Te Riu – our senior leaders

The Oranga Tamariki senior leadership team oversees the Ministry's strategic direction.

Tumu Whakarae - Chief Executive

Chappie Te Kani

Chappie was appointed Secretary for Children and Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki in December 2022. Previously he had been Acting in the role since 2021.

Before this (2020-2021), Chappie was Head of System Assurance and Continuous Improvement (Covid-19 response) at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

For four years from 2017, he was Assistant Commissioner at the Public Service Commission. He was Acting Chief Executive Te Arawhiti in 2020 and Acting Chief Executive Ministry of Pacific Peoples in 2017.


Tumu Tuarua: Te Tuku Ratonga - DCE Service Delivery

Rachel Leota

Rachel joined Oranga Tamariki on 12 September 2022, as Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery, which covers all frontline services delivered for Oranga Tamariki including Care and Protection and Youth Justice. Rachel brings significant skills, experience, and a passion for making a difference to her role. Prior to this, Rachel has held roles at Ara Poutama Department of Corrections as the National Commissioner overseeing operations of all prison and community corrections and Acting Deputy Chief Executive Finance, Planning and Assurance.

Rachel is of Fijian heritage. She is married and has 2 sons.

Tumu Tauwhiro - Chief Social Worker

Peter Whitcombe

Peter joined Child, Youth and Family in 2001, beginning in residential services in Ōtautahi. He moved to supervise a Care and Protection team and then took up the South Island Executive Manager role. Since then Peter has worked as a site manager, Director of the Canterbury Children’s Team, Youth Justice Regional Manager and a General Manager responsible for the 5 youth justice residences. Peter led the creation of the first National Strategic Partnership between Oranga Tamariki and Ngāi Tahu and was responsible for the development and early implementation of the National Care Standards. In April 2022 he was appointed Te Tumu Tauwhiro. Peter is a registered Social Worker.

Tumu Tuarua: Te Kounga o te Mahi me ngā Wheako - DCE Quality Practice & Experiences

Nicolette Dickson

Nicolette is a registered social worker with more than 20 years social work practice and leadership experience. Although Nicolette comes from South Auckland, most of her practice was in Te Tai Tokerau, first as a health and mental health social worker. She joined Child Youth and Family in 2003, initially working mainly in Youth Justice before moving into a range of site, regional, and national roles.

Nicolette was appointed as the Central Auckland Regional Manager when Oranga Tamariki was established in 2017. She joined the Professional Practice Group as General Manager Practice in 2019.

Tumu Tuarua: Ngāi Māori, Te Kōtuinga, me ngā Hapori - DCE Māori Partnerships & Communities

Darrin Haimona

Darrin Haimona's (Tainui, Ngaati Hauāa) previous Oranga Tamariki roles include Chief Advisor Māori and Deputy Chief Executive Tamaki Advocate Group.

He is also Chief Executive of Te Hauora O Ngati Haua Trust of Waharoa and Chair of Te Ope Koiora o Waikato Tainui, a collective of Whānau Ora providers. He led the development of E Tu Whānau, a response to combat family violence, and created Kia Rangatira Te Mahi.

He is a member of the Creative New Zealand Arts Council and was Chair of Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

Tumu Tuarua: Te Arataki Pūnaha - DCE System Leadership

Phil Grady

Before joining the Oranga Tamariki senior leadership team in 2022, Phil worked for the Ministry of Health, first as Acting Group Manager: Mental Health Specialist Services, then as Acting Deputy Director General, Mental Health and Addictions. He has also worked for the Waikato District Health Board in a series of directorial roles.

From 2016-2019, Phil was the CEO of Central Kids: Kindergartens & Early Learning Centres. He has also been the CEO of Odyssey Trust. Phil is a registered nurse and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Tumu Tuarua: Te Tangata te Ahurea me ngā Ratonga Whakatutuki Mahi - DCE People Culture & Enabling Services

Caz Anderson

Caz was appointed as DCE People, Culture & Enabling Services in November 2022.

Before joining Oranga Tamariki, she was Executive Director, People Capability for New Zealand Police. Caz’s previous role was Chief of Staff, and she served in operational, strategy and policy roles, including working as private secretary for 2 Ministers of Police. She worked for NZ Police for over a decade and has also spent time at the Ministry of Justice.

Director Office of the Chief Executive

Jane Fletcher

Jane has been at Oranga Tamariki since 2019. Before being appointed to the role of Director Office of the Chief Executive she held the positions of Acting Deputy Chief Executive Governance and Engagement, and Director of the Review Management Programme.

In 2016, Jane became a member of the Waitangi National Trust Board. Jane’s previous roles include 8 years at the Office of Treaty Settlements (now Te Arawhiti) negotiating historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Senior Justice Advisor (Private Secretary) to the Minister of Justice and Principal Advisor to the Chief Executive for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

DCE Transformation

Tusha Penny

Before she became Deputy Chief Executive Transformation, Tusha (Ngāti Porou) worked for NZ Police for 30 years. She worked in frontline roles and later led significant programmes for change. Tusha has a background in child protection investigation and leadership. This expertise was integral as she identified and drove change in how NZ Police responds to child abuse. In 2011, she became the first National Manager of Child Protection and Sexual Violence for NZ Police. This was followed by a promotion to National Manager Prevention. Later, she was the Senior Responsible Owner in the Firearms Reform and BuyBack scheme. She also led the Frontline Safety Improvement Programme.

Transitional Associate DCE Services for Children

Deanne (Dee) McManus-Emery

He uri ahau no Waikato, no Ngati Patu Poo, no Ngati Whaatua ki Kaipara, no Ngapuhi  hoki.

Dee has over 27 years working in the public sector and comes from a social work practice background. She has worked for NZ Police, Te Puni Kōkiri, Waikato District Health Board, Housing New Zealand, Ministry for Social Development, Raupatu Lands Trust, and Hamilton City Council prior to being appointed as Regional Manager - South Auckland Service for Children and Families. In 2018, she took on the Regional Manager - Waikato role. Dee has extensive operational leadership experience, leading large operational teams that are geographically dispersed.

Pou Tikanga

Doug Hauraki

Originally appointed as Pou Tikanga in March 2021, Doug’s title is Tumu Tikanga. Doug has worked with, and around, the public sector for over 54 years. He has held numerous senior leadership positions, including chief executive of what is now Te Matatini, and the Māori Education Trust. Doug has a BA and Diploma in Social Work from Victoria University, and is a licenced interpreter of Te Reo Māori.

He is the Oranga Tamariki te ao Māori cultural leader and is responsible for supporting the Ministry in lifting its cultural competence and confidence.

Published: November 24, 2023