Mary Barker

Mary Barker has a PhD in art history. Her interests lie in early Christian art and the way in which art has been used to explain and even instruct theology.

Clare Barnett

Clare Barnett has a diverse background as a nurse, midwife, counsellor, professional supervisor, presenter and author.  She has a warm, collaborative and informative style, while providing a wealth of opportunities for learning and growth.

Mary Betz

Dr Mary Betz is currently writing, spiritual companioning and offering retreats. She has studied and worked in ecology, scripture, spirituality, adult faith education and social justice.  Her PhD explored women’s images of God. She enjoys engaging with people of all ages who have lots of questions. Mary has two grown daughters, and lives with husband Peter in the Titirangi bush.

Helen Bergin op

Helen Bergin is a Dominican sister who until recently has been teaching theology at The University of Auckland. She still maintains her theological interests by writing, giving occasional presentations and participating on several committees. She appreciates living near several other Dominican sisters in view of the Waitakere ranges.

Nic Birt

Originally from England, Nic Birt moved to NZ with his family in 2004. Employed as a Design Engineer in the building industry he has also been a Technology Teacher in Botswana and the Emirates. An appreciation and respect for history, culture and religious traditions encourages travelling to exotic and remote locations. Nic is also the draughtsman for the Bethsaida Archaeological Excavations of this ancient biblical site near the sea of Galilee

Margaret Bowater

Margaret Bowater is a long-experienced tutor, supervisor, dream facilitator, counsellor-therapist and co-founder of the Human Development and Training Institute. She is the author of Dreams and Visions – Language of the Spirit (1997), and “Healing the Nightmare – Freeing the Soul – A Practical Guide to Dreamwork” (2016); NZ’s Regional Rep for the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and a lifelong active Anglican. Margaret is interested in strengthening people’s inner resources for spiritual growth.

Xavier Braganza

A science teacher with a Masters in Science and Education, Xavier Braganza is a husband and father of four. Passionate about church and community, he is known for his entertaining skills and is a qualified music conductor with MCing and ballroom dancing among his talents.  Xavier is member of the Auckland Diocesan Committee of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations (ADCEIR) and together with Baptist Lobo, Richard Miranda and Xavier Braganza forms part of “The Good Guys”.

Eamon Butler

Eamon Butler was born and educated in Ireland.  At the age of 28 he felt a calling to become a lay missionary.  This led him to work as a volunteer with Mother Teresa in Kolkata, India. It was a life changing experience which Eamon later shared with many young people in schools.  He has studied philosophy theology, has a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling (Auckland), and has trained as a Spiritual Director with Spiritual Growth Ministries Aotearoa NZ

Cathlene Carter

Cathlene Carter is the gardener at Mercy Spirituality Centre, a position she has held since 2005. Cathlene studied horticulture in the 1980s and has been a gardener ever since.  Cathlene feels very blessed to have been involved in creating and maintaining the Centre’s outdoor environment for nearly 15 years, together with Sr Rita Vessey.  Cathlene is proud the garden works organically, encouraging the bees and contributing to the health of the planet.

Mary Catherwood rsm

Mary Catherwood is a Sister of Mercy living in Otautahi Christchurch. She is a team member at Rosary House Spiritual Life Centre where she facilitates retreats, prayer and spiritual awareness opportunities.  Her formation as a spiritual director was through Arrupe NZ and St Beuno’s in Wales. She has a Master of Spiritual Direction from the University of Divinity (Melbourne).

​Mark Chamberlain

Fr Mark Chamberlain is a priest of the Dunedin Diocese and is currently the pastor of the Dunedin North Pastoral Area. He is Chaplain to Dunedin Public Hospital, Mercy Hospital, University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic. For many years he has been offering Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian tradition and engaged in Retreat Ministry.  He is a Giver of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola and is part of Ignatian Spirituality New Zealand.

Marie Corbett

Marie Corbett is a Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor who lives and works in private practice in Orewa. Marie has twenty-five years’ experience made up of Couples counselling, Family Court mediation, Mental Health, and Hospice Family Support.  In the last six years Marie has studied and presented the Enneagram.  Training Marie has done with Enneagram Australia promotes the narrative tradition. People’s stories of their lives are told using Panel discussions, and this is where they bring the Enneagram to life.

Sarah Cooper is a mum of four who gratefully drinks from the stream of contemplative Christianity. When not changing nappies, she offers retreats and workshops to enable people to live lives that are deeply rooted, healed, and whole (visit FourQuartersWhole. com to see more). She has previously worked for churches in the UK and South Africa, and founded a New Monastic community in the UK, where she is originally from.

Joy Cowley

Joy Cowley describes herself as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and daughter of God. We in Aotearoa New Zealand know her also as a prolific writer of sacred psalms and poems and a much loved writer of children’s literature.

Marta Cullen was born in the Netherlands and came to Aotearoa/New Zealand almost 30 years ago.  She is married to John who works as an Osteopath.  Marta works as an early intervention teacher, visiting children with a disability in their own early childhood centres and/or at home. Marta loves reading and folk dancing, in particular Israeli folk dancing and sees this as her form of prayer and connecting with our Creator.

David Crawley has offered spiritual direction and supervision for around 20 years. He engages in this work at Te Ngakau Waiora most Fridays, and for the rest of the week teaches spiritual formation and pastoral care at Laidlaw College.  David is an ordained priest in his local Anglican church in Titirangi, is married to Sarah, and has three adult

children. He enjoys involvement with Spiritual Growth Ministries (, walking, music (especially jazz!) and good movies.

Bridget Crisp rsm

Bridget Crisp is a religious sister of Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa, Sisters of Mercy New Zealand.  Bridget returned to NZ at the end of May 2017 after working for a short time at the Mercy Global Action Desk at the United Nations in New York.  Bridget is the Mercy Global Action Co-ordinator for New Zealand and works part-time at Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand.  She is passionate about the Environment and Social Justice and has an academic background in Agriculture, Development Studies, Teaching and Theology.

Rangi Davis

Rangi Davis was brought up in the Bay of Islands.  Her mother steeped in Catholic traditions and Maori values, her father steeped in tikanga Maori flavoured with Anglican teachings.
After raising a big family and having been involved on several Trust Boards, she now works from her own private counselling practice. She loves life and the potential that the universe has in store for those who dare to make a difference

Hector de Souza

Married with two children, Hector de Souza is a student of German who loves to sing classical music. Born and raised in Mumbai, he migrated to Aotearoa in 2003. He is a chartered accountant who is passionate about gardening and holds a certificate in horticulture. Hector loves the outdoors and enjoys mentoring young people. He is a secular Franciscan and together with Baptist Lobo, Richard Miranda and Xavier Braganza forms part of “The Good Guys”.

Merv Duffy sm

Fr Merv Duffy is a lecturer in Theology and Acting

Principal at Good Shepherd College. He has lectured an Art History paper for Auckland University Summer School. He is co-author of Verguet’s Sketchbook: A Marist Missionary Artist in 1840s Oceania (ATF Press, 2015).

Mark and Trish Ebery

Mark and Trish Ebery live in Auckland and have been members of the Auckland RCIA team for a few years.  Mark has lived and worked in a number of countries and his career has included university lecturing and tutoring; senior positions in the Australian federal public service; and roles with North Shore City Council and Auckland Council.  Trish has worked extensively in the health field and works with babies and their families, specialising in infant feeding issues. Trish has a private practice in Auckland.

Kieran Fenn fms

Kieran Fenn is a Marist Brother.  He is a Bible Scholar and has taught the Scriptures in New Zealand and overseas for over 40 years.  Many of the resources in Scripture used by the The Catholic Institute (TCI) are his work, including that on Luke-Acts.  Brother Kieran is one of the presenters of the new Pop-Up Talks.

Fran Francis is an experienced spiritual director and retreat leader. She has a Masters in Ministry and 20 years or more in pastoral work in a local church. She is National Co-ordinator of the Spiritual Directors Formation Programme offered by Spiritual Growth Ministries. She has 25 years of experience in pastoral ministry and with Kris Telfer established their spiritual direction practice Solace Spiritual Direction. www.

Iain Gow

The Rev Iain Gow, born in South Africa, lived in

Switzerland, Guernsey, the United States, France, Belgium and the UK. He studied an MBA and also a MA in ethics and pastoral care. At thirty, Iain became an Anglican priest. Since coming to NZ, he worked as the chaplain at Kristin School and at the Hibiscus Hospice. Recently, he was director of Vaughan Park Retreat Centre. He trained as a spiritual director in NZ, and was co-founder of the Christian community Without Walls.

Sarah Hart

Sarah Hart—when not making music or studying the Bible is involved in New Zealand conservation projects. Within the Auckland diocese she has given workshops for the Liturgy Centre and taught biblical studies. Her book From Temple to Tent: From Real to Virtual World (Exodus 24:15—Numbers 10:28) was published in 2019. Currently she lectures at Good Shepherd College, Ponsonby.

Susan Healy

Susan Healy is a Pākehā New Zealander of Irish, English and Cornish ancestry. She has a long involvement in teaching and research on issues related to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and a particular interest in Christian involvement in the Treaty. She believes the more we study the Treaty relationship, the more we find of richness and challenge.

Ron Hepworth

For Ron Hepworth, story craft has been a lifelong passion, shaping and influencing his youth as he travelled to far off places. Storytelling became a part of Ron’s parenting and value system, becoming the core of his enquiries and interventions as a systemic family therapist. Ron found the beauty and wisdom of these stories took him into youth residential centres, prisons, maraes, community projects, high places within government ministries, the front line of eco activism and fun filled festivals. Storytelling continues to be a privilege and a pleasure for Ron, to see and feel these stories come to life within the listening.

Adriana Janus

Adriana Janus is a qualified Ignatian Spiritual Director with experience in retreats and individual spiritual direction. A giver of the Spiritual Exercises both in the ‘30 days’ and ‘Daily Life’ format, she has a background of working as a Pastoral Associate in parishes, and has worked in the Diocesan Liturgy and Pastoral and Evangelisation departments. Her qualifications include a BTheol and a certificate in the Ministry of Spiritual Direction from Ignatian Spirituality NZ.

Josh Jones

Rev. Josh Jones spent 25 years in a band as a full-time professional musician. In a time of life crisis, he had a deep spiritual experience and the ‘presence’ of God, which completely transformed the direction and journey of his life. Rev. Josh studied theology in Birmingham (UK) and became an Anglican Priest 9 years ago. He is
Co-Vicar at St George’s Epsom and is married to Kim, a Suicide Bereavement Specialist. The couple have 2 daughters, a dog and 2 cats.
Rev. Josh is currently writing a book on the power and mystery of music as ‘the language of the human soul’. 

Richard Kerr-Bell

Tēnā tatou te whānau whānui! Greetings to all. Ko Hūnoke te maunga, Hokianga te moana Waiwhatawhata te awa, Ngāti Wharara te Hapū, Ngāpuhi te iwi rātou ko Te Rarawa me Ngāti Kuri. Ko Richard Taka Kerr-Bell tōku ingoa. Born in Tokoroa of a dad who grew up in Rangi Point and mum a teacher from Rotorua, Richard spent 3 ½ years with the RNZAF before serving in the bakery of his uncle and aunty in Panmure and Tamaki (east Auckland) followed by a period of work and study completing tertiary qualifications. He has worked in the fields of teaching from secondary to tertiary education, counselling with the Department of Corrections, Family Court, private practice and secondary schools as well as many governance roles. He is currently the Mission Administrator with Whānau Mercy, the Sisters of Mercy.

Baptist Lobo

Born in Mangalore, Baptist Lobo was brought to Mumbai aged just 6 months. There he lived, was educated and worked.  Today he is a NZ qualified Chartered and Certified Public Accountant who is also a Distinguished Toastmaster. His interests include playing bridge, music and dance.  He is involved in his local parish and together with Baptist Lobo, Richard Miranda and Xavier Braganza forms part of “The Good Guys”.

Christopher Longhurst

Dr Christopher Longhurst holds a Doctorate summa cum laude in Theological Aesthetics, from the Pontifical Angelicum University, Rome. He worked as an educational officer (operatore didattico) at the Vatican Museums for several years before returning to New Zealand. Currently, he lectures in theology at Te Kupenga Catholic Theological College of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Rachel Marr

Rachel Marr was born profoundly deaf. She grew up in New Zealand and is married. Her husband is also deaf and they have two hearing sons.  She has been involved with the Deaf Community all of her life, and her first language is New Zealand Sign Language. She uses this form of communication every day in her home as well as at work.  She is currently employed as Pastoral Worker for the Deaf Community in the Catholic Diocese of Auckland. She is passionate about helping, supporting and caring for her Deaf Community.

Eric Matthews

Ko Te Reinga te maunga

Ko Waihou te awa

Ko Hokianga te moana

Ko Waihou-Nui-a-Rua te marae

Ko Te Rarawa te iwi

Eric Matthews is the Assistant Pastoral Worker to the Catholic Deaf Community of Auckland (alongside Rachel Marr) and identifies himself as Maori Deaf. He is actively involved with the Maori Deaf Community, Maori Community, general Deaf Community and Deaf Youth. He has strong ties to his Maori culture and

Deaf culture. His Catholic Faith has been a part of his life from his late grandparents who were strong Catholics from up north, Panguru. Eric also has some involvement with Te Unga Waka Marae in Epsom.

Beate Matthies

Beate Matthies is the manager of Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre. Beate has a background in linguistics, history of art as well as marketing and business.  Beate is member of the executive of ADCOSS (Auckland District Council of Social Services), ADCEIR (Auckland Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations), the Auckland Interfaith Council and is involved in her local community. 

Max Maxwell

Max Maxwell is a choir leader based in Auckland. He has had a love of music from the time he took piano

lessons as a young lad in Scotland and his passion lies in bringing people together to create community, harmony and rhythm through song, played or sung. Max sang with the Heaven Bent Gospel Choir for 7 years and led it for another 7 years, and has led regular evenings singing songs from Taizé and other spiritual traditions.

Rebecca McGinty

Rebecca McGinty is the mother of five children. Her life and work experience include midwifery, psychology, natural fertility education, and a range of community facilitator, coordinator and governance roles. Her passion is working within the community to educate and increase awareness around faith, family and the sanctity of life as gift. She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge on oils and connect them with God’s gift of Jesus Christ as Healer.

Richard Miranda

Born and raised in Mumbai, Richard Miranda migrated with his family to New Zealand in 2003.  They settled for the first few years on the South Island's West Coast which Richard loved. Family needs saw them move to Auckland where he is still able to pursue his passion for tramping, gardening, music and cooking. Richard is an active member of the Catholic community in Avondale and together with Baptist Lobo, Richard Miranda and Xavier Braganza forms part of “The Good Guys”.

Margi Montagu-Fryer

Margi Montagu-Fryer is a Registered Nurse who has specialised in aged care and education for 35 years. She was the Clinical Manager at Mercy Parklands Hospital in Ellerslie, Auckland for 9 years. Today, she is Nurse Manager of a care home on the North Shore.

Pip Nicholls

Pip Nicholls has been a member of the Aubert, Baxter, Merton, Kirk catholic lay community for forty years and has been interested and involved in contemplative spirituality since then. She is a Spiritual Companion, a member of the NZ Contemplative Network and in 2015 graduated from Richard Rohr’s Living School in Contemplation and Action.  In her work as a retreat facilitator she hopes to create environments where people can get in touch with their natural contemplative soul and have a deeper conscious relationship with the ‘stuff’ of their life and the life of the Divine Indwelling.  More can be read about what she offers on her website:

John O'Connor

Fr John O’Connor is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch and author of the project.

Lila O’Farrell

Lila O’Farrell is a specialist therapist in primary health care and private practice, with BA (Psychology), MA (Counselling Psychology) and MDiv (Interfaith Theology degrees). She is a doctoral candidate at AUT, Auckland. Lila has worked as both an interfaith hospice chaplain and therapist, has nourished her own meditation practise for thirty years, and has lived as an ordained monastic. She is committed to evidence informed, integrative and culturally safe practice.

Laetitia Puthenpadath

Laetitia is a member of Anashim Community, a group of vowed women in the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.  She has a Master’s Degree in Science which she taught at tertiary level. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education. She is trained to give the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.  Laetitia accompanies others as a spiritual director and retreat facilitator. Her special focus is Ignatian spirituality.

Kathleen Rushton rsm

Kathleen Rushton is a Sister of Mercy and lives in Otautahi Christchurch where she delights in her vegetable garden and in making sound biblical scholarship accessible and linked to everyday faith and spirituality. Her research and publications in the gospel according to John include the cosmology of the prologue, water, birth, harvest imagery and the implications for ecological and social justice today. She writes a monthly gospel reflection for Tui Motu. 

Chris Skinner

Fr Chris Skinner is a Marist priest, singer/songwriter and recording artist. He is involved with formation work at Marist Seminary and continues to share his music throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. He began recording his songs in 1990 and has 20 albums to his credit. Fr Chris has recently returned from a pilgrimage to Jordan and The Holy Land.

Alice Sinnott rsm

Alice M Sinnott, DPhil (Oxon), MA (Auckland), MTS (Chicago), Dip Tchg (NZ) is a native of Wexford, Ireland and a member of Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand. Alice lectures in biblical studies and at present is writing a book on the Book of Ruth for Sheffield/Phoenix Press. She specialises in biblical Wisdom literature, art and film.

Elizabeth Snedden rscj

Elizabeth Snedden is a Religious of the Sacred Heart, currently teaching Theology and Spirituality at Good Shepherd College in Ponsonby.  She received her Doctorate in Theology in Melbourne in 2012, and has recently published a study of the way human beings can come to understand and live out of their own desire for God, for total goodness, truth and love, called The Eros of the Human Spirit: The Writings of Bernard Lonergan, Paulist Press, 2017.

Kris has a nursing vocation and works at Starship Children’s hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.  She is involved in The Walk to Emmaus spiritual renewal ministry in New Zealand and also Faith Community nurses.  She prepares and leads retreats with Fran with a special emphasis on poetry and creating engaging prayer activities.  When she’s not doing these things, she’s taking photos, going for walks and thinking things up with Fran.

The Good Guys

Richard Miranda, Xavier Braganza, Hector de Souza and Baptist Lobo call themselves “The Good Guys”.  Together they broadcast their radio programme “Susegad Danpaar” which is targeted at the Kiwi Konkani community.  Konkani is the language of Goa, Mangalore, Karwar from South of Maharshtra to north of Kerala and is only spoken, rather than written, so radio is the perfect place to keep the language alive in the Kiwi Konkani community.

Louise Thompson

Louise Thompson has a nursing background and Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling.  Louise has worked in palliative care as a Counsellor and Bereavement Coordinator for the last 8 years with Mercy Hospice. In 2017 Louise’s passion in bereavement care lead her to complete her Master’s degree with a specific focus on bereavement service as offered by Mercy Hospice. Louise has also presented her research at the International Palliative Care Conference in Montreal Canada.

Steve Tollestrup

Steve Tollestrup is the former Executive Director of TEARFund, and elected member for Waitakere Ranges Local Board Auckland Council and a spiritual director. He has worked internationally in the context of poverty, violence and injustice as well as locally on environmental issues, homelessness, racism and unemployment. As a spiritual director he provides companioning for those working for social and environmental justice.

Rita Vessey rsm

Rita Vessey is a Sister of Mercy and Facilities Co-ordinator of Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre. For her, the garden is a wonderful place to share ever deepening insights and understandings of our interconnectedness with God and with all creation. 

Kevin Waldie sm

Fr Kevin Waldie is a Marist priest who has worked for three decades in the field of tertiary theological education. Currently he lectures in Biblical Studies at Good Shepherd College, Ponsonby. He also works as an external examiner and moderator for other tertiary institutes. He has a particular interest in modern ways of communicating the message of Holy Scripture. Fr Kevin, as a keen film-goer, finds that many a movie draws upon themes from the Bible.

Anne Warren chf

Anne Warren is a Sister of the Holy Faith.  She is a spiritual director, and she has studied and practised counselling in Auckland.  Anne has conducted workshops on Transition for many different groups of people, both overseas and in New Zealand and is experienced in accompanying people on the Retreat in Daily Life.

Jocelyn Watkin

Jocelyn Watkin is a qualified, premier instructor for the Tai Chi for Health Institute. She has been approved by Age Concern as a Community Group Strength & Balance Exercise provider.  She is qualified for teaching tai chi to seated students as well as those who prefer to stand. This programme is an initiative from the Accident Compensation Commission under their policy of “Live Stronger for Longer” and “Stay Stronger for Longer”

Cathryn Wiles-Pickard rsm

Cathryn Wiles-Pickard, a Sister of Mercy, is Kaiawhina at Mercy Spirituality Centre.  Cathryn taught for 20 years in Catholic Primary Schools; Religious Education Advisor for the Auckland Diocese; Sixteen years -Tribunal Office Catholic Church NZ. She has a Religious Education Diploma through the Australian Catholic University; Clinical Pastoral Education; Diploma of Tribunal Practice-Canon Law Society of Australia and NZ.  Cathryn is also a trained Spiritual Director. She facilitates days teaching the understanding and practice of Christian Meditation and leads the weekly Meditation Groups as well as retreats throughout the year.

Ocean Numan

After leaving New Zealand in his twenties, Ocean lived and worked in the UK for over 25 years. In a private capacity, he was past Chairman (12 years) of a medical research charity he founded, and past Chairman of the Jeans for Genes Trust (UK) national appeal which has now raised over 30 million pounds towards pioneering research into genetic disorders. More recently he has been a Teaching Elder on Richard Rohr’s men’s “Rites of passage” programme. In his free time, Ocean describes himself as a “poetry busker”.

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Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre is a work of Nga Whaea Atawhai Sisters of Mercy Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te Ngakau Waiora Mercy Spirituality Centre
104 The Drive, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand
00 64 (0) 9 638 6238