Clinical Coordinator and Office Administrator
Michelle is our frontline employee. She has an extensive corporate background and is also a trained counsellor. She has the skills to engage with clients from all backgrounds and to gently and collaboratively assist them to begin their healing journey.
Having finally won her own life-long battle with depression, she remembers all too well the many people who assisted her out of the darkness. These days, it is an honour for her to assist those who are currently engaged in their own journey, as they struggle to cope with and emerge from, depression. From her own personal experiences, she knows that many suffer in silence.
Michelle is an active volunteer in her community. She is also passionate about photography and her large garden. She and her partner Matt love their staffie Barney, and greatly enjoy the beauty and adventure outdoors New Zealand has to offer. Good times with friends and family are very important to her.
Funding and Bereavement Support Coordinator
Our Grants Manager Jemma collaborates closely with the team to secure grant funding and ensure it is used effectively for our New Zealand communities. Most of the grant funding brought in goes towards providing free and heavily subsidised loss and grief support and education. Jemma has found working with the Grief Centre both humbling and rewarding, opening her eyes to a type of support she never knew existed.
Jemma is grateful every working day for the positive impacts she is helping the Grief Centre to create and is passionate about supporting the charity to grow.
In her spare time you will find her playing with her young family, furry and not, on a little farm in North Auckland.
Training and Communications Specialist
Louise Blockley joined the Grief Centre tīma in March 2023 as our Training and Communications Specialist. Louise’s early career was in travel and advertising, then in 2008, she completed a full time communications degree majoring in journalism.
She cut her writing teeth on years of freelancing, mostly for an Exporter’s trade journal. More recently, she has worked in communications roles at social profit organisations such as StarJam, the Heart Foundation and a short hospice contract. The last few years have seen her in corporate communications in the vocational education sector, and she is excited to return to the charity fold.
Louise is deeply connected to the Grief Centre mission through lived experience of the early deaths of her parents and two brothers. When she’s not working, you will find her zooming around Auckland on her road bike or bikepacking on New Zealand’s back-country roads. In 2022, she and her husband completed Tour Aotearoa, an unsupported 3,000km bikepacking route from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
Averill has held positions in a range of organisations, including schools, universities, and a variety of community organisations. She has been Chair of Highbury House, National Executive Member of Playcentre and was until recently the secretary of the Auckland Branch of New Zealand Association of Counsellors. Averill has presented at a range of conferences and has published several papers on counselling practice and cross-cultural perspectives. She places a high value on respect, compassion, and social justice - values that underpin her work. She says:
“The kato (woven bag) represents my hope for our conversations – that they will weave together to shape something that is useful and productive, creating a stronger story of your preferred identity. The strands that form the bag, represent contributions that each of us brings to the conversation helping to enhance our partnership and practice.”
Bereavement Support Coordinator for Australia
Maja joined the Grief Centre in 2020 when the organisation expanded their services to Australia. She was the first employee of the Australian branch and was instrumental in implementing our services there.
Maja has over 15 years of experience in finance and administration. She brings compassion and care to everything she does at work and in life, and people often say they can rely on her for just about anything. The work at Grief Centre is very important to her as she enjoys doing things that will help someone or potentially change someone's life, even in a small way.
Maja enjoys spending time with her family, reading, swimming, attending her kids' soccer matches and catching up with her friends over a glass of wine.