Left to right: Ben Thomas, Neil Melhuish, Helen O’Toole, Sean Lyons and Martin Cocker.

Netsafe’s depth of experience is unique in New Zealand and respected internationally. The team come from the education, government and business sectors and have backgrounds in project management, design, software development, network administration and security, IT sales, marketing, communications, education, policy, mediation and conflict resolution.

Netsafe’s senior leadership team

Martin Cocker, Chief Executive Officer

As the Executive Director of Netsafe, Martin leads the Netsafe team. He oversees the development of partner relationships in NZ and overseas and can often be seen or heard in the media explaining online challenges for New Zealand internet users. Martin’s knowledge is sought out by many in NZ and beyond.

Sean Lyons, Director of Education & Engagement

Sean is responsible for Netsafe’s work in the Education sector, public education and strategic partnerships. Sean comes from a background in the IT industry and the education sector having spent part of his career as a classroom teacher and school leader. He is incredibly knowledgeable about online challenges and is responsible for Netsafe’s programme to combat child sexual exploitation material.

Helen O’Toole, Director of Operations 

As Director of Operations, Helen is responsible for the contact centre team who receive and assess the reports submitted to Netsafe and help people with a wide range of digital challenges whether they be identifying scams or resolving online bullying and harassment. A former management consultant, Helen’s expertise lies in implementing new organisations, processes and systems and achieving operational excellence.

Neil Melhuish, Director of Policy & Research

Neil is the interface of Netsafe and government partners to explain complicated online challenges in slightly simpler terms. Neil provides expert strategic and operational policy advice on the role of digital technology in the lives of young people, family and whānau and the wider community.

Ben Thomas, Legal Advisor

Ben Thomas is the Legal Advisor at Netsafe. Previously, Ben worked as a Policy Advisor in the Criminal Justice Unit at the Ministry of Justice where he contributed to the development and implementation of the harmful digital communications legislation. In addition to his public sector experience, Ben has worked as a banking and finance lawyer and as a secondary school teacher.

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