Consumer Council members
Gerri has a lived experience of disability and has used a wheelchair since 2007. She currently works part-time at CCS Disability Action, after working 30 years in medical laboratories. She has also experienced the health system as a regular consumer of services over the last 40 years.
She has been a member of DPA (Disabled Person’s Assembly) since 2000, chairs the Waikato branch and is current national president.
Gerri is a member of the Waikato and National Enabling Good Lives Leadership Groups. She is also a member of the co-design group for system transformation and is involved with a number of working groups contributing to detailed prototype development.
She is committed to ensuring disabled people’s experiences and perspectives are valued and included in planning processes and system development.
I am excited and inspired to be working alongside the 14 members of the Consumer Council, and as co-chair with Gerri. I believe the council can make a positive contribution and be of service to our communities, so they may continue to flourish and be well.
I am a proud mother of three fantastic rangatahi and find strength and encouragement from my husband and our whānau. I grew up with all my grandparents in Rotorua, and through them have whakapapa links to Tūwharetoa, Rongowhakaata, and Scotland. Twenty years ago we moved to the Waikato to find support for our eldest girl who lives with complex special needs, after the closing of the Child Potential Unit.
I am committed to working in partnership with and supporting the efforts of whānau, hapū, iwi, communities and organisations that seek to advance the wellbeing of Māori and those who have not been well served. I have been able to bring together my life learning and experiences, with my work as an evaluator which stretches across Māori, public health, disability and community sectors. Empowering and equipping people and communities so that we may collectively understand what works and what doesn’t to inform service design and delivery, as well as supporting accountability and decision making, is for me, at the heart of the Consumer Council.
Being able to contribute to the improvement and advancement of services and approaches that are responsive, and uplift and grow the capability and capacity of people and communities is an honour. I look forward to the year ahead, and all that it will bring.
Mauri ora ki a koutou
Hiria affiliates to Ngāti Maniapoto and also descends from Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa and England. She has a background in education, teaching art and developing course curriculum at a tertiary level. She attended Auckland art school Whitecliffe, graduating in 2016 with a Masters in Fine Art gaining first class honours and top student. Hiria is an emerging artist and exhibits on a national scale. Her paintings are about daily life as it happens in her community. Within this genre, she pays particular attention to issues of health that are deeply personal but concern whānau, hapū and iwi.
“Our people are caught in a hīnaki. We are getting sicker and sicker, our kids are suffering. I want to use my experience and perspective to help improve health services and education for everyone. Consumer Council is a great initiative that I am glad to be a part of.”
My name is Tui Armstrong, I was raised in Whangarei and am now based in Tokoroa raising my young family. I have a social work background with experience in both government and non-government organisations and have a passion and commitment to supporting culturally responsive practice in organisations. Having recently given birth in the Waikato region, I have a particular interest in improving maternity services for women, babies and their whānau. Other interest areas include oncology, diabetes, dialysis and stroke support services as these are services currently supporting whānau members in the region.
I am currently a stay-at-home mother taking care of our young baby, and am involved in the local parents centre and kura kaupapa.
Coming from Ngaruawahia, and now living and working in Hamilton, a passion for people and community has always been instilled in me. From working down at the marae during hui or getting involved in community events, there was an importance placed on looking after our people. My focus has now moved to working with rangatahi within the Waikato district and educating them about themselves and encouraging them to challenge their norms.
I am passionate about supporting those whose lives are affected by mental illness and addictions. My passion comes from lived experience as a service user and the difficulties associated with accepting and accessing treatment as well as a deep understanding of the challenges that families face when supporting a loved one. As a result of this, my personal journey has led to over 15 years of experience working within the sector, dedicating my life to providing quality care for individuals and whanau within my community. I believe that reducing the stigma associated with mental illness is the key to increasing access and engagement with services and because of this, I recently made a submission to the Suicide Prevention Draft policy.
I am a descendant of Ngāti Raukawa and belong to the hapū of Ngāti Huri and Ngāti Kapu; Pikitu is my marae. Living in Waihi and working within pare Hauraki, I have a comprehensive understanding of the limitations small towns experience when requiring services in their area. Geographical challenges, attitudes and funding are but a few of the difficulties our whānau face when seeking support. This was my motivation for being on the Consumer Council. I intend to use my personal and professional experience in the sector, to provide a voice for all those whose lives have been touched by mental illness and addictions, to convey the perspective small communities face in access to and delivery of services and to be proactive in supporting further development in this sector.
My name is Selina Koloi and Hamilton has been home to me and my children for 11 years now. In my role as an NGO social worker I am passionate about creating positive changes for whanau/families, whether it is within the whanau/family unit or advocating and promoting human rights and social justice in the community. My passion has influenced my interest in becoming a member of the DHB Consumer Council. This is my contribution to supporting the unheard voices of those in need.
Originally from Auckland, I have been living in the North Waikato with my husband and 3 young children for the last 9 years, and in that time have had many experiences of the Waikato District Health Board, as a consumer, support person and in my current role as Te Kauwhata Community House Manager.
With a range of experience as a board, committee and office holder on various committees, both locally and in the wider area, I feel that being on the inaugural Waikato District Health Board Consumer Council is an exciting honour. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to be involved in the future of the organisation.
I believe that I can make a positive contribution, and help to provide "our people" with a voice on the Consumer Council. Through my work and family life I have an interest in and commitment to people living in rural areas and their ability to easily access healthcare.
I am a doctor with broad experience in general practice, specialist in general surgery and specialist in public health medicine [administration]. My career has placed me in leadership roles within the armed services, rural and district health, and at regional and national levels. I have been involved in quality health initiatives such as hospital accreditation, certification and more recently the development of a multi-disciplinary clinical school. I was a member of the original Waikato District Health Board being elected by the south-east Waikato communities.
I have worked in the New Zealand health system for a long time. I have a unique understanding of how the sector operates and the concerns of all who work within it, or need to access it, particularly those who are most vulnerable or who live some distance from Waikato Hospital as I do.
I bring a sincere passion for health and healthcare.
Found my fire in Education, E.C.E., Primary, Maori and Tertiary. Collected many moments of a 25-year journey, my lived experience leading me into working with indigenous gangs. This passion has become my purpose, empowering societies most marginalised. My overall motivation within my role on the Consumer Council is aligned to closing the gap on healthcare for all people.
Ngāti Maniapoto/Apakura, I am a mama to 13 children - six biological and seven by way of heart. I am a proud grandmother with a voice that echoes the past, midst an aspiring vision for the future.
Kuiarangi Paki (Ngāti Whāwhākia, Waikato) was born and bred in the North Waikato and is passionate about supporting hauora initiatives that drive whānau transformation from pēpi to kaumātua. As a mum, she is particularly interested in improving health statistics for young Māori children and understanding more intuitive ways the Waikato DHB can work with whānau to achieve this.
An active member of her marae Kaitumutumu which is based in Huntly, Kui has a background in public relations and communications, and currently works in Operations for her iwi Waikato-Tainui. She has been a past board member of Radio Tainui and has recently joined the executive committee of the Waikato branch for Diabetes NZ.
Kui has also been a regular blood donor for several years and is registered as a bone marrow donor - an area of health she would like to see more Māori and Pacific Islanders engage in. Outside of work and her other commitments, Kui and her partner Aaron are the proud parents of Ruby and currently reside in Hamilton.
I am a physiotherapist with a Masters of Health Science and I have worked both in public and in private healthcare in New Zealand and in the UK. I am now fortunate to live in Raglan with my husband and two young children. I have a particular interest in rural health and access to health care for individuals with disabilities. This is an area close to my heart as my son was born with special needs. Through this experience of changing sides from service provider to consumer I saw the healthcare system in a new light and exposed areas that need to be improved. I would like to see a paradigm shift away from a system focused on illness to a wellness centered approach to healthcare. I feel my experience gives me an ideal springboard to help instigate change and ultimately improve health and the services offered.
Ngaire Te Ahu
Ngaire Te Ahu, MBA is married and is a mother to seven and has five grandchildren. Ngaire’s formative career was spent working within the Corrections Department as an administrator and in a punitive role. For the past 12 years and currently, Ngaire is working in the public health sector providing policy development advice, community development support and project / event management roles. Working in the health sector has further fuelled her passion to support the development of positive health initiatives for rural communities, Maori, those who are vulnerable or marginalised and their whānau.
Ngaire also has fourteen 14 years’ knowledge and governance experience in education, Maori land / farm trusts, marae and the not-for-profit sector’s and has held various executive roles within the governance committees she has served on.
Ngaire’s hopes for the foreseeable future is to see communities working in partnership with the public health stakeholders to increase equitable health and wellbeing outcomes for not only those most at risk but for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.
The DHB Waikato Consumer Council is an exciting opportunity for me to raise aspects of health on behalf of the disability community. I have the following expertise:
- I’m a Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Board Director
- I’m influential on the RNZFB’s Policy, Strategy Planning and Advocacy Network Steering Committees
- Master of Social Sciences (Hons.)
- I’m a strategic thinker, project manager, leader and strong advocate
- I value the importance of public engagement with our community
I worked 12 years as a policy analyst in the Office for Disability Issues. I currently work for Hamilton City Council managing small projects with the local disability sector and chair the Access Advisory Committee. Proactive engagement with the local disability community is key to my council role. For many years I have had an interest in my wider community. My Masters in Social Science thesis was a sociological study of blind people and how they identify themselves.
I have a wide range of life experience as a mother, an analyst, and as a strong advocate, researcher, manager and decision-maker and look forward to sharing my expertise with the health sector.