About Us

Te Whare Awhero (Hope House) is located in Hornby, Christchurch operating under the Hornby Presbyterian Community Trust.

Community Care Team

Communities and Neighbours (CaN)

P.A.T.H.S Counselling

Workplace Counselling

Social Work

Professional Supervision

Key Staff

Blair Stirling

Blair Stirling

Centre Director

Dip Min, BTheol, Dip Grad, PGDipCApSc, PhD, MANZASW, COP NGO Leadership

Blair is our Director here at Te Whare (operating under the Hornby Presbyterian Community Trust) and overseas our day-to-day operations and Ministries. While he has a long list of hard earned credentials (Dip Min, BTheol, Dip Grad, PGDipCApSc, PhD, MANZASW, COP NGO Leadership), he has an evident servant heart and a passion for people and community. After the 2010/11 earthquakes he undertook research for the CCC looking at the effects of the earthquakes on the Riccarton/ Wigram Ward and developing a strategic plan to help the community going forward. He has also been involved in consultation for Hornby Heartlands and involvement in the local Community Kaitiaki Consultation Group. This is all over and above his daily counselling, supervision and social work appointments and Director’s Duties. He has a strong relational leadership style and surrounds himself with a strong organisational support team.

Lyna Ruffell

Lyna Ruffell

Counselling Coordinator & Qualified Counsellor

Bachelor of Counselling (MNZCCA)

Hi I’m Lyna, I have a Bachelor of Counselling (Vision College) and am the Coordinator of our Counselling Team. My areas of interest include: developing personal and professional self-awareness including identity, and exploring relational difficulties. I also have an interest in women’s issues and parent child difficulties. My passion is to help those in the helping profession and to see healing and restoration occurring in all our lives. I enjoy painting, going to the beach and relaxing.


Kirstin Dingwall-Okoye

Social Worker

Hi I'm Kirstin Dingwall-Okoye, I came to work at Te Whare Awhero on the CAN Project in November 2013. I have one son, called Chidu. We really enjoy going out for sushi together when we have the chance. I was born in the deep south, brought up in rural South Canterbury, until my tertiary education released me into the city which would become my primary home in my adulthood. My education background is constantly being extended as I am working towards a Masters in Applied Social work. I already have a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, a Postgraduate Diploma in International Development, a Diploma in Careers Guidance, and a myriad of certificate level qualifications. In work, I have been in pastoral and youth ministry for 16 years, which alternated with being a Chef and caterer. I owned my own catering business prior to getting back involved in the Community Development field.

kerrie van woerden

Kerrie van Woerden

Office Administrator

Hi I’m Kerrie, I am the Office Administrator at Te Where Awhero. I am a wife to David and mother of 3 beautiful children, Sophia, Jason and Luka. I am trained as a Medical Receptionist and continue to develop my administrative skills, most recently completing a Certificate in Business Administration. My passions are Faith , Family and Cars. I also enjoy the outdoors and keeping fit both mentally and physically. I also have a keen interest in Asia, in particular India and it's beautiful people, where I grew up during my teenage years attending an American Boarding School in the Himalayas.

Jo Down2

Jo Down

Social Worker

Jo has completed a Bachelor of Social work at Christchurch Polytech. I have a passion to work alongside adults to help them reach their full potential. With a client led focus I have the ability to work in a collaborative manner. I believe in a strengths based approach, as every person has positive qualities that can become invisible in our busy world. Jo enjoys family life, catching up with friends and family for a coffee and exploring the Christchurch rebuild.

Our Trustees


Alan Ferguson

Board Member

Hi I’m Alan Ferguson; I have been married to Shirley for 36 years. Life is full of fun, challenges and chilling out with our six adult children (David, Teresa, Daniel, Joanna, Justine and Nathan), two sons’ in-law (Noel and Reuben) and two grandkids (Ethan and Kayla). All live around the west of Christchurch except Daniel who is in Laos. We have been part of the Hope Presbyterian family since the 1970’s. Workwise, I have been involved with applying computer applications in a science environment (mainly building an information system to support the NZ Drinking Water Standards). Some other random facts are; we spent 3 years in Bangladesh in the 1980’s, I get around on a 1200cc motorbike and I am currently (happily) retired/between jobs/unemployed. I currently chair the Hope Presbyterian Community Trust.


Bill Penno

Acting Chairman

Hi I’m William (Bill) Penno; I lived and farmed at Morven in the Waimate District until the end of 2012. I have been married to Janice (Jan) for 49 years and we have four grown children. I was invested with a Queens Service Order (QSO) for community service in 2005 and although not a Rotarian then, a “Paul Harris Fellow” Rotary medal in 2011. I was Moderator of the South Canterbury Presbytery for three years and for a number of years, convenor of several committees. My Community involvement included a number of national, regional and local bodies. This included Waimate Hospital committee, South Canterbury catchment board and Canterbury regional council. My home church was Morven Presbyterian Church; I was involved in many Leadership roles including being a locally ordained Minister from 2007. Since then we became involved with Hope Church Hornby and subsequently I have become a board member of HPCT. Spare time activities include reading and yachting – mainly thinking about it. As a committed Christian I believe that we should respond to opportunities to serve if called to do so and if others consider we have the necessary attributes. I believe that as Christians we need to reach out where people are both within the church and in the wider community.


Hamish Galloway

Board Member

Hi I’m Hamish Galloway; I am the senior pastor at Hope Presbyterian. Married to Anne for over 35 years, we have 3 grown up children and 3 grandchildren. Among other things I love to golf, cook seafood dishes, read novels and watch good movies. Getting into a good TV series is also a passion, as is pottering in my garden, taking the dog for a walk or having a philosophical talk with a friend over coffee or a nice craft beer! I love the emphasis that Hope has on community involvement. The church has had a long history of involvement in Hornby and Hei Hei. More recently this has grown to include West Melton and Rolleston. We are strong supporters of Te Whare Awhero. I love the way Te Whare Awhero is growing links with the community – I have a passion for community development and am proud to be a trustee.


Shirley Thorner

Board Member

Hi I’m Shirley, a married mother of four adult daughters, and Nana to 7 grandchildren. My interests include reading, the daily puzzles in the paper, family history and simple crafts. My working life until retirement two years ago has taken me from Auckland to Invercargill in numerous roles including a school teacher, minister of religion, social worker, English language teacher, customer services officer and addictions counsellor. I am pleased to be able to offer this life experience as a trustee of HPCT.


Malcolm Millar

Board Member

Hi, I am Malcolm. I am now retired, and have been married to Raewyn for 37 years. We have 3 adult children and 4 gorgeous grandchildren. My working life has consisted of farming 14 years, groundsman at Living Springs 10 years and caretaker at a school for 25 years. I have a disability that has worsened over time, and in that have seen life from a different angle to others. Through this, I believe I have a unique perspective to bring to the trust. My interests are gardening, conservation, and being resourceful.

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