WOVEN was established in 2015 by the Ministry of Health and is run by HNCT to increase inclusion of tangata whaiora in the design, planning and development of health services in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Advisors draw on their skills and lived experience to provide input to task forces, reviews and advisory groups of government departments, public sector health agencies and private healthcare providers.
We do this to make sure health services, systems and supports are fit for purpose for all people living in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially those who live with disability and/or long-term health conditions.
WOVEN members provide consumer advocacy and perspective to:
- Te Whatu Ora teams
- other government departments engaged in health service delivery
- non-government organisations
- publicly funded agencies engaged in health services
- private and other healthcare providers
- HNCT and Healthify.
- participation as members of local, regional and national steering groups, particularly groups set up to review or redesign various services
- provision of feedback on potential tools and services
- input at workshops etc to help co-create future services or resources
- testing of ideas with their own peers and networks
- delivery of workshops about consumer advocacy and working with consumers/tangata whaiora
- other forms of feedback and engagement.
Some examples of WOVEN assignments:
- Ministry of Health Hepatitis C project team
- Interventional Cardiac Registry governance group
- NZ Cardiac Surgery Registry governance group
- CVD, diabetes and long-term conditions self-management workshops
- Technology in General Practice workshop
- Pharmacy Action Plan
- Ministry of Health CVD, Diabetes and Long Term Conditions advisory group
- Health Care Homes National Collaborative
- Critical Care Services Planning Programme
- healthAlliance regional IT infrastructure
- Kaiawhina Workforce Taskforce
- DHMAS app reviews
- Medical student lectures
- Palliative Care Advisory Panel EAG
Assignments are generally undertaken face-to-face but also through Zoom and Teams.
The contract to manage and coordinate the work of WOVEN is held by the Health Navigator Charitable Trust, which reports to Te Whatu Ora.
Organisations or groups interested to know more about the service are welcome to contact WOVEN manager Susie Hill by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Service coordinator: Fa'aulu Tomulil-Afoa
- Service manager: Susie Hill
- Clinical director and sponsor: Dr Janine Bycroft
If you would like to inform us of your assignment needs please fill in and return this form Client's Request Form for WOVEN Services. [PDF, 137 KB]
Health Consumer Advisory Service flyer [PDF, 266 KB] Healthify NZ & Ministry of Health, NZ, 2020
The members of WOVEN range in age from 24 to 74, come from different backgrounds and regions, and bring a range of skills and experience. Most importantly, they are committed to partnering with healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and health and wellbeing outcomes for everyone living in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Jaime was a caregiver to her late husband who had hereditary ATTR amyloidosis disease, a rare disorder. Her experience dealing with the effects of the disease on her husband, since his diagnosis in 2013, and on her family have seen her go through many challenges. Being his caregiver requires constant personal growth and flexibility to be successful in this complex, demanding and stressful role.
Jaime is the CEO and founder of the New Zealand Amyloidosis Patient Association (NZAPA) and also represents Rare Disorder New Zealand (RDNZ).
With a background in counselling and psychology, she passionately shares her insights about being a caregiver – the demands, having to rise above it all – and says everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand has a part to play to ensure better outcomes for both the patient and caregiver’s health and wellbeing.
"New Zealand to be able to provide patient-centred healthcare it is imperative that EVERY consumer represented by WOVEN be actively involved every step of the way in the process of determining and implementing improvements to the quality of healthcare." she says.
Kylie is a mediation and coach services specialist with more than 20 years’ experience in senior management roles. In addition to mediating disputes, Kylie uses her personal experience of stroke to coach executive leaders through behavioural change and building resilience to problem solve and transition.
“I have had to explore the concept of resilience from my own perspective as well as in a number of conversations with people who have been through life-altering events,” she says.
Kylie commenced her role as a health consumer advisor in 2014. She works with clinical teams to ensure patient-centered care. Kylie is also a member of the National Stroke Network and the Northern Region Stroke Executive Network and actively pursues projects to improve patient health and wellness.
“Life-changing events are not something that you can plan for, which is often difficult for people to accept.”
Ko Ngapuhi me Te Rarawa toku iwi.
Kei Cable Bay ahau e noho ana me toku tane. Ko Karoria Johns toku ingoa.
Tehei mauri ora!
Karōria is passionate about health being reframed as wellbeing and addressing physical health as one area of many that contribute to an individual's holistic health. Other determinants (her preferred resource for this is Te Wheke by Dr Rangimarie Rose Pere) must be examined to enable wellbeing to flourish for Māori people, whānau and communities.
She says: "Embracing Māori models of care and WOVEN will benefit the system as a whole for both workers and consumers, while simultaneously ensuring intergenerational traumas are addressed and resolved." She believes this work will be transformational.
Karōria has lived experience both directly and through her whānau of mental ill health, domestic violence, sexual violence, drug and alcohol addictions, homelessness and cultural disconnection. She has also experienced subsequent re-engagement, extensive travel and living overseas before returning home, eventually moving back to Te Tai Tokerau permanently.
"I'm humbled by working in the WOVEN team, and hope my unique perspective contributes in a meaningful way."
Iti noa ana, he pito mata. With care, a small kumara will produce a harvest.
Te Whanganui a tara/Wellington
Andrew is of Tongan and Niuean descent and live in Wellington. He is a stay-at-home dad/student working casually as a residential youth worker for Oranga Tamariki and more recently Real, the youth brand of the healthcare service Pathways.
Being a father of five, he is constantly kept on his toes!
Andrew is no stranger to the public health system. His youngest daughter lives with chronic asthma and is a regular at the paediatric ward at Wellington Hospital. This motivated Andrew to join WOVEN as an advisor not only to help others to gain better access to the services available through the healthcare system, but also to help fellow Pacific people who struggle with the health literacy demands placed on them by the health system and providers.
Andrew is a service user and has been with ACC now for the past year-and-a-half due to multiple concussions from his past life as a semi-professional rugby/rugby league player.
"There is help out there for others like me who have suffered head trauma and it is my mission to make this help as accessible as possible."
Leota Alice Meredith
O le ala i le pule, o le tautua - The pathway to leadership is through service.
Alice describes herself as a “Southside babe” living in Otara South Auckland from a very early age after moving to New Zealand from Samoa.
Consequently, she has a passion for Pacific people and the pacific community as a whole. Alice has a strong desire to be part of the solution to the health problems her fellow Pasifika face, through networking and service to others.
Alice has been a voluntary community advocate and worker for over 30 years. She says her proudest moment is the fact that she was able to be a mother to son Atticus and daughter Alycea, who are both now young adults.
A love of lifetime learning saw Alice recently embark on a postgraduate degree in bicultural supervision.
“Reciprocal communication in a bilingual and multilinguistic environment is vital to ensuring we are well informed and resourced adequately in our respective communities.”
Kevin has been blind for 36 years, and his wife also has long-term conditions. Kevin has been a disabled persons’ advocate for 36 years, participating at a New Zealand and international level.
Kevin, a lawyer, also has extensive experience representing an organisation that supports consumer interests in health and disability services and substantial involvement in health consumer perspective roles. In addition to WOVEN, he has been a participant on the Canterbury DHB Consumer Council. This role provided Kevin an understanding of the processes and obligations to be a quality participant on a formal panel, including the ability to contribute to discussions, express informed opinions, gather perspectives from networks and complete assignments within deadlines.
Through his roles, he has developed an appreciation of, and empathy with, cultural perspectives and practices that are necessary for effective health service delivery. Kevin also has extensive consumer networks and direct connections that allow him to provide a range of relevant and current perspectives and knowledge.
"I enjoy being involved with WOVEN because it is an opportunity to take the views and information I already gather in my current representations and then bring any learnings back to my networks."
Merle Mapuna Samuels
Merle identifies with Ngai-te-rangi (Katikati, Western Bay of Plenty). She has previously lived in other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand and in Australia. She supports a holistic approach to healthcare, where whānau, physical, spiritual and mental wellness are considered together.
Merle’s health experiences include osteoarthritis and having had a brain aneurysm several years ago.
She was employed as part of the Wellness Support Team by East Tamaki Healthcare as a patient advocate, cultural advisor, peer support specialist, Stanford self-management master trainer, facilitator and health coach, and she has facilitated the Positive Parenting Programme in South Auckland.
"The opportunity to help make a difference in peoples’ lives and to provide input from a Māori perspective is important to me."
Gary's health background is primarily in mental health, starting when he accessed mental health services due to experiencing depression and anxiety associated with an impending business failure in the early 1990s.
Over the 25-plus years since then, Gary has experienced both recovery and relapse, and learned much about himself and the mental health system. He joined the mental health workforce in 2004 and his work since then has included peer support, advocacy, leadership and management roles, as well as consumer audit work, training and development. He lives in Auckland with his wife and they have two children and five grand daughters.
Gary retired from the workforce in April 2017 after 3½ years employed as a peer support specialist, self-management facilitator and health coach with Tamaki Health. However, in his "retirement", he continues to be contracted as a consumer auditor of mental health and addictions services and does voluntary work in the community.
Gary’s assignment work to date as a health consumer advisor includes a governance role for the Kaiawhina Workforce Taskforce and the All of New Zealand Acute Coronary Syndrome – Quality Improvement Registry, and membership of a reference group for the development of an alcohol risk assessment communication tool for use in primary care.
Kiriana (Kelli-Anne) Te Huki
Ko Rangitimau te māunga
Ko Waipoua te awa
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu me Rangitāne ōku iwi
Kiriana is well-versed in the consumer space. Since dealing with mental distress from her teens, and chronic pain since 2017, she has embraced the knowledge and resilience these experiences have taught her.
Alongside her role with us, she has also been involved with the National Rōpū for Te Kete Pounamu as the youngest member, the advisory council for the Southern DHB, a Rākau Roroa as a regional leader, and a certified facilitator as well as working at OUSA (Otago University Students Association) as the Queer Support Coordinator responsible for providing support for all queer and questioning students at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic.
" I am passionate about raising awareness and reducing inequalities relating to the LGBTQIA+ community, mental health and distress, rangatahi and Māori, access needs and intersectionality. And I am committed to making a positive impact."
Fa’aulu joined Health Navigator in 2022 as the Community Engagement Pasifika Lead for the Auckland Psychosocial Response Project. She is now the Project Coordinator for WOVEN and the Self Management Assessment project. An experienced professional with a background in the financial industry, she transitioned to social services, health and education in the workplace. She has actively participated in various community-focused programmes, aiming to enhance community capability, competency and confidence.
With a multicultural background working closely with migrants, Māori, Pacific and refugees, Fa’aulu brings a deep understanding of their unique needs and challenges. In her role, she actively promotes equality and accessible solutions, ensuring resources and information are culturally appropriate. Her dedication to community development, coupled with expertise in various sectors contributes to the improvement of health equity and empowering marginalised populations.
Wendy (Wui Ting) Voon
Wendy is a Malaysian migrant to Aotearoa New Zealand and is passionate about advocacy for migrant populations and Asian communities. In her early teens, she experienced mental distress related to the death of a beloved family member. Since then, she has experienced both recovery and relapse and accessed mental health services for support.
During her time in Aotearoa New Zealand, Wendy has encountered other migrants who have experienced mental distress due to lack of social support and high stress after migration. This experience has made her realise the importance of raising public awareness about the challenges faced by migrant populations and their lack of knowledge about healthcare entitlements and healthcare systems in New Zealand.