Our Volunteers

Vounteers are key to providing a fun, safe, and inclusive environment for families. We need you!

Our monthly Autism Connex Family Day is growing and growing. To keep things operating smoothly, we are on the lookout for individuals with a heart for people and our community, who are willing to jump on board and serve with our incredible volunteer team.


We’re particularly on the lookout for:
– People willing and able to help prepare and set up afternoon tea (we provide a fully equipped kitchen to serve & all the food).
-People who love working alongside children with disabilities and complex needs, particularly autism.
– People who can commit to being rostered on once a month.

If this sounds like you, please fill in this application form and one of our team members will be in touch shortly.

Thank you again and we look forward to working with you!


  • Theresa

    Theresa Tongi

    Theresa is of Samoan decent from the village of Vai'ee, Moata'a and Alamagoto, born and raised in West Auckland. When two of Theresa's children were diagnosed with ASD, she resigned from her 12 year career in the New Zealand Police to focus on being a full-time mum. Theresa and her husband Pat moved to New Plymouth and founded Autism Connex to support other families on the journey. They are devoted to their God and the calling upon their lives to help and support other families who live the ASD journey. "I am a better mum, and a better person, because of my boys. It's a privilege to support other families"
  • Fiona

    Fiona Elliot

    Originally from Taranaki, Fiona recently returned to New Plymouth after 12 years overseas. As a mum of three boys, two of whom have been diagnosed with ASD, she understands how challenging and isolating it can be. Their diagnosis was a large part of her decision to homeschool. Fiona Elliot Autism Connex is a lifeline for families living with ASD and Fiona, along with her husband, Grant, is excited to be part of an organisation that recognizes and supports the needs of families in the community facing the same challenges.
  • LOGO lrg

    Emma Cluett

    I grew up in Papakura and trained in medicine and paediatrics in Auckland. Taranaki is now my home and were I live with my little whānau. I trained in developmental paediatrics as I had been inspired from a young age by our Tamariki with different superpowers. I am passionate about supporting and advocating for whānau and children with different abilities and Autism. I am also inspired by the work Autism Connex does in Taranaki and am honored to support them.
  • Team_Karen

    Karen McEldowney

    I enjoy the opportunity to use my graphic design, marketing and business skills to give back to a cause that benefits the community in such a meaningful way. Theresa inspires and challenges me to achieve more than I ever thought was possible. Autism Connex is one of the most rewarding things I've ever been involved with.

  • NEW Andrew and Karen

    Andrew and Karen Glenny

    Andrew is a local orthopaedic surgeon and Karen is a nurse, who spends the majority of her time raising their two children - Isaac (21) and Samantha (19). "We were thrust into the world of ASD with the diagnosis of our son Isaac, at age 2. It has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs with the many challenges, and blessings that face a family."
  • Team_Claire

    Claire Maaka

    My name is Claire Maaka. Myself and my husband Dion have two children Jake (12) and Aliyah (10). Aliyah was diagnosed with Autism at 2 and is non verbal. I am from Ireland and have been living in NZ for 10 years. I hope that sharing our journey and experience can help other families.
  • Pat

    Pat Tongi

    Patrick and his wife, Theresa have four children, two are Autistic. He loves serving his community through Autism Connex and as a Police Officer in New Plymouth. Patrick is of Tongan descent from Vava’u. He was born and raised in Auckland. “I want our community to be the best at supporting and celebrating families with Autism.”
  • Team Dion Maaka

    Dion Maaka

    Dion Maaka (Ngāruahine) is Taranaki born and raised. With a Bachelor of Business Studies and a wealth of management experience, Dion has utilised his skills across the globe, and back home in Taranaki. While working in London, Dion met his wife Claire and in 2009 they returned to Taranaki to settle with their two children. Dion is the Finance Risk and Group Strategy Leader at TSB Community Trust. He is humbled and proud to be leading Autism Connex into an exciting time of growth and innovation.
  • JoleneSQ-e1549581985358

    Jolene Stockman

    Jolene is an award-winning Taranaki writer, speaker, and business owner. She is also takiwātanga; autistic. Since her adult diagnosis, she has gone public with her experience - its challenges and superpowers. She is excited to support the Autism Connex team and increase optimism and understanding around autism. She is also tangata whaitakiwātanga, autistic.