Meet the Team

Empowering the autistic and autism communities through services and support, education and information

  • All Teams
  • National Office
  • Communications/Research Team
  • Outreach Team
  • Diagnosis Team
  • Education Team
  • Employment Team
  • Early Steps Team

National Office


Dane Dougan

Chief Executive
Dane has been the Autism New Zealand Chief Executive since 2013. Dane has an undergraduate in Accounting and Commercial Law and Masters in Management Studies. Dane considers it as a privilege to work for such an amazing organisation and the community we seek to serve in his role.

Amanda August

National Business Manager
Amanda is a Chartered Accountant and has worked at Autism NZ since 2017, managing and supporting the internal functions of the team including finance and HR. Amanda enjoys being part of a team that makes a difference in the community.

Julie Fulbrook

Julie joined Autism New Zealand in January 2020, and is responsible for the processing of National Office and branch financial accounts. Julie has worked in various not-for-profit organisations for over 14 years.

Bailey Trower

Information and Support Coordinator
Bailey joined Autism NZ in the second half of 2023, after completing his BA in Education and Psychology. After years of caring for an Autistic family member, Bailey is excited to be working for an organisation that supports such an amazing community

Trudy Pilbrow

Business Support Manager
Trudy is new to the team, and a bio will be up shortly

Kirsti Whalen-Stickley

Communications Manager
Kirsti has a background in disability support and has worked at Autism NZ since 2016, both with the community and in the National Office team. She is passionate about making the needs of the community known, and creating change through information.

Larah van der Meer

Research and Advocacy Manager
Larah has a PhD specialising in autism. Her role includes implementing, evaluating and recommending research to advocate for the autism community.

Karen Lonergan

National Outreach Manager
Tamatekapua te tupuna Te Arawa te waka Te Arawa/Ngati Tuwharetoa nga iwi. Karen has worked across the country, serving a variety of organisations within the disability sector over the last 34 years. Karen has been with Autism New Zealand since 2010.
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Michelle Stevens

Service Lead and Speech Language Therapist
Michelle is a Speech-Language Therapist who focussed her PhD on alternative communication in autistic children. She has previously worked in behaviour support, feeding, and diagnostics. Michelle is an advocate for neuro-affirming practise within the health and education sector.

Trishil Dahya

Communications Advisor
Trishil joined Autism New Zealand in late 2022, and has a degree in Communications. Trishil is autistic, and through his lived experience, is passionate about sharing information about the community, for the community and beyond
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Kate Garland

Educational Psychologist
Kate joined the Autism NZ Diagnostic Service in 2023. Kate describes her psychologist role as like being a detective, gathering and pulling together different pieces of information. She especially enjoys working with neurodivergent people and their whānau to support their wellbeing, and access to health and education.

Hanna Randall

Hanna has worked as a specialist teacher for ORS students, a behaviour specialist for Explore, and an Autism Specialist for 20 years. Hanna works to support Maori and Pasifika whanau throughout their diagnosis journey with the team, making the process as comfortable as possible. He manaakitanga me whanaungatanga ki te mahi. Hanna is contracting to Autism NZ.

Outreach Team


Joelle Walker

Autism Connect Outreach Coordinator
Joelle has a background in Education and Disability Support. Since beginning her time at Autism New Zealand in 2014 as the Waikato Holiday Programme Coordinator, Joelle has moved into roles such as a Regional Outreach Coordinator, and is currently the Autism Connect Outreach Coordinator. She is passionate about her role and providing opportunities for connection.
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Sarah Davies

Outreach Coordinator - Canterbury
Sarah joined Autism NZ in 2022 and is an autistic individual, and parent of neurodivergent children. With prior experience supporting Autistic teens and late-diagnosed adults, she finds immense fulfilment in giving back to the autistic community, offering vital support to individuals and families on their autism journey.
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Danielle Robb

Outreach Coordinator - Canterbury
Danielle has lived in the Canterbury/West Coast region for her whole life. Alongside working with Autism New Zealand, She is a primary school teacher aide supporting children with variety of different needs. Danielle has experience in the mental health and non-profit sectors, and is passionate about supporting the autistic community.

Nicole West

Outreach Coordinator - Gisborne
Nicole grew up in Gisborne and is the mother of three teenage sons, the eldest of which is autistic. She has two-part time positions: Outreach Coordinator for Autism New Zealand and Coordinator for Growing Through Grief Eastland. Nicole loves gardening and yoga.

Kathryn Scott

Outreach Coordinator - Hawkes Bay
Kathryn was born and raised in Hawkes Bay, and is now raising her own family there. Kathryn has been working, and studying, in the education sector, earning a Graduate Diploma in Educational Psychology. Kathryn is excited by working with individuals, families, and organisations within the autism community.
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Rebecca Chilton

Outreach Coordinator - Manuwatu/Whanganui
Rebecca is passionate about empowering people through support and information, having enjoyed roles in education, libraries, and community organisations. She loves learning about neurodiversity and particularly autism, which is also part of her parenting journey.

Felicity Marr

Outreach Coordinator - Nelson/Marlborough
Felicity is passionate about education around Autism as a mother of neurodivergent children (Autism and ADHD), and believes education creates awareness and acceptance. Felicity is here to guide and support individuals of any age, whanau, Kaiako and the wider community, including employers, in the beautiful Nelson, Marlborough region.

Alice Hawker

Outreach Coordinator - Otago
Alice started with Autism NZ in 2023, bringing a background in children's counselling with her. Alice has a passion for mental health and is looking forward to using the networks already set up to support the Autism community in the Otago area. Alice still works as a children's counsellor in a part time capacity.

Janine Parsons-Eade

Outreach Coordinator
Janine has worked for Autism NZ since 2019. She has a background of personal and professional experience and is passionate about supporting individuals, whanau and organisations in the community.
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Julianne Andrews

Outreach Coordinator - Southland
Julianne has lived experience with autism and a background in Education. She has worked at Autism NZ since January 2024. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Equity and Inclusion) and is passionate about ensuring the autistic community is understood, accepted and valued.
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Ashleigh Tippett

Outreach Co-Ordinator - Taranaki
Kia Ora e hoa – Ko Ashleigh toku ingoa. Ashleigh jumped at the opportunity to join the Autism New Zealand team in 2023, with a passion for supporting the Autism community. She has lived experience, being diagnosed later in life, and having two Autistic children; so, her whanau celebrates neurodivergence on the daily. Ashleigh would love to support you and your whanau however she can – Get in touch!

Samantha Mayall

Outreach and LEGO Coordinator - Waikato
Samatha has been working for Autism NZ since the start of 2016 as LEGO Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator in the Waikato region. Before this, Samantha volunteered in our LEGO Groups.

Dayna Morris

Outreach Coordinator - Wairarapa/Wellington
Dayna started at Autism New Zealand in July 2022. Dayna looks forward to meeting new families, individuals, and organisation’s to support them on their autistic journey. Her 20 years of experience as a Hairdresser has taught her about building relationships, and having a good listening ear. Dayna has two daughters, the eldest of whom is autistic.

Jennifer Loughnan

Outreach Coordinator/Intern Psychologist - Wellington
Jen has a Masters in Psychology and is currently completing her registration as a psychologist, working in the outreach and diagnostic teams in 2024. Jen is passionate about learning about neurodiversity and supporting whānau to thrive.
Bronwyn Barnett

Bronwyn Barnett

Employment Support Faciliator - Auckland
Bronwyn have been an Employment Facilitator for 15 years and began working with Autism NZ in 2019. This is a role that she loves and although challenging at times, she finds it very heartening to see the faces of people she it working with getting a ‘yes’ from an employer.

Denise Hughes

Transition Support Facilitator - Auckland
Denise had worked in education for 16 years prior to joining Autism New Zealand, and has family members who are neurodiverse. Denise is responsible for Transition Services in Schools and the Employment Services in Schools pilot programmes in Auckland.

Education Team


Leonie Fraser

National Education Manager
Leonie has a background in Youth and Adult Education, New Course Development and Project Management. Leonie enjoys working with our dedicated education team to understand and meet the needs of our wonderful Autistic community. Leonie views her contribution towards the wider understanding of Autism within society as a privilege.

Kristi-Lea Cliff

Education Coordinator
Kristi has worked with vulnerable Tamariki and their Whanau for the past 18 years as a Nanny and ECE teacher, and comes from a neurodiverse household. She works alongside our wonderful educators ensuring that all resources, and education programmes runs as smoothly as possible. Kristi is also a mum to one energetic little human.

Jane Howley

National Educator
Jane has been working for Autism NZ since January 2024. She has lived experience of Autism through her sister, and is a fully registered teacher, teaching across NZ and the UK for the last 30 years. In recent years, Jane has worked as an Ongoing Resource Teacher specialising in Autism, developing a passion for educating, supporting, and advocating for our Autistic community and their families.

Tanya Blakey

National Educator
Tanya has two teenage daughters, one of whom is Autistic. Tanya has been jointly involved developing the education programmes and enjoys travelling the country presenting them with unique lived experience and humour since 2011.
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Jo Charman

National Educator
Jo joined Autism NZ in 2011 and is passionate about coaching/promoting the value of quality interpersonal engagement for Autistic children and learning through joyous play via a strength based approach. Jo is a mother of 2, one of whom is Autistic. Jo is a trained facilitator, presenter, and content contributor for Autism NZ’s suite of programmes.

Jo Sutton

National Educator
Jo has always worked with kids & families as a youth leader, counsellor, coach and in recent years with Scouts NZ. She is mum to three children, one of whom is autistic. Jo is passionate about supporting autistic tamariki and their whanau to live their best lives.
Jenny Woodfield

Jenny Woodfield

National Educator
Before joining Autism New Zealand in 2017, Jenny was SENCO at a primary school working children with Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding. Her passion for sharing her knowledge of autism, both from a teaching perspective and through parenting, enables her to understand and motivate those living with autism as well as the people who support them.

Josie Glamuzina

National Educator
Josie has a background of teaching and values the importance of sharing her knowledge with others; her aim is to proactively work with professionals to ensure a consistent, meaningful and supportive approach. Josie is passionate and thrives on being part of a team who educates, empowers and supports the autistic community.

Moira Chisholm

Contracted Educator
Moira is a fully registered teacher with over 40 years teaching in NZ primary schools. As well as a full-time classroom teacher, she was a DP and SENCO. Throughout her career, Moira have developed a passion for student well-being. Moira is contracting to Autism NZ

Penny Warren

National Educator
Penny is a fully registered teacher, and has taught in Kindergarten classes for over 14 years. She joined Autism New Zealand in early 2023. Penny is passionate about advocating for Autistic Tamariki in ECE and Schools around Aotearoa using her professional knowledge, and her lived experience, to support those living within our Autistic community.

Early Steps Team


Thecla Moffat

Early Intervention Manager
Ko Nyamarombe tōku maunga, Ko Mwarazi tōku awa, Ko Karanga/Manyika tōku iwi. Thecla has worked as an early years educator for 20 years and delivered the Bachelor of Education (ECE) for a further four years. She has worked in early intervention since 2015.

Victoria King

Education Support Worker
Victoria is new to the team, and a bio will be up shortly

Romy Effing

Education Support Worker
Romy is new to the team, and a bio will be up shortly

Rosie Henderson

Education Support Worker
Rosie is new to the team, and a bio will be up shortly

Neil Stuart

Early Intervention Educator
Neil has over 20 years experience working with autistic children. Neil has worked at Autism New Zealand since 2011 developing a large number of education and training programmes.

Bronwyn Allison

Speech Language Therapist
Bronwyn graduated from Massey University in 2013, as a speech and language therapist. She has also volunteered in ECE for many years, and is now working in early intervention with the EarlySteps team. Bronwyn is passionate about offering neurodivergent affirming early intervention to the community and whānau she works alongside.
Frian Wadia

Frian Wadia

Early Intervention Specialist
Frian is an Early Intervention Specialist and mum to 3 boys who are autistic and disabled. She was an ECE teacher for over 15 years, & is a passionate advocate for inclusive education, disabled children’s rights, creating systemic change across the education sector, & empowering whānau.

Makiyo Inoue

Early Intervention Coordinator
Makiyo has both an administration and special school teaching background in Japan. She enjoys working with our amazing Early Intervention specialists to help support and care for our registered families. Away from work, she loves cats and gardening.

Maria Sanchez

Parent Coach
Maria started working for Autism New Zealand in 2021. Maria likes to support families and individuals, with their journeys. Maria has personal experience with her son being Autistic. Maria provides support in both Spanish and English.

Sara-May Mallett

Parent Coach
Sara-May is the parent voice of our Let’s Play programme, and is hugely passionate about helping parents understand and connect with their tamariki. Sara-May has lived experience as she has an autistic son.
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Heather Hall

Let's Play Coordinator
Heather joined Autism New Zealand as a Let's Play Coordinator in June 2022. Using her administrative background, Heather enjoys supporting the dedicated Let’s Play team, and loves hearing about the positive changes in the lives of their families. Heather has two children with Autism; a daughter, and a son, both in their 20’s.

Register for Autism Connect

Autism Connect

Autism Connect Service.

Autism Connect App

The Autism Connect app is a video chat tool for connecting our community together. Created for autistic people and those who make up their support network – so that they can connect, share learnings and journey together.

For the safety of our Autism NZ users and online community, we require every user to be verified using photo identification. Our team may contact you via email and/or phone as part of the verification process, prior to issuing you a username and password to use the Autism Dashboard and requested services.

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Privacy Policy

This privacy policy explains which information Autism NZ collects on, what we do with it and your rights to correct or change it.

Personal information
We only collect personal information if you choose to give it to us. If you submit a registration form or make a financial donation you provide us with personal contact information so we can connect with you to make further arrangements. All information provided will be held in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020.

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Your right to access information
The New Zealand Privacy Act of 2020 gives you the right to access and correct, update or delete any personal information that we hold about you. Contact us with your request.

Hit 'register' below and one of our team will verify your details and be in contact once your service request is approved.