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Simone Molenaar - Chief Vision Officer: BSocSci, Post Grad Cert Mmgt St, CELF Alumini

Simone joined the MSASS team to help move the organisation forward with a new team, enhanced service direction and community engagement.  Simone has a background in operational and strategic management and is a visionary servant leader that embraces change management.

Simone has held senior leadership roles as chief executive and general manager always within the for purpose sector where her passion is creating high quality experiences for people accessing services.  Simone leads from the heart and is passionate about supporting her team to be the best they can be through values driven and purposeful leadership.  

Simone is a trustee for CELF:  Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation, a Waikato initiative to build connected leadership across the for purpose and for profit sectors.  

A middle child of 3, Simone was born in Rotorua, is of Dutch and NZ European decent and is very connected with her family in the Netherlands.  Simone lives in Hamilton with her partner, 3 children and mother.  In her spare time she enjoys watching movies, live music, crocheting, walking and gardening.

simone@msass.org.nz     022 699 5152

Ash Puri - Practice Lead BSW, Post Grad Cert Sup, NZASW

Ash is a Registered Social Worker who believes in the advocacy and empowerment of her clients. She enjoys working with people from all walks of life. She has worked with all sorts of different ethnicities, migrants, and refugee clients. Ash is originally from India and has lived in New Zealand for the last 15 years with her family. She has completed her Bachelor of Social Work and her postgraduate certificate in professional supervision from New Zealand. Prior to coming to New Zealand, she also completed a Master of Psychology degree in India.  Ash has also completed a post-grad diploma in counselling.

Ash can speak three languages; Hindi, Urdu, and English and can understand Punjabi as well. She has completed a certificate course in working with Grief and Loss to improve her capabilities in terms of helping and understanding her clients.

Ash has worked in Mental health, Family Violence, Community Work, and Care and Protection areas of social work. In the process of social work, she tries to create a space where her clients can feel valued and respected. Ash believes in a collective community approach to form mana-enhancing relationships with people.

She lives with her husband, two children, and one dog. Ash enjoys cooking, gardening, and reading books. She is also passionate about animal protection and caring for dogs.

ash@msass.org.nz     027 208 7930

Richelle Sexton - Administrator/Executive Assistant

Richelle started as our Administrator at the beginning of 2019, after having her second child. She feels very fortunate to work with an amazing team of professionals, and to meet those who come through our service. As well as working at MSASS, Richelle is currently completing her Bachelor of Counselling. If you come to visit us, Richelle will be more than happy to make you a cuppa and have a chat!  Outside of work Richelle enjoys spending time with family, friends and her beautiful pets - a cat and her golden retriever.

richelle@msass.org.nz     021 211 1330

Suzi Gallagher - Crisis Response Social Worker BHSc, MAppSW

Suzi has been working in the realm of social work for over 10 years, starting her career in West Auckland working with rangatahi. She has also worked with older adults, offenders, children, and families typically within the realms of family harm. Suzi was born in Kirikiriroa, raised in Tamaki Makaurau, and has been back in the Waikato for nearly five years. She completed her Masters of Applied Social Work in 2019 and is now a fully registered Social Worker. Prior to this, she also completed a degree in psychology and applied mental health. Suzi is passionate about walking alongside people as they reclaim their lives after trauma.

She lives with her two children and enjoys crafts, baking and gardening in her spare time. One of her greatest achievements (aside from her tamariki) is nursing her beloved Nanma through the final stages of her life. She was, and remains to be, one of Suzi’s key motivations to share her aroha and awhi with others. 

suzi@msass.org.nz     027 204 2386

Waiata Rifle - Crisis Response Social Worker BSW

Ko Tainui me Te Arawa oku iwi. No Kirikiriroa ahau.

Ko Waiata Rifle toku ingoa.

A great sense of joy is witnessing people discover their self-worth, develop their confidence, and live their lives in such a way that they feel in control of themselves again.  This is a journey I may have only contributed1% toward, but if it helps to empower one aspect of a person’s world, this translates into 100% satisfaction in being a social worker in Aotearoa.  My professional background is in social work, mental health, disability care and probation.  I currently facilitate an online perinatal anxiety and depression course for Mother’s Helpers, it amazes me how much women can spend so much time devaluing their contribution to their whanau and the world around them.  Yet, given the opportunity to heal and rediscover 'themselves'; they have their 'a-ha' moments in their own space of time.

Newly married, I am a mother of four grown children, grandmother of nine precious moko – my contribution to any mahi I have engaged in has been grounded and motivated by the aroha I have for my whanau and community.

waiata@msass.org.nz     027 309 9557

Erin Majurey - Crisis Response Counsellor BCing, BComms, DipJourn

Erin completed her Bachelor of Counselling at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute in Tauranga and joined our team 08 November 2021. Originally from Hamilton, Erin had been living in Rotorua for the past 7 years with 2 of her 3 children and was excited to be moving home to work in the role of Crisis Counsellor.  Erin also has a degree in communications and feels very passionate about creating positive change within the community. Erin has spent years working in the community as a youth worker and volunteering for organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Victim Support and numerous homeless action groups. A personal survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, Erin is dedicated to working with other survivors on their journey of healing, and providing preventative education within the community.  

erin@msass.org.nz     027 255 6630

Niki Green - Crisis Response Counsellor BAVI, PGCertED, MCouns

My name is Niki and I am a counsellor here at Midlands Sexual Assault Support Services (MSASS).

I am new to Hamilton and relocated from New Plymouth where I was born and raised.

Prior to working with MSASS, I started a non-profit online community created to share stories, support and advocate for people who were experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental illness. I am passionate about starting real conversations that bring understanding to and help reduce the stigma people with mental health issues experience.

I gained my Master’s degree in counselling in 2014 and trained in the area of sexual violence. I still feel honoured every time survivors of trauma allow me to be part of their journey towards healing.

When I am not working you can find me in my comfy trackpants binge watching crime documentaries or hanging out with family and friends. 

niki@msass.org.nz   027 275 4564

Gail Tharratt - Crisis Counsellor MA (Counselling Psychology)

I obtained my Masters in Counselling Psychology in 1993 in South Africa. Initially I worked in private practice which gave me flexibility when my children were young.  I have experience working with all age groups and have worked in several different settings including counsellor education and as a counsellor in a high school. I have experience working with anxiety, depression, the effects of trauma, and loss.  I have worked with international students at both tertiary and secondary level.   As a counsellor, I bring a compassionate heart and provide a safe space in which clients are empowered to discover their strengths and personal resources on their healing journey. 

I immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa 24 years ago with my husband and 2 sons. In my spare time I enjoy reading and expressing my creativity through crochet and knitting and trying my hand at different crafts.  An essential part of my well-being is being out in nature, whether it is doing a short bush walk or enjoying walking along the Waikato River.  

gail@msass.org.nz     027 235 8578

Carolynn Storey - 3rd Year Counselling Student

Kia ora.  I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Counselling and am on placement here at MSASS for 2023.  I was a Primary teacher for 20 years, and recently trained in Child Centred Play Therapy (CCPT).  After working therapeutically with children in this way I decided to go back to “school” myself and undertake further counselling studies to broaden my skills in supporting both children, and adults.

In my work I am passionate about helping others to heal, grow and develop, through feeling valued, accepted, and learning to believe in themselves.

I live in Te Awamutu and have 2 teenage children.  When I’m not studying, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, cooking, gardening, and going for walks at the beach or bush.


Dahna Banks - 3rd Year Counselling Student

I am currently in my final year of completing a Bachelor of Counselling with Wintec.

I was fortunate to have completed my first year of placement in a High School as a student counsellor in 2022; providing a safe space for adolescents and teens to have a voice and speak to someone they trust, who will listen, advocate and enhance their overall well-being while supporting them to achieve their personal goals was extremely fulfilling.

I am a mum of 2 teenagers and have a strong desire and passion for supporting adolescents and young people. I am also a qualified massage therapist, love the outdoors, enjoy most sports, and am passionate about staying active and healthy; which I believe also benefits both mental and emotional well-being.



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