Our Leadership and staff | Tawa Corps

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Our Leadership and staff

Staff Team

Sharon Blake - Administrator

Sharon is the first face you'll see as you walk into 177 Main Road. Sharon, Bronson, and their two girls moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2008. To say the last 12 years have been a roller coaster would be an understatement. She left her accounting trade when God told her in 2015 that she needed to study. She is now a registered chaplain and has a diploma in Christian Ministry. While admin is what she has always been good at, it's helping people that drives her. Bronson and Sharon are both missionaries at heart and know that for now New Zealand is their mission training field. God has a purpose and plan for all of us, we just need to be willing to step into it.

Catherine Wells - Children

Catherine Wells is our new children’s worker. She is married to AJ and they have an almost 3 year old daughter. Catherine is very passionate about children having worked with them for many years and is looking forward to seeing them grow in their faith with God. When Catherine is not at work you will find her with her daughter having dance parties and enjoying time with her family and friends. Catherine also loves music and singing and being in a choir. Catherine also loves the outdoors, walks along the beach and being in nature.

Sarah Opie - Youth and Community

Sarah has been our Youth and Community worker since September 2018. She has two children and a husband. They enjoying camping, having fun and spending lots of time with friends. Sarah says that "she is passionate about connecting with people and helping them to discover more about themselves and building a relationship with our heavenly Father. I love having fun - earning my Prankstar at home and in the office. As the community and youth coordinator I am privileged to hear the stories of many different people and walk alongside them."

Corps Council

Our Corps Councillors are the spiritual 'mums and dads' of the church. They support our pastors and provide leadership and oversight.

Captains Nathan and Jess Bezzant

Sarah Opie


Rhys Gibson

Rhys chairs our Corps Council. Along with his wife Sharon and two daughters, he has been a part of Tawa Salvation Army since 2003. Rhys works in the public sector and outside of Sunday’s can be found drinking tea and living out his mid-life crisis with his electric guitar.

Graeme Tongs

Graeme is Tawa’s treasurer. He is an active Rotarian and semi-retired chartered accountant and auditor. With his wife Joy he likes to travel the world and when at home can often be found behind one of Tawa's pianos.




John and Debbie Booth

John & Debbie have been at Tawa Salvation Army for 26 years. They have 3 adult children and 4 gorgeous grandsons. John is a self-employed Painter and Debbie is National Manager for Freedom Medical Alarms. Family life is very important to them and they love spending time at their beach house with their family. They see this church as an extension to their family and value being able to worship there and share their faith with fellow believers.

Jolyn Phoon

Jolyn and her husband Jun have been with the Tawa Salvation Army for over a year and really enjoy being a part of the church family. They are both originally from Malaysia but have been in NZ for more than 20 years, and in Tawa for five. They have two children and just love seeing the world through their eyes and learning to have faith like they do. Jolyn is a full-time mother and part-time doctor. Any time left over she tries to spend in nature, exploring local walks and learning something new (current interest being home renovation). Knowing God has made a lot of difference to Jolyn’s life, and she would love to tell you more about it. Just ask her!

Barry and Natalie Kirby

Barry and Natalie are a young married couple who are expecting their first baby in July 2020. Barry works for the Salvation Army Reintegration Service and has a passion for helping people discover their identity in Christ. Barry has a gifting in preaching and teaching and enjoys the opportunity to share God’s heart with others. Natalie is a teacher and has a passion for children and families, and loves creating a space where children have the opportunities to discover who they are in Christ. She also has a gift in leading worship, reminding others to pursue God with child-like faith. They are passionate about everybody becoming free from their past and living out the purpose God has for them.

Major Glenys Fairhurst

Glenys has been a Salvation Army officer (pastor) since 1982 and currently works at Territorial Headquarters as Secretary for Officer Resources and Territorial Silver Star Secretary. She facilitates 12 Steps Courses at Booth College of Mission. Her previous appointments were as Corps Officer (pastor) at Aranui, Alexandra, Te Aroha, Lower Hutt, Invercargill, Ashburton, Oamaru, Gore, Queenstown. With her late husband Dean, Glenys served as Military Chaplains at Linton Army Base. She loves keeping contact with her five adult children and 10 grandchildren. It is her intention to honour God through whatever task she is given to do.