22nd July 2019
New CEO for Birthright NZ
Birthright New Zealand is pleased to announce the appointment of its new CEO, Iona Pannett.
Birthright Chairperson Adrian Gregory says that Iona will be leading New Zealand’s oldest organisation that works in
partnership with families led by one person, providing practical services and advocacy to government for better outcomes
for children and their parents.
Mr. Gregory says, “We are very pleased to have appointed Iona to lead the organisation as we continue the work that
Birthright has done for over 60 years. Birthright aims to celebrate the many achievements of families led by a single
person. These families are resilient and are doing a great job of raising children, at times in very difficult
“Iona brings extensive experience in advocacy, stakeholder management, policy making and the NGO sector. Furthermore,
she has first-hand experience of leading a family as a single person,” says Adrian.
“It is an honour to join Birthright as CEO with its long and proud history of supporting families led by a single
person,” says Iona.
“We know there are significant challenges for families led by a single person. New Zealand has the third highest rate of
single parent families in the OECD and children in single parent households are 6 times more likely to live in poverty
than those in families with two or more adults.
“However there are many opportunities to support families led by a single person and as the numbers of such families
grow from around 230,000 to projected numbers of 279,000 in 2038, the time is right to bring innovative ideas to the
table to maximize these opportunities. It is critical that all families led by a single person can make a contribution
to society and live independently whilst giving the wider community the opportunity to draw fully on their skills,” says
Birthright was formed in Hastings, in 1955. The organisation has since grown to include eleven affiliates around New
Zealand, supported by a national Trust with its office in Wellington. At the core of the organisation is the belief that
all children share the right to a good start in life and that supporting families will ensure greater success in
achieving this “birthright”.
Iona will be taking up her role on Tuesday 23rd July.