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Our People

Our compassionate, caring and skilled staff provide specialised support to you, your whānau and your communities to move from surviving to thriving. 


We believe you and we are here to listen.

Chief Executive

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Sue Wood

Sue joins us from a large retirement village in Lower Hutt where she was the Manager to 120 staff. She is passionate about providing support to a wide range of people within the Wellington community and has over 25 years’ experience as a nurse. She spent 10 of those years working in mental health, as well as supporting young women suffering from anorexia and bulimia.


More recently, Sue has worked in management at IHC/Idea Services, advocating for people with intellectual disabilities. She also volunteered for 15 years as a counsellor in the community.


She is married with 4 adult children and grandchildren and lives in the Hutt Valley. 

Board Members

Sara Passmore: Board Chair

Sara has 15+ year's experience in project and programme management and 10+ year's experience in Senior Management in the charity and NFP sector.

In 2018 she completed a Masters of Business Administration from Victoria University of Wellington. Her research area focused on how to support Māori to maintain their legal connection to the whenua across generations. Sara also has a Bachelor’s of Education and a Bachelor’s of English Literature.

Sara is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and member of the Community Governance Steering Group.

Sara's current governance roles include treasurer of Humanists NZ, board member for Wellington Women’s House, the Guild of Agriculture Journalists and Communicators, and vice-president of the Rationalist and Humanist Association of New Zealand.

Photo of Sara Passmore, Board Member
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Kathy Mansell: Board Member

Kathy has been a public servant for just over 40 years working in a variety of areas including housing, primary industries and vulnerable children.


Kathy is currently a Deputy Chief Executive at Land Information New Zealand where she leads the Property Rights Group who are responsible for processing all property transactions in New Zealand.


Kathy has tribal affiliation to Tuhoe. Kathy is a former client of Help and has a strong desire as a Board Member to be a part of realising the organisations mission.

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Sarah Appleton: Board Member

Sarah is a Partner at Synergia with over 20 years of research and evaluation
experiences across the health, social, disability and education sectors. Sarah is
committed to using evaluation to bring about change and social betterment for
communities and whānau. Sarah also values the role that evaluation can play in
building the evaluative capability of organisations and communities through the
delivery of an evaluation, equipping people to drive their own evaluation. Sarah’s
approach to evaluation is informed by her previous experience as a Lecturer in
evaluation at the University of Auckland, as well as her roles with District Health
Boards here in Aotearoa, and her work with the Prison Service and local council in
the UK.
In terms of governance experience, Sarah was co-convenor of the Aotearoa New
Zealand Evaluation Association Board for a year, and supported the Board for three
years. She is also on the board for Synergia. Sarah is looking forward to supporting
HELP Wellington, its team and kaupapa.   
Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and escaping for long walks with her
Labrador Teddy as often as possible!

Rachel Craig: Board Member

Rachel is a passionate change professional whose change career spans local government, central government and the private sector. An early career in learning and development and business improvement arms Rachel with a variety of skills that she is humbled and honoured to use to support HELP in our efforts to support survivors of sexual violence. She is currently a change consultant in central government, supporting organisations to transform their ways of working to better achieve the outcomes they seek.


Her family are avid volunteers with herself having been an active volunteer across a number of charities and NGOs for the past 20+years. She is a recent member of the Wellington community and is enjoying getting to explore the beauty of Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

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Nicholas Pritchard: Board Member

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Nick has been working as a Police officer for over 23 years. He began his career in Christchurch and relocated to Wellington in 2012 where he is currently the Manager of the Wellington Adult Sexual Assault Team. This team covers Wellington, the Kāpiti Coast and Wairarapa. 

Nick is passionate about providing quality service delivery to victims of sexual abuse and forging strong working partnerships with stakeholders and service providers. 

In his current role, Nick oversees 26 different partnerships between Police and external stakeholders, including Wellington HELP. 

Nick has been married for 21 years and has two daughters aged 14 and 17.


Caroline Ash-Rees: Board Member

Caroline brings experience working in both the Public and Private Sector to the HELP Board. She currently works in a strategic change programme based at Ara Poutama Aotearoa, working across the justice and social sectors, with the judiciary and iwi partners. An engagement specialist, she has been involved in a number of strategic change programmes across the public and private sector in the health, housing, social and justice sectors. Caroline also brings experience in internal audit and governance, risk and compliance.

Caroline hail's from Aotearoa, and has spent 15 years living overseas. She has whakapapa connections to Ngā Ruahinerangi and Taranaki Iwi and is deeply passionate about bringing her māoritanga to her personal and professional life. With a keen focus on working to create meaningful impact, Caroline believes in leading with empathy, ingenuity and a human centered kaupapa. Caroline is deeply passionate about supporting survivors of sexual abuse and realising our organisations mission. 

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