I've worked for Autism New Zealand since 2012. I have three sons and one is diagnosed with ASD. I am passionate about providing support and advocacy on behalf of all individuals and families with an ASD and knowing that I have made a positive difference.

Bridget Pasefika
Taranaki
Bridget Pasefika
Outreach Coordinator and LEGO Coordinator
Taranaki
Bridget Pasefika
Outreach Coordinator and LEGO Coordinator

I started my role in 2014. I give information, advocate for families and individuals and generally support wherever it is needed including school, home, healthcare, workplace and community…Every Step Together.

Jo Moffat
Taupo
Jo Moffat
Outreach Coordinator
Taupo
Jo Moffat
Outreach Coordinator

I have been working for Autism NZ since 2011. I have three children, the eldest of whom has an ASD diagnosis. I also have a teaching diploma, so education is a passion for me.

Jenny Woodfield
Wairarapa
Jenny Woodfield
Outreach Coordinator
Wairarapa
Jenny Woodfield
Outreach Coordinator

I have been working for Autism New Zealand since February 2017. Before that I worked as a primary school teacher, teaching children with special needs.

Samantha Mayall
Waikato
Samantha Mayall
Outreach Coordinator and LEGO Coordinator
Waikato
Samantha Mayall
Outreach Coordinator and LEGO Coordinator

I have been working for Autism NZ since the start of 2016 as LEGO Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator in the Waikato. Before this, I was a volunteer in our LEGO Groups.

Joelle Walker
Waikato
Joelle Walker
Outreach Coordinator
Waikato
Joelle Walker
Outreach Coordinator

I started at Autism New Zealand as the Holiday Programme Coordinator from 2014 to 2017.  For several years I was a High School Teacher of English and Drama and continue to teach Drama to school aged children and youth. 

Neil Stuart
Auckland
Neil Stuart
National Education Manager
Auckland
Neil Stuart
National Education Manager

I over 20 years experience working with children with autism. I have worked at Autism New Zealand since 2011 developing a large number of education and training programmes.

Tanya Blakey
Auckland
Tanya Blakey
National Educator
Auckland
Tanya Blakey
National Educator

I have two teenage daughters, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum.
I've been jointly involved developing the education programmes and enjoy travelling the country presenting them with unique lived experience and humour since 2011.

Jo Charman
Auckland
Jo Charman
Regional Educator
Auckland
Jo Charman
Regional Educator

I’ve started at Autism New Zealand in 2011, first as an Outreach Coordinator and now as an Educator. I am also a parent of a child with ASD.
I like to bring a practical and humorous approach to presentations from a personal and professional perspective.

Jenny Woodfield
Wellington
Jenny Woodfield
Outreach Coordinator
Wellington
Jenny Woodfield
Outreach Coordinator

I have been working for Autism New Zealand since February 2017. Before that I worked as a primary school teacher, teaching children with special needs.

Dane Dougan
Wellington
Dane Dougan
Chief Executive
Wellington
Dane Dougan
Chief Executive

I have been the Autism New Zealand Chief Executive since 2013. I have an undergraduate in Accounting and Commercial Law and Masters in Management Studies. It is a privilege to work for such an amazing organisation and the community we seek to serve.

Amanda August
Wellington
Amanda August
National Business Manager
Wellington
Amanda August
National Business Manager

I started in this new role in June 2017. My responsibilities include operational and financial management. I am a Chartered Accountant and have almost 10 years experience in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors in New Zealand and overseas.

Kirsty Herapath
Wellington
Kirsty Herapath
Central Region Hub Information and Support Coordinator
Wellington
Kirsty Herapath
Central Region Hub Information and Support Coordinator

I joined Autism New Zealand in August 2017 and I work out of the National office in Wellington. I’m responsible for grant applications and accountabilities, office administration and supporting the Central hub branches.

Morgan Ryan
Wellington
Morgan Ryan
Education Coordinator
Wellington
Morgan Ryan
Education Coordinator

I process registrations as well as managing the schedules, admin, and reporting for our National Educators. My autistic best friend has taught me a lot about the social issues effecting adult autistics and neurodiverse individuals.

Kelli Van Dyk
Manawatu
Kelli Van Dyk
Outreach Coordinator
Manawatu
Kelli Van Dyk
Outreach Coordinator

Working for Autism NZ has given me the opportunity to support individuals and families in the Manawatu region. I am married with 3 children and I am also currently in my final year of a psychology degree at Massey University.

Larah van der Meer
Wellington
Larah van der Meer
Research and Advocacy Advisor
Wellington
Larah van der Meer
Research and Advocacy Advisor

I have a PhD specialising in autism. My role includes implementing, evaluating and recommending research to advocate for the autism community.

Steph Grose
Canterbury
Steph Grose
Outreach Coordinator
Canterbury
Steph Grose
Outreach Coordinator

I have both personal and professional experience with disability, and I have recently completed my BA in Psychology and Sociology. I am passionate about disability justice and believe it is important that we all work to create an inclusive society.

Zara Williams
National Office
Zara Williams
Accountant
National Office
Zara Williams
Accountant

I recently joined Autism New Zealand in June 2019. I have a Bachelor of Accounting and am originally from Papua New Guinea. I am excited to be part of this organisation and I am eager to become more engaged in the community.

Janine Parsons-Eade
Bay of Plenty
Janine Parsons-Eade
Outreach Coordinator
Bay of Plenty
Janine Parsons-Eade
Outreach Coordinator

I joined Autism NZ in 2019 and look forward to meeting and working with individuals, families and organisations to support them in their present and future journeys. My 12-year old son is diagnosed with autism and I used to be an early childhood educator.

Esther Bolingford
Hawkes Bay
Esther Bolingford
Outreach Coordinator
Hawkes Bay
Esther Bolingford
Outreach Coordinator

I have 15 years’ experience in the disability sector, working with adults with ASD. Throughout this work I have been able to build up a range of networks with other service providers and health professionals to provide the best outcomes for my clients

Bridget Carter
Christchurch
Bridget Carter
National Educator
Christchurch
Bridget Carter
National Educator

I have 2 boys on the Autism spectrum.
I have over 15 years’ experience in early childhood, inclusion research and training as well parent to parent advocacy training.
I have completed many training courses for Autism, PECS, Makaton and sensory profiles.

Bronwyn Barnett
Auckland
Bronwyn Barnett
Employment Support Facilitator
Auckland
Bronwyn Barnett
Employment Support Facilitator

I have been an Employment Facilitator for 11.5 years and began working with Autism NZ in June. This is a role I love and although challenging at times it is very heartening to see the faces of people, I am working, with getting a ‘yes’ from an employer.