Governance and leadership

Find out how Red Cross is structured, meet our senior leadership team and Board members


Members make up our local branches and groups. Members also come together to form our area councils. Area councils from each region have representatives at National Council. The National Council elects our National Board, which governs our organisation.


Along with governance, the National Board also appoints our Secretary General. Our Secretary General appoints staff, who support members as they volunteer, deliver services, raise money and promote the work we do. Our National Youth Panel represent a youth perspective at a governance level.

Board Members

Kerry Nickels - President of New Zealand Red Cross

Kerry has a legal background and has held legal, governance and commercial roles in retail, utilities and financial businesses, the most recent being the General Counsel and Company Secretary for The Warehouse Group. Prior to joining the National Board, Kerry was Chair of New Zealand Red Cross Auckland Area Council.

Pip Stewart - National Vice President

With qualifications in nursing, public health and business, Pip’s background is in operational service delivery and senior and executive management, including as a New Zealand Red Cross international delegate. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Brackenridge Services Ltd in Christchurch, supporting people with intellectual disabilities and autism, and is on the Board of the NZ Disability Support Network.

Sarita Love - Youth Representative

Sarita joined New Zealand Red Cross in 2013 as a Disaster Welfare Support Team member and has since been involved in many Red Cross activities, including as Chair of the National Youth Panel, Otago Area Council member, Dunedin Branch member and a soprano in the Dunedin-based New Zealand Red Cross Choir. Sarita works for Dunedin Kindergartens as an administrator and loves that no two days are ever the same - something that can also be said for being a volunteer of New Zealand Red Cross.

Patrick Cummings

Patrick is a former long-serving senior staff member of New Zealand Red Cross from 1993 to 2016, including as a Regional Director, National Retail Manager and Acting National Fundraising Manager. Prior to joining the National Board, he was Chair of our Waikato Area Council. He has also had governance experience in the philanthropic and educational sectors.

John Dyer, NZGD

John initially joined New Zealand Red Cross in 2001 as a member of the Central Region Board. After his deployment to Indonesia as a New Zealand Red Cross international delegate in 2005, he worked for the IFRC in Geneva until September 2016. He joined the National Board in October 2017.

Sue Ineson, QSM

Sue has extensive experience in the non-profit sector, having held various governance and senior roles in several organisations. Sue was previously a New Zealand Red Cross branch member, Area Council representative and the Board Chair of Refugee Trauma Recovery, which is now part of New Zealand Red Cross.

Warren Johnstone

Warren is a qualified chartered accountant and is currently the Managing Partner and Senior Audit Partner at BDO Christchurch. He joined the National Board in October 2017.

Wendy Lau

Wendy has been a member of New Zealand Red Cross since 2014 and lives in Auckland. Trained as a chartered accountant, Wendy has held risk, governance and strategy roles in financial services and consulting. 

Scott Tambisari

Scott works for Sport Tasman in a senior leadership position alongside his governance roles. He was previously President of New Zealand Red Cross Nelson Branch, Deputy Chair of our Tasman/Marlborough Area Council and Deputy Chair of our National Youth Panel before joining the National Board in November 2016 and Foundation in February 2019.

Meet our Secretary General

Sarah (Norm) Stuart-Black QSO

Sarah joined New Zealand Red Cross as Secretary General in December 2020. 

Prior to her current position, she held the statutory role of Director Civil Defence Emergency Management in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its predecessor, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, leading over 50 emergencies affecting New Zealand. Sarah also supported legislative and policy change processes as well as implementation of key strategic capabilities, including the Emergency Mobile Alert system and the New Zealand Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoys network. She originally joined the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management in 2003 and held a number of different roles during her time with the Ministry.  

Sarah has brought a range of skills from working at an executive level nationally and internationally. She gained diverse international experience working in England, Ethiopia, Niue and the Solomon Islands.

Sarah was a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team for nine years and has represented New Zealand at a variety of international fora, bilateral, regional and global meetings, exercises and forums. She has published a number of papers in international journals and has co-edited three books.

Sarah is known by her nickname ‘Norm’, which is derived from her maiden name ‘Norman’.

Executive Leadership Team

Shane Chisholm - General Manager Engagement and Enterprise

Shane Chisholm joined New Zealand Red Cross in 2016 as General Manager Communications, Marketing and Fundraising and during this time was seconded to the role of Strategy Delivery Manager to lead the development of Strategy 2030.

With a background in the financial sector, Shane has had a professional career that spans the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.

Shane was responsible for national customer service delivery at Housing New Zealand. He has also worked for The Salvation Army as the Territorial Public Relations Director responsible for brand management and marketing, and for national fundraising programmes. Shane brings a broad range of skills and experience including strategy development, communications and marketing, and innovation and change facilitation.

Shane moved into the new role of General Manager Engagement and Enterprise on 1 February 2022.

Fiona Ross - General Manager People Experience and Support

Fiona Ross joined New Zealand Red Cross as General Manager People Experience and Support on 1 February 2022 having worked most recently as lead for the Government’s Joint Venture for Family Violence and Sexual Violence. In this role, Fiona built a team and established relationships between the New Zealand government and Tangata Whenua, communities and the family violence and sexual violence sectors. This supported the development of New Zealand’s first national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, Te Aorerekura.

Prior to this, Fiona’s role at the Treasury saw her build cross-agency collaboration, increase investment into social services and develop a policy framework to help generate higher living standards. Fiona has many years of experience working on not-for-profit boards, including on issues of sexual violence, disability and women’s participation.

Sean Stewart - General Manager Emergency Management and International

Sean Stewart joined New Zealand Red Cross as General Manager Emergency Management and International on 1 February 2022 having proudly served for 34 years in the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). Sean left the NZDF as a Navy Captain, having been awarded operational service medals for Bougainville, East Timor, Solomon Islands and Middle East peace support and humanitarian operations. He has also served overseas in Penang, Malaysia and in Washington DC. His operational service at sea culminated in the command of the HMNZS Canterbury.

Sean has worked closely with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (now known as the National Emergency Management Agency) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other agencies involved in emergency management here in New Zealand and in the Pacific.

Sue Price – General Manager Migration (Acting)

Sue Price joined New Zealand Red Cross in 2013 as Southland Area Manager. Since then, she has been the Humanitarian Services Manager for Otago Southland and National Migration Manager. She is currently Acting General Manager Migration.

Sue co-led the setup of the New Zealand Red Cross refugee settlement locations in Dunedin, Invercargill, Christchurch and Blenheim and has advised on the setup of Levin and Masterton.

Sue has qualifications and experience in the education and public health sectors, having worked as a classroom teacher, a health promoter and a youth work manager prior to her roles at New Zealand Red Cross.

Alexandra Pierard, Director, Office of the Secretary General

Alex Pierard joined New Zealand Red Cross in May 2022 after nearly two decades working as a public servant in the foreign policy and security sectors.

Most recently, Alex managed a team in the Ministry of Defence responsible for advising Ministers on New Zealand’s international deployments, defence relationships and international interests.

Prior to that, she worked for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including on postings overseas. In Wellington she has held positions working on Pacific, climate change, United Nations, North Asia, human rights, international development and trade and economic issues. She has represented New Zealand off-shore in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora. In previous roles she has worked very closely with agencies and organisations involved in emergency response and humanitarian relief. 

Alex has a Master’s Degree in Political Studies from the University of Auckland and speaks Mandarin Chinese. 

Governance Documents

Board charter (PDF)
Code of conduct for members and volunteers (PDF)
New Zealand Red Cross Constitution (2013) (PDF)