Dame Dr Karen Poutasi - Chair

Dame Dr Karen Poutasi is medically qualified with a specialisation in public health and has significant governance and leadership experience in the health and education sectors. Her executive positions have included Chief Executive of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Director General of Health. She lives in Paraparaumu.

Dame Karen is also Chair of Taumata Arowai – the Water Services Regulator and Kāpuhipuhi Wellington Uni-Professional and has been a board member of Te Whatu Ora since its establishment.

She was previously the Commissioner of Waikato District Health Board and Chair of the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Governance Group.

Naomi Ferguson

Naomi is a current Te Whatu Ora Board member and a highly accomplished leader. She brings more than 30 years' senior leadership experience in the public sector in New Zealand and the UK to the board of Te Whatu Ora. She was the first woman to be appointed Commissioner of Inland Revenue and led the organisation between 2012 and 2022. She is on the board of Education Payroll Ltd and on the Ministry of Justice’s risk and assurance committee. Her previous governance roles have been in the tax administration, health and social welfare sectors in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and in international forums such as the OECD. She also served as a trustee of Diversity Works New Zealand.

Hon Amy Adams

Ms Amy Adams is a former New Zealand National Party politician, was the Member of Parliament for Selwyn from 2008 until she retired in 2020 and served as a Cabinet Minister from 2011-2017. She lives in Canterbury.

Having graduated from Canterbury University with first class honours in law Ms Adams worked as a lawyer and senior partner specialising in commercial and property law for Mortlock McCormack in Christchurch before entering Parliament, where in her first term she was given the roles of Chairperson of both the Finance and Expenditure and Electoral Legislation select committees and also served as a member of the Justice and Electoral and Regulations Review Committees.

Ms Adams’ Ministerial portfolios included Minister for the Environment, Communications and Information Technology, Internal Affairs, Justice, Courts, Broadcasting, Social Housing, Social Investment and Associate Minister for Finance and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery. 

Ms Adams also currently serves as Chancellor of the University of Canterbury.

Dr Jeff Lowe

Dr Jeff Lowe trained in Otago and graduated in 1984, before working at Karori Medical Centre as a registrar and locum and then becoming a partner.  He is a trainer in general practice and has a role teaching general practice to doctors training in this speciality. He is currently chair of General Practice New Zealand, and a board member of Cosine PHO, the Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa and Collaborative Aotearoa.

He also recently worked on Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand’s Planned Care Taskforce and COVID-19 Health System Preparedness group.

Ms Tipa Mahuta (Waikato, Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi)

Ms Tipa Mahuta has a background in facilitation, research, policy and community development complemented by over 20 years in Iwi governance experience. She lives at Waahi Pa in Huntly.

Ms Mahuta is currently the Chair of the Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Group, a councillor with the Waikato Regional Council, co-chair of the Waikato River Authority and board member with the Te Kotahi Research Centre.

Ms Mahuta has served on a wide range of iwi and community boards including Iwi Māori Council at the former Waikato DHB and Tainui Group Holdings. She also has experience in environmental governance, serving on the Waikato Conservancy.

My marae established the first marae-based health clinic in the 1980s as a model of care for our whānau and increase access to hauora services. Waikato has had to employ our own responses since Raupatu where landlessness, poverty and epidemics have caused us to create our own strategies for survival like other whānau and communities around the motu.

From the work of many, we are fortunate to be able to launch into a new era of Māori decision-making in health and the challenge remains the same in my opinion, to empower our whānau to enjoy intergenerational health gains and increase their opportunity to drive their own hauora futures and decision-making. The reforms will act as a catalyst for necessary change, inclusion, innovation and responsiveness by the health system.

Ka noho whakaiti nei me te whai ake i nga koorero i waihotia mai

Mahia te mahi hei painga mo te Iwi – Te Puea Herangi

Amohia ake te ora o te Iwi, kia puta ki te wheiao – Kiingi Tuheitia


Ms Vanessa Stoddart

Ms Vanessa Stoddart is a senior leader with 30 years’ executive and governance experience in manufacturing, packaging, airline and engineering industries. Initially a commercial lawyer, Ms Stoddart transitioned to change management, performance improvement and leadership roles before leading Carter Holt Harvey’s Australian Packaging Group and holding senior executive roles with Air New Zealand. She lives in Auckland.

Ms Stoddart is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Directors and a chartered member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. Government appointments include having been a member of the Better Public Services Advisory Group, DOC Audit and Risk Committee, Defence Employer Support Council, Chair of MBIE’s Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Tertiary Education Commission. She also previously chaired Global Women.

Ms Stoddart is currently an independent director for Channel Infrastructure NZ Ltd, OneFortyOne Plantations Pty Ltd and a member of the Financial Markets Authority.

Dr Curtis Walker (Te Whakatōhea rāua ko Ngāti Porou)

Dr Curtis Walker lives in Palmerston North and is the current chair of the Medical Council, and a general physician and kidney specialist at Palmerston North Hospital. He has extensive experience in governance, clinical leadership and public policy. He is the current Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Formerly a veterinarian, Dr Walker retrained in human medicine, starting work at Waikato Hospital where he commenced internal medicine training before moving to Palmerston North and Wellington to complete his specialist training, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2015.

His career has been predominantly in secondary and tertiary clinical provision and has involved governance roles across health, including President of the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association, Deputy Chair of the Māori Medical Practitioners Association and leading the Ministry of Health's Planned Care Equity Advisory Group.

We cannot underestimate the importance of the opportunity to reform our public health system into a more cohesive and effective whole, where health outcomes are equitable for all. It is a privilege to serve Aotearoa on the Board and a privilege to continue to serve patients as a practising doctor.