Our People


Our counselors are all members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.


Janet has been a counselor in community agencies since 2008. She particularly enjoys working with older people, and the life experience they bring to the challenges they face.
She is a long-time Wellington resident, having brought up a family here.
She has traveled widely and is interested in tramping, gardening, reading and spending time with family and friends.


Rosemary is a member of NZAC, a Wellingtonian and Kiwi by choice, and mother of two young adults.
She particularly enjoys leading WellElder groups and appreciates the strengths and resourcefulness older adults have in addressing late life issues. Before becoming a counselor she worked as a manager, mainly in the public service.


Sue has been a counsellor for over thirty years starting with Marriage Guidance and Family Court Counseling in Timaru. She completed her teaching career as a Secondary School Guidance Counsellor. Since moving to Wellington with her husband ten years ago to be close to three of their four children and ten of their thirteen grandchildren she has enjoyed the variety, challenges and the experience that older clients bring to counseling. She enjoys biking, swimming, and being part of two Wellington choirs.

Marie Donaldson

Marie has been a counsellor since 1995 and is also a supervisor offering both clinical and cultural supervision.

Marie currently works in private practice with individuals and couples. She is experienced in short and long term therapy having worked in addiction services, university, counselling centers and family violence agencies. Her specialist areas include depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, relationships, addiction, violence and gender/sexuality issues. Marie approaches counseling as a process where she can support her clients to find meaningful and workable ways to manage life's events. She values connection and aims to offer a neutral space where people can simply talk things out.

Marie is a parent of three children and enjoys gardening and outdoor activities.

WellElder Office


Uma is an experienced management professional and has worked in change, relationship, strategy and people management areas for twenty-five plus years. She works for the not for profile sector and public sector. She is committed to serving the not for profit sector with enthusiasm and energy. She is passionate about the need in community to support older people and the issue of isolation in society.

A natural problem solver and net-worker she believes authentic collaboration has positive outcomes. She is a life coach and enjoys coaching others to find their insights meaningfully. She serves on the board of Birthright Wellington.


Constanze comes from a background in publishing and working in different coordinator roles. After looking after her children she is now enjoying being part of the WellElder team. She lives in Newtown and has two children at Berhampore School. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors.

Board of Trustees

Board members volunteer their time to WellElder

DIANA O'NEILL (Chairperson)

Diana has many years of experience in the sport, recreation, and health sector.

Diana has had a passion for the health of older people since the early 1990's when, while working for the Hillary Commission for Recreation and Sport, she helped set up the Fifties Forward initiative which included a television series and implementation of physical activity programmes for older people throughout NZ. She was also involved with the Green Prescription (GRx) health initiative for 20 years from inception, including its transfer from Sport and Recreation NZ to the Ministry of Health in 2009.

Diana is a member of the NZ Association of Gerontology (NZAG) for many years including being a Board member at both regional and national levels. She joined the WellElder Board in 2018 and has been Chair since early 2020.

Diana's physical activity plan now includes walking, Tai Chi, aqua fitness, and cycling.


Verna has extensive experience in leadership roles in not-for-profit and community organizations, complemented by her past work as a registered social worker and academic. Her special interests over the years have been in the areas of ageing and dementia support. Now as an older woman, she loves the company of her family and friends and making the most of the many opportunities and challenges that ageing brings. Since becoming chair in 2014, Verna has committed her time to helping sustain and grow the strong base of affordable counseling services that WellElder offers to older people in the Wellington region.


Ann is Co-ordinator of Age Concern Wellington, providing support services to over 65s and liaising with other community groups.
She joined the WellElder board in 2010.
Her previous role (in the UK) was in recruitment, especially in the financial/banking sector.


A counselor for over 30 years, Jane is a Life Member of NZAC. She juggles her private practice with looking after her delightful grandson.
With a background in secondary and tertiary education, her passion is "helping people become the person they wish to be".
She joined the board in 2012.


Graham is a counselor and trainer with experience in education and in church ministry.
His interest in the counseling needs of older persons led him to join with others to start WellElder.
He has been the chairperson since the establishment committee first met until 2014.


A retired public servant, who worked mostly in policy and management roles in central government, tertiary education and in libraries. Chief interests are in organizational effectiveness and strategy, and how to build workplaces that are both humane and effective. He is supporting a 96 year old mother, and joined the board in 2015.


Kia ora, I am Daphne Pilaar, born and raised in Wellington to Dutch parents. I live in Newtown with my husband Keith and have 5 adult children and 3 grandchildren. I have spent most of my working life in education, as a primary school teacher, adult educator and facilitator of projects focused on improving the wellbeing of both young and old. I am an active member of Drama Christi - a community theatre, Crows feet - a women's dance collective with wonderful, wise and inspiring elders.


Bill worked as a trade union negotiator for eighteen years, followed by fifteen years in employment relations for various large organizations. He is retired and, like many in his position, does voluntary work for community groups. The provision of quality health support and service for older people is a vital need in our society and is a special interest for him. He joined the Board in 2015 and is committed to its aims and objectives.

Judy Glackin

Judy has a broad interest in older people's health and in-depth knowledge of how the government health sector works. She was for many years, Manager Health of Older People, in the Ministry of Health. She led the team that developed the initial Health of Older People Strategy. In her role as a programme manager, Older People's Wellness with ACC she did the development work on the nationwide programme, Live Stronger for Longer, which focuses on falls prevention for older people.

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