Our team works with people with disability, families, communities and organisations throughout various regions in New Zealand.
Tony Paine | CEO
Tony Paine became CE of the AccessAbility Group in September 2018. He has over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit leadership and management working in the health, social service and cultural sectors. Tony’s career includes work with the NZ AIDS Foundation, the Christchurch Methodist Mission, and as CEO of Comcare Trust, the Christchurch Arts Centre, Victim Support, New Zealand Red Cross and Philanthropy New Zealand.
Tony served on the Board of Housing New Zealand for 5 years, has a Masters in Management and lives in Wellington with his partner Bernadette Macartney and their two daughters Maggie and Sally. Tony’s passion for inclusion, human rights advocacy and disability justice has been enriched by life with Maggie who has intellectual and physical ‘disabilities’.
Phone 0800 787 587
Mobile 027 246 0177
Angela Te Whaiti | National Operations Manager
Phone 03 929 1421
Wendy O'Meara | LAC Team Leader
I was born in Whangarei and moved with my family to the North Shore in Auckland when I was very young. I originally trained as a Speech Therapist and worked in schools in both Howick and Otara for many years before embarking on overseas travels and further study.
I have had the privilege of walking alongside disabled people, families/whanau in the Bay of Plenty and the Manawatu as well as metropolitan, rural and remote regions throughout Australia for many years. However I am happy to say that I am back home to stay and I am looking forward to renewing old connections in the Bay of Plenty as well as making new.
My introduction to Local Area Coordination began in Western Australia in the early 1990s when I was working as a Community Development Officer for the Town of Port Hedland. From my first contact with the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) for the Pilbara region my curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know more about this approach as everything the LAC described to me was so closely aligned to my own personal beliefs and values. Since then I have worked as an LAC; trained, supported and mentored new LACs; established new LAC teams; travelled around Australia and New Zealand supporting and assisting with LAC development and expansion, and developed LAC training resources for the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency). I have first-hand knowledge and experience of how this approach makes a significant difference to the lives of disabled people, families/whanau and community.
Outside of work – I am an animal lover, an enthusiastic boogie boarder, an avid walker (I walked the Spanish part of the El Camino trail with a good friend as part of a fundraiser for the NZ Breast Cancer foundation) - I’m not good on heights though so on some trails I just have to say “see you at the end”. I love to garden and I love to learn so I read a lot. And I really enjoy meeting and talking with people.
Phone 07 281 1730
Mobile: 027 555 0459
Jeanette Tioke | LAC Eastern Bay of Plenty
Tena tatou katoa
I am of Ngāti Awa and Ngai Te Rangi descent, raised in Kawerau where I still live today.
Being an LAC appealed to me because I am passionate about our community in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. I grew up within a community that helped each other, that built each other's strengths so all could feel a sense of value and find their role, their place. As an LAC, I have the opportunity to support others to recognise their strengths and use them within their community.
I believe information and knowledge are powerful - with these, people have more opportunities and choices to have good lives.
I started working as an LAC in September 2015. For the past 15 years I have worked mostly in education, with roles including teaching, Early Intervention Teacher and Education Services Manager.
Outside of work, I love spending time with my whānau, enjoying all the taonga of our whenua in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Phone 07 282 3020
Mobile 027 588 2699
Victoria Brott | LAC Western Bay of Plenty
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Originally from Montréal, Québec, Canada, I speak both French & English fluently. I have lived in NZ since 1999, learning Te ara Reo Māori in 2003 and just recently taking on studying New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). For me personally, both the Maori & NZ Deaf Culture have specific customs & protocols that illuminate the essence of what makes New Zealand such a special place to call home.
From a very young age, I have felt strongly about equality: more specifically the rights & the responsibilities of all citizens to be welcomed, contribute to & cherish all that this life has to offer.
Now that I am a few years into my role as a Local Area Coordinator, I am more certain now, than ever before, that we are all unique and yet we are all connected by similar intrinsic visions of what living the good life means. I am now armed with a wealth of ideas & tools on how to plan & vision for the future; Helping disabled people & their Whanau to dream big & set strategic goals for living the good life they want.
Delving into a person’s strengths, gifts & interests is what makes this role so rewarding. Getting people to open up, share and engage with their neighbours and/or local community groups is by no means an easy road. Albeit subtle, we are progressively making a difference and breaking down barriers to inclusion, one person at a time.
I am really excited by the opportunities that surround us. Whatever your dreams are: I look forward to meeting you kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) to explore your own personal journey. And together, we will strive to create a strategic plan to bring you closer to your good life goals.
Phone 07 281 1733
Mobile 027 588 2698
Debbie Riozzie | LAC Western Bay of Plenty
It is a huge honour to find myself working for Journey Together. I feel excited to continue my professional development with such a lovely group of people.
It is a privilege to have the opportunity of walking alongside lots of new clients and whānau/families.
I will enjoy getting to know dynamics in local communities and working to push forward progress towards the warm inclusion of all people regardless of any perceived difference. We are all different!
Attitudes can and do change and the work offers a great chance to both play a part in self empowered change and be part of more systemic changes.
My family roots are in Liverpool, England. My Whakapapa goes mainly to Eire and Italy.
I worked in London in business development for nearly 10 years and came to NZ for the first time in year 2000 -2009. We returned September 2020. I worked as Tairawhiti Co-ordinator for Like Minds, Like Mine, a role I loved.
I live with my Civil Partner, Kylie who is a Kiwi as are our children (aged 19 years & 18 years).
Phone 07 281 1731
Mobile 027 588 2700
Mary Barnett | LAC Lakes District
The LAC role appeals to me because I strongly believe that if you're looking for a good life, you will find that in your community. A good life comes from being with people who love you, care for you and want a good life for you. It comes from natural connections and friendships.
As an LAC I have an opportunity to assist people to turn around their thinking regarding disability. I can introduce them to a strengths-based approach that establishes and supports effective working relationships with individuals and their whanau. This in turn really helps to bring about positive change and to engage with or develop natural supports and community connections. Connecting with an LAC can assist disabled people to determine their own goals, and plan for the future either independently, with their whanau and/or chosen supports.
The Lakes District is an amazing ‘work place’. There are many different towns of all shapes and sizes each with their own uniqueness. The people that I meet are part of robust communities and have a genuine sense of pride. It’s a laidback lifestyle as well as a mecca for spectacular forests, amazing geothermal wonders and many water activities plus it’s a perfect place for nature and environmental enthusiasts.
Outside of work I enjoy music, reading and spending time with my family and friends.
Phone 07 282 2199
Mobile 027 558 6565