Our People

We are made up of over 40 committed volunteers across New Zealand and employ one core staff at the National Office in Wellington. We work together to inform, inspire and engage all New Zealanders regarding the work, goals and values of the UN to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.

The United Nations Association’s main ruling body is the National Council. It has three main roles per the Constitution:

  • Governance of the organsiation as a whole
  • Policy making body of the organisation
  • Coordination and support of our branches

The National Council meets up to four times a year in order to discuss and vote on yearly budgets, long-term strategic plans, policies, actions, and upcoming events.

The National Executive is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization and the National office, upcoming events, payments and accounts. It employs the National Administrator, whose key role is public relations, organizational administration and development, and project and event management. The role supports the National President and our Regional Branches.

Honorary Life members are recommended by the National Council at an Annual General Meeting. Usually these are individuals who have carried out distinguished service for the United Nations Association of New Zealand, and/or the UN over a period of years. Honorary Life Members are non-voting members of the National Council. Our Constitution states that Life Members do not pay membership fees, may be in attendance at, and receive the papers for, the National Council with speaking rights, but no vote. Life Members have voting rights at any Special General and Annual General Meetings.


UNA NZ National Executive

  • Gayathri Paranisamy, National President
  • Karim Dickie, Vice President
  • Peter Nichols, Immediate Past President
  • Nisha Novell, National Executive Officer 
  • Pete Cowley, National Treasurer
  • Catherine Ashworth, Secretary
  • Hana Drysdale, National President, UN Youth New Zealand
  • Joy Dunsheath, Honorary Life Member 
  • John Morgan, National Council Representative on the Executive
  • Wajirani Adhihetty, Wellington Branch President


UNA NZ National Council

  • Abeer Youssef, Special Officer for Humanitarian Affairs
  • Alyn Ware, Special Officer for Peace and Security
  • Dulce Piacentini, Special Officer for Human Rights
  • Dr Negar Partow, Special Officer for the UN Security Council
  • Dr Pedram Pirnia, Special Officer for Sustainable Development
  • Joy Dunsheath, Special Officer for WFUNA Liaison
  • Vacant, Special Officer for UN Education
  • Jean-Paul Bizoza, Special Officer for Global Health
  • Natalie Harbott, President, Northern Region Branch
  • Dr. Gray Southon, President, Tauranga Branch
  • Mano Manohoran, President, Waikato Group
  • Kate Smith, President, Wanganui Branch
  • Wajirani Adhihetty, President, Wellington Branch
  • Pauline McKay, President, Canterbury Branch
  • Monique Corson, President, Manawatu Branch 
  • John Morgan, Ordinary Member of the National Council
  • Annie Wu, Ordinary Member of the National Council
  • Zara Mcleod, Simon Creitchen Communications Officers


Honorary Life Members

  • Alyn Ware
  • Margaret Knight
  • Clinton Johnson
  • Dr Kate Dewes
  • Dr Graham Hassall
  • Mary McGiven
  • Margaret Knight
  • Margaret Arnold
  • Lady Rhyl Jansen
  • Mary Gray
  • Colin McGregor
  • Robin Halliday
  • Joy Dunsheath 



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