Family Works Central

Making Aotearoa New Zealand
the best place to raise children
in flourishing families

Meet the team

Family Works is the family-focused social services agency arm of Presbyterian Support Central.

The Family Works Central team is passionate about creating a New Zealand that is, truly, the best place in the world to raise children. Each and every one of the Family Works, and wider Presbyterian Support Central team, truly cares about children, families and communities. This is at the heart of everything we do.

Meet some of our team and learn about why we love the work we do.

Introducing Chris Graham
Chief Executive, Presbyterian Support Central
Chris Graham, CEO
Chris Graham has been Chief Executive of Presbyterian Support Central since 2009. Chris started his working life as a lawyer, before moving into the commercial world working for public and multinational companies particularly in the energy sector.

Chris is committed to continuing Presbyterian Support Central’s proud history of caring for and supporting children, young people, adults, older people and families in need.

Introducing Julia Hennessy
General Manager, Family Works Central
Julia Hennessy, Family Works GMJulia is the General Manager of Family Works Central. She’s been a practicing social worker and senior manager in the area of children and families for more than 20 years. During this time she has spoken to audiences and led training world-wide, as well as contributing to a number of printed resources.

An experienced leader, Julia has led projects in both the UK and New Zealand. This includes the introduction of Family Group Conference and Restorative Justice practices into mainstream service delivery in the UK. She was nominated for the UK Public Servant of the Year award for this work.

Julia is one of two New Zealand representatives on the board of Restorative Practices International (RPI), and is the current Deputy Chair of the organisation, elected in December 2015. Julia is also an elected executive member for the Wellington Community Network and an elected Board member on the Cannon’s Creek Opportunity Centre, a community centre in east Porirua.

She has previously been the Chair, and Deputy Chair of Restorative Justice Aotearoa (RJA), the national association for restorative practices in New Zealand. She resigned from the RJA Board in August 2015.

Introducing Megan Jackson
Taranaki Regional Manager
Megan Jackson, Regional Manager Taranaki
Megan has managed Family Works Taranaki since April 2004. In her role she oversees service delivery across three sites in New Plymouth, Stratford and Hawera. She has many years’ experience working as a mental health social worker. She has worked in a therapeutic community for women with substance abuse problems and she has also held a specialist role in early intervention for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team, Taranaki District Health Board.

Megan has facilitated a range of therapeutic and educational groups, including groups for women suffering depression, parents, children and for clients suffering first-time mental illness.

Megan has a background in nursing, is a registered social worker and she is a qualified cognitive behaviour therapist. She holds a number of qualifications including a Masters in Social Work (Applied) (Hons).

Introducing Karen Southall
Practice Leader, Family Works Taranaki
Karen is the Practice Leader at Family Works in Taranaki. Her role includes coordination of counseling for clients and internal supervision to all the local Family Works counsellors. Karen is experienced in counseling children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.

She is also an experienced mediator for Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and has been a group facilitator for parenting, women’s issues, grief and she is an accredited programme provider for family violence programmes for the Ministry of Justice. Karen has a very good understanding of the local community in both Hawera and New Plymouth due to her previous work at HRC, Relationships Aotearoa and work in a voluntary capacity at Victim Support.

Karen holds a number of qualifications including a Post Graduate Certificate in Family and Couple Counseling, a Certificate in Counselling Theory, and a Te Kura a Tuhi Certificate in Maori Study.

Introducing Jim Berry
Regional Manager, Whanganui and Manawatu
Jim Berry FWJim joined Family Works in July 2016 as manager for the Whanganui and Manawatu regions.

Having worked with the Department of Corrections for almost 30 years, Jim has a passion for prevention and helping at-risk families.

Jim has a Diploma in counselling and he has completed training in management, conflict resolutions, communications, crisis management, health and safety, children’s issues (Child Matters) and incident management.

His career has been spent largely with the Department of Corrections where he started as a prison officer in Whanganui. He became a manager at Whanganui Prison and moved around New Zealand managing various prisons before becoming a prison inspector.

In-between his roles with the Department of Corrections Jim was a community services manager with Idea Services in Tauranga and has also worked in the social services sector in Australia.

Introducing Nici Nixon
Greater Wellington and Wairarapa Regional Manager
Nici has worked in Social Work for more than 20 years, with a focus on children and families. For the last 16 years she has held supervisory and management roles in both government and NGOs. She has a Master of Arts in Social Work and a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work.

Nici is passionate about family support and child safety, and in many of her roles has been involved in care and protection services. She has solid experience working with high-needs families and ensuring that quality services are delivered safely.

Nici and her family moved to New Zealand in 2011 – she has three teenage children that keep her busy. In her spare time Nici relaxes by walking the family dog and taking part in creative hobbies including painting and drawing.

Introducing Taiana Anderson
Programme Manager
Taiana is the Family Works Programme Manager for the Department of Correction’s Out of Gate, a community reintegration programme and, the Ministry of Social Development’s Social Workers in Schools.

Taiana has a bi-cultural degree in Social Work and has significant experience in supporting children, families and young people in the community. She is an experienced group facilitator and fully trained professional supervisor.

In her spare time Taiana enjoys volunteer work, particularly leadership within the Girls Brigade and other church-based programmes.

Introducing Kat Steeneken
Palmerston North Programme Coordinator

Kat Steeneken is the programme coordinator for Family Works Palmerston North, which provides a base for Family Works Out of Gate navigators and Family Dispute Resolution services.

Kat started working with Family Works in 2013 as a community navigator for the Out of Gate programme. She was finishing her Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Psychology at the time, and had her eyes set on becoming a Family Dispute Resolution mediator when the Family Court legislation changed as she had already been a mediator for 20 years.

When Family Works Palmerston North opened its doors in January 2015 Kat took on the responsibility of coordinating the site. She is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution mediator and says her mission is to help parents and caregivers come to win-win agreements around the care of their children.

Introducing Sharon Mills
Executive Assistant
Sharon is the Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Family Works Central – Julia Hennessy. She is a talented and super organised administrator with experience in both the not-for-profit and public sectors.

Sharon’s career highlights include a role with Parliament’s Visits and Ceremonial Office where she was part of a team that hosted international dignitaries including President of South Africa Nelson Mandela (1995), American President Bill Clinton (1999), and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair (2006).

Sharon lives in Wellington with her husband and two daughters.


Introducing Bjorn van Beusekom
Family Works Project Worker

Bjorn provides part time project and administrative support for Family Works services, including processing and collating evaluations of Family Works programmes, supporting Family Dispute Resolution and helping with other data aggregation and process tasks as needed.

Bjorn is completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology and German, as well as a bachelor in music. He says working for Family Works has given him an insight into the work Family Works does in the community, and he finds the work both interesting and different.

Introducing Alisha Kennedy
External Relations Manager

Alisha is the External Relations Manager for Presbyterian Support Central, including Family Works and Enliven services. Alisha is responsible for the organisation’s marketing, communications and fundraising.

Alisha’s background is in journalism, but she found her true passion in communications and marketing for organisations that make a real difference in people’s lives.

She’s held communications roles with a variety of organisations including the Wise Group, Cancer Society and Ministry of Social Development.