Who We Are

Since 1989, Community Living has supported disabled people to thrive as part of the community.

We are a not for profit organisation with more than 30 years experience in the disability sector. Our services are individualised and led by the people we work for. Based in Hamilton, we work with communities throughout the middle of the north island including the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

Meet Ko Tātou Tēnei

Ko Tātou Tēnei is a board advisory group made up of people supported by Community Living

Meet the leadership team

David Oldershaw

Chief Executive

David joined in February 2023 after more than 20 years leadership experience in various sectors including health, business startups, manufacturing and distribution.

David is committed to supporting people to live the lifestyle of their choice. Prior to his current role, David was a business consultant working on a variety of projects for commercial and not for profit clients.

He has been Chief Executive of Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and a Director of Anglesea Clinic Urgent Care. David holds a Master of Commerce from the University of Auckland and is also a trustee of Midlands Sexual Assault Support Service.

Will Hughes

General Manager - Community Choices

Will comes with 30 years’ senior leadership experience across various sectors including 20 years within the Health and Disability sector at St John, Life Unlimited (now Kia Roha), and Pinnacle Ventures.

With a focus on change management, service design and redesign, and more recently digital innovation, Will has spent most of the last 20 years on projects that enhance and improve services to enable people to live more independently.

Seeing the benefits both socially and economically when people have the power of personal autonomy, Will would love to see disabled people have the same choices and opportunities that most kiwis take for granted every day.

Kia maumahara ki toou mana aahua ake.

Cherish your absolute uniqueness.

Frances Oliver

General Manager – Business Operations

Hailing from the Rural King Country originally, Frances is excited to return in 2021 to the Community Living family to lead our Finance, Property and the Administration and Rostering teams.

Frances lead the Finance function from 2013 until 2017 when she went to WaikatoLink and the University of Waikato for 3+ years and enjoyed being part of the Commercialisation and Tertiary Education Space. Previously

Frances has worked in Audit and lead the Finance and Administration functions in the Private Business sector. Frances has a particular passion for seeing projects to their completion working alongside internal and external stakeholders.

Frances is a CA of 25 years and has a BBS-Finance from Massey University. Frances enjoys e-biking and getting away on holiday in her spare time.

Denise Gemmell

General Manager – Professional Services

Denise has over 15 years of strategic leadership experience as well as a deeply personal and genuine passion and connection with the disability sector.

Recognised as a strategic and visionary leader, Denise enjoys inspiring others and delivering positive and best-practice outcomes.

In the role of General Manager for Professional Services, Denise brings strong change and financial management skills, with a proven experience delivering transformation and innovation programmes across organisations.

Denise holds a post graduate in Leadership and Management studies from the University of Waikato and is responsible for our Therapy, Children’s Service – Te Puna Awhina, Disability Liaison and RIDSAS Teams.

Meet the Board

Shelley Campbell

Community Living Trust (Chair)

As a parent of 3 adult children, one with special needs, Shelley has been involved with the Disability sector for many years.

She has been the Chairperson for the board of Autism Waikato and then the Manager of Autism Waikato for 10 years and is currently on the Board of Trustees for Hamilton North Specialist School for 8 years, the last 6 as Chairperson.

Shelley has experience in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), visual strategies, support groups, family support, one on one personal support, has created specialised holiday programs, has sat on the HCC funding Board, helped with the establishment of the Disability Expo and been an advocate for people with disabilities.

Shelley has a strong sense of advocacy for those in the community who need extra support, a deep belief that the community is there for everyone and that everyone has the right, not only to access their community, but to feel safe and accepted in every environment.

Rachel Stephenson

Nga Puhi, Te Kapotai

An experienced director and a member of the institute of directors Rachel has served on the Community Living Trust board since 2008 and was chair 2010 to 2013 and 2020 to 2023.

Rachel is a Registered Comprehensive Nurse with over 30 years’ experience in the Health and Disability Sector. Rachel holds a post graduate certificate in Management Studies and has over 15years’ experience in managing and leading Health Safety and Wellbeing, Risk and Quality Management Systems.

Rachel is passionate about education and wellbeing and is an experienced facilitator and educator who has developed a range of bespoke training for not-for-profit health and disability organisations

Jade Farrar

Jade joined the Community Living Trust Board in September 2020, and brings a vision of a prosperous and abundant society where all people succeed regardless of ability or background. Jade is passionate about the power of social media and what it can do to promote a more positive and realistic perspective of everyday disabled people. 

Currently a director of a communications and strategic advice consultancy, Jade serves the disability community in several governance roles and, most recently, served as Community Engagement Advisor for Manawanui Support. Jade has contributed to the advancement of disabled people and their whānau as a member of Auckland Council’s Disability Advisory Panel and the Disabled Person’s Assembly’s National Executive Committee.

Jade is fortunate to bring seven years of perspective and experience serving Systems Transformation as a member of the National Enabling Good Lives leadership group.

Janie Elrick

Janie is a strategist and career CFO with more than 20 years’ experience. She has served as CFO for many large corporates across a number of sectors including Downer Construction, Steel & Tube, Synlait, Zespri and NZ Dairy Group.

She is passionate about business and business integrity, a proven leader with a strong business ethic.

Janie’s field of expertise includes strategy, governance, finance, banking, procurement, culture and values. She is a firm believer in inclusion and diversity.

Janie is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors.

Tony Blackett

Tony is an experienced CEO and consultant with a career that spans disability, health, international development, community development and environmental issues together with human rights both in NZ and internationally. Tony’s current role is as CEO with the Hokotehi Moriori Trust. In this role Tony is working with Moriori iwi on growing their asset base in support of cultural renaissance and in support of the Moriori message of peace. Other CE roles include as Executive Director with Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, ImagineBetter and AccessAbility (sister agencies in the disability sector), and a co-CE role with Deaf Aotearoa.

Tony lives on Rēkohu (Chatham Island) with his wife Justine and maintains strong connections with family and friends and with their Auckland home at Earthsong, a co-housing neighbourhood of around 65 people built using permaculture principles.

Our History

Over 30 years

Community Living has been supporting people with disabilities for over thirty years. Beginning at the present and working backwards, here is a brief history of our organisation:


Community Living Limited is a provider of services for people with a disability in the midlands region, including the Bay of Plenty.

On 1 July 2012, the Board made a decision to split Community Living Trust into two separate entities: Community Living Trust and Community Living Limited.  This decision was made in order to protect the assets of the organisation for the people we support and to set us up for the future direction of social support in New Zealand.

1990 - 1998

Our behaviour support, family, residential, vocational and therapy services were introduced in 1990 and we began providing consultant therapy services across the whole Midland region in 1998.

Growing, growing, growing

By the early nineties, Community Living Trust’s original mandate to support people with intellectual disabilities from Tokanui Hospital had extended to include people who had no previous associations with an institution. Our services began to evolve and develop in direct response to their needs.

1989 - 1993

Between June 1989 and October 1993, Community Living Trust assisted approximately 180 people to leave Tokanui Hospital and operated primarily as a case management agency.  With the formation of the Regional Health Authority (now the Ministry of Health), responsibility for the planning and funding of community placements transferred to them and Community Living Trust’s role shifted to that of a service provider.

April 1989

Community Living Trust was initially established in April 1989 by the Waikato Area Health Board (now the Ministry of Health), to support people with intellectual disabilities to leave the institutionalised care model of Tokanui Hospital and live amongst their local community.

Our Waiata

Te tiakina oranga Haapori 

Te tiakina oranga Haapori
E karanga atu he taakoha nei
Ngaa aahua hei whakaatu ana
Te haa te mauri me te aroha
Hei tuku mahi tuku whare papa nei ee
Whakatika whanonga he mirimiri haere
Anei ra he tu tangata te roopu pai rawa
Te tiakina oranga Haa-pori ee
Te tiakina oranga Haa-pori ee

Composed By Pakira Watene