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Our Citizens Health Council supports and enables our communities to have a say in the design and delivery of health services in the greater Wellington region. The Citizens Health Council does this by facilitating discussions between communities and the district health board (DHB). This helps ensure that the voices of people using health services are heard at every level of decision making, including board level.

The council is made up of a diverse group of people whose experience, networks and discussions with our wider communities will help inform the DHB’s future planning and design of health services for our region.

Citizens Health Council members

  • Diana Crossan Chairperson

    Diana was the Chief Executive for Wellington Free Ambulance from February 2013 to 26 May 2017.Prior to this she worked in the management team at AMP and has held several senior roles in the public service. Diana was Chair of the JR McKenzie Trust for 10 years and also the Ngai Tahu Savings Scheme, Whai Rawa for 9 years.

    She was New Zealand’s Retirement Commissioner for 10 years and is on several boards in the private, public and community sectors. These focus on justice and wellbeing for New Zealanders and include work with disadvantaged women and families, financial literacy, financial products and support for refugees.

    Diana was appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2019 New Year honours.
  • Ria Earp

    Ria welcomed the opportunity as a member of the Citizens Health Council to look ahead at the sorts of health issues Wellington people want to see. She believes it’s important to start looking to the future now, because changes in health take time to develop.

    Her vision is simple. It’s for all people to access the services and the health care they need. She believes there is a difference between what people consider they need and what the health system is able to provide, so she wants to contribute to bridging that gap, or at least bringing the two closer together.

    Ria’s experience includes being a hospital social worker in her early career, a senior public servant in health and social services, as well as being CE of Mary Potter Hospice for over ten years. She is keenly interested in looking at health across the whole of the country, and in particular at ways to improve Maori health outcomes. Ria is about to join the board of Wellington Free Ambulance.

    Family is important to Ria who has two grandchildren, and loves reading and walking. She’s planning to take up the ukulele. Dealing with the nitty gritty of life, she wants to do something that deals with a different part of her brain. She feels exercising all parts of her brain allows her to see things differently, to see the wider picture and how pieces connect.

  • Brad Olsen

    Brad joined the Citizens Health Council because he wants to make sure people can access the healthcare they need, where they need it, when they need it, as they need it.

    He believes all people should be able to live healthy and fulfilling lives with easy and timely access to healthcare on their own terms. It means access to healthcare should not be cumbersome, rather the health system should work for people, not the other way round.

    With the Citizens Health Council’s focus on the future of healthcare, Brad is committed to looking strategically at the health system and using his ability to connect and engage with people to discover their hopes, dreams and expectations of their wellbeing.

    Being an economist drives Brad’s thinking. His work in policy has shown him how plans and actions relate to and impact real peoples’ lives.

    Brad has been involved in youth development since the age of 15. He helped set up the Octane Youth Health Clinic in Northland before moving to Wellington for University. He was also named New Zealand’s 2016 Queen’s Young Leader for his involvement with youth development.
  • Caroline Mareko

    Lealamanu’a Aiga Caroline Mareko brings to the Citizens Health Council her experiences in working with Pasifika families and communities, the education sector and unions for over 30 years. Caroline is looking forward to understanding more about the current health system and what lies ahead in the future for services, programmes and care to be more culturally responsive, affordable, quality and accessible to communities.

    Caroline is a Senior Manager: Communities & Participation for Whanau Manaaki Kindergartens. Caroline is currently the Chair of Aotea College Board of Trustees and the interim chair of the Kapiti Mana Pasifika Services Network. She has held a number of voluntary positions with a range of committees and boards, including National Co-Convenor of the Council of Trade Union Komiti Pasefika and chairing the NZEI Te Riu Roa Pasifika Leadership Caucus. Since 2012 she was part of a group that established Pinikilicious. This group promotes the health and wellbeing for Pacific women with a particular emphasis on breast and cervical screening. About 600 Pacific women in the Wellington region have engaged in the free screening programme in the last 7 years. Caroline has recently been sworn in as a Justice of the Peace and was named in the 2020 New Years Honours List to receive the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
  • Mae Tapasu

    A desire to be part of a group that brings the voice of community to the table in order to influence future thinking is what attracted Mae to the Citizens Health Council. Born and bred in Porirua from Ngāti Porou descent, she has a real passion for her community and the families within it.

    She brings strong focus on people and strategic thinking which comes from her 20 years with IRD. She enjoys coaching and developing people to see and fulfil their potential, and has been around and mentored youth and young adults over many years. In fact, some are having their own families now.

    Mae says there are times when people need a little help to see in themselves what others including herself sees in them, and that will feature in how she adds value to the Citizens Health Council. Not being from the health sector, she brings fresh eyes and a passion for doing something meaningful.

    Her experience of seeing people going through health issues and clinicians talking above their heads is a key driver, because if people don’t understand what’s happening and why then it doesn’t mean anything and can be overwhelming. Understanding and taking control is important. Health needs to involve them, not be done to them.

    Bringing services closer to home fits naturally with the community she comes from.
  • Elisapeci Waqanivala

    Elisapeci Waqanivala is currently Managing Director of Grow Vuna Initiatives Limited, which researches indigenous knowledge in the Pacific using her home District as a case model. Elisapeci serves as Deputy Chair for Wellington Pacific Leaders Forum. She chairs the Fijian Language Society and works as an interpreter for Interpreting New Zealand.

    Elisapeci serves as a board member with Interpreting New Zealand and does Fijian Language translation works. She has successfully completed her Masters in Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, with a specific focus on Political Science and International Relations. Elisapeci Is a professional member for Royal New Zealand Society. Her major interests include understanding health data, in particular ensuring ethnicity classifications and statistics of Pacific Peoples in Aotearoa are designed and captured accurately. Elisapeci Waqanivala is currently Managing Director of Grow Vuna Initiatives Limited, which researches indigenous knowledge in the Pacific using her home District as a case model. Elisapeci serves as Deputy Chair for Wellington Pacific Leaders Forum. She chairs the Fijian Language Society and works as an interpreter for Interpreting New Zealand.

    Elisapeci serves as a board member with Interpreting New Zealand and does Fijian Language translation works. She has successfully completed her Masters in Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, with a specific focus on Political Science and International Relations. Elisapeci Is a professional member for Royal New Zealand Society. Her major interests include understanding health data, in particular ensuring ethnicity classifications and statistics of Pacific Peoples in Aotearoa are designed and captured accurately.
  • Debbie Leyland

    Debbie is co-founder, chairperson and spokesperson of UCAN – United Community Action Network Aotearoa NZ. She has worked to design viable and sustainable systems of public and primary health care services, and provide information regarding health equity. She was on the Newtown Union Health Service board for six years,and is a strong advocate for appropriate and affordable healthcare in the community.

    She has two children and two grandchildren. Debbie believes that providing information and a strong voice for those who live in the harshest of conditions in Aotearoa needs to be at the forefront of our decision making, if we are to improve our key focus of health equity.
  • Adrian Gregory

    Adrian is a member of the Health Advisory Group to the Kāpiti Mayor and was acting Chair of the group between November 2019 and February 2020. While Chair, he presented to the Health System Committee with five priorities agreed with CCDHB. He is an active Otaki resident and Chair of the Otaki Health and Wellbeing Group. With over 20 years’ experience in health, Adrian is active in the Kāpiti community, having established Helix4 Consulting to provide strategic planning, leadership and management services to SME businesses and organisations across health, education, government and community sectors.

    Adrian has held senior roles with Wellington Regional School Dental Service (out of Hutt Valley DHB), Wellington regional economic development agency, and was Board Chair, Birthright New Zealand Charitable Trust.

    Adrian worked closely with CCDHB to map current community stakeholders, influencers and opportunities to activate and lead change in Kāpiti.
  • Jono Bell

    Hearing the voice of people, supporting people to be fully informed and the future focus of health needs are key motivators for Jono being part of the Citizens Health Council. He has a background in youth development and social service delivery in South and West Auckland and moved to Wellington six years ago.

    Jono is a senior manager at The Salvation Army and oversees the general social services delivered through 75 centres throughout Aotearoa. He works closely with government agencies and other community organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are supported well. Jono has three teenagers that keep him busy and enjoys tramping in beautiful Aotearoa.

    The health of people, whānau and communities, alongside connected communities, and people having their material need met are all critical for holistic wellbeing. Jono has a vision for a streamlined and connected system that encompasses all aspects of a person’s world including their health needs and aspirations.
Last updated 23 September 2020.