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Huia Hanlen. Tapuika.

Kaihautu / Chief Executive

Huia has had almost 30 years’ experience in the tertiary education sector, beginning as an educator and ending in executive roles. Huia’s commitment to education is driven from the impact that knowledge and skill development can have on an individual and their whanau, hapu and iwi.

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Casey Plunket


Casey advises Government on mostly business and international tax matters, and represents New Zealand at the OECD. He is the Chair of the New Zealand branch of the International Fiscal Association, and is also involved in tax education. He became a Brainwave trustee in 2008 and was appointed chair in 2015.

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Anthea Springford


Since leaving investment banking, Anthea has worked mostly pro bono for a range of not-for-profits and advisory groups in New Zealand and Hong Kong. She brings a strong background of financial and organisational experience to her role as Brainwave’s Trustee and Treasurer.

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Judy Bailey, ONZM

Founding Patron

Judy is a writer and broadcaster, but most well-known for her past role as a television news reader. Judy has also for many years been actively involved in voluntary charity work including: Patron of North Shore Hospice, Patron of the Friends of Women’s Refuge, Patron of the National Collective of Women’s Refuges, Patron of the Skylight Trust - an organisation that helps children and adults who are affected by trauma, loss and grief, Patron of The Grief Centre - a national organisation dealing with grief and loss and Patron of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand. She dedicates much of her time, and skills in journalism and fundraising to Brainwave Trust as a Trustee, Educator and Advisor.

Dr Emma Espiner

Dr Emma Espiner. Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou.


Emma is a junior doctor at Middlemore Hospital, and an award-winning writer and podcast host. Emma’s writing features at The Guardian, Newsroom, Stuff, The Spinoff and in academic and literary journals. She has a background in politics, communications, media and Māori public health.

Dr Julia Ioane Brainwave Trustee

Dr Julia Ioane


Julia is bi-lingual in Samoan and English; with connections to the villages of Leauva’a and Fasito’outa in Samoa. She is an Associate Professor in clinical psychology at Massey University and holds a small private practice as a clinical psychologist. Julia continues to conduct research in the area of children and youth, while working directly with children, youth and their families in the Justice sector. She remains committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of all our children and youth in Aotearoa is paramount to our future.

Dr Johan Morreau Brainwave Trustee

Dr Johan Morreau, MNZM


Johan is an experienced paediatrician and medical leader based in Rotorua who has a strong interest in Maori Health, and achieving equity for our “needing to be valued” children and their families / whanau. He has for a long time now recognised and advocated for NZ to invest in children, their whanau and particularly the child’s “First 1000 days.”

Simon Rowley

Dr Simon Rowley


Simon is a consultant neonatal paediatrician at Starship hospital and until recently worked in private practice for over 30 years. Simon’s concern for the health and well-being of children and his interest in infant brain development has led him to being a presenter and trustee for the Brainwave Trust. His clinical experience, depth of medical knowledge and relaxed, friendly manner has made him a popular speaker in medically orientated groups as well as at conferences, seminars and talks to parents, caregivers and teachers. Simon is married to Ann, an early childhood educator and is the father of four adult children and two grandchildren – so far.

Brainwave Trustee - Jeanine Tamati-Elliffe

Jeanine Tamati-Elliffe. Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga.


Jeanine is a māmā of six tamariki and currently works as a Kaiārahi Māori for Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury’s Te Waka Pākākano | Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity. With a background in reo revitalisation, health advocacy and SUDI prevention for Māori, Jeanine also runs a consultancy business, Manawa Tītī Limited, is the current Vice-Chair on the National Maternity Monitoring Group and is a Māori community representative on the South Island Child Health Alliance.

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Dr Julie Wharewera-Mika, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Whānau ā Apanui.


Julie is the co-founder of Manu Ārahi (a kaupapa Māori psychology and research consultancy) where she works as a senior clinical psychologist. She is also employed in a Te Tiriti partnership role as Head of MAS Foundation focused on improving health and wellbeing equity. Julie has held multiple governance roles and is passionate about advancing system transformation to enhance wellbeing including values-based leadership that embodies collaboration and partnerships empowering community-led and whānau-centred approaches. Julie and her husband Jerome (Samoan – Moata’a, Lelepa) have four sons.

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Keryn O’Neill

Knowledge Manager

Keryn has a deep understanding of many factors influencing the development of our tamariki, which she enjoys sharing. She is driven to improve outcomes for all our tamariki and rangatahi, and views research as an important tool to help achieve this. Keryn has written many articles for Brainwave, which are often republished elsewhere.

André Brainwave Kaiako

André Ngāpō

Learning Designer

André is a registered teacher with over 20 years of experience in primary, high school, and adult education. He is currently studying Neuroscience through Harvard’s online edX programme, and alongside his Graduate Diploma in Teaching, he holds a Bachelor of Social Science, a Diploma in Te Aupikitanga-ki-te-Reo-Kairangi, and a Diploma in Media Arts. He is a project development leader with Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, and key presenter working with professionals in the social services and education sectors.

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Hannah Salisbury

Funding & Systems Support Co-ordinator

Hannah joined Brainwave in 2006. She brings a diverse skill set from working in hospitality, logistics, customer service and leadership roles in the Tourism and Corporate sectors. Hannah is passionate about the Brainwave mission and working collaboratively to improve outcomes for our tamariki and rangatahi.


Robyn Fisher

Bookings & Database Administrator

Robyn has a over 10 years experience in Administration in high pressure roles within both government and not-for-profit organisations. She is a Salesforce wiz, using her skills to constantly improve processes and reporting. She is committed to supporting the team so that all presentations run as seamlessly as possible.

Hannah Howes profile

Hannah Howes

Marketing Manager

Hannah has worked for twenty years in the creative industry. As a designer she has developed brand strategy, print and web design for NGOs, entrepreneurs and universities and has helped community groups grow their audiences through social media and online channels. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts and a Diploma in Graphic Design.


Helen Cussell


Helen brings ten years’ experience at management level in the charity sector to Brainwave Trust, along with her prior work in the chartered accountancy and commercial sector. Helen has a special needs son and is familiar with working with early intervention and accessibility for learning, so is committed and passionate about the mission of the Trust. She currently sits on two boards and is well positioned to coordinate the goals of both the finance team and governance.

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Charlotte completed her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Otago before moving to Auckland to work with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery in the Centre for Brain Research. She then moved to Nelson where she is at home bringing up her young daughter. I am honoured to be part of Brainwave Trust and am looking forward to getting out into the Nelson/Tasman/Blenheim/ communities to discuss the fascinating and inspiring messages.

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Deb. Ngare Raumati, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Awa, Te Whānāu-ā-Apanui.


Deb provides presentations at a local and national level and is also invited to deliver as a Keynote Speaker Kaupapa Māori (where science has caught up to Indigenous practices pre colonization). Deb has 2 Birth Adult Children, 4 Whāngai and 4 Mokopuna.
Her strongest attribute is the work she does to support whānau/hapū and iwi development.

Brainwave Kaiako - Jason



Jason is from Christchurch and is a programme coordinator and tutor at the Institute of Canterbury. He teaches sports coaching and indigenous studies, and tutors in pacific performing arts and Gagana Sāmoa. Jason represented New Zealand in the All Black Rugby 7’s and spent time playing in several countries and has been a selector and coach in the Canterbury region. He is a respected leader in Pacific communities in Canterbury.

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Jim. Ngati Pākeha


Jim has specialised in the Family Harm sector since 2000. He joined Brainwave in 2009 and has presented to a variety of audiences and agencies. His focus is on engaging parents and professionals to support and develop their existing knowledge and skills. He likes to share stories and a laugh.

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Kataraina is very familiar with the term “It takes a village to raise a child” as she embraces the opportunity to live and learn within a 4-generation home environment. She currently works for Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki, as the Education & Employment Coordinator and previously Child and Adolescent Mental Health Whānau Support. Katarina’s aspirations for self, whānau, hapū, iwi, te ao māori, te taioa is to raise confidence:“Whāia te pae tawhiti kia tata, whāia te pae tata, whakamaua kia tina. Seek out the distant horizons, cherish those you attain.”

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Jor'el is a descendant Tainui Waka and a proud father who is passionate about nature, human connection and te ao Māori. He is currently a Whānau Ora navigator and Mataora (agent of change) in the health sector. "I believe everyone deserves to live a happy, healthy and safe life no matter what the current circumstances".

Brainwave Kaiako Latu



Latu is a New Zealander and of Samoan descent and has worked within the education sector as a teacher and lecturer for 20 years. He has led professional development in Early Childhood through to Tertiary. He is totally inspired by Brainwave message and is proud to be part of the team as a presenter for Wellington. Latu has a Masters in Educational Psychology and is at present looking to start his PhD in Education. Latu is also involved heavily with this community leading Pasifika Healthy Lifestyle exercise programmes affordable for families to attend. Latu has three amazing children who are the apple of his eye.


Luella. Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Awa, Fiji Indian.


Luella was born and raised in Manurewa by a solo dad, her upbringing in South Auckland fundamentally shaped the contours of her life. A career in the public sector was carved from a deep seated drive to serve her community and change the system from within. Luella is mum to two amazing girls who she is raising in Manurewa with her husband Graeme.

Brainwave Kaiako - Lizzy

Lizzy. Ngāti Pākeha, whanaunga ki Ngāti Porou me Te Arawa.


Lizzy comes from a broad cross-sector background in Education, including secondary school teaching of English, Te Reo, Social Science and more recently Health. Being bi-lingual, Lizzy has also worked in Kohanga, Kura Kaupapa and Primary as well as adult / community education focusing on Te Tiriti and Hauora / Wellbeing.

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Maire. Kai tahu, Kati mamoe, Waitaha.


Maire has extensive experience working with school communities, agencies and community groups. She has a passion for the wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi. Maire is based in South Canterbury with her husband and two beautiful, energetic tamariki. She feels honored to be part of brainwave trust and to share this knowledge.


Marie, Ngāti Porou.


Marie is an early years educator who has supported whānau in accessing appropriate early childhood education for almost twenty years. Having conducted Māori research in education and co-authored the ECE Hikairo Schema, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education settings, Marie is passionate about empowering whānau using indigenous knowledge systems and practices.

Kaiako - Nicky



Nicky is employed as part-time Community Paediatrician by Taranaki District Health Board, she is passionate about reducing inequalities in population health and the link between health, education and social status. She is also interested in community development and the potential it has to improve child and whanau health and wellbeing. She and her husband have 3 children




Norma has been a Kaiako since 2010. She enjoys working with all audiences from young mums to professionals. She brings with her a practical approach having worked since 2003, with children with a range of challenges at West Auckland Riding for the Disabled. She is the group President. She strongly believes in the benefits to all, of getting things right for our tamariki in the early years. She understands that parenting doesn’t have to be perfect but there are some essentials required if our children are to thrive.

Brainwave Kaiako Rob



Rob is our Dunedin based Kaiako. He has a PhD in Social Psychology and has worked in academic, research, clinical and community organisations. Rob is active in the community to build community resiliance, to raise public awareness of family violence, and to inspire individuals to take action against family violence. He currently has a research position at the University of Otago, and is the Otago Coordinator of Fostering Kids NZ, where he provides training, advocacy and support to caregivers to provide safe and nurturing homes for the children and young people in their care.


Roimata. Waikato Maniapoto, Ngati Apakura, Ngati Mahuta.


Roimata was born and raised in Otara. She was privileged with being raised in and around Te Ao Māori with Te Reo being her first language. Rongoa Māori (traditional Māori medicine) was a core component of her upbringing, this later contributed to her love of merging sciences and Te Ao Māori and using that merge to connect with whanau. With a background in teaching and in the public sector, Roi thrives on pushing the system to create better outcomes for whanau. Roimata is mum to 4 tamariki, 2 girls and 2 boys who she is raising in Manurewa with her husband Harrington.

Brainwave Kaiako Sarah



“I get out of bed every morning to help people be the best version of themselves they can be.” Sarah lives in Wellington with her family, including teenage children who are an integral part of her mission to make the world a better place. Sarah is also an author (“Changing the world is child’s play”), coach and mentor.


Tahlia. Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Makino me Te Aitanga-ā-Hauiti.


Tahlia is a proud māmā to three beautiful boys. She is a Clinical Psychologist based in Rotorua, and has a PhD in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Neuroscience. She is passionate about empowering Māori whānau to understand our traditional child-rearing practices in order for our pēpi to thrive in their early years.

Tabitha - Brainwave Kaiako



Tabitha is a General Practitioner. She has been a family doctor for 24 years and is passionate about the dignity and value of parenting. She can think of no better preventive medicine than teaching people about the importance of the first three years of life. She believes getting this information to the community and future parents should be a health priority.

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Dr Lauren Porter

Scientific Advisor

Lauren is a mum, a clinical social worker and a parent-infant therapist. She has a long affiliation with Brainwave and a passion for merging scientific information and clinical frameworks with the realities of daily life. She is the current Clinical Director at the Champion Centre in Christchurch.