Regional leadership



Regional Director - National Public Health Service – Dr Hayden McRobbie

Regional Director - Hospital and Specialist Services – Mark Shepherd 

Regional Wayfinder - Commissioning - Danny Wu (Interim)

  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Te Tai Tokerau Northland – Tracey Schiebli (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Te Toka Tumai Auckland – Dr Mike Shepherd (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Counties Manukau – Dr Vanessa Thornton (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Waitematā – Mark Shepherd (until new appt.)
  • Interim Pacific Lead Northern Region - Harriet Pauga

Te Manawa Taki

Te Manawa Taki

Regional Director - National Public Health Service – Dr Natasha White

Regional Director - Hospital and Specialist Services – Chris Lowry

Regional Wayfinder - Commissioning - Nicola Ehau (from 7 Feb)

  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Waikato – Chris Lowry (until new appt.)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty – Bronwyn Anstis (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Lakes – Alan Wilson (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Taranaki – Gillian Campbell (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Tairāwhiti – Jim Green (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Tamati Peni, Interim Pacific Lead Te Manawa Taki



Regional Director - National Public Health Service – Paula Snowden

Regional Director - Hospital and Specialist Services – Russell Simpson

Regional Wayfinder - Commissioning - Tricia Keelan (from 13 Feb)

  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay – Chris Ash (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim District Director - Hospital and Specialist Services, Te Pae Hauora o Ruahine o Tararua MidCentral – Jeff Brown (until 30 Jun 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Whanganui – Katherine Fraser Chapple (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Wairarapa – Kieran McCann (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley – Jamie Duncan
  • Interim Pacific Lead Central Region - Tagaloa Junior Ulu

Te Waipounamu

Te Waipounamu

Regional Director - National Public Health Service – Vince Barry

Interim Regional Director - Hospital and Specialist Services - Ngaire Buchanan

Regional Wayfinder - Commissioning - Chiquita Hansen (from 13 Feb)

  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Nelson Marlborough – Lexie O’Shea (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim District Director - Hospital and Specialist Services, South Canterbury – Jason Power (until 30 Jun 2023)
  • Interim Group Director Operations - Hospital & Specialist Services, Waitaha Canterbury/Te Tai o Poutini West Coast – Jo Gibbs
  • Interim Lead - Hospital and Specialist Services, Southern – Hamish Brown (1 Jan - 30 June 2023)
  • Interim Pacific Lead Te Waipounamu - Lealiifanovalevale Erolia Eteuati-Rooney

Commissioning Team

Jennifer Rutene-Smith – Director, Māori Health

Jennifer Rutene-Smith – Director, Māori Health

Te Whatu Ora’s new National Director, Māori Health National Commissioning brings extensive experience from a distinguished career supporting and representing her people.


Jennifer Rutene-Smith (Ngai Tuteauru, Te Ngahengahe in the Hokianga and Ngati Kahu on the East Coast of Te Taitokerau) commenced her role on 20 July and will be based in the Hokianga, where she lives, and will also work from the Auckland office.


She will work with the National Director, Commissioning, Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority and Pacific health partners to establish a new operating model for the group that ensures Māori and others are at the forefront of design, planning and implementation of health services around the motu.


As part of that, she will provide strategic advice to support the health aspirations and goals of whānau, and improve health outcomes.


That advice comes from three decades’ experience in the teaching and health sectors around the country, but especially in Māori communities in the Far North and Auckland, where her career began as a teacher at Mangere’s Nga Iwi Primary School.


That led to key roles in the Ministry of Education and Learning Media where she led a Māori publishing team in the development of teaching materials to support the curriculum.


After returning to the Hokianga in 2009, Jennifer worked with the Hokianga Hapu Collective in preparation for the Tribunal hearings and represented her four Hokianga hapū as speaker to the tribunal in the Whakaputanga Claims in 2010. She sat on the Board of the Hokianga Health Enterprise and then made a move into the health sector.


As Chief Operating Officer at the Ngati Hine Health Trust, she oversaw a new structure and delivery model to continue the strategic and transformational work she began when she joined the organisation in 2016.


Māori health and data sovereignty were central to her most recent role, as Māori Director for Te Whatu Ora’s National Health Data and Digital Programme , Hira, and she will look to further address inequities and increase access to health services for Māori in her new role.

Danny Wu – Northern Regional Wayfinder

Danny Wu – Northern Regional Wayfinder

If you are going to navigate the sometimes complex health system, it’s best to have a guide who has experience in many facets of its operation, in this country and others.


Interim Regional Wayfinder Danny Wu has been appointed to the permanent role for the Northern Region within Te Whatu Ora.


In that role he will provide leadership across the northern region, working within the health sector and its many different communities to commission primary and community care services, while ensuring equity of access and outcomes are prioritised.  Wellness is a fundamental part of the health reforms and partnerships with other agencies will be critical to address the social determinants of health.


As a Wayfinder he will engage with the widest possible range of whānau, community and provider stakeholders to help remove barriers and meet the health needs identified in Te Whatu Ora’s localities partnerships.


It’s what he has been doing for most of his career, building experience across the health sector at strategic planning, change management and clinical service levels.


After graduating from Otago University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Danny attained senior clinical and management hospital pharmacy roles in New Zealand and overseas.


He has had Programme Manager roles in mental health and primary care with district health boards and has led the development and implementation of primary health care strategies when he was National Programme Manager, Primary Care at the Ministry of Health.


Since then he has led numerous projects and teams in Waikato and Auckland to improve planning and performance in clinical delivery in private and public services, including primary health organisations.  His operational management roles in hospitals has enhanced his ability to take a system view of the health sector and be practical in implementing change and transformation.


And he has done that while always remaining focused on improving health outcomes for patients and whānau, and addressing equity issues in those communities.


Clearly Danny is set to play an important role as New Zealand navigates the transformation of its health system.


Paul Martin – Deputy National Director, Commissioning and System Design

Paul Martin – Deputy National Director, Commissioning and System Design


A strong, personal experience of inequity within vulnerable communities will be invaluable in Paul Martin’s new role.


Paul has been appointed as Te Whatu Ora’s Deputy National Director, Commissioning and System Design. He will be relocating from Brisbane to Wellington to take up his new role on August 7.


That work will involve leading and being part of teams designing and delivering consistent models of care across the country, models that represent the localities and regions they serve and ensure good access, equity and health outcomes for all.


Paul has been fighting for and working towards those goals for much of his career, especially as a volunteer and professional advocate for LGBTQI+ communities around the globe.


After graduating from the Queensland University of Technology in 1992 with a Bachelor and Diploma in Education, the dual British and Australian citizen moved to Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, where he had several roles running various sexual health programmes for gay men and those with HIV.


Over the following years, in national and regional positions around the UK and Australia, Paul played leading roles developing, leading and delivering sometimes multimillion-dollar health programmes for LGBTQI+ communities, the homeless and addicted covering mental health, suicide prevention and treatment. That involved everything from training and policy development to marketing, preparing funding submissions and liaison with service providers.


That culminated in his most recent role, as the executive manager of the Brisbane North Primary Health Network’s commissioning and mental health reform teams.


On top of that, Paul has a strong history of volunteering in various organisations supporting mental health, suicide prevention, alcohol and drug addiction, and the LGBTQI+ community.


In his new Te Whatu Ora role, Paul will be tasked with harnessing all of that experience, and a great record as a challenger of systems and the status quo, to help create and deliver better people-centred models of care that improve health outcomes for all.

Jason Power – Director, Funding and Investment

Jason Power – Director, Funding and Investment


An experienced manager in this country and overseas has been appointed Te Whatu Ora’s Director, Funding and Investment.


Former South Canterbury DHB chief executive Jason Power began his new role on July 3 and is based in Timaru. He had been filling the role in an interim capacity since September 2022.


He joins a team accountable for more than $8 billion in third-party expenditure in the commissioning of health services, and will support the planning for investment of over $24 billion in the sector.


As part of Te Whatu Ora’s ongoing transformation of the health system, Jason will help to establish new operating models and strong financial systems to support the commissioning of services and the organisation’s financial reporting, and also offer strategic advice on funding and investment.


The leading role in South Canterbury and management of more than $240 million in spending and 1000 staff was just the latest big step in Jason’s extensive career in management of health and other sectors.


That began in the mid-1990s, with strategic project and financial roles at British Telecom, British Airports Authority and the UK’s Department of Transport Environment and Regions.


Back in New Zealand he joined the Ministry of Health’s DHB Funding and Performance team, where he prepared and tested budgets and business cases, among numerous financial responsibilities.


In 2003 he headed to the South Canterbury DHB, where he moved from planning and funding roles, to Director of Corporate Services – Planning and Funding and then, in 2021, the top job, where he handled complex funding and strategic priorities, as well as clinical and resourcing challenges.


When Jason is not pouring over boardroom tables and budgets, he’s at home on the ice rink and football field, having mentored and supported the NZ under-20 Ice Hockey team at this year’s world championships in Turkey, and the Timaru Boys’ High School football first XI over the last three years.


He is also on the Board of Trustees at Timaru Boys’ and the board of New Zealand Ice Hockey.

Dr Sarah Clarke – National Clinical Director, Primary and Community Care

Dr Sarah Clarke – National Clinical Director, Primary and Community Care


Dr Sarah Clarke has dedicated her career to improving rural and Māori access to healthcare and to addressing health inequalities.


All will be among her priorities in her new role as Te Whatu Ora’s National Clinical Director, Primary and Community Care, which she starts on 28 August. She will be based in Te Tai Tokerau.


In that role Sarah will focus on ensuring nationally consistent models of care and equity outcomes in primary and community health.


In partnership with the regional Clinical Directors and other leaders within Te Whatu Ora, she will support system design and change that improves equity, quality and health outcomes for all, but particularly vulnerable and remote communities.


Sarah brings extensive experience in health and education in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, with an emphasis in health delivery in smaller centres and rural communities. That work is backed up by an impressive resume of research, writings and presentations, and ongoing education that demonstrates a deep knowledge of the health sector.


That began at the University of Auckland, where Sarah won various awards while attaining her medical degreehas subsequently obtained Fellowship in both Urgent Care and Rural Hospital Medicine.


Ongoing education has focused on rural and public health, and leadership. She is currently working towards a Master of Public Health at Massey University.


Those studies have been called upon in numerous roles, initially in clinical positions in hospitals around the country, including Hawera, Palmerston North, Waikato and Masterton, and then in leadership positions in Kaitaia, Ashburton and Dargaville across rural hospitals and General Practice, where equity of access were often lacking.


Sarah’s previous roles have had a particular focus on vulnerable communities in rural New Zealand, including work as Manatū Hauora’s Clinical Chief Advisor Rural Health, and Te Tai Tokerau’s Clinical Director Rural Hospitals. That strong interest is also seen in her work in various national bodies, including as Chair of the Rural Hospital Clinical Leaders’ forum and as Clinical Lead and Mentor for Wahine Connect.


In many of those roles, Sarah was able to experience the inequities of access and quality for rural and Māori communities.


In her new role she will be able to draw on her vast experience to address those issues and set about fixing them, for the good of all in the health system.