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Te Pū rauemi KOWHEORI-19 COVID-19 resource hub

Support for people working in health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find information about how you can support yourselves and others, including consumers, teams and colleagues which complements and aligns with Ministry of Health resources.

Kia āta kōwhiri Choosing Wisely

The Choosing Wisely campaign seeks to reduce harm from unnecessary and low-value tests and treatment.

The Te Tāhū Hauora consumer network kōtuinga kiritaki is involved in all of the Commission’s work programmes and provides strategic guidance to the Partners in Care programme. The consumer network kōtuinga kiritaki meets regularly to find practical ways to increase consumer involvement in New Zealand’s health and disability sectors.

Click on the links below to find out more about our kōtuinga kiritaki members. They talk about their own personal health and disability experiences and the reasons they have got involved with the Commission.

Current members:

Amanda Stevens

Amanda was 24 when she was registered blind. Twenty years later she experienced profound and sudden-onset hearing loss on one side. She became a committee member of the Nelson branch of Blind Citizens NZ, was chair from 2015–17 and remains active on the committee. She also served on the board of Blind Citizens NZ from 2013–17.

Until she lost her hearing, she had no experience of the day-to-day complexity of dual sensory loss and hadn’t heard the term ‘deafblind’.

 In 2014, Amanda helped establish the Deafblind Association NZ and is now their executive officer.

Amanda spent 20 years in Britain and became a qualified yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga, and for 10 years taught yoga and advocacy to people with intellectual disabilities. She counts team sports as riding her tandem bicycle and is a qualified massage therapist.

Here in NZ, in 2020, Amanda is excited about any developing technologies that support independent and healthy lives and is in support of funding for smartphones that help realise dreams of self-determination. She is thankful for devices and applications that support her hearing, blindness and the stabilisation of her Type 1 diabetes. 

Tofilau Bernadette Pereira 

Tofilau Bernadette Pereira serves on the board of trustees for a Pacific clinic in Otara, South Auckland, and she has personal experience as a consumer of health services. She is the national president for Pacifica Incorporated and has done a lot of work helping Pacific mothers and families settle into their adopted country of New Zealand.

Edna Tu’itupou-Havea

Edna Tu’itupou-Havea is a registered nurse and has had personal experience of poor health care through the care of her son. She is motivated to make sure that no-one else goes through the same thing she has, particularly with an unwell child. She is a senior nurse lecturer and is studying for her PhD. Her thesis is on Pacific people’s experience in launching formal complaints in hospitals in Aotearoa.

Joanne Neilson

Born in Gisborne and raised in Auckland, Joanne settled in Christchurch in 1992 after spending a couple of years in Europe. An entertainer since her teens, Joanne has visited and performed around New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA. 

Joanne is well known for her published cookbooks Never Trust a Skinny Cook: Fabulous Low Fat Desserts and Ultimate Gluten Free. She has also written two other cookbooks and three children’s books. 

Joanne spent 20 years on community radio and 3 years on the Queer Nation TV show. She has been involved in a number of community groups locally and nationally. She is the past national president of Agender New Zealand, a support group for the transgender community, and former co-chair of Qtopia, a support network of LGBTQIA+ youth. 

Joanne is part of the Christchurch Pride committee and a consumer on Pegasus Health’s co-design team, working on gender affirming pathways. Joanne was an award-winning hairdresser with her own salon in Christchurch and is also a marriage celebrant. 

Joanne has been an out transgender woman advocating for transgender rights for over 40 years. Being part of one of the most discriminated groups, Joanne has great empathy for people from all walks of life. 

Joanne and her husband of 14 years travelled around New Zealand in their giant motorhome before settling back in Gisborne in 2022, where she is the cardiology administrator at Te Whatu Ora Tairāwhiti. She continues her advocacy for the trans community. 2024 sees Joanne curating an exhibition of her show gowns at Tairāwhiti Museum to celebrate Pride month and speaking at engagements around the motu.

Mark Rogers

Mark is the father of a young adult with 22q deletion syndrome, a rare disorder with many medical components. He has been a member of the Te Tāhū Hauora consumer network kōtuinga kiritaki for 4 years and has held previous consumer engagement roles in his local health district. 

Mark has had extensive experience with the health system, which has included opportunities to contribute to rare disorder community projects in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. He represented New Zealand at UNESCO's 2022 international event, Improving Inclusion of Children with a Rare Disorder. 

Originally from a banking background, Mark has also spent over 20 years in both local and national governance roles for the YMCA and is a life member of his local Y. 

Marlene Whaanga-Dean

Marlene Whaanga-Dean is an outreach community health worker for a non-government organisation. She describes whānau and community health as her purpose and passion. Marlene has a background in social work and she is dedicated to making health services more accessible for consumers and whānau in the Wairarapa.

Vishal Rishi

In his role with Te Tāhū Hauora, Vishal seeks to reduce growing health inequities in Aotearoa New Zealand. A migrant from India, he has a deep understanding of the experience of new settlers with the health care system and the racial, cultural and linguistic barriers faced by Asian communities after their settlement period. 

As the director of the Asian Network Inc, a pan-Asian community organisation that supports people of Asian background to enjoy optimal quality of life and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand, Vishal hears stories of struggle from Asian communities on an ongoing basis. As well as being a public health practitioner, Vishal’s experience with the health care system and that of family members helps him identify with others in a similar position and reinforces the importance of understanding the patient and user experience to make services more responsive to their needs. 

Vishal has driven collaborative innovations in Aotearoa for ethnic communities for over 20 years. He is the chair of the Ethnic Health Collective Strategic Group and was central to its establishment. He is also the chair of SAMER+, a pilot project to minimise the rapid rise in family harm cases seen in communities settled in Manukau and is a board member of the Commonwealth Study Conferences New Zealand chapter. 

Mary Schnackenberg

Mary Schnackenberg has an extensive relationship with the disability community, specifically with blind/vision impaired people. She has served in leading roles with the likes of Blind Citizens NZ; The Braille Authority of New Zealand Aotearoa Trust; The Ministry of Health, Disability Directorate, Consumer Consortium; and PHARMAC Consumer Advisory Committee.

From 1984 until 2008, Mary managed the accessible formats production and library at a leading charity, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. Since 2008 she has worked as a consultant and braille producer in the disability sector.

Mary comes from a human rights background and is increasingly conscious of inequities across New Zealand society. Mary enjoys the challenging role of being a consumer advisor, having to think about a wide range of issues and consider many perspectives.

Mary is also a member of the Commission's consumer advisory group.

Jennie Harré Hindmarsh

Jennie Harré Hindmarsh (a Pākehā, born in Rangitīkei and living in Tairāwhiti since 2005) has always been interested in the improvement of the quality of health services, especially through co-developing ways to resolve serious health inequities. She draws on her seven decades of diverse experiences to contribute to ensuring the voices and wisdom of patients, whānau and communities are valued and distilled both to influence the re-design of our health system, and to continue to improve the tikanga, values, ethics, policies and practices of health service providers, educators and researchers.
For over 45 years Jennie has worked interculturally in paid and voluntary capacities – nationally and regionally – across the health, education, social services, research and evaluation, arts and heritage, and ecological restoration sectors.

In the health sector, Jennie was employed by Ngāti Porou Hauora for 16 years as research coordinator, by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners as national director of GP registrar education, by community and outpatient providers as a social worker and by universities as an educator of social workers, and of community and professional educators.

Oliver Taylor

Oliver grew up in Hastings, Hawke's Bay and has been involved in community work both there and in Wellington, where he is now based. 

Oliver's community work has involved local government advocacy, residential assistant work at student halls of residence in Wellington and rainbow group facilitation. He has worked as a consumer advisor in health since 2019 where he started working for both the then-Hawke's Bay district health board and primary health organisation. He is now a consumer advisor for the Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley district, where he holds the youth portfolio and has worked on numerous projects, such as the front of whare emergency department project and the children's consumer engagement project. 

As well as being a member of the Te Tāhū Hauora consumer network kōtuinga kiritaki, Oliver has worked with the organisation in other capacities, including being on its consumer engagement quality and safety marker reference group and review group, and contributing to its 2022 ‘window on quality’ report publication on the effects of COVID-19 on our broader health system. 

Oliver thoroughly enjoys his work on the consumer network and is passionate about advancing health services that are responsive to consumers. 

Zechariah Reuelu

Hailing from Porirua, Zechariah has lived experience of inequalities for Pacific peoples from a young age, from living in cold and damp social housing right through to discrimination with his own journey in the health system.

Through these experiences, Zechariah was encouraged to become involved in several community networks, organisations and social marketing campaigns to promote the needs of his people. He is proud now to have a voice that represents his various Pacific communities.

Zechariah believes it is important to understand and use collective Pacific models of health in promoting system change and, ultimately, better health outcomes.

He is pleased to be involved in the consumer network and looks forward to having a strong voice in making a positive contribution for his communities.

Ricky Ngamoki

Ricky is born and bred in Ōpotiki, spending most of his younger years in between Matatā and Kawerau.

His teenage years saw him spending time in Southland, residing at Mataura, where he was a jack-of-all-trades on farms, industrial worksites and shearing gangs, until joining the territorial armed forces.

After 10 years of army life he began mahi with Child, Youth and Family, in residential homes, supporting whānau Māori and Pacific families and their tamariki.

After starting his own whānau, Ricky and his whānau and whānui also built and continue to tribute to Te Whare Wānanga o Arohanui ki Waitati.

This was created by Rokahurihia and Kerry Cameron. Their tamariki and the hapori have contributed and supported the whare over the years.

The whare was established from the moemoeā that Rokahurihia and Kerry shared, to take a holistic approach, to embrace whānau as a whole, to be empowered with manaakitanga and aroha and to look after each other, as well as imparting mātauranga Māori for mahi toi, te reo Māori, mahinga kai and how to live off the taiao.

In recent years, Ricky has had extensive involvement with Southern District Health Board and several departments there, namely, Te Oranga Tonu Tanga, oncology and Te Ara Hauora.

Tyson Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu)

A head and shoulders image of Tyson Smith

Ko Whanganui a Tara te maunga
Ko Waingongoro te awa
Ko Waimārama te marae
Ko Taupunga te wharenui
Ko Ngāti Kurukuru te hapū
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi
Ko Tākitimu te waka

Tyson’s health journey began when he relocated to Western Australia from the Hawke’s Bay in search of himself as a young man. Instead, he found a lifestyle of self-medication with drugs and alcohol, which resulted in mental health issues and the loss of everything he had. This is when he began his journey of self-rediscovery.

Having found his purpose, and a desire to give back to the community, Tyson became a proactive advocate for his whānau and community. He completed his training and now supports others facing mental health and addiction challenges.

Now based in Te Puke, Tyson works as a peer wellness advocate at MindPlus. He played a significant role in creating the Rāranga Ūngutu – mātau ā-wheako workforce forum in the Bay of Plenty, is a founding member Hauora a Toi Mental Health & Addiction Services Consumer Consultant Group and co-chair of Ngā Hau e Whā – National Forum of Consumers of Lived Experiences.

Toni Trinick-Pritchard (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou)

A head and shoulders image of Toni Trinick-Pritchard

Ko Mihimarino rāua ko Hikurangi ōku Maunga
Ko Waipapa rāua ko Waiapu ōku Awa
Ko Pahaoa rāua ko Reporua ōku Marae
Ko Mataatua rāua ko Horouta ōku Waka
Ko Te Whānau a Kahurautao me Rangīrunga rāua ko Ngāti Rangi ōku Hapū
Ko Te Whānau a Apanui rāua ko Ngāti Porou ōku Iwi.
Kei Te Kaha au e noho ana
E tamahine au na Ihowa, te Atua o te Paipera

Toni was a teenage māmā of the first of four children at 16 and is nanna to one. She was a peer educator and part of a group that travelled around Auckland high schools, providing insight into teen parenting and health education and support to other rangatahi. That was the start of her career in health and social services. Toni has a deep belief in equity for all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, background and ethnicity, and hopes this consumer network mahi will help to enable that change.

Toni’s lived experience of mental health and addictions, and family violence, birthed her passion for helping others. Her own whānau have suffered deeply with severe mental illness, and due to gaps in the health system have not been able to access the services they need, leading to further decline. This is a common theme across rural communities.

Toni moved home to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui after being made redundant due to COVID-19, and for the last two years has been a Whānau Ora Kaiārahi navigator. She is working on a Level 6 qualification designed by Whānau Ora, the first of its kind, and is grateful how it has enhanced her mahi. She has held kaimahi and frontline roles with Māori and tauiwi health organisations while raising her four children.


Published: 22 Oct 2021 Modified: 7 Feb 2024