Dr Lynne Maher
Principal of Co-Design

Lynne has had an extensive health care career ranging from critical care nursing, operational and board posts at local and national level during which she has been able to support teams to create significant improvement in health systems. This has been specifically through her work on co-design, creativity and innovation, creating the culture for innovation, leading change and sustainability for improvement. Lynne’s Doctorate focused on ‘Leading Innovation for Health Improvement’.  She also holds a Masters in Business Administration and BSc Hons in Health and Social Sciences.  Lynne is currently supervising a nursing PhD Student at the University of Tasmania who is exploring patients experience of using electronic health records and she is providing support for a PhD Student studying Sustainability of Improvement at the National Institute for Health Research, London and a nursing PhD Student in Oxford exploring experiences of older people and their families through the process of discharge from hospital care.

Lynne is an Advisory Board Member for the Quality Safety Marker – Consumer Engagement within the Health Quality Safety Commission. She is a reviewer for the NZ Medical Journal, BMJ Quality and Safety Journal and the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Lolohea Tongi
Programme Manager Co-Design

Lolohea was born and raised here in Tamaki Makaurau. Her whanau hail from the beautiful Kingdom of Tonga. She joined Ko Awatea in 2020 after returning to Aotearoa from Queensland, Australia. At Ko Awatea, she is the Co-Design Programme Manager and her team contributes to projects by advocating for whanau voices in considering decisions and processes across various health services.

Previous to Ko Awatea, through research, she explored and documented the realities of Tongan people in Aotearoa and Australia. She has also had the opportunity to evaluate and contribute to improving educational programmes for young Maaori school-aged children. For 2 years as a Probation officer in Otara and Mangere, she supported a majority of young Maaori and Pasifika males to not only complete their community-based sentences but to encourage a different perspective and to equip them with better tools to navigate life.

Her passion is to disseminate new knowledge and impact change that will enable our people to live a more flourishing holistic life within them, their whaanau, and their community here in Aotearoa.

Doug Healey
Improvement Advisor Co-Design

Doug spent 17 years of his career within the transportation industry managing logistics, staff, health and safety budgets and customer services. He then discovered a strong passion to support people and communities to understand more about; and achieve better health and wellness. This brought an entrepreneurial flair out and in 2016 Doug founded a company The Influence Crew, which supported predominantly Māori and Pacific peoples to achieve fitness beyond their belief by running marathons. They would train for two years and then become members of the NZ Marathon Team travelling to seven countries across the world.

When the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020 Doug immediately wanted to help and joined Te Rūnanga Ā Iwi O Ngāpuhi to support the development, logistics and management of Covid testing stations throughout the Northern DHB communities. A few months later he learnt of the need for dental services in areas of great need in Northland and worked to successfully create Smile Dental care which provided free Dental Care through three mobile units, operating four chairs and predominantly serving Maori whanau. When this service was fully established Doug joined the Whanau Ora Community Clinic as the National Practice Manager where his role focused on developing and executing strategies focused on safety, quality, service delivery, and cost analysis for 10 G.P Clinics, a Pulmonary service, 4 Covid Testing sites and Vaccination centres.

Lisa Blake
Improvement Advisor Co-Design

Lisa has spent over 20 years working as a project coordinator and event manager for companies such at Air New Zealand and General Motors, before moving her career path to health.

In her previous role as an ACC Case Manager at Counties Manukau Health (CMH), she worked closely with her clients, listening to both their vocational and social needs to create a rehabilitation plan to help them return to work.  Having the clients input into their rehabilitation, respecting their cultural needs and being aware of any barriers they faced was a key factor to their success. 

Lisa joined Ko Awatea in 2016 as the External Programmes Coordinator, coordinating Improvement Science workshops such as the Improvement Advisor Programme and Improvement Facilitator Programme for Mental Health and Addictions teams. Lisa’s event management background was utilized recently when coordinating CMH’s attendance at Polyfest 2021 and when working with the Maaori Health Team on the promotion of MMR immunisations in the South Auckland community. 

Lisa’s interest in health has grown over the past 5 years, she is currently studying Public Health and Health Promotion (level 5). 

Rebekah Nicholas
Project Coordinator Co-Design

Born and raised in South Auckland New Zealand, Bex is both indigenous New Zealand Maaori and Cook Islander. As an expert in community organising Bex trained, coached and was the lead organiser for Handle the Jandal, a youth-led campaign enabling youth leadership to take action on issues of importance to youth regarding their own mental health and wellbeing.

Currently Bex is the background guru for making the Engagement and Co-design team run effectively and efficiently. She holds fast to her values and continues to be a lifelong learner, coach and organiser. Outside of work Bex is a professional musician and active leader in her community who aspires to be a leader that builds other leaders. 



Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive

This whakatauki talks to community, to collaboration and a strengths-based approach. It acknowledges that everybody has something to offer, a piece of the puzzle, and by working together we can all flourish.


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