Try our free, self-paced course to get tools to support your mental wellbeing. Tap here to sign up.

Mary Dawson PhD MNZM CF
Funding Officer
Mary has great wealth of knowledge of the community sector's strengths and challenges.

After completing my BA in Psychology  in NZ, I trained at the University of Nottingham as a clinical child psychologist, with a doctorate is in the field of autism. Back in Auckland, I worked for 16 years first privately and then in the Northern Specialist Psychological Services of the (then) Child Youth and Family.  This Unit consisted of therapists, evidential interviewers and psychologists working with children and families affected by child abuse, parental ill health, and neglect.

I then moved into the NGO sector, taking on the reins of the Auckland Regional Migrant Services ARMS) Trust (now Belong Aotearoa), Auckland’s lead settlement support agency responsible for delivering information and support activities for Auckland’s newcomers, migrants and former refugees, from all over the globe.  There was a high level of collaboration amongst central and local government agencies, private institutes, community service providers and ethnic community groups.  I particularly valued the opportunity to be engaged in community development projects, for which there was an intense amount of grant seeking! A Churchill Fellowship allowed me to travel to North America to learn about the work of their settlement agencies.

More recently I was a manager in the Community Empowerment Unit (Auckland Council), whose staff supported local communities to fulfil their aspirations while advocating for Council’s systems to be more enabling of those. In this role, as with the ARMS Trust, I learned a huge amount about the strengths and challenges of Auckland’s communities and organisations, particularly through the COVID years.

Now semi-retired, my main interests are spending time with family including two grandchildren, gardening, supplying produce to pātaka kai, movies and theatre, reading and travelling.