Structure and leadership

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

Governance Documents

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


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:

  • Jennifer McMahon, National President
  • Jeremy Talbot
  • Kerry Nickels
  • Mat Darling
  • Pip Stewart
  • Scott Tambisari
  • Warren Johnstone
  • John Dyer

Executive Leadership team:

  • Niamh Lawless - Secretary General
  • Anne Smith - GM Commercial and Shared Services
  • Kate Jones - GM International
  • Rachel O'Connor - GM Migration
  • Angela Sutherland - GM Disaster Risk Management
  • Shaun Greaves - GM Humanitarian Development
  • Shane Chisholm - GM Communications, Marketing and Fundraising

Meet our Secretary General and President

Niamh Lawless joined New Zealand Red Cross in June 2017 as our Secretary General

Originally from Ireland, Niamh along with husband Stuart moved to New Zealand thirteen years ago and is happily settled in Wellington. Niamh (pronounced ‘Neve’) holds New Zealand and Irish citizenship.

In her most recent role as Chief Executive of SCOUTS New Zealand Niamh led the development of a 10 year strategic plan. She influenced significant positive cultural change, which resulted in a Scouting Movement of volunteers and staff working together as ‘One Team’.  

Prior to SCOUTS New Zealand, Niamh began her career as a chartered accountant. She went on to hold a variety of leadership roles in not-for-profit and government organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Her roles include international aid development work in Africa and she was Deputy Chief Executive for Barnardos New Zealand. 

Niamh Lawless, Secretary General of New Zealand Red Cross

Dr Jennifer McMahon has been National President of New Zealand Red Cross since 2012

Jenny started her journey with Red Cross as part of our international programme. While working as an intensive-care nurse in Wellington, Jenny heard that Red Cross needed senior nurses to assist on the Thai-Kampuchea border. She left for her first mission in 1983, seconded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), assisting in a surgical hospital.

Since then, she has worked in some of the world’s most demanding locations, including Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and many more. Some of her work has focused on assessing children’s nutritional needs, while implementing and evaluating programmes.

Jenny is a registered general and obstetric nurse, registered midwife and nutritionist. She has a PhD in human nutrition. She has been a company director since 2001 and has extensive experience in governance. Before Jenny became National President of New Zealand Red Cross in 2012, she served as a national board member for two years and on a former Regional Board prior to this.

Dr Jenny McMahon, National President of New Zealand Red Cross