Parent Help is a Wellington based charity (CC10475) that has been offering services to families since 1989. We provide help with all parenting issues from the smallest to the most serious issue of child abuse. At the heart of Parent Help are the people who work, volunteer and support the organisation.
Our Helpline is staffed by skilled and committed volunteers who offer their time, experience and knowledge to respond to the myriad of issues which parents are facing in today’s environment.
The Helpline would not be possible without their generous commitment to supporting families throughout New Zealand.
The day-to-day management of Parent Help is undertaken by an amazing team dedicated to the well-being of children and families:
Dale Powles, Executive Director
Patricia Stratton, Course and Office Coordinator
Trine Commisso, Communications Consultant
Alison Smith, Finance Officer
Preet Kaur, Helpline Staff
Dee Henry, Helpline Staff
Stephanie Ireland, Helpline Staff
Mary Brownlow, Art Therapist, Counsellor
Pam Cassells, Counsellor
Heather Stevenson, Counsellor
Current board members are:
Gael Woods (Chair)
Gael became the Board Chair in 2020. Her professional background is in journalism and communications. She is currently the National Communications Manager for Playcentre Aotearoa.
Gael’s first story as a beginning journalist 40 years ago was, co-incidentally, about Playcentre, and over the following 40 years, education has exercised a strong gravitational pull on her career. As well as being the education reporter on Wellington’s Evening Post in the early 1990s, she was the education correspondent at Radio New Zealand for 12 years from 1997 to 2010. She has also written about education and parenting issues for a wide range of publications.
As a columist for the Listener in the early 1990s, she wrote a column about the politics of motherhood and in 1993 wrote a book, “Just a Mother”. She has also written a sports book “The Big Black Book of Netball”, and in 2017 a children’s book, “The Bellbird Sang”.
In 2018, Gael moved into Communications and her most recent role – continuing the education theme – has been as Communications Specialist at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.
Gael is married to Joseph Romanos, whom she met while studying journalism at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey University). They have four adult children and four grandaughters, aged from one to three.
Director, Voice Arts Trust
Nicola Pauling is an experienced group facilitator and the Artistic Director of Voice Arts (www.voice-arts.org.nz). She leads the development and delivery of projects that use participatory performance art to engage those who are marginalized, isolated or without a strong voice; projects that support people to tell their own stories in their own voice; projects that support social justice, wellbeing, personal and community development.
Nicola parents two children and is Chair of their school board and in her spare time performs regularly with the improvisation company Best on Tap.
Chair, The Treasure our Young Foundation
Doug was born in Gisborne growing up in Napier and Wellington, moved to Auckland in 1960 at the age of 15. Educated at Rongatai College and Mt Albert Grammar.
He moved to Hong Kong where he lived with his family for 13 years. On returning to New Zealand he started Air Affairs NZ Ltd in 1984 to service the New Zealand Defence Force..
Doug is well known across the New Zealand business community, and the defence industry in particular. He is a past Chairman of the Defence Industry Committee of New Zealand, and is one of a select few to be appointed an Honorary Captain by the RNZN in recognition of his tireless efforts to meet their requirements and his customer focus.
He is a trustee of the Toy Foundation and other affiliations include being Senior Member of the New Zealand Electronics Institute and a Member of the Institute of Directors.
Doug is married to Raewyn, resides in Auckland, they have two daughters, two granddaughters and two grandsons.
Prithul Samara Fischer
Recruitment Consultant, Execucare
Samara joined the Parent Help Board in December 2017 and currently work as a Recruitment Consultant for Execucare, New Zealand’s only recruitment agency dedicated to the not for profit sector.
Originally from Australia, Samara has extensive work experience across the not for profit and government sectors in Indigenous Affairs, education, and gender equality.
She has a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and a Master of International Law from the Australian National University.