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Community Health Council members

Find out about Community Health Council members, their experience, the area they represent and the commencement of their term.

June Mills, Kelly Takurua, Toni Huls, Paula Waby, Lyneta Russell (chair), Kathryn Wright, Jason Searle

June Mills, Kelly Takurua, Toni Huls, Paula Waby, Lyneta Russell (chair), Kathryn Wright, Jason Searle

Mrs June Mills | DunedinTerm 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 she worked for Otago and Southland Division of the Cancer Society, 29 years as an employee in the role of Income Development and Promotions, both divisionally and nationally, followed by six years on the Cancer Society Board with the role of chair of Income Development and Strategic planning. 

For nine years June managed Glenfalloch Gardens on the Otago Peninsula with her husband. June was a Rotarian for 24 years and was a member of the Dunedin Rotary Club, holding local and District roles during those years. Community involvement included: volunteer with Presbyterian Support, PACT Board member (10 years), Board Trustee for 10 years East Taieri Church, Saddle Hill Foundation Trust which developed and supported Youth Ministry for the East Taieri Church. For the past five years she has been a Community Health Council member. Currently she is also a community representative on two Te Whatu Ora Southern hospital groups.

Mrs Kelly Takurua | TapanuiTerm commenced: Feb 2017

Kelly has worked in the Social Services sector for over 20 years in the Eastern Southland and West Otago communities, as well as volunteering in community groups and organisations, in mentoring, co-ordinating, support and committee roles. 

Kelly's interests include the whole health system with particular interests in Maori, Youth, Mental Health and Addictions, Rural and Women's health.

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 has spent 20 years rehabilitating and recovering from an ABI. 

Toni is an (independent) Lived Experience representative on Te Whatu ora (Southern)Te Hurihanga/ Time for change Mental Health, Addiction, Intellectual Disability Leadership Group , Co-Chair Moving Forward MHAID consumer council, involved in Waitaki Mental Health and Addictions Network Group.  Toni is a Peer Support worker for Waitaki Creative Wellbeing. 

She is also a Facilitator "World of Difference” with the Department of Psychology  , University of Otago, and also a Yale "fellow" Programme for Recovery and Community Health. Toni's health field area of interest is MHAID, co-design, equity, disabilities and rural health (Waitaki).

Ms Paula Waby | DunedinTerm commenced: Feb 2017

Paula has lived experience of disability having been totally blind from early childhood. She is on the board for Blind Citizens New Zealand, involved with the Dunedin branch of the Disabled Person’s Assembly, and on the National Disability Leadership Group for Your Way|Kia Roha. Paula works as a consultant offering disability and advocacy training, plus training in Braille and adaptive technology. Paula’s health fields of interest include disability, older persons, women’s health, mental health, and primary health.

Lyneta Russell | DunedinTerm commenced: Feb 2023

Lyneta accepted the Chair role of the Community Health Council in February 2023 having served on two Consumer Advisor projects prior to taking on the role.

Lyneta has a longstanding interest in the health and wellbeing of our Southern community and is committed to doing her part in ensuring that health and disability services are responsive to consumer and community input.  She is a registered nurse with experience in secondary services in clinical and senior management/advisory positions, aged residential care, and for the past 5 years have been employed in a dementia non-government organisation providing advisory services across Aotearoa.

In a voluntary capacity she is a Court appointed Welfare Guardian, is a trustee for the Otago Welfare Guardian Trust and is also on the Committee for the Nurses Memorial Fund – a fund set up to support nurses in need.

Lyneta is a mother of three and Nene to 11. She acknowledges she is a bit of a workaholic but enjoys non-work time in her garden and walking her dog.

As Chair of the Community Health Council Lyneta sees her role as supporting opportunities for the consumer, whānau and community voice to be heard at all stages of health and disability support. She believes that the voice of lived experience of whānau and communities will inform improvements in our Southern health and disability services. 

Kathryn Wright | Te Anau

Kathryn is a counsellor in Te Anau who works with all ages and specialises in rural mental health. She is a regular writer and speaker on the topic, which she is passionate about. Kathryn is also a youth mental health first aid trainer and has done extensive volunteer work for Victim Support and Able. She is currently undertaking a PhD at University of Otago and is researching the effects on wellbeing through social connections in small rural communities. Kathryn is an advocate for physical and mental health equality in rural and remote areas.

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.

Chris Middlemass | Invercargill 

Term commenced: February 2024

Chris is the proud whaea of two amazing rangatahi, and taua to her beautiful mokopuna. Her tama has had health issues since he was born and consequently has complex additional needs and life challenges which mean he needs full support with all aspects of his life.

Chris is involved in various disability advocacy groups, seeing a real need for change within the existing systems. She is a champion of Enabling Good Lives and the difference this can make for those with additional needs and life challenges.

Areas of interest within the health system include Youth and Children’s Health, Long Term Conditions, Disability, Older Person’s and Men’s Health.


Beryl Wilcox | Invercargill

Term commenced: February 2024

Beryl’s experience extends over many years in both governance and management positions in the education, health and community service fields.

Her community perspective and involvement include working with young people / rangatahi, the elderly and as current Chair of the South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation Charitable Trust (South Alive), strengthening the important elements of consultation and engagement to enable a stronger community voice and develop wellbeing and resilience.

Her active interest and involvement in the health sector includes rural and remote living (having lived for an extensive period on Stewart Island), aging well, women's wellbeing, and is a volunteer with the Hospice Living Legacies programme. She has been a representative on many local and national advisory and consumer consultation groups in the health sector and other fields. She considers community voice and advocacy is essential to achieve local and relevant solutions.

Beryl was awarded the Member of New Zealand Order of Merit honour for services to the community in 2022.

While semi-retired, Beryl continues with a variety of contract and community work. She always enjoys and values time and balance with her husband, children, grandchildren and wider family.