Counties Manukau Children's Team

“Me ka moemoea ahau, Ko au anake, Me ka moemoea e tatou, Ka taea e tatou.

Three school children wave at the camera

One Team, One Dream, One place arriving together."

Brownie Rauwhero, Counties Manukau Children’s Team Kaumauta.

Working together, the Children’s Team approach is making a fundamental difference to how we support vulnerable children/tamariki.

Refer a child

If you are concerned about a child (unborn to 18) you can refer them to the Children’s Team. To refer a child to the Counties Manukau Children’s Team, contact the Vulnerable Children's Hub.

Three children looking at the cameraCounties Manukau is taking referrals of children who live in Manurewa, Papakura and Clendon. See a map of the boundaries. (external link)

You can contact us by calling 09 917 8491 or e-mail us anytime at: 

Meet the team

Professionals and practitioners have been transforming the way they work, adopting the Children’s Team approach. Here are some of the professionals who will work together, with one plan, to ensure children/tamariki are thriving, well engaged in education, and belong to a successful, resilient whānau.

 "Accountability and responsibility for the safety and well-being of children lies with the whānau, and the Children’s Team that offers and provides support. This is fundamental to giving our vulnerable children better opportunities so that they can thrive, be happy and safe. In my experience a collaborative approach is more likely to be successful for the child and family than a professional working alone." - Desiree Donaldson - Children's Team Lead Professional

Mike Fulcher - Service Broker

Mike Fulcher

"It’s vital to make sure professionals who work with children have all the support they need to make sure children are not escalating into critical areas of risk, and have the opportunity to become contributing citizens in their communities." - Mike Fulcher - Service Broker

 "This approach places children at the centre of all that we do. This combined with early intervention and working together with a “no excuses attitude” will ensure children and their whānau get what they need to thrive." - Bronwyn Impson, Children's Team Co-ordinator

Bronwyn Impson and Marilyn Lockwood.

Bronwyn Impson and Marilyn Lockwood.

"The Children’s Team approach allows the voices of vulnerable children to be heard, understood and responded to with agreement from their families. Children know they are central to the decisions being made and the plans created for them. They and their families see they are not forgotten or in the “too hard” basket and someone genuinely cares about their wellbeing. The child will begin to thrive and experience all that life has to offer in a safe environment." - Marilyn Lockwood, Children’s Team Co-ordinator.

The Counties Manukau Children’s team will support about 1,400 vulnerable children and their families in the first two years. We know that working together, we can make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children/tamariki and their families in this area, so they can thrive, achieve and belong.


Children's Team Director

Liz Thomas

Counties Manukau Children’s Team Director Liz Thomas has 30 years’ experience as a social worker. She is committed to working with the experienced and diverse group of professionals across all sectors who work with children/tamariki and the families in Counties Manukau. 

Our strategic plan

Our strategic plan guides the work of the Counties Manukau Children’s Team, you can download the file here. You can also read the Child Protection Policy here. [PDF, 6.4 MB]


Watch this video to see Director Liz Thomas discussing the Children’s Team approach

Liz Thomas discussing the Children’s Team approach (external link)

Click on the image to watch the video.

Watch this video to see Director Liz Thomas talking about the importance of sharing information

Liz Thomas talking about the importance of sharing information (external link)

Click on the image to watch the video.


Local Governance Group

The Local Governance Group (LGG) is comprised of key representatives from the local community, government agencies and iwi.  This group of community leaders ensures the Children’s Team Director has the resources necessary to address the unmet needs of our vulnerable children and their family/whānau.
The Counties Manukau Local Governance Group consists of:
  • Edward Seti Talamaivao (Interim Chair), Regional Manager, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
  • Blair McKenzie, Acting Regional Commissioner, Ministry of Social Development
  • Marty Rogers, Regional Manager, Te Puni Kōkiri
  • John Cavanagh, Regional Commissioner, Ministry of Social Development
  • Karen Wilson, Iwi representative               
  • Colleen Fakalogotoa, NGO collective representative, Family Start Manukau
  • Sonia Hawea, Iwi representative, CEO Taikura Trust
  • Sharon Thom, Regional Director Child, Youth and Family
  • Liz Thomas, Children’s Team Director, Counties Manukau
  • Isabel Evans, Regional Director, Ministry of Education
  • Carmel Ellis, Integration Manager, Child, Youth and Maternity, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Tony Kake, CEO Papakura Marae              
  • Peter Hepburn, Operations Director, Child, Youth and Family
  • Ken Allen, Regional Manager Community Investment – Midlands, Child, Youth and Family


Children's Team Panel

The  Children’s Team panel is made up of a range of sector experts and practitioners who are responsible for reviewing referrals, assigning a Lead Professional to work with the child and their family and approving and monitoring the progress against the Child’s Plan.
The Counties Manukau Children’s Team panel members are:
  • Pare Rauwhero, Papakura Marae
  • Dr Bernadette Salmon, Paediatrician, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Gina McTernan  Practice Leader, Manurewa Child, Youth and Family
  • Sue Hamilton, Ministry of Education
  • Margaret Gardiner, Ministry of Education
  • Rhonda Cox-Nissen, Eastern Women's Refuge
  • Mike Fulcher, Senior Sergeant, NZ Police
  • Keith Olsen, NZ Police
  • Liz Thomas, Counties Manukau Children’s Team Director
  • Alison Vogel, Paediatrician, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Raewyn Bhana, South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network  
  • Uesile Talaimanu, Fonua Ola
  • Lesley Whitehead, District Manager, Ministry of Education
  • Huriana McRoberts, Service Manager, Ministry of Education
  • Sonia Hawea, Taikura
  • Sandie Turie, Papakura Mara
  • Nitasha Jugernath, Ministry of Education
  • Teuila Percival, Paediatrician, Kidz First, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Catherine O’Conner, Paediatrician, Counties Manukau DHB
  • Manjeet Kaur, Indian community representative, Family Start Manukau