We believe that everyone has the right to a healthy home and the potential to live well.
Housing is a fundamental human right
Insufficient housing supply and the increasing cost of private rentals have contributed to more people struggling to find and keep a home. This greatly impacts our most vulnerable people, who have fewer options available to them.
We believe everyone has the right to a healthy home and the potential to live well. That belief underpins everything we do for the people in our communities.
LinkPeople is a community housing provider that works with people who need support to find a home, keep a home and live well. We offer a range of solutions and supports following the Housing First philosophy, because we know that having a stable and suitable home is the foundation of a person’s wellbeing.
Our priority is to help people find permanent housing and work with them to ensure they can access the health, social and wellbeing support they need to live well. We offer practical support and advice to help people be good tenants and neighbours who are active and involved in their community.
We want people to stay housed, so we also support people whose tenancy is at risk to identify and solve the problems that are impacting on their housing and wellbeing.
LinkPeople couldn’t do this without our strong community relationships with landlords, property investors, services and organisations. We work together to create connections and be part of the solution to New Zealand’s housing crisis.
Together, we make a difference.
People are at the centre of everything we do.
LinkPeople is a community housing provider
Having a home and successfully navigating social services are both important for a person’s health and wellbeing. In 2016, Keys Social Housing and Linkage teamed up to become LinkPeople, a name that describes exactly what we do.
Today LinkPeople is a registered community housing provider. We have our own housing that we support people to live in, and we also help people access other social housing or properties in the private rental market. Once people are housed, we connect them with the support systems they need to live well and flourish in their home.
Looking to the future, we are champions of system change to address New Zealand’s housing crisis. Our vision is a New Zealand where everyone has equitable access to a healthy home, as the foundation for wellbeing.
LinkPeople is part of Wise Group, one of the largest providers of mental health and wellbeing services in New Zealand. Making a difference is in our DNA.
Our board members
Julie is joint chief executive of the Wise Group and has been instrumental in growing the organisation from one employee to over one thousand people who work nationwide to help those with mental illness live great lives. Julie has vast knowledge and experience in the areas of governance, infrastructure services, leading complex services and development of solutions.
Julie is a strong advocate for quality housing and effective wrap-around support services for our most vulnerable people. Julie is proud of the pioneering role she has played in bringing Housing First to New Zealand through the establishment of The People’s Project, and for providing support to the Housing First Auckland collective.
Julie is regarded as an authentic leader who engages deeply with people and builds strong enduring relationships.
Bruce Sheridan has been involved with the Wise Group since it began more than 20 years ago. He is on the boards of various charitable trusts, NGO, and commercial enterprises. For many years he was a partner in accounting firm KPMG, acting as a business advisor.
He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Bruce also chairs the Wise Trust Board.
Hine Martin has worked within the Wise Group for the last eleven years in operational and strategic management roles. Hine holds a Master of Public Health and has an extensive background in community and workforce development. Areas of research and work experience include health indicators, health outcomes, healthy public policy, Māori health and the social determinants of health.
Hine is committed to work which influences the economic and social conditions among vulnerable populations and to reduce inequalities in health status.
Paul Bennett is currently CEO of Braemar Hospital Ltd. He has strategic and operational oversight of one of the largest private surgical hospitals in New Zealand. He has recently led a three stage $60million land acquisition and hospital construction project.
Paul has held CEO or general manager positions in several different industries, both profit and not-for-profit, in New Zealand and Australia. His experience covers plastic manufacturing and exporting, the export meat industry, public and private health sectors, and the cordage industry.
Paul’s governance roles in the health sector include: Chair of Enrich+, Chair of Work Outcomes GP Ltd and Trustee of Spectrum Energy.
Paul is the Deputy Chairman of the Waikato branch of the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors.
Penny has been a councillor and local body elected member for the last 27 years. She served as deputy mayor for Waitakere City and then deputy mayor for the newly amalgamated Auckland council for six years.
She has been closely involved in city planning and development of housing policy chairing a variety of committees responsible for these areas.
Penny has also been a member of the Auckland Housing First governance group, and was appointed to the board of Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) in January 2020.
Dr Polly Atatoa Carr
Polly is a Public Health Physician within Child and Youth Health at Waikato District Health Board, Associate Professor of Population Health at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) at the University of Waikato, and National Director of Training for the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.
Polly’s career to date focuses on the broader determinants of population health and equity, particularly for tamariki and rangatahi/mapū. Access to appropriate, secure, sustainable, stable and quality housing is one of these critical wellbeing influences.
Within her governance, academic and clinical roles, Polly supports strategic opportunities to achieve, measure and monitor health equity. She manages a number of research and practice leadership roles in the health and housing sectors, as well as research partnerships with other government sectors, non-government agencies, community and whānau.
Polly is passionate about developing robust evidence to support population health and policy translation, and is committed to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, equity, social justice and community empowerment.
Our leadership team
Fiona has almost 20 years’ experience in research, programme management and leadership across a range of sectors including the Waitangi Tribunal claim process, mental health workforce development and Housing First.
Fiona spent two years as programme lead at Housing First Auckland before becoming LinkPeople’s chief executive in October 2019. Fiona led and fronted the first Auckland-wide Point-in-Time count, Ira Mata, Ira Tangata, and led the development of the governing group for the Auckland collective working with mana whenua, local government and Ministries and departments such as Housing, Social Development, Health and Justice.
Tom Caukwell has a background in mental health – with six years working in the mental health sector – and has worked for LinkPeople since 2013. He has led the Housing First service delivery in South Auckland since 2017. Tom is studying towards a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business at Massey University, majoring in social policy and management. With a passion for people and influencing positive systems change, Tom was appointed as the regional manager for LinkPeople Auckland in January 2020.
Ko Pureora te Maunga, Ko Waikato te Awa, Ko Tainui te Waka, Ko Rereahu te Iwi
Michelle Tiriana-Bishop joined LinkPeople in July 2017 to lead the housing team in Rotorua. With the rapid growth of service provision, in January 2020 she was appointed regional manager, with oversight of the tenancy, housing and health teams in the Taupō, Rotorua and Tauranga areas.
Michelle has almost 20 years’ experience working in the social housing sector, including 16 years with Housing New Zealand. She has held various tenancy related roles and spent four years in a community development position working with vulnerable communities. Michelle has strong community and agency connections and prides herself on leading a team who share her genuine passion for peopleand always having them at the centre of everything they do.
Jim came to LinkPeople in early 2017 from the social housing, strategic purchasing team at the Ministry of Social Development. Prior to this, Jim was the national operations manager for tenancy services within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment managing the dispute resolution services across the country along with tenancy advice and education. He has previously worked in leadership and management roles in Pathways, Inland Revenue and mental health services.
Jim is based in Wellington, overseeing Taranaki, Whanganui, Wellington and Christchurch.
Stephen Hunt joined LinkPeople in July 2021, bringing with him an extensive range of experience from the local government and the charity sectors. This experience includes leading local government teams responsible for strategy, policy, asset management, procurement, project management and governance. He also spent three years as the New Zealand CEO of an international charity.
Stephen has an LLB (Hons) and a B Soc Sc from The University of Waikato, as well as a Grad Dip Bus (Admin) from The University of Auckland.
Van joined LinkPeople in 2019, initially providing clinical and team leadership to the housing, navigation and Ahikāroa coordination service before being appointed as regional manager in 2020.
Since beginning her career in the mental health and disability sector in Scotland over 15 years ago, Van has held roles as an inpatient and community occupational therapist, clinical lead and project manager. She has a keen interest in developing services and teams that create positive systems change and is passionate about ensuring the people we support are at the heart of what we do.
Van holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in psychology and a Master of Science in occupational therapy.