Our Team

Amanda Barker – Director

Tauranga – Bay Of Plenty

E. amanda@pillarconsulting.co.nz

P.  021 621 733

About Amanda

Amanda is one of the Directors of Pillar Consulting which she started in 2017 after moving back to New Zealand from Australia. With a background in HR and Health and Safety, and experience in the coal mining sector in Central QLD, Amanda is passionate about providing education to leaders, enabling them to enhance the safety culture within their organisation. She often works with Boards and senior leadership teams to ensure that they understand their duties when it comes to New Zealand legislation across health and safety and employment.

Amanda is a HASANZ registered health and safety practitioner, a ‘Professional’ member of the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM), a qualified ‘Lead Auditor’ and sits on the committee for the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s subcommittee ’The Business Women’s Network (BWN) as well as the Bay of Plenty Kiwifruit and Avocado Safety Liaison Forum. With firm ideals and beliefs that New Zealand’s safety records can and will be improved, Amanda is proud to be part of the New Zealand safety landscape, creating a progressive/positive difference to workplaces in our country.

Amanda  has also completed the completed the “ICAM Incident Investigation Lead Investigator Course”

Mariska Carlson-Smit – Director

About Mariska

Mariska started her career in South Africa and later moved to the UK, where she worked for prominent Recruitment Agencies and internal Hr teams. After a memorable working holiday in New Zealand, she decided to settle down there and make it her home. With over 13 years of experience, Mariska has worked with three major Recruitment Agencies, holding positions such as senior consultant or senior manager. Her innovative thinking has proven valuable for her previous employers, enabling her to secure significant clients and develop high-performing teams.

In her most recent role as Group General Manager for a leading recruitment company in Wellington, Mariska led a team of Consultants and Administration staff. Her responsibilities included driving sales, fostering a positive company culture, and ensuring smooth operations for excellent continuity.

Mariska has obtained accreditation in psychometric assessment interpretation and facilitation through OPRA Consulting. This powerful tool helps ensure clients and candidates find the right fit, ultimately improving employee retention by making informed hiring decisions. This area of responsibility aligned with her passion, and it served as a strong foundation for her next career move here at Pillar Consulting.

Katharina Schmidt

Senior Consultant/Training Manager

E. katharina@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Katharina

Kat joined the Pillar Consulting team in Tauranga in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge, experience and qualifications across a range of industries.

Having worked in the Kiwifruit industry in NZ, where she was a Health and Safety Manager for a local Bay of Plenty post-harvest operator company, as well as in the education sector as a Safety & Wellbeing Business Partner, Kat enjoys the variety of working with a range of Pillar Consulting clients.

Originally from Germany, Kat worked as an Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a multinational conglomerate company in the Renewable Energy sector, which had her regularly travelling across Europe as part of the management team of major offshore construction sites, planning and implementing safety initiatives throughout their various locations.

 She has a Bachelor of Engineering in Hazard Control as well as the German version of the NEBOSH Diploma (called SIFA in Germany) and has recently completed the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety in NZ. She is a Graduate member of the NZISM (New Zealand Institute of Safety Management) and a member of Engineering New Zealand and the New Zealand Society for Safety Engineering.

 Kat is qualified to lead health and safety incident investigations. Her methodical, detail-oriented approach makes her particularly accomplished in this area and many of our clients highly value the conclusions that she articulates in her reports.

 Kat is passionate about what she does and loves educating others on health and safety initiatives, systems and processes as well as behaviours. She is process driven as well as results oriented, loves partnering with her clients and having exposure to a range of industries.

Kat has recently relocated back to Germany and works for Pillar Consulting remotely

Heather Mackay

Health and Safety Consultant
– Wellington

E.  heather@pillarconsulting.co.nz

P.  027 226 2706

About Heather

Heather joined the Pillar Consulting team in August of 2019.

Having recently returned to NZ after living in Seattle with her husband and three children, she is excited at the opportunity to help NZ organisations achieve safer working environments.

Heather’s work history includes 15 years of retail, account management and sales in the pharmaceutical industry.

Heather also worked in the Aviation Industry for 4 years where health and safety standards and procedures are paramount to every aspect of operations.

Based in Wellington, her role as Client Relationship Coordinator is to ensure our clients gain ultimate value and are entirely satisfied with the services we provide.

Heather is excited at how she can help clients achieve their best across the health and safety landscape by working with the highly talented and experienced team at Pillar Consulting.

Natasha Jurisich

Managing Consultant– Tauranga – Bay Of Plenty

E. natasha@pillarconsulting.co.nz

P.  021 627 204 

About Natasha

Tash joined Pillar consulting as a Health and Safety and Human Resources Consultant. She brings with her valuable experience from various roles across the Manufacturing, Steel Construction and Agricultural sectors.

As a Health and Safety Professional, Tash has worked within organisations from the ground up in the development, implementation and management of best practice systems. She is passionate about worker engagement and creating a positive culture around Health and Safety within an Organisation. Always committed to finding the best solution, Tash prefers to take a practical approach to health and safety, looking to implement systems that actually work within an organisation while maintaining the ultimate goal that all workers go home healthy and safe.

Tash has New Zealand Diploma in Business endorsed in Human Resources. She is experienced across multiple HR functions, including the design and implementation of HR Policies and Procedures, job design and recruitment as well as people and performance management. Specializing in communication, Tash is well practiced in working with organisations to strengthen positive team culture which she believes is an integral part of building productivity and performance.

Natasha has also completed the “ICAM Incident Investigation Lead Investigator Course”

Jacinda Matzer

Health and Safety Consultant – Auckland

E.  jacinda@pillarconsulting.co.nz


About Jacinda

Jacinda joined the Pillar Consulting team in 2021. With experience spanning large corporate hotels; large wine retailer; elite level sports administration, health, safety and welling; and as director of an Auckland catering company for 13 years, Jacinda recognises the importance of procedures and protocols, while nurturing management and team engagement.

Most recently Jacinda has supported one of New Zealand’s largest television networks in the implementation of best practice health and safety management systems. This has included leading health and safety engagement at all levels of the organisation, the establishment of systems for health and safety communication, and the coordination of risk assessments for various internal and external projects.

With a Diploma in Proofreading and Editing, Jacinda has a meticulous eye for detail in implementing systems and processes. Currently working towards her NZ Certificate in Workplace Health and Safety Practice, Jacinda shares her passion for team participation and welfare with our Auckland clients, creating and streamlining systems to ensure health and safety is at the forefront of daily business activities.

Chantelle Venter

Director – Australia

E. chantelle@pillarconsulting.com.au

P.  04 1953 9280

About Chantelle

Chantelle is the Director of Pillar Consulting Group Australia, the sister company of Pillar Consulting in New Zealand.  Wanting to build a career that had more focus on developing and maintaining relationships helping people, Chantelle began her career in customer service, talent acquisition and human resources.

She started her own consultancy focusing on IT and financial recruitment and it grew strongly for five years. Family values became central to her life, so she sold her consultancy and moved to New Zealand to raise a family. Chantelle quickly built an active profile in New Zealand, working with a variety of companies as a principal consultant and implementing developmental changes in large businesses.

More recently Chantelle qualified to consult in Workplace Health and Safety in Brisbane Queensland, partnering with our clients to help them put strong, robust processes in place to allow them to protect their people and their business. Driven by a strong work ethic, challenge, and change, she continue her passion to make a genuine effort to improve people’s lives.

Chantelle consistently delivers quality within her work and are passionate about people, change and technology. 


Elaine Harrison

Administrator Manager

E. elaine@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Elaine

Elaine is a career Office Manager and joined the Pillar team after returning from Sydney, Australia where she worked for a large leading Wholesale Distribution and Marketing Company.

With a great eye for detail, organisation skills that are second to none, a passion for communicating effectively with our clients and a strong desire to continuously develop her own skillset, Elaine is a key part of our team and we’re not sure how we ever managed without her!

Elaine will often be the first point of contact for new clients and with such a friendly, professional manner, everyone really enjoys engaging with her.

Angela Simons

Health and Safety Consultant – Tauranga

E. angela@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Angela

Angela joined the Pillar Consulting team in 2022, following almost 20 years of working in public health and project management in Australia. She holds formal qualifications in Workplace Health and Safety Management, in addition to a Master of Public Health degree and a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition.

As a Health and Safety practitioner, Angela works with clients from a range of industries including security, trades, construction, and administration. She enjoys developing and maintaining relationships with our clients, supporting them to implement tailored health and safety systems and plans that align with their health and safety goals.

Angela likes to work across a business to help build the skills, systems, and practices to create a safe and healthy workplace and to drive continual improvements in health and safety. She is experienced in preparing and delivering in-house training to workers and leaders, developing and building their knowledge of health and safety legislation, responsibilities, risk management, and implementing policies into practice.

With a good eye for detail, Angela enjoys adopting approaches to drive improvement, whilst keeping it simple for our clients and their teams. She is passionate about preventing injury and promoting health, and strongly believes that all workers should expect to finish work safe and healthy every day.

Matt Reece

Health and Safety Consultant – Tauranga

E. matt@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Matt

Matt joined the Pillar Consulting team in 2022, following seven years as a qualified trainer specialising in providing safety related training on elevated work platforms, working at heights, harnesses, confined space entry, rescue planning and techniques, and permit to work amongst others.

Matt’s extensive knowledge of industry hazards and risk, combined with his wealth of experience, enables him to advise our clients on how best to engage workers on communicating health and safety matters and implementing control measures.

With a long history of working in high-risk environments, including leading adventure tourism activities through to specialist horticultural work to industrial abseiling on construction sites across the globe, he is well placed and thoroughly enjoys brainstorming safety initiatives with our clients as a subject matter expert whilst also trying to keep it simple and realistic.

Luzanne Oosthuizen

Senior Health & Safety Consultant – Auckland

E. luzanne@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Luzanne

Luzanne is part of the Pillar Consulting team based in Auckland. She is an experienced H&S professional, specialising in strategic health, safety and wellbeing advice and solutions which are practical and specific. Her background includes more than 10+ years of experience across a wide range of industry groups having worked as a H&S Manager within geotechnical, civil, water resources and soil contamination engineering; conducting external health and safety audits; and providing risk and opportunity management consultancy services across a diverse portfolio.

Her technical proficiency covers a broad understanding of the current health, safety, and wellbeing compliance frameworks, as well as delivering comprehensive health and safety management system gap analysis, improvement initiatives, and implementation of solutions. She is committed to direct, influence and support stakeholders to promote a positive working environment, leading towards a mature health and safety organisational culture.

Luzanne has a strong interested in the mental health and wellbeing of workers. She completed her Master of Business Studies exploring the New Zealand legal response to work-related psychosocial harm and continues her research towards a PhD within the field of workplace psychosocial factors. 

She is a certified member of the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM) as well as being listed as a health and safety practitioner on the NZ HASANZ Register. Luzanne has also completed the completed the “ICAM Incident Investigation Lead Investigator Course”

Elena Brady

Senior People & Culture Consultant

E. elena@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Elena

Elena Brady joins Pillar Recruitment as a Senior People & Culture Consultant. Elena comes with over 10 years of experience in end to end recruitment, from job brief through to advertising, proactive search and sourcing, to screening candidates, interviews, references, offer & onboarding.

Originally from Russia, Elena arrived in New Zealand 20 years ago to complete her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Auckland, majoring in Marketing and Management & Employment Relations.

Upon graduating, Elena started her recruitment career as a Team Leader at a busy nursing agency. In 2013 Elena joined a successful multidisciplinary recruitment consultancy in Auckland, where for several years she was leading the Business Support Recruitment Team. Elena then became a Senior Consultant, specialising in Property Construction & Infrastructure roles in 2018, recruiting mid-tier and senior professionals for some of the major industry players and high-profile Government Organisations in New Zealand.

People have always been Elena’s passion and she enjoys making a positive impact on people’s lives. When working with clients, Elena strives to establish a welcoming and consultative approach, so that she can provide direct, up-to-date and informed advice to help them build their best possible teams and workplace.

Outside of work, Elena’s life consists of being a wife to an Irishman and a mum to two active young boys. Elena’s interests include fashion styling, interior design, fitness and nutrition.

Elise Taikato

Principal Consultant

E. elise@pillarconsulting.co.nz

About Elise

Elise has recently joined the Pillar Consulting team based in Tauranga.

She holds an Engineering Degree, OHS Diploma, SAI Global ISO 9001 Lead Auditor and TÜV NORD Certified Machine Safety Expert certifications. She has an extensive health and safety practitioner background covering agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and construction, both in NZ and abroad. Elise has also spent time in Australia as a Senior Inspector for Worksafe Victoria.

Elise has a special interest in plant and equipment, across all industries. She enjoys working with teams on the ground to create practical, people-centric safety solutions, and works with a focus on supporting an organisation to foster their own safety culture and commitment.

Elise holds memberships with New Zealand Institute of Safety Management, Engineers New Zealand, and Te Rōpū Marutau o Aotearoa.