Meet our team

Our Taituarā team is made up of some pretty amazing people with great skills, keen to help promote innovation and excellence in local government management enabling local government to better serve their local communities.

Seán Mahoney

    Acting Chief Executive / General Manager, Sector Performance

Seán oversees the development, maintenance and dissemination of the knowledge base and the delivery of leadership development across the sector.

Seán is a passionate advocate and believer in the role of local government and the benefits it can bring to our daily lives and wellbeing. He has worked for several local authorities in a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Seán holds a BA Hons in Government, is a qualified accountant with postgraduate qualifications in management and communications, and is a Resource Management Commissioner. Seán recently completed a Masters in Public Policy, researching 'How New Zealand’s Directly Elected Mayors get things done' – a shortened version of which was published in Policy Quarterly.

Outside of work, Seán spends time being second favourite parent to his two dogs, running, reading, and playing squash (all very badly).

Lisa Rountree

    Executive Assistant

Lisa joined Taituarā in July 2022 as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive. Lisa’s role is to provide support to the Chief Executive, General Manager System Capability and General Manager Strategy & Reform.

Previously she worked in central government with her last roles at the Ministry of Education and as Executive Assistant to the first Chief Executive of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Outside of work, Lisa likes to spend time with her family and animals, reading and spending as much time at the beach as possible.

Raymond Horan

    Chief Advisor

Raymond re-joined Taituarā in June 2014 as Sector Improvement Manager, before commencing his current role as Chief Advisor at Taituarā. He has spent most of the last 20 years in local government related roles, most recently with the Department of Internal Affairs.

He describes his job as two-thirds providing assistance to the local government sector and one-third providing advice to central government on local government matters. His ambition is to help develop a Local Government Act that doesn’t require changes every 18 months. He asks that you wish him well with this task.

Rebecca Moore

    General Manager, Corporate Services

Bex is our General Manager, Corporate Services and brings with her over 12 years of experience working in similar financial and administrative roles.

Her background is in the implementation of financial accounting systems, the development of business processes, and establishing quality business analytics and monthly reporting.

Bex has a passion for facts and figures and enjoys to providing seamless financial support to the Taituarā team.

Kathryn Ross

    General Manager, Strategy and Reform

Kath is a highly experienced local government leader and manager, with 25 years’ experience in local and central government, including regional (Northland), city (Wellington) and district (Masterton and Far North) councils, the Environment Agency (England and Wales) and a stint at LGNZ. She is a passionate, dedicated public servant that has led teams covering the full range of local government responsibilities, including: strategic and district planning and policy; finance, risk, infrastructure and asset management; governance; communications, events and marketing; and community, social and economic development.

Kath holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Bachelor of Arts (History and Politics) from Victoria University of Wellington and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law and Management from the University of Wales.

Sheryl Bryant

    Manager Workforce Leadership

Sheryl joined Taituarā at the start of 2023 bringing over 30 years of experience in local government, with over 18 of those years in as a senior manager leading human resources, governance, planning, policy & strategy, strategic relations, marketing & communications, events, legal, and business assurance.

Sheryl has a strong commitment to local government having been involved in Taituarā over a number of years serving on the executive board, chairing the recruitment & retention working party, and more recently chairing the corporate planning reference group.

Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Education and post-graduate qualifications in planning and human resources. She is also certified as a resource management commissioner.

Susan Haniel

    Senior Advisor, Sector Performance

Susan is a Senior Advisor with nine years’ experience in local government. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington, and her expertise lies in democracy, governance, and regulation which she has honed through working at Taituarā and Hutt City Council.

Susan is known for being open to new ideas which she uses to provide high quality analysis and advice on issues affecting local communities and local authorities. Currently, she is working in Sector Performance, where she is dedicated to improving elections, democracy, and regulatory matters by providing best practice advice and advocacy to support local government staff.

Susan worked as a Registered Nurse in her previous career which shaped her professional journey for collaborative problem-solving and the ability to draw on a range of expertise to achieve shared goals.

In her free time, Susan enjoys biking and playing her guitar which she finds fun, plus they have the added bonuses of keeping her fitness up and being creative.

Annie Bond

    Events Manager

Annie joined the communications team at Taituarā in February 2022.

Annie has previously worked in membership, communications, events, and training roles. She is excited to learn about a new industry and put her passion for organising to good use. She prides herself on working hard, while keeping energy levels high, and values learning and development for all. She is putting in the mahi to improve her use of te reo Māori.

Annie enjoys running (trails are her favourite), mountain biking, live music (and having a dance), road trips, beautiful skies, reading thrillers, bourbon(!), and adventures with friends.

Benjamin Swale

    Advisor, Brand and Channels Management

Ben joined Taituarā in November 2020 and is responsible for maintaining our website and social media as well as compiling email newsletters and other publications.

Ben has previously worked in language education, tourism and cultural events management. He is currently studying public sector communication in his spare time and has been excited to discover just how much of a difference local government makes to the lives of all New Zealanders.

His interests include doing conservation work, classical music, China, exploring new places, keeping fit and spending time in the outdoors.

Lauren Hourigan

    Advisor, Membership and Events

Lauren joined Taituarā as the Advisor, Membership and Events when she moved from Greater Wellington Regional Council in November 2020.

Previously she worked for Accor Hotels before going on to gain a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resource Management & Employment Relations from Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington. Lauren's passionate about productivity and believes that people are at the heart of everything we do.

Outside of work, Lauren loves travelling with friends and family, reading and spending time with her animals.

Victoria Sidaway

    Advisor, Accounts and Systems

Victoria joined us in November 2020 as our Advisor, Accounts and Systems. She is responsible for administrating the LGJobs vacancy board and the Discussion Groups, as well as being a point of call for general accounts queries and monthly reporting.

Victoria’s background is in providing reception duties and administrative support within the financial services industry. She is passionate about providing superb customer service and seamless support to the sector.

In her spare time she loves spending time with friends and family.

Jen Coatham

    Advisor, Strategy and Reform

Jen is an Advisor in the Strategy and Reform team. Jen’s role focuses on the upcoming reforms to the local government sector, particularly in the resource management space. Jen’s interests include climate change, good governance, and community wellbeing.

Before moving to Taituarā, Jen worked at Dunedin City Council in the sustainable transport space. Prior to that Jen completed a BA/LLB at Otago University and spent five years advocating for climate solutions with Generation Zero.

In her spare time, Jen enjoys longboarding, baking, and trying all the wonderful eateries Wellington has to offer.

Jon Gabites

    Senior Advisor, Strategy and Reform

Nō Wēra me Kotirana oku tīpuna
E tipu ake au ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Ko tangata Tiriti ahau
Ko Jon Gabites tōku ingoa

Jon is a Senior Advisor in the Strategy and Reform team. He is passionate about citizenship and active communities, enabling families and communities to thrive and determine their own quality of life outcomes.

Jon has had various roles in a local government context, having worked in the sport and recreation, community development and environmental policy space for over 20 years. More recently he had the privilege of working at Te Arawhiti building Māori-Crown relations capability across the public sector.

His personal interests include spending time with friends and family and connecting with nature. He has an interest in water-based activities and is passionate about promoting water quality and safety in and around Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Maria Northcott

    Manager, Programmes