John Kavanagh


It has been an absolute privilege to  have been Manager at Catholic Family Support Services for the past four years now. I grew up in Hawera in South Taranaki, and my family also lived in Marton and Taihape. I was the oldest of fifteen children. I entered the Catholic seminary  on leaving school, and for two years studied toward the priesthood. However, I came to realise this was not for me, and instead ended up being a social worker.

I have had a very privileged career, spending around forty years working in the helping profession.  I have worked for around twenty years in a variety of social work and management positions at North Canterbury and Waikato Hospitals. I mainly worked in Mental health and Intellectual disability areas. I also worked in private practice for around fifteen years. I am married and have four adult children whom I am immensely proud of. I also now have five grandchildren.

Dianne LeBas

Team Leader Financial mentoring and budgeting service

Prior to coming to Hamilton in 2004,  I worked for 20 years for a Research Organisation in Rotorua and was Management Assistant to two high level Managers. Since my move to Hamilton  I was Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of a small manufacturing company. I have been working for Catholic Family Support services since November 2008. Since joining this organisation I have had diverse roles, starting as Receptionist/Personal Assistant and general administration duties. In 2009 I became a fully trained Budget Adviser and since then my role has progressed from Budget Coordinator to Team Leader Budget Services where I am coordinating the Building Financial Capability programme and supervising Financial Mentors. Our Contract with MSD enables us to reach people in the community who need guiding along their financial path to become financially secure. We talk to a number of community groups about financial management. My spare time is spent spending time with my partner and also I am Secretary of the Geyserland Cat Club, based in Rotorua, which uses my organising skills.

Sharon Roil

Senior Practitioner (Social work) Tauranga-Moana

Kia ora, my name is Sharon Roil.  I have a Bachelor of Social Work and became a registered social worker when I first worked for CFSS, from 2005-2008.

As well as social work, my previous work experience has been with Department of Corrections, in the Community Probation Service.  I have an interest in ‘global social work’ and, in 2014, I spent a few months gaining experience as an emergency field officer in the South Sudan humanitarian crisis.  In 2015 I completed a masters level qualification in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.

Working in the social services is very rewarding, but can be challenging – so spending time with my three adult sons, travel to foreign places, and hiking are the things that help balance my life and nourish my soul.

Julie- Anne O’Connor

Social Worker, Family support

Kia ora my name is Julie-Anne.

I am originally from the United Kingdom.

My background is typically working class, I was raised in a coal mining community in North Nottinghamshire.

For over 20 years I have worked with many children in a variety of settings.I have a background in education, I was a teaching assistant in England for many years and when I migrated to New Zealand in 2003 I was a Learning Support Assistant in a school in Hamilton.

For over a year now I have been employed as a registered Community Social Worker for Catholic Family Support Services.

I am very passionate about this role because I support the concept that early intervention and prevention will provide and achieve positive outcomes for children, and their families.

In my other life I am a mum to a grown up son and a doggy parent to our dog Buster. In my spare time I like reading, cooking, walking, meditation and yoga.

Genevieve Echague

Lead Professional Hamilton Children's team, Social Worker Family Support, Financial Mentor

I am originally from the Philippines, and worked there as a registered social worker in different fields in social welfare for 14 years. I came to New Zealand in 2010, and I worked at Child Youth and Family as a statutory social worker for 3 years.

I have now been employed at Catholic Family Support Services  for the past 3 years, as a registered social worker and a Financial Mentor. I am also a Lead Professional from the Hamilton Children’s Team.

I am very passionate about my role because I get to work with children and their whanau and support them in making good decisions to be able to create a loving and safe home environment for their children.

I am married to my husband  and we have two beautiful children. We are enjoying our life here in New Zealand and we consider this place our home.

Katrina Williams

Coordinator Supervised contact, Intake worker

I was born in New Zealand and have lived in Hamilton for the past twenty years.

My background has always involved working with people and young children as well as children with disabilities. My passion is in child Protection and the prevention of Child abuse in New Zealand.

I have been employed at Catholic Family Support Services for the past seven years and specialize in the area of Supervised Contact between children and their family. For the past two years I have been Secretary on the Executive Board for the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services, based in Wellington.

I am very passionate about my role and believe it is crucial to a child’s long term well being to have regular, child focused contact with family members in a safe, supported and neutral environment.

I am married to my husband Scott and we have a beautiful blended family of six children. When I am not working or running around after my children I enjoy spending time with friends, going to the beach, singing, reading and doing art and crafts.

Kristina Terrey

Financial Mentor

My background is Hamilton. On leaving high school at age 18, I went to Massey University in Palmerston North where I gained 2 degrees in Agricultural Science, married and had a family. 18 years later I returned to Hamilton with my husband and family settling on a large lifestyle block on Mt Pirongia. I had six children with my first husband.
Fast forward 20 years, and I am now married to a counsellor with an additional 2 adult step children and 2 moko, just my youngest son still at home attending high school.
I have worked at Catholic Family Support Services for the past seven years. My work to date has involved many hours of one on one budget advisory work with individuals and families in our community.  This, together with my life experience has given me the passion and desire to train and ultimately work as a counsellor. I work part-time as a financial mentor and am also a full-time student at Wintec in my second year of Paetahi Tumu Korero Bachelor of Counselling.

My interests are baking, knitting, kayak fishing and hanging out in the Coromandel as much as possible.

Sharon Sewell

Social Worker, Family Support and Financial Mentor

I grew up in a remote area of the Waimarino feeling the crisp breath of Ruapehu, the presence of the mighty Manganui o Te Ao , and the smell of the bush. I have four siblings and went to a little one-teacher primary school followed by boarding school in Whanganui.

I now live in Ngaruawahia. I am married with five children and two grandchildren, who I love spending time with. Some of the things I enjoy are; walking, crossword puzzles and creative crafts.

I have worked for Catholic Family Support Services for a number of years and I believe in the Christian Principles that underpin the work of the agency.

In my social work practice I bring my respect for others, my life experience and my learning to the engagement. I am attentive to what is importance to the person. My most deeply held belief is that everyone has a right to be treated with respect and have the opportunity to be heard. This is at the core of my practice.

I have just completed a BSW Bi-culturalism in Practice at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Mututanga Davis

Supervised contact worker

Hei mihi atu ki a koutou katoa
Ko Taupiri te maunga
‘Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Waikato te iwi
Ko Mututanga Davis ahau

My role at CFSS is within supervised contact. I have completed my Bachelor of Social Work at Te Wananga o Aotearoa this year.
I am looking forward to beginning a challenging, but exciting chapter of my life as a social worker. Kia ora tatou katoa

Margaret Drew

Financial mentor

At the onset of ‘empty nest’ syndrome I spent several years at University, first as a mature student and then as a research assistant, before making the decision to train as a budget adviser with the Salvation Army.

Subsequently I worked for three years as a volunteer Budget Adviser for the Salvation Army, but have spent the last year working one day a week at Desert Spring Ministries and one day a week at CFSS.

I live with my husband who is retired, and we have two adult children both with very successful careers.
I look forward to being able to spend some time travelling but hope to continue in my current roles for as long as possible.

My ‘off duty’ interests include reading, and cooking, but it is hard to beat a walk on a beautiful day.