New Zealand Red Cross has today welcomed its new Secretary General, Niamh Lawless.

Staff and Board members gathered for a pōwhiri at National Office this morning to officially welcome Ms Lawless to the Red Cross whānau.

Ms Lawless brings a wealth of experience to her new role as Secretary General. She began her career as a chartered accountant and has since worked around the world, including within international aid development in Africa and as Deputy Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand. Her most recent role was Chief Executive of Scouts New Zealand.

At the pōwhiri, Ms Lawless said she was delighted to be starting the role. Growing up near the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland had shown her the impact conflict could have on communities, so it was an honour to join Red Cross, an international organisation committed to making a difference in people’s lives, she said.

“I’m eager to embark on this journey and I look forward to working with staff, members and volunteers around the country.

“A real focus will be building on our strong, united team and working with like-minded people and organisations across New Zealand and around the world.”

Board member Chris Batten said he felt privileged to welcome the new Secretary General and, although there were challenges ahead, he looked forward to working together.

Ms Lawless takes on the role after former Secretary General Tony Paine resigned in December 2016.