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
Grad. Dip. Not For Profit Mgnt,
Certs Certs SW, Early Childhood Care, Cmty Psych Care, Counselling

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.

Catherine Gallagher
Clinical Practice Manager
ACC accredited

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
Social Worker
ACC accredited

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
BA (Hons)
ACC Accredited

Mike is an ACC Registered counsellor and Social worker. He commenced his role at START early in 2016 and works with older children, youth and adults of any gender. Mike has worked with children, young people and adults since 1994, in England, Australia and New Zealand. Within the last 10 years, in both Australia and New Zealand, he has worked with those affected by family violence, those who have displayed harmful sexual behaviours and those who are surviving the effects of sexual violence. He has also provided therapeutic and case management services to survivors and their families involved in the work of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mike has a particular passion for working alongside men, where they are better able to survive the complex relational trauma and shame that often stems from abuse and participate more fully within their lives and relationships.

He is committed to working with authenticity, demonstrating inclusivity, where those affected by trauma can experience the reparative nature of the therapeutic relationship.

Kathryn MacKenzie
Reg. Psychotherapist
ACC Accredited

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
Cert Somatic Psychotherapy
BA Fine Arts, BSc Psychology
ACC accredited

Lucy has a Psychology and Fine Arts degree, a 3 year certificate of Somatic Psychotherapy and she is currently in her 5th year of training in Psychodrama. Lucy has worked with children and adolescents for 20 years as a carer, leader, social worker and therapist, both overseas and in New Zealand.

Lucy’s Psychodrama and Art training brings a creative and action methodology to her work. From her Somatic Psychotherapy she has a sound understanding of the effects of trauma and ways that we can heal from trauma. With this in mind Mindfulness and Embodiment are corner stones of her practice. She is passionate about being alongside clients during their healing journey. Providing an open, nonjudgmental space for children, adolescents and adults of all gender and identities to thrive.

Lily Nabi
BA (Hons) Psychology

Lily has a BA Honours in Psychology and is currently working towards her Masters in Counselling. She is trained as a Solution Focused counsellor. Lily has four years’ experience in counselling and has worked with survivors of family violence and in a high school. Lily commenced working at START in 2018 and sees children, youth and adults of all genders.

Lily values individual experiences believing there are no “one size fits all” approaches to life and aims to empower clients to overcome personal challenges and heal at their own pace. Lily provides a non-judgemental and genuine space for clients to explore their needs. .

Lisa Phelan
M (Ed) Certificate in Counselling,
BSc (Hons) Psychology
ACC Accredited

Lisa joined the START team early in 2016 as one of the therapists and works in a part- time capacity with adolescents and adults of all genders. Her experience has been in a number of settings with adolescents, adults and couples. Lisa also works as a Sex Therapist which is one of her passions and areas of speciality. Prior to this she worked at Relationship Aotearoa for a number of years.

Lisa is passionate about the healing process and being with people as they journey to recovery and living a full life. Her approach is a strengths based one informed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Attachment theory.

Hope Pugh
Counsellor and Psychotherapist
MSc. Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy;
Post Grad Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling;
Graduate Certificate in Counselling;
BSc (Hons) Sociology and Cultural Studies

Hope joined START’s team in mid-November 2017 after arriving into New Zealand from the UK in October. In the UK she ran a private practice and worked as a psychotherapist for an Occupational Health Company dealing with a range of issues however she predominately focused on work with trauma and PTSD in this role.

In her previous positions she was responsible for undertaking clinical mental health assessments, to produce clinical reports and to conduct a range if appropriate therapeutic interventions, creating and implementing therapy plans. She has worked closely with a range of multidisciplinary teams and a range of psychological issues.

Hope’s Psychotherapy training was primarily in Person-Centred Therapy, however she has since gone on to be able to provide CBT, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and Trauma focused therapeutic practice.
Hope works with children, youth and adults of all genders.

Mareile Stoppel
ACC Accredited

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.

Wendy Anderson
First Aid Certificate
Certificate in Not-for-Profit Administration And Management

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.