Waitematā DHB works hard to provide the best possible patient experience to the many people who use our services.
Our Consumer Council was set-up to assist us in our ongoing drive for excellence – helping us focus on a patient and whānau-centred approach to everything that we do.
The Consumer Council provides a strong and viable voice for the community and consumers, working in partnership with the DHB on healthcare planning, quality improvements and service delivery.
Consumer Council members have varied backgrounds and areas of interest within the community including women's health, men’s health, child health, older persons health, disabilities, chronic conditions, mental health and addictions, LGBTI, Māori health, Pacific peoples’ health and Asian health.
Meeting 6 weekly, members are appointed for a fixed term (normally two years with the potential for reappointment up to a maximum of three terms).
The Waitematā District Health Board (DHB) Consumer Council works collaboratively with the Waitematā DHB Chief Executive, and Board to develop effective partnerships in the design, planning and delivery of high quality, safe and accessible health care services for the Waitematā community.
Lorelle George is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council who has lived on the North Shore for over 30 years. Lorelle holds a Bachelor of Social Science and a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Health. She has a broad interest in health promotion and community engagement, particularly as a Consumer Representative on North Shore Hospital projects. She is also a member of Age Concern Auckland’s Health Promotion Regional Advisory group and the Harbour Hospice Clinical Governance Group. Prior to her recent retirement, she was Health Promotion Manager at Comprehensive Care. She also served as a Health Voice Coordinator,Board Member and Chair for Health Link North as well as being a member of the Board of the North Shore Women’s Centre and Yes Disability.
Ngozi Penson was born in Nigeria and moved to the North Shore of Auckland in 1998. She has a strong link to the African community. She has over two decades of experience as an entrepreneur starting and managing various businesses while participating and volunteering for community-led initiatives. Ngozi is passionate about empowering communities and creating opportunities for better engagement and participation especially around service delivery within the health and education sectors. She serves on Not-For-Profit boards and Advisory committees. Ngozi is a certified leadership coach educator and holds a Master of Applied Management.
Neli Alo is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. He was born and raised in West Auckland. A graduate of University of Auckland, he also lived in Samoa where he graduated from Malua Theological College. Neli is a strong advocate for Pacific Health and is currently employed by Vaka Tautua, a national “by Pacific for Pacific” health and social service provider. Having served as a Youth Worker for many years, he is a National ambassador for the A-OK Suicide Prevention Programme. He enjoys supporting his three children while also serving as a co-founder of Legacy - a company that uses performing arts as a mechanism to raise mental health and suicide prevention awareness.
Insik Kim is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. An Engineering Graduate from Seoul National University, he also served as a non-commissioned medical officer in Korea. He moved to New Zealand in 1994 and gained extensive experience working in community healthcare. Since becoming a Bowel Cancer survivor in 2006, Insik advocates for communities and NGOs and served as Community Engagement Coordinator for Waitematā DHB’s Bowel screening pilot program. A grandad of seven grandchildren, he also volunteers for the Citizen Advice Bureau and serves as a Consumer Representative for Waitakere Healthlink while pursuing his interests in photography, travel, writing and music.
Jeremiah “Ian” Ramos is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. Ian was father to a medically-fragile child who passed away in December 2018. As a way to keep his son’s legacy alive, Ian immerses himself in the community as a health care supporter to the elderly, people with disabilities and to medically-fragile children. He spent five years accessing the services of Waitematā DHB and established a wealth of experience in health care services. He has strong connections with the Filipino community in the Waitematā area. Prior to working as a property broker, operating after-school care centres and operating a café, Ian was a creative professional who worked in the print and television graphics industries.
Maria Halligan (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Kahangunu) spent 14 years working in leadership roles across Government before taking up the role as Operations lead, Funding and Contracting at Te Whānau o Waipareira. Maria holds a Bachelor of Business majoring in accounting focusing primarily on procurement practices, and sits in an Otago University led Healthier Lives Research Project hoping to influence the increase in equity within community health procurement. She is passionate about driving activities that ensure communities have a voice in determining their success, and that practices are of a high quality and culturally appropriate. Maria has led networks that support Wāhine development in leadership and is passionate about equality within personal and professional environments. Maria is also a māmā of three young tamariki, and when she can find a minute is also a Kōmiti member for Auckland Māori Rugby League and netball coach.
Dr Ravi Reddy is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. He comes from Fiji but now calls West Auckland home. Ravi has worked for government and Crown agencies both here and overseas. He now works as a lecturer in the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland where he specialises in the areas of community health outcomes, access to health services as well as health promotion. Apart from his academic pursuits, Ravi has a keen interest in sports - especially rugby league.
Kaeti Rigarlsford is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. Her passion for equality, equity and inclusion is driven by her experience of having had to rely on a wheelchair since she was 24-years-old. She has been working in the disability sector for more than 45 years, advocating for people with disabilities to be seen and treated as equal contributing members of society; promoting equal access to health care, employment and accommodation; and as promoting wellbeing - particularly for the elderly. Kaeti lives a healthy and active lifestyle and could well be the oldest female playing wheelchair basketball.
Dr Vivien Wei Verheijen is an inaugural member of the Consumer Council. Having migrated from China in 2002, she served at Shakti Women’s Refuge and Asian community services in the mental health sector and then worked as a Senior Diversity and Engagement Advisor at the Office of Ethnic Communities in the Department of Internal Affairs. Those roles supported her passion for women empowerment, community development and championing diversity and inclusion. Vivien is qualified in project management and strategic planning and has obtained a Masters in Social Policy from Massey University and a PhD in Public Policy from AUT. She currently works as a Senior Community Advisor at Waste Solutions, Auckland Council.
Samuel has always been passionate about supporting people and the community. With counselling and public health background, he has built working relationships with the broader community and key stakeholders in healthcare and social support services. He has been working for over two decades promoting health messages and supporting the community to develop their capacity and resilience, fostering inter-sectoral collaborative opportunities, advocating for inclusive and accessible service provision in public health.
Samuel has broad experience of participating in a range of governance and advisory roles at NGOs and government agencies. He leads a health promotion team at The Asian Network Inc and has been serving as an executive member for over a decade at Waitakere Health Link working in partnership with Waitematā DHB to bring the voice of the Waitakere community.
Outside of work, he enjoys tramping with his wife and looks forward to the control of kauri dieback disease, so people can walk along the whole Waitakere range tracks again.
Alexa Forrest-Pain graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree before gaining employment for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua where she works in Māori Public Health particularly involved in advocacy, policy and community engagement. She is currently a member of the Auckland Council’s Youth Advisory Panel and the secretary of the Auckland Branch Public Health Association (having previously sat as an executive committee member). Alexa is currently completing her master's degree in Health Services Management
Hannah is the first youth representative appointed to the Waitematā DHB’s Consumer Council. Her passion is helping and working alongside people. She is looking forward to contributing her youth perspective to the Consumer Council. Hannah hails from Henderson where she is completing her last year of high school heading towards a Bachelor of Education.
Eden Li is a student representative for the Consumer Council. Having moved up from the Waikato in 2015, he currently is a student at Westlake Boy's High School in Takapuna where he is currently involved in a number of non-profit organisations both in and out of school. He does this alongside volunteering programmes in the educational sector as well as contributing to church-related programmes. Eden wants to increase awareness in the youth sector of wellbeing, which he sees as one of the integral parts of maintaining a flourishing healthcare environment in which the younger members of the community can benefit.