About Us

Meet the team and board members

Our Story

Age Concern Taranaki, established in 2002 in the beautiful region of Taranaki, is a proud member organisation of Age Concern New Zealand, joining hands with 35 other members across the country.

As a dedicated charity focusing on the well-being of the 65 plus age group, we are committed to promoting dignity, equity, well-being, and respect for our senior community members.

At Age Concern Taranaki, we offer a range of essential services including Elder Abuse Response, Health Promotions, and Age Connect initiatives. Out mission is to ensure that Taranaki Older People will live valued and meaningful live in an inclusive society.

With a passion for serving our seniors and a commitment to advocacy, Age Concern Taranaki is here to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults, fostering a community where everyone can age with dignity and grace.

Board Members

Sam Bennett


Tēnā koutou. Warm greetings to you all.
My name is Sam Bennett.

I am honoured and delighted to serve our Taranaki Elderly people as the Chairperson of Age Concern Taranaki. I am an entrepreneur and a current second-term NPDC Elected Member ( District-Wide Councillor).

My key strength and focus is leading and collaborating with a dedicated governance board to ensure that Age Concern Taranaki is strategically and financially placed to continue to build capacity and work diligently for the rights, needs and well-being of older people including those with age, accessibility, disability and impairment challenges.

I care deeply for our Elderly community so please if you wish to catch up with me for a chat, a cuppa tea and biscuit please call me anytime on 0277515100 or email me at contact@fullcirclecelebrant.co.nz; I would love to meet you in person. He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

Alison Brown​

Vice Chairperson

I was born and raised in South Taranaki and now reside in New Plymouth.I have close connections with both the rural and urban sectors within Taranaki. I am a mother of five children, grandmother of nine and great grandmother of two.  

I was employed by Taranaki District Health Board for over 40 years in various nursing roles, both locally and nationally.  I was awarded Honorary Life Membership to New Zealand Nurses Organisation for services to nursing. I am currently a Committee member of Grey Power New Plymouth and Chairperson of Taranaki Nursing Graduates Association.

My aim is to continue to work with people from all walks of life to make a positive difference.

Peter Ertel


I am by Profession a Chartered Accountant, Married with 2 adult Children and 2 Grandchildren.

Outside of my professional life I enjoy giving back to the Community and I have been working with Charitable Organisations for the last 25 years.

At present I give my time to Taranaki Educare Training Trust, Atawhai Industries Limited and Age Concern Taranaki.

When not working or helping other causes I enjoy riding motorcycles, cycling, playing golf and walking “Splash” my Golden Retriever with my wife at the Beach.

Marianne Pike

Board member

Marianne Pike, Master of Arts Health Social Work 1983, is the Family Violence Intervention Programme Coordinator at Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB), New Plymouth. Marianne has a 30 year career in Health Social Work and has worked in many area’s in the health sector in South Africa and New Zealand(since 1994). Since 2014 Marianne leads the Family Violence Responsive Practice Programme (VIP) in TDHB. Marianne is married to Pieter and together they have 4 adult children and one grandchild. Other recreational activities that I love is gardening, tramping, reading and music.

Bobbi Milne

Board member

Since retiring to New Plymouth in 2018 I live in Manadon Retirement Village, Spotswood along with Tosca, my very entertaining two and a half year old Birman cat. I like to participate in village activities and support our village SAYGo group on a regular basis. I have found this exercise class to be beneficial on both a fitness and social level.

Outside of the village I am involved with Ballroom Dancing and Silver Swans, which is ballet for seniors. Other interests and hobbies are knitting (which my Grandma taught me when I was four) sewing, reading and creative cooking.

Annabel Dennett

Board member
Annabel joined the Age Concern Taranaki board in 2023 bringing a history of legal and governance experience with her. With her relationships in the community she has seen firsthand the issues older people and their whanau face and is passionate about wellbeing in older people. Annabel currently works in local government and is also on the board of Tūtaki Youth Incorporated Trust. In her spare time Annabel can usually be found walking her dogs on the beach.

David Gibson

Board member

I have lived in Taranaki for the past 42 years.  My work life has generally been in managerial roles, which have included running my own successful management consulting and marine orientated businesses.  My current employment is with Remediation (NZ) Ltd as a General Manager and Acting Financial Controller.  I am also a Director of this company.

I am involved with a number of charities in a governance role.  I am chairperson of Age Concern Taranaki and have had this role for the past 10 years.  I am also a member of the Rotary Club of New Plymouth, currently club treasurer, and having held the position of Club President and also Assistant District Governor.

My professional qualifications are as a marine engineer, and I hold a Master’s Degree in Business.

My hobbies include horology (clock collecting and repair), restoration of furniture, fishing and diving.

Management Team

Richard Anderson

Executive Officer

Tēnā Koutou. My name is Richard Anderson and I feel priviledged to be your Executive Officer.

I was born and raised in Christchurch and moved to Taranaki in 1994. My employment history has been entirely in education with 10 years as a teacher and almost 30 years as a Primary School Principal.

I am passionate about sports and recreation both playing and watching, with my latest interests being tramping and golf.  I have a beautiful family including my wife,  three adult children and their partners.

Team leading and team building is where my heart lies for the benefit of our people. Our team at Age Concern Taranaki’s actions  and decisions ensure that we may all thrive in the world, and not just survive.

Age Concern Taranaki has a fantastic team of employees, volunteers and a Board who is focused on what makes a positive difference for us all.

I have a joyful life and  have a daily goal to create: joy, connection and security for all of our community.

Please pop in and say hello as our door is always open and we love interacting with our people.

Ngā manaakitanga and warm wishes.


Bex Caldwell

Office Manager – Service Provision Lead

I am the Office Manager and Service Provision lead for Health Promotion and Social Connection for Age Concern Taranaki. My days are kept busy with a wide variety of tasks, from funding applications, general administration, supporting my colleagues and our older people.

I have a varied administration background from large businesses to smaller sole charge administration roles. As well as working in administration, I also worked as a Nanny caring for many children in Taranaki over the years.  I have 2 children and family who keep me busy outside of work. I love supporting people in our community so the opportunity to work for Age Concern Taranaki is one I really cherish.

Robyn King


I have been employed at Age Concern Taranaki as an assistant to the busy administration team.

You will find be behind the reception desk on Tuesday to Friday.  It is my aim to make all who enter the building to feel welcome, and I will endeavor to help you with your needs.

I enjoy the company of elderly and just having a chat, I look forward to meeting many more of you and getting involved.

I have previously worked in the education sector since 1988, spending the last 22 years at Frankley School here in New Plymouth.  I have two adult children whom I love to spend time with along with the rest of our large extended family.

EARS (Elder Abuse Response Team)

Sinead Thomas

Service Provision Lead

Kia Ora, My name is Sinead Thomas 😊 I was raised in Stratford and attended high school there. I studied my Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Social Sciences (Social Work) at Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) and graduated in 2015.

I have a background working in domestic violence prevention and Youth work prior to moving into the role of the Elder Abuse Coordinator at Age concern Taranaki (ACT). I have been with ACT for almost 3 years now and I’ve been privileged to watch the role grow.

I love being able to complete most of my work out in the community and work closely alongside older people in the Taranaki community. I believe our external networks are extremely important to the role and the community we serve.  I enjoy being able to join in on any events involving members and other staff here at ACT.

Aimie Stahnke-Earley

Social Worker

My name is Aimie Stahnke-Earley and I am part of the Age Concern Taranaki Elder Abuse Response team, joining Age Concern Taranaki in 2021

A bit about me, I’ve lived in New Plymouth my whole life where I enjoy raising my now teenage daughter and our many pets. In my spare time I enjoy Gardening, Creative Projects, Reading and playing Squash.

My passion for working alongside people brought me to completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Social Science (Social Work).

I have a background in working with older people and have spent the last 4years working as an Activities Coordinator in a local Care home. I am now excited to take my passion back into our wider community.
My Vision alongside with Age Concern Taranaki is that of promoting an inclusive society where older people are able to live a valued and fulfilled life.

Belinda Burke

Registered Nurse

My name is Belinda Burke and joined Age Concern Taranaki as a clinician in the elder abuse response service in 2022. I am a NZRN and have worked in the aged care sector for over 37 years. My passion lies with the elderly and the opportunity to continue to serve and support them in our community is something I am very grateful for.

My family are all grown up and we have 5 Grandchildren, whom we are very proud of. My husband and I enjoy getting away in our motorhome, so my new, part time role is perfect.

Tania Hanlon

Social Worker

Kia ora my name is Tania and I am excited to be part of the Elder Abuse Response Service work as one of the Social Workers supporting seniors across Taranaki. I was interested in becoming a social worker to help empower people to be the best versions of themselves. My goal was to support our precious seniors, who hold a wealth of knowledge, to reduce abuse, isolation and encourage connection within our community. Age concern ticks all these boxes and I am grateful to work with the amazing team in a part time position.

After graduation my career began with supporting children and their families experiencing grief and loss, empowering them with connection with peers on a similar journey, accepting that change is a part of life, regulating their emotions as well as supporting them with tools to move forward. I was in this role for the last 7 years covering the central Taranaki area.

I live on a lifestyle block with my lovely husband and 3 children and a range of both large & small fur babies. Health and wellbeing are important to me as well as living off the land. I love gardening and maintain 2 large tunnel houses as well as outdoor beds in a semi self-sufficient lifestyle. I love animals, nature and crafts including knitting and crochet.

Age Connect Team

Pauline Julian

North Taranaki Co-ordinator

Pauline has worked for Age Concern Taranaki since 2016.  Her role involves planning, implementing, and delivering Social Connection Programmes and Activities.  Pauline has a background in Nursing and has always worked in the health sector, with experience in Health Promotion which allows her to apply such skills along with her creativity and music and reach out to our older population enabling them to improve their status of health and prevent social isolation.

Estell Barnes

South Taranaki Program Lead

Estelle Barnes is our Service Provision Lead in South Taranaki and Stratford Districts and joined Age Concern Taranaki in 2021.  Estelle is fully committed to the health and wellbeing of older people from a community perspective.  

Estelle lives in Hawera with her husband Ken, they have 3 children, 10 grandchildren. and 3 great grandchildren. Her working life was in the finance industry, but since retiring to Hawera she has been involved in volunteer work with Grey Power South Taranaki Inc.

Julie Landers

Program Support Co-ordinator

Kia ora my name is Julie and I’m thrilled to be the newest member of Age Concern, supporting Estelle to deliver a fun AgeConnect social connection program in Central and South Taranaki.

I was born and bred in Taranaki. I live on a dairy farm in Kaponga with my husband Roger, where we have raised our four children. They’re all grown up now, and having served on boards of trustees at primary and secondary schools, plus Lantern House Trust, it’s time for a new opportunity to serve my community and bring joy to our precious seniors. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, family and friends. My husband and I both love cars and are members of a local car club. I’ve always got a knitting project on the go and love my weekly walks with a friend, and singing along to anything playing on the radio.

Health Promotions

Andrea Mathews​


Kia Ora, my name is Andrea and I am proud to be a part of the health promotion team with Age Concern Taranaki as a health promotion services coordinator.

I come from a sport and recreation background where I have enjoyed over 20 years working with people of all ages from 6 months old – 98 years helping them to learn skills to grow courage and feel empowered to be in control of their own health and wellbeing journeys.

I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, two young girls (3 and 6yrs) and a German Shepard. We love keeping busy swimming, walking, having dance parties in the lounge and being involved in sports.

I was born in Wellington but spent most of my life in Auckland until I moved to New Plymouth in 2013. I love it here and couldn’t imagine a better place to call home and raise my wonderful girls.

I am excited to be coordinating the steady as you go fall prevention classes and health and wellbeing workshops and presentations and look forward to meeting everyone in the Age Concern community.

Visiting Service

Antonia Smith


Hi I’m Antonia, I oversee the Visiting Service. I joined the Age Concern Taranaki team in 2021

I have over 10 years’ experience in customer and stakeholder relations and enjoy working with people from all walks of life. Outside of work, I am an actress, singer, and semi-professional stand-up comedian, I love cooking, rock climbing, and quality time with friends and family.

Alongside my role at Age Concern Taranaki, I am a part-time postgraduate student of health science and psychology with Massey University. My passion for wellbeing fuels my study, and I’m very happy to apply my knowledge to help enhance the livelihood of Taranaki’s elderly community.


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