Find out about Community Health Council members, their experience, the area they represent and the commencement of their term.
*There are a number of vacancies on the CHC both geographically and by health area which will advertised and appointed in the next month.
Ms Karen Browne (CHC Chair) – Dunedin
Term commenced: Feb 2019
Karen has worked in various locations around New Zealand as an Enrolled Nurse, Cardio-pulmonary Technician, CPR trainer, Ambulance Officer and as a shift supervisor of the Wellington Free Ambulance Communications Centre. She also has worked in health administration, and more recently, until retiring in mid-2018, at the Otago Medical School. The health system has always played a huge part of her working life, and, in more recent years, as a consumer of health services. She is well positioned to bring both a consumer perspective to discussions around health provision and service, particularly around musculoskeletal and long-term conditions, as well as an understanding of the delivery of health services. Karen has worked on various projects through being a member of the Health Consumer Advisory Service of Health Navigator, and also has been involved locally as a consumer voice regarding re-stratification of patients in primary care to ensure the right level of care reaches the right people – the CLIC programme. Karen is also a member of the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Consumer Group, and has recently been appointed to the Health, Quality and Safety Commission Leadership Group for Aged Residential Care. Karen’s health fields of interest include long term conditions, older person’s health, and primary health.
Ms Rosa Flaherty - Dunedin
Term commenced: Feb 2018
Rosa Flaherty is 17 years old and is pursuing a Bachelor of Law at Otago University. Rosa has been involved in community radio at Otago Access Radio. While at school she established a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning and Others (LGBTQ+) support group for students and went on to facilitate a Rainbow Leadership group with other schools across Dunedin. Rosa’s health fields of interest include LGBTQ+ rights within the health system, mental health, and youth representation within the health system.
Mrs June Mills - Dunedin
Term commenced: May 2019
For 22 years June worked in Radio and Television in Dunedin in a variety of diverse professional roles including production and news directing. For 35 years worked for Otago and Southland Division, 29 years as an employee in the role of Income Development and Promotions, both divisionally and nationally, this has been followed by six years on the Cancer Society Board with the role of chair of Income Development and Strategic planning. June has been a Rotarian for 24 years and is a member of the Rotary Club of Dunedin holding local and District (9980) roles during those years. Community involvement includes: volunteer with Presbyterian Support, Meals on Wheels, previous PACT Board member (10 years), previous Board Trustee for 10 years East Taieri Church, Saddle Hill Foundation Trust which developed and supports Youth Ministry for the East Taieri Church.
Mrs Kelly Takurua - Tapanui
Term commenced: Feb 2017
Kelly was born and raised in Gore until her family moved to Tapanui. Kelly has undertaken a number of courses relating to social services and mental health addictions in Dunedin and Invercargill. Kelly is currently working as a Social Worker/Manager for Te Iho Awhi Rito Social Service, a marae-based social service provider in rural Southland. Kelly’s health fields of interest include mental health, alcohol and drugs, Māori health, and primary health.
Ms Paula Waby - Dunedin
Term commenced: Feb 2017
Paula has lived experience of disability. She is the Local Coordinator for Otago Blindness Network, President of the Dunedin branch of the Disabled Person’s Assembly, and representative on the World Blind Union. Paula works as an audio transcriber and runs a small business offering braille production and technology training for the blind. Paula’s health fields of interest include disability, older persons, women’s health, and primary health.
Mr Jason Searle - Cromwell
Term commenced: Apr 2018
Jason works as a surveyor in Cromwell. He has a Bachelor of Science majoring in zoology and ecology at Massey University. Jason has a strong sporting background and has recently completed the GODZONE endurance race. He is part of the Clyde Rugby Team and a volunteer of the Urban Fire Brigade. Jason's health fields of interest include rural health and men's health.
Mrs Lesley Vehekite - Invercargill
Term commenced: Aug 2018
Lesley is trained as a qualified accountant and works at the Pacific Island Advisory & Cultural Trust in Invercargill. Through her work she has had connections with Tongan, Cook Island and Samoan, Kiribati and Fijian communities to find out their health/social needs.
Lesley is a member of the Free Church of Tonga and her husband is an ordained Minister and both of them have been working and managing the Youth and Sunday school for 21 years. As well as doing her day to day work, Lesley has six children.
Lesley has found through her community visits with work that there is a lack of knowledge regarding health, education and the government system and wants to support Pasifika families and communities to achieve maximum well-being and healthy lifestyle.
Bob Barlin - Dunedin
Term commenced Feb 2020
Bob is a retired Army Officer who has worked for various humanitarian aid agencies such as the United Nations and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in many disaster zones throughout the world. Bob is a vice president of the Dunedin RSA and a committee member of the Otago Officers Club. Bob is also a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for humanitarian activities.
Bob has undertaken roles in Logistics, Operations and Management during his service and is currently a Logistics CHC advisor on the new hospital build.
Bob has seen at first hand that improvements in logistics supply, processes and procedures can increase savings that can then be channelled into direct medical funding. In the case of Veterans, Bob is keen to help alleviate their medical concerns and to develop systems that will be of use in the future. Bob believes that we must learn from what has been, to better prepare for what is yet to come.
Toni Huls - Oamaru
Term commenced March 2020
Toni is a mother, grandmother and wife. She has lived experience of mental distress and an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Toni is an advocate and wellness champion. In earlier years Toni was a Child Support Worker (Pallative) with Nurse Maude. She worked for IHC as a support worker both vocational and residential. Toni volunteered as a trainer for Youthline for 6 years. Toni's husband had terminal cancer and she cared for him while they were living rurally. Tonie has spent 20 years rehabilitating and recovering from an ABI. In later years she has volunteered in numerous roles.
Toni is involved with Waitaki Mental Health Support Group and Waitaki Mental Health and Addictions Network Group. She is a tall tree and regional leader with Rakau Roroa which is part of Changing Minds. Toni is recently married; her partner is living with long term health conditions. Toni is an Intentional Peer Support worker at Otago Mental Health Trust (Waitaki) and a Yale "fellow" Programme for Recovery and Community Health. Toni's health field area of interest is MHAID, equality and equity disabilities and rural health.