Our governance

The People's Project in Hamilton is governed by representatives from the organisations who support us. The group meet every two months and provide leadership, strategic input and consultation with their networks to promote and champion The People's Project and our vision of ending rough sleepers in Hamilton by the end of 2016.

Our governance group members currently include:

Angela O'Leary


Hamilton City Council supports The People’s Project primarily through the Central City Safety Plan, legislation, and a variety of initiatives aimed at improving public safety for everyone. Council supports the ground breaking approach The People’s Project is taking to address the complex issues relating to vulnerable people in our city.

"I am thrilled to be a part of The People’s Project  team in working to ensure that the vulnerable people in our community get the support and services they need.” Angela O’Leary

Julie Nelson

Joint-Chief Executive

The first thing you notice about the Wise Group is that we’re a little bit different! We chase one thing relentlessly - our dream to create fresh possibilities and services for the wellbeing of people, organisations and communities. We’re a family of charitable organisations and our work includes health and wellbeing services, housing support, employment and navigation services, education and training, workforce development and research, software development, and finally business support services.

Vicki Aitken

Director, Sectors and Speciality; Mental Health & Addictions Service

The Mental Health and Addictions Service is committed to supporting people to work towards their own recovery. We know that people who are experiencing homelessness often have multiple needs, particularly mental health and addictions issues that require a wrap-around response. Pathways out of homelessness require a 'one plan' approach: housing first with support and access to mental health and addictions care and treatment. We are committed to working together to end homelessness. This means working with other agencies to address the interrelationship of needs rather than working in isolation.

"The project’s success is a real and tangible example of collective impact in action.  While everyone’s stories are individual  and unique - the factors that have led to homelessness are universal…that is what we are trying to address and change. The People's Project will be successful when we are consistently addressing the systemic issues that result in homelessness.  We all have a responsibility to challenge and change this within our own organisations.” Vicki Aitken

Tracey Wetere


Te Puni Kōkiri the Ministry for Maori Development, leads māori public policy and strives to support māori to enjoy a better quality of life and achieve a sustainable level of success as individuals at home and globally. One of the the focus areas of the Ministry is to work collectively, He Toa Takitini, across the state sector, with Iwi and communities to improve outcomes for māori. Te Puni Kōkiri supports The People's Project and recognises that housing solutions and wellbeing can be achieved if we all work together to implement a whānau centered approach.

"Ehara taku toa I te toa takitini, engari he toa takitini - My strength is not mine alone but that of many. A collective effort is necessary to achieve successs.”  Tracey Wetere

John Macaskill-Smith

Chief Executive

Pinnacles Midlands Health Networks is working with The People's Project to connect people with quality primary healthcare services required to help them get treatment for any acute and long term conditions they may be facing. As the largest health network in Hamilton and the Waikato, PMHN is working to ensure better, sooner, more convenient healthcare for people throughout the region and helping them live healthier lives.

Karan Frederickson

Area Manager

Housing New Zealand supports The People’s Project by providing high quality, subsidised social housing to people in need for the duration of their need. It’s not just about getting a roof over people’s heads – we also work closely with other agencies to ensure our tenants have access to the support services they need to help them sustain their tenancy.

Vanessa Williams

General Manager

Hamilton Central Business Association represents around 1200 business and property owners located in the heart of the city. Our purpose is:

  • to develop projects and services to benefit the trading environment in Hamilton Central
  • to manage issues and challenges within the Business Improvement District (BID)
  • business creation, attraction and development including an increase in employment and local business investment
  • promotion of the Hamilton Central offering.

"The People’s Project provide an invaluable service in the community and is a great example of what can be achieved through a collaborative effort. I am delighted to be able to represent the CBD businesses in contributing to this service that provides help to those in need." Vanessa Williams

Deanne McManus Emery

Hamilton Children's Team Director

The Children’s Team is a way of working that is guided and supported providing co-ordinated services to vulnerable children and their whanau to both respond to need and take preventative action.

The Children’s Team is a child centric approach that recognises that no single agency alone can protect vulnerable children. Children’s needs are multifaceted, and require agencies to work together, to share information and provide services in a co-ordinated way to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable children and their whanau.

The Children’s Team approach contributes to The People’s Project, in cases where children are directly impacted by transient homelessness that is caused by family violence to ensure the immediate needs of the child are being met.

We want a system that delivers:

  • a child centred approach that enables all vulnerable children to realise their full potential
  • joined up approaches across community and government to deliver better outcomes

“ The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Grainne Moss – CEO Ministry for Vulnerable Children - Oranga Tamariki

Grant Aitken

Regional Clinical Director Health

The Department of Corrections exists to make New Zealand a safer place by protecting communities from those who can cause harm and working with offenders and prisoners to reduce re-offending. 

We understand that offender journeys into our services are often complex and it is through the delivery of a range of programmes in the treatment, industry and learning domains that they can return to the community to be the best they can be.

We know that many still face real social challenges finding stable housing, employment and access to affordable health service and it is through partnering with key government and non-government agencies that our rehabilitation and reintegration goals will be realised

"Corrections is pleased to be part of The Peoples Project, an effective team making sustainable change." Grant Aitken

Peter Hannam


Waikato-Tainui is a leading tribal organisation responsible for developing and implementing initiatives which improve iwi outcomes in the areas of education and training, employment, tribal preservation, marae development, health and well-being, and environmental and resource management.

Peter leads the operations of the Waikato-Tainui Housing Strategy, advocating for tribal members with housing issues and increasing home ownership opportunities.  


Te Rehia Papesch

Regional Commissioner - Waikato

We are happy to be a part of The People's Project here in Hamilton and commend and admire the hard work the project's team has put in and what it has achieved.

The People's Project has made a strong stance in the city of Hamilton to lead the way in responding to our homelessness citizens. We are pleased that we are able to support the project in whatever way we can and especially working in partnership with our colleagues.

Inspector Freda Grace

Area Commander, Hamilton City

Our Business ‘Te Tatou Umanga’ incorporates our mission – to be the Safest Country and our purpose of Be Safe, Feel Safe – how we police make people feel safe and what we do keeps people safe.

I have a staff of 145 delivering service to Hamilton City across Response, Prevention & Investigations to deliver our mission and our purpose. Our strategies of  Prevention First and Turning of the Tide fit with The People's Project and we are committed to working with our partners to achieve better outcomes for our community. To that end I am proud and privileged to be a part of The People’s Project. 

Kelvin Powell

City Safe Manager, Hamilton City Council

City Safe is a collective of many of the public facing regulatory responses of Council and is most noticeable through our highly visible Safety Officer patrollers. Our team is totally committed to enhancing the safety and wellbeing of all Hamiltonians and works collaboratively with staff from The People's Project.

“I am very passionate about the role and very positive impact that The People's Project make within our community.  They are the circuit breaker that enables us all to play a role in ending homelessness.”

Andy Mannering

Community and Social Development Manager

Hamilton City Council's mission is to build a more vibrant, attractive and prosperous city, with the purpose of improving the wellbeing of Hamiltonians.  We do this in a variety of ways working with local communities, families and organisations.  

As a Council we have a Community and Social Development team which has a broad focus on community development for the city, including building the capacity of both communities and community groups. Its strong and wide-ranging relationships across the city assist Hamilton City Council to successfully achieve our mission and purpose. 

“Partnering with the People’s Project is a great privilege, as the outcomes being achieved are having a significant impact on the lives of many individuals and families within the city.”