About Allies Aotearoa

We are practical, helpful, knowledgeable, skilled, competent and effective at assisting people as they walk the road of life that includes disability. We intimately understand this road because we are walking it as well. 

What we have found is that life can become better and we can live with and experience the fruits of hope and joy on a daily basis, regardless of our circumstances. We have learned through our own experience some of the fundamental principles and strategies that have been successful across the globe and we have applied them. We understand the incredible power imbalance that exists – the ‘force field’ we are all bumping into and the force field that at times can knock us off our feet. We have experienced (and continue to experience) this force field but we also have a much better understanding of what it actually is and what we can do about it.

Illustration of two hills with a road over them, with some flowers on the hill and a sun in the background.

‘Allies’ was born out of a deep understanding that life which includes disability can be very challenging. In addition to the day to day reality, comes the many complex and confusing systems that we need to navigate for access to good education, work, friendships, support services and home. Navigating our way through all of this can at times bring out our less than best self. Being isolated, confused and disempowered, but knowing we must keep going, can make life feel like an ongoing battle.

At Allies, we understand these experiences. We want you to know that you are not alone and that there are practical and functional actions that can be taken to turn the tide towards a good life for yourself and your family members. We have supported hundreds of people (individuals, families / whānau and organisations) to create a positive vision for their future, identity and obtain the resources necessary and then turn this into reality.

Our Team

Photograph / Portrait of Tony McLean

Tony McLean
(Founder & Ally)

Tony has volunteered and worked, nationally and internationally, in ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries for more than 30 years. He has held senior leadership roles within the NZ disability sector, is well known as a teacher/trainer and has significant practical experience in service design, delivery and evaluation. Tony is also a parent who knows firsthand what is involved in trying to successfully navigate our services and systems. In 2019, Tony founded Allies Aotearoa as a practical way of providing independent and highly focused support to individuals, family/whānau and organisations.

Photograph / Portrait of Nicky Mayne

Nicky Mayne
(Ally & Family Leader)

Like most parents, having a child with a disability was Nicky’s first exposure to the complex world of disability and the never ending rollercoaster ride that is parenting a significantly disabled child. She has held leadership roles within the disability sector and navigates her work and home life through the dual lens of parent and provider. Nicky challenges us to raise our expectations for paid work, having seen the possibilities and the difference it makes to living a good life.

Lisa Higgins

(Ally & Recruitment Specialist)

Lisa’s experience as an educator and SENCO has enabled her to provide valuable support to students and whānau for many years. As a parent, Lisa is also an Agent for her daughter and is passionate about ensuring people develop natural pathways to independence, allowing whānau to have greater possibilities for the future. Lisa’s main focus at Allies is assisting individuals and whānau with IF, EIF or a personal budget attract and retain the right paid supporters.

Georgia Barnaby

(Ally & Graphic Facilitation Specialist)

Georgia’s greatest passion is supporting individual’s, family/ whānau, groups and organisations to envisage futures filled with hope and possibility. She is a skilled and talented graphic facilitator who brings her open heart, mind and deep respect to her work as a visual practitioner for PATH plans and other visual planning processes.

For Georgia, being invited to support people as they explore their futures is a privileged role. Georgia is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most experienced and competent graphic facilitators.

Erin Hoiles

(Ally & Graphic Facilitation Specialist)

In early 2021, Erin encountered her first PATH plan and was instantly ‘hooked’. With a background in graphic design and a strong desire to empower others, Erin found herself perfectly suited to this role. Today, she is a competent and highly skilled graphic facilitator specialising in PATH planning. Through her unique approach, Erin seamlessly turns complex ideas into clear and easy-to-understand visual representations, thereby supporting participants and their whanau towards their personal goals with clarity.

We believe that

Everyone, regardless of circumstances, deserves to lead a Good Life.