More about

Who we are

Who we are

CSS is the Social Services agency of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin and as such provide a caring and supportive environment based on respect for all who seek our assistance.

Our key areas of specialty are:

  • Strengthening relationships and families
  • Helping kids feel loved and safe
  • Inspiring parents with new ideas
  • Exploring options to manage life’s challenges
  • Helping your voice get heard
  • Addressing the issues of trauma and emotional pain
  • Connecting people with other people and the resources in our communities

Our Aim

“Working together to live life well” – “Mahi tahi tatou : ka ora tahi tatou”

This statement reminds us that to achieve our purpose of supporting well-being for all, we need to work together as clients, professionals and community. What this means is that our practice is to build a partnership with our clients and other professionals that supports positive change and recognises the value and abilities of the people that come to us for assistance.

Our Vision

“All people living life well: connected, confident, and flourishing”

Our Mission

To care for, empower, and connect individuals, whanau, and communities. We do this through social services such as counselling and parenting support. We are open to all and are flexible and accommodating.

Our Values


Manaakitanga : We are welcoming, respectful, and generous; we uphold the mana of all people.

Whakapono :We have integrity; we are trustworthy and fair.

Ngākau aroha : We are compassionate, kind-hearted, and caring.

Ngākaunui : We are purposeful, enthusiastic, and dedicated.

Wairuatanga : We recognise that spirituality is an essential element of well-being.

Our Strategic Goals 2024


  1. Strengthen our leadership infrastructure.
  2. Increase financial security through expanded funding streams.
  3. Strengthen our culturally inclusive model of service delivery.
  4. Evaluate and consolidate existing services and programmes.
  5. Identify key uses for our new family facility.
  6. Explore opportunities for service delivery in Southland.

Our History

The agency was established in Dunedin in 1968 initially providing counselling and general social work assistance. Over the years, in response to changing social needs, we have extended our services to include other supports and group programmes with a major focus on supporting parents and children.

Our services are free or low cost and available to all.

Who uses our services?

Most people approach us directly but we also take referrals from other community agencies, the health sector and Oranga Tamariki. We provide services in Dunedin city and Central and South Otago. In recent years we have also developed strategic partnerships with other agencies across Aotearoa to deliver Game On parenting courses for dads.

Our Terms of Service


You are who you are and we will try and support you the best we can. If you have particular cultural, learning or other needs, please let us know.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

CSS recognises Te Tiriti as foundational to working within Aotearoa/New Zealand. As a service available to all people we will do support the three pillars of partnership, participation and protection.

Behaviour Standards

Please be aware that because CSS aims to provide a safe place for all people, violent or abusive behaviour is not tolerated. Those that engage in this behaviour may be asked to leave.


When we work with you it is so that you can meet your goals. We will spend some time with you to make sure we know what you want to achieve and how we can support you to make this happen.


When we work with you, you can be assured that your private information will be protected. This means that we will not talk about you without your permission unless there is a concern that someone may be harmed.


If it comes to our notice that someone has been or maybe seriously harmed, our Code of Ethics means that we must alert the appropriate authorities. The staff member will first consult with the Practice Manager or Director of Catholic Social Services and a decision made about the next step. We will let you know what happens next as soon as we can so you know what the process will be.


As part of Catholic Social Services professional practice, all staff will be supervised both at CSS and sometimes by an external supervisor to help them review the work they do and ensure you are receiving the best help that we can provide.

Information we collect

To help us understand who we are working with we will ask you for some information for statistical and auditing purposes. We will also record notes of our work with you on a secure client management system which we will hold for a period of 10 years. You can request a copy of your notes by applying in writing to the Director of Catholic Social Services. Notes will be reviewed before being released to you within 20 working days.

Information Sharing

Oranga Tamariki may sometimes request information under their Act, section 66, about you and your family to help them make a decision around the safety of your children. When this happens we will inform you as soon as possible. Police may also request information when it relates to Family Harm.


Some of our funding comes from Government departments. They regularly audit our work to ensure that we are meeting the standards of care and financial management expected of publicly funded organisations. In this process they may check how we do our reporting, but they are not looking for any private information.

Complaints Procedure

If you have a concern about the skills, actions or attitudes of one of our staff that cannot be directly resolved with them you should direct your complaint in writing to The Director, Mike Tonks, or POBox 2047 Dunedin 9044. Your complaint will be investigated and reported back to you within 20 days. Further information about this process is available on request.


We will work with you to set an appointment time that we both can keep. We appreciate that from time to time things may come up which means neither one of us can make that appointment. You can expect from us that we will contact you to let you know if there is a change as soon as is practicable. We would appreciate if you can to do the same for us.

Making contact

Our usual office hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday. If you email, call or text outside of these times you will need to leave a message and we will return your call when we return to the office.


At the conclusion of your work with us you will be asked to fill in an evaluation. This is used to help you think about what has changed for you while working with us. It also helps us continue improving our service, report to our funders and provide you with a helpful reflection on the process of change that you may have gone through. We appreciate your honesty in filling these out.


Catholic Social Services only receives partial funding to provide professional services free. It costs around $85 per hour or $85 for a course so if you are able to make a contribution to your service this would help. You may be eligible for a subsidy from MSD too. please talk to your CSS staff member.

Meet our staff

Our staff are all members or provisional members of their relevant professional associations. This means they meet and maintain the standards set by their professions. They also receive clinical and cultural supervision to assist us in giving you the best possible service.

Paul Barham

Social Worker / Housing / Sustaining Tenancies

Shona Waterhouse

Senior Counsellor

Jacqueline Legros

Social Work / Supervised Contact Manager / Play On

Henk Van Der Vis


Melanie McNatty

General Manager

Liz Elder

Parenting Courses / ABC

Michelle Morris

Supervised Contact / Social Worker

Christine Burgin

Senior Practitioner Social Work

Mel Eady

Treasured Wee Ones

Dona Foley

Community Support Central Otago


Geoff Heward

Counsellor Central Otago

Sarah Highsted



Luana Boel

Social Worker / BSG

Bev Harris



Margaret Bennett

Administration / reception

Marco Kleinlangevelsloo

Social Worker / Game On / Service support

Jackie Flintoff

Supervised Contact

Lisa Steensma



Jameisha Sheridan

Hearing You, School Counsellor


Coming soon

Child Counsellor



Rayleen Hubac

Whanau Support

India Hughes

Hearing You, School Counsellor


Callum Hartstonge

Social Worker / Game On


Tayla Edmunds

Hearing You, School Counsellor

Meet our Board Members

Michael Dooley



Craig Radford



Leona Garchow

Lisa Oseki

Adele Smith

Finau Taungapeau

John Curran

John Sneddon