The entire START team is committed to quality service provision for victims of sexual crime under the following guiding principles:

  • We believe that people have the right to be safe.
  • We believe that victims have the ability to heal from sexual abuse.
  • We believe that the abuser is always responsible for the abuse.
  • We recognize that non-abused family members can also suffer as a result of sexual abuse and often benefit from support.
  • We believe that the clinician’s task is to facilitate the healing process by showing clients unconditional positive regard, respect and empathy.
  • We believe that well developed professional skills are important.


Maggy Tai Rākena
Registered Social Worker; MANZASW; Grad. Dip. NFP Management; Cert NGO Leadership; Cert Social Work (dist); NZ Child Care Cert; Cert. Com Psyc Care; National Executive member of both SSPA & TOAH-NNEST Tauiwi Caucus.

Maggy’s early work background & training was in early childhood education in the areas of daycare, crèche & kohanga reo for over 20 years. She has completed a Certificate in Social Work, a Certificate of Proficiency in NGO Leadership & other Management papers at Canterbury University, a Certificate in Community Psychiatric Care through the University of Otago, & a Graduate Diploma in Not For Profit Management through Unitec.

Maggy has been the Manager at START since 1994 and it is her role to oversee the effective day to day operations of the agency. Maggy is the immediate past chair of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, is on the Tauiwi Caucus of TOAH NNEST, was the chair of her local community centre and served on two school’s Board of Trustees from 1989 until 2004.


Wendy Anderson
First Aid Cert.

Wendy joined START in September 2010. Her role includes all administration duties for START including payroll, financial administration, annual fundraising, some policy development and full administrative support for management and clinical staff. Additionally Wendy undertakes the administration tasks necessary to facilitate referral to START’s services.

Wendy previously worked as a residential social worker and foster parent and worked for a number of years in administration. She also worked for five years in the area of providing equipment for rehabilitation, hospital and rest homes. Wendy has been actively working on several Trusts in the area of finance.

Clinical Practice Manager:

Catherine Gallagher
MA (Hons): Dip.Clin.Psyc.; MNZCCP; ACC Accredited (Sensitive Claims)

Catherine is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked extensively with adults and in the child and family area in both the public and private sectors.

Catherine’s role at START is primarily to support staff in their work with clients, and to work alongside the team to ensure that the children, adults and families we see, receive interventions that are effective, safe, and respectful. Catherine also completes the majority of ACC assessments that are required by our clients. Alongside other staff, she is also involved in providing community education around issues relating to sexual violence, and building and consolidating key relationships both locally and nationally. This includes representation on the Sensitive Claims Advisory Group for ACC.

Catherine joined START in February 2009.


The Clinician's role at START is to provide information, counselling and support to both individuals and families.  They are able to give consultation sessions with people who find that they have concerns about their children, taking on an information and referral role.  This role also involves providing training in START Workshops.

Jo Bader
Nat.Dip.Soc.Services – Social Work, ANZASW (provisional)

Jo has worked for 14 years in the area of social work, working alongside young people, young parents and families, as well as coordinating and facilitating groupwork. Jo has undertaken training in Interactive Drawing Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Family Partnership, Child Advocacy, and Non-Government leadership. Jo’s values are those of social justice, a desire to protect and equip and to support others to grow in knowledge, understanding and skills for life.

Jo has been with START since March 2015 supporting clients and their whānau on their therapeutic journey.

Mike Jillings

Bianca Kringas
Masters Social Work (Q); Post Grad. Counselling & Social Health; B. Counselling & Human Change. Dip. Professional Counselling. Registered Social Worker, ACC accredited (Sensitive Claims)

Bianca moved from Sydney to New Zealand on joining START’s staff in April 2015. Before moving to NZ, Bianca worked for a number of years as a sexual assault counsellor in Sydney.

Bianca comes with vast experience and training in regards to trauma and inter-personal violence, namely child, adolescent and adult Sexual Assault as well as Family Violence. Bianca’s practice has involved individual, family and group work. Bianca has worked as a trauma informed counsellor both for organisations and in private practice.

Bianca has had the fortune to experience working with a wide community of varying cultural backgrounds, including Maori, Pasifika and Indigenous Australians.

Kathryn MacKenzie

Kathryn worked from 1992 as a counsellor then psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice in Christchurch, including providing psychotherapy to inmates at Christchurch Women’s Prison as an ACC Sensitive Claims Treatment provider. In 2007 she closed her practice and went walkabout, spending time in many places including her native UK, before returning to Aotearoa in 2014 to work in North Canterbury as a Family Counsellor. She especially values creativity and the unique nature of every individual and healing path.

Kathryn joined the START team in 2016 and has a part-time practice in Christchurch.

Lucy Matthews

Lisa Phelan

Mareile Stoppel
ACC accredited (Sensitive Claims), MA Biol, Dip Tchg, MEd Counselling, NZAC

Mareile has been a contractor for START since 2011 and loves being part of this team. Mareile has been living in New Zealand since 1986 and originally came from Germany. Her educational background is varied: starting with a Masters in Biology and a Diploma of Teaching and leading to a second Masters in Education and Counselling.
Mareile graduated in Solution Focused Therapy and later also trained in Narrative Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy and Art Therapy. She is presently adding to this 3 year’s of training in Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy.
Mareile is ACC registered and a full member of NZAC.

Mareile worked as a counsellor at the Home and Family Society in Christchurch and as a private practitioner with the Christchurch Women’s Centre and the Monarch Centre. She is also a supervisor and has supported many counsellors over the years. Mareile has a long background as a high school teacher and school counsellor at the Christchurch Rudolf Steiner School, where she still works part time.

She takes an eclectic and very creative approach to counselling and has a rich experience in working with people of all ages and walks of life, supporting them to overcome challenges.

Marcel van der Weerden
Dip. Counselling; MNZAC; ACC Accredited (Sensitive Claims); Dip. Teaching; Provisional Member of AANZPA (Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand Psychodrama Association)

Marcel joined START in 2012. Prior to that, he worked at Stopping Violence Services, and before that at Family Works, Presbyterian Support, as a Family Counsellor for 8 years. He has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in various therapeutic settings.

Marcel is a senior trainee with the CITP, Christchurch Institute for Training in Psychodrama.