Governance & Staff

Governance

CHAIRPERSON - Dr. Susan Thompson - MA (History), BTheol (Theology), PhD (Theology)

Susan joined the Board of Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2013. Born in Christchurch, she trained as a Methodist minister in Auckland, was ordained in 1994 and has lived in Hamilton since 2002. She completed doctoral studies at the University of Auckland in 2002 and has a continuing interest in New Zealand history. Susan is an advocate for the acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people in church and society.  She is active in the Waikato Interfaith Council and has just started learning Te Reo Maori. She is currently working as Superintendent of the Waikato-Waiariki Methodist Synod.

TREASURER and DEPUTY CHAIR PERSON - Dave McEwen

Dave joined the Board in 1999 and serves as the Board Treasurer and Deputy Chairperson. Dave brings a wealth of experience from his background in the RNZAF and as an accountant in the private sector.


TRUSTEE - Brian Dobbs

Brian has been a Trustee since 2004. He has corporate and leadership experience in a number of industries and specialises in governance, finance, audit and risk analysis. He is Chairman of a number of Boards that govern medium to large companies and trusts, some of which are charitable. 

TRUSTEE - Cheryl Green - LLB

Cheryl has been a Trustee since 2013 and graduated from the University of Waikato in 1993 with a Law Degree (LLB) and is currently a Referee of the Disputes Tribunal in Hamilton.  She was previously the Director of Clinical Legal Education and Competitions at the University of Waikato. 

TRUSTEE - David Allan - LLB

David is a barrister, admitted to the bar in 1995 and has served as Trustee on the Board since 2017.  His legal areas of interest include criminal, mental health, intellectual disability, and parole.  David has a particular interest in improving the interview method of lawyers across the whole criminal justice system.

TRUSTEE - Patience Te Ao

Patience Te Ao came on board as the Tainui representative Trustee in December 2016. Patience is Chair and Board member of many community organisations.  Patience graduated from the Institute of Directors, residential directorship training programme.

TRUSTEE - Sue Lane - B.Sc (Chemistry), M.A. (History) JP

Sue has been a Trustee, then Board Chair since 2000 and has advocated tirelessly and passionately for Community Law Waikato’s cause.  In 2018 Sue retired as Board Chair and trustee leaving behind a legacy of compassion and determination. Her contribution has been invaluable. 

Employees

GENERAL MANAGER - Juanita Bennett - LLB/BMS

Juanita started her journey with Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a volunteer 2005. At that time she was completing her studies at the University of Waikato, graduating with a LLB/BMS in 2006. The Centre employed Juanita in 2007 as a solicitor, followed by her promotion as Manager in 2010. “I absolutely love my involvement with the Centre and it is a privilege to be part of the mission. I firmly believe that access to legal services should be available to all individuals as opposed to only being available to the sector of society who can afford it. What inspires me the most in my role is the endless generosity and humanity of those who work collectively to help others. The words of Nelson Mandela sums it up: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” 

LEGAL SERVICES MANAGER – Angela Smith - LLB

Angela has been working for Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, since 2008 and has experience in a variety of legal areas.  Angela enjoys the broad range of law on offer at Community Law Waikato and holds a particular interest in working with refugee clients and refugee reunification applications.  Angela finds the work very rewarding which has kept her here for over a decade.  “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make, one person (or starfish) at a time”. - Anon

SOLICITOR - Justin Young - LLB (Hons)

Alongside Justin’s law degree he has completed a Master’s degree in Philosophy. He has a particular interest in court work, employment and ACC law. He has worked diligently for Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, since 2012 in striving to achieve the best outcomes for his clients.

SOLICITOR - Sarah Fraser - LLB

Sarah joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a solicitor in 2017, having previously volunteered for the Centre as a caseworker and legal assistant. Sarah enjoys a variety of work, in particular immigration, health and disability, and ACC matters. Ultimately, Sarah is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to justice through a collaborative approach both within the team and externally. “Salus populi suprema lex esto" (the good/welfare of the people should be the supreme law) – Cicero, Roman Lawyer and Politician.

SOLICITOR - Caitlin Tucker - LLB (Hons)/BSocSC (on maternity leave)

Caitlin started with Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a volunteer caseworker and legal assistant in 2014, later moving into the roles of caseworker coordinator and then Solicitor. Caitlin is from Hamilton and graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Laws with first class Honour’s and Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Psychology in January 2017. Caitlin has a particular interest in immigration and employment related matters, however she does have experience and practices in all the areas of law that the Centre offers. She is community minded and passionate about the work that she does at the Centre. “We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

SOLICITOR - Christina Howe – LLB/BSocSci

Christina’s expertise and experience covers a wide range of areas from family, criminal, elder abuse, employment, and tenancy to immigration. She currently holds a LLB and BSocSci majoring in political sciences and economics from the University of Waikato. Christina has a deep understanding and a passion for working with the community. She is a board member for Single Parent Services and Hamilton Multicultural services Trust. Outside of work, Christina enjoys playing the piano, saxophone and the guitar. She also offers her time at the Waikeria Prison as a music teacher. “Don’t work for recognition but do work worthy of recognition” - H Jackson Brown

SOLICITOR - Tanya Botha - LLB (Hons) 
Tanya started at Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a volunteer caseworker before becoming the Caseworker Coordinator while completing her studies at the University of Waikato. Tanya joined the team as a Solicitor in 2016 and left to work as Legal and Research Counsel for the Chief Coroner of New Zealand in 2017. In August 2018 Tanya re-joined our team to further her passion for justice and give a voice to those who are defenceless. “We meet no ordinary people in our lives” – C.S Lewis 

SOLICITOR - Angela Vanderwee - LLB (Hons)/MEd/Dip. TEFLA/BA

Ange started at Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a volunteer caseworker while studying law at the University of Waikato. After completing her degree she worked as a Judges’ Clerk in the Auckland High Court. In 2017 Ange joined the Disputes Resolution Team at Tompkins Wake and continued to work as a volunteer solicitor at the Centre. Ange has recently begun working full time at the Centre because she wants to practice law in a way that makes a real difference to the lives of people in need. Before practising law, Ange was a teacher and worked in Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.

SOLICITOR - Harriet Youn - LLB BCom
Harriet joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a solicitor in 2019. She started her career as a junior barrister in Auckland where she gained 7 years’ experience in a wide range of criminal litigation work.  She then practiced on her own account for a couple of years in Hamilton. Harriet studied law and economics at the University of Otago. 

ADVOCATE (Welfare and Housing) - Ben Hoffman

Ben joined our team at Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in August 2018. He has extensive practical experience and knowledge as an advocate gained from working for AAAP (Auckland Action Against Poverty) for many years. Ben currently resides in Auckland, and commutes each day to Hamilton. We will one day succeed in our mission to convince him that the mighty Waikato has a lot more to offer than Auckland.

ADMINISTRATOR - Karen Lockwood

Karen started at Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in December 2017 to cover a period of maternity leave. She is now in a permanent role as Administrator where she will be in charge of various functions such as accounts, payroll, and event coordination. Karen is originally from the UK and has 10 year’s work experience in London.  She recently returned to work after spending 15 years in South Africa raising her son. “If you can Dream it you can DO it!” - Walt Disney

COMMUNITY LIAISON - Billie Dell - BTchg

Billie is of Ngati Whakaue descent and moved to Hamilton 20 years ago from Auckland to study Education.  Billie joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2015, employed at that time as an administrator. She has recently transitioned to the Community Liaison role and is excited to take on a new challenge. Billie loves the opportunity to help people and be creative which is why she works at Community Law Waikato. ”Spend your energy on things that make a difference” - M Russell Ballard.

RECEPTIONIST – Janna Robertson

Janna joined the reception team in January 2019. Janna believes it is important to treat all clients with respect and maintain good communication.  Janna completed a law degree in 2006 and soon after, moved to Australia for 10 years. Now that Janna is back in NZ she is working towards completing her legal qualifications to become a practicing lawyer.  “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” - Jim Rohn

RECEPTIONIST/VOLUNTEER CO-ORDINATOR – Cate Dwyer

Cate joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2018.  She has many years’ experience on the ‘front line’ and has a strong focus toward customer service.  Cate enjoys interacting and engaging with people in the community.  She finds that everyone has a unique story to tell.  “It takes all kinds to make a world” – Don Brownrigg

RECEPTIONIST - Samantha Smith - BHumServ/DipBusStuds

Sam has been with Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, since 2015 and recently returned from maternity leave to work on projects and in the reception team. She enjoys providing quality customer care and completing administrative tasks.  Sam applies her training in Human Services and experience working in the mental health and welfare sector to all she does at the Centre. Sam has embraced her new role of ‘mum,’ having discovered the humbling, ever changing and fun journey of motherhood. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”.  C.S Lewis

RECEPTIONIST/CASEWORKER COORDINATOR - Michael Kilkelly

Michael joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2019. He is a Law student at Waikato University who believes the experience he is gaining at Community Law has not only contributed to his own professional development but also opened his eyes to the challenges and needs faced by vulnerable members of the community in a legal context. "The things that we love tell us what we are." – Thomas Aquinas


Whakatauki

Maa mua ka kite a muri; Maa muri ka ora a mua.

“Those who lead give sight to those who follow, those who follow give life to those who lead”