Ngā mihi nui to our speakers

Listed alphabetically

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Dr Catherine Barrow

Medical Oncologist | Bowen Icon Cancer Centre

Catherine has been a medical oncologist since 2004 working in Melbourne and Auckland before returning to Wellington to work as a medical oncologist in 2006. She has also worked as the Ludwig Institute Cancer Research Fellow in Melbourne and as a research fellow at the Auckland University School of Biological Sciences.

Dr Barrow is actively involved in research and is principal investigator of a number of melanoma clinical trials that have been, or are being conducted at Wellington Hospital including phase I/II study collaborations with the Malaghan Institute and Clinical Trials New Zealand.
She is also a visiting oncologist at the multidisciplinary Wellington Regional Melanoma Clinic based at the Plastic Surgical Unit at the Hutt Hospital.

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Professor Richard Beasley


Richard is the Director of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand and Professor of Medicine at Victoria University Wellington. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Otago and a Visiting Professor, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ and lead author of the ARFNZ adolescent and adult asthma guidelines 2020. His research interests in respiratory medicine are primarily in the field of clinical management. He has over 700 publications and a Google H-index of 111.

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Kathleen Bergonia

Audiologist | Dillworth Hearing

Kathleen graduated with a Master of Clinical Audiology from the University of Melbourne at the end of 2020 and has been working as an audiologist in the private sector since the start of 2021. She is currently based at Dilworth Hearing in Kelburn, Wellington where she enjoys working with a range of clients from 3 to 90+ years of age.

Kathleen is passionate about promoting solutions to people who have hearing difficulty and believes in a client-centered approach when it comes to improving quality of life.

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Mr Dan Cocker

Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon | Bowen Hospital

Dan has undergone extensive oncoplastic training in London prior to relocating to NZ. He offers the highest possible clinical outcomes whilst utilising oncoplastic techniques, coordinating with plastic surgeons as required.

He works as part of a patient-focused multidisciplinary team treating breast disease. He also offers detailed modern surveillance and symptomatic investigations for patients with breast symptoms, and a full range of breast cancer and benign breast disease operations.

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Alice Fitzgerald

General Manager | The Gut Foundation

Alice completed an International Business degree and an Arts degree at La Trobe University in Australia. Whilst studying she began her career in the corporate sector with a position as Customer Services Manager in a logistics company , she ended her 6 years with that organisation in the role of General Manager.
Moving to work in corporate real estate, Alice built profitable businesses in Melbourne before being offered a role in Singapore. Alice ran a business there for 2 years prior to the pandemic, whilst assisting with management training and development in the SEA region. After 2 years in Singapore, Alice relocated back to New Zealand to pursue further studies through an MBA at Otago University, which she has just completed at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria.

Alice joined the Gut Foundation in 2021 as Head of Sponsorship and Events. After 18 months, she took on the role of GM of the Gut Foundation and has just recently been promoted to CEO.

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Dr Heather Greig

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon | Bowen Hospital

Heather, originally from Scotland, is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon trained in New Zealand. Her main areas of expertise include skin cancer (incl. melanoma), hand, facial cosmetic and breast surgery.

Heather works across Hutt and Bowen Hospital’s and also does a public clinic once a month in Hawkes Bay. Heather recently became a proud mother of one and enjoys reading, running and cycling

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Mr John Groom

General Surgery | Wakefield Hospital

John is a General Surgeon providing general surgery services in Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand.
He is special interests in colorectal surgery, laparoscopic surgery, colonoscopy, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, disorders of defaecation and peri-anal problems.
John is formerly a fellow of St Marks Hospital in London.

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Tony Groves

Co-Founder of HALO Training

Tony’s professional experience spans 16 years in the military and security community, where he specialised in intelligence operations and risk management. Tony’s operational deployments include Timor-leste, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Tony is a co-founder of HALO Training, and has a passion for helping people overcome the challenges of leadership through his lessons learned from the battlefield, as well as overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcoholism. He holds a Master’s degree in Counter-terrorism Studies, and a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership.

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Dr Graham Gulbransen

General Practitioner

A Fellow of the Royal NZ College of General Practice, Graham completed advanced training in Addiction Medicine and gained his Fellowship of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (FAChAM) in 2008. As an Addiction Fellow he manages problems such as alcohol and drug withdrawal, naltrexone prescriptions for problem drinking, opioid substitution treatment, medication for chronic pain and he writes addiction assessments.

In 2017, Graham started the first medical cannabis service in New Zealand providing Specialist GP consultations for legal medicinal cannabis prescriptions, addressing chronic pain, cancer symptoms, anxiety, chronic insomnia and neurological conditions. He has prescribed medical cannabis to over 2500 patients with very good outcomes.

He was appointed to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council for assessment of medicinal cannabis research projects in 2021.

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Dr Rob Hackett

Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist | The Rutherford Clinic

Rob is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at The Rutherford Clinic and a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Otago. His subspecialist area of interest is hepatology.

Originally from the UK, Rob completed Gastroenterology Training in New Zealand and returned to Wellington on completion of his fellowship in hepatology in Queensland, Australia.

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Dr Darren Hooks

Cardiology | Wakefield Hospital

Darren completed a PhD in cardiac electro-physiology in 2002. Trained in cardiology in Auckland, gaining FRACP in 2012. And undertook sub-specialist training in cardiac electro-physiology in Christchurch in 2013 and Bordeaux in 2014.

Darren’s special interests are in cardiac electro-physiology including ablation of SVT, atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

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Ryan Johnson-Hunt

Audiologist | Bay Audiology

For the past 13 years, Ryan has dedicated himself to the field of hearing health. He completed his Master of Audiology at the University of Auckland and has gained valuable experience in both the public and private health sectors. As an active member of the New Zealand Audiological Society, he remains engaged in professional development and stays connected with the latest advancements in his field.

After spending time working in Vancouver, Canada, Ryan returned to New Zealand in 2017 to join Bay Audiology in the West Auckland region. Alongside his clinical work, he has a keen interest in community outreach and strives to promote hearing health awareness. Ryan is passionate about ensuring individuals have access to the necessary funding entitlements for their hearing needs. He is also enthusiastic about exploring emerging hearing technologies, such as iPhone connectivity and tele-audiology solutions.

Nick Kenning

Radiologist/Board Director | RHCNZ

Nick has worked at Pacific Radiology in Wellington for the last 10 years, having earlier specialised in radiology at Wellington Hospital followed by a few years in Australia where he undertook a fellowship in MRI at Monash in Melbourne and then worked in private practice for 3.5 years. Nick is a shareholder in and director of RHCNZ (Auckland, Bay and Pacific Radiology Groups) - New Zealand's largest private radiology provider.

Nick is a general radiologist with subspecialty expertise in MRI and spine and MSK procedures and enjoys working with staff, patients, referrers, and the public health system, aiming to achieve the best health outcomes.

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Mahmoud Mahmoud

Respiratory Brand Manager | GSK

With a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise, Mahmoud is New Zealand-born Palestinian. Having worked with GSK since 2018 across primary care and secondary care, he has a passion for working with healthcare professionals to help improve Asthma and COPD patient outcomes.
Mahmoud is currently the Brand Manager for Asthma and COPD.

Phillip Matsis

Dr Philip Matsis

Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Interventional Cardiology | Wakefield Hospital

Philip is a graduate of the Auckland School of Medicine and completed cardiology training at Wellington Hospital. Undertook a two year post graduate training interventional cardiology fellowship at Philadelphia, USA supported by a New Zealand NHF training fellowship
His areas of expertise include general adult cardiology, clinical and invasive assessment of coronary heart disease along with advanced techniques for coronary intervention including balloon angioplasty, rotoblation and stent treatment; balloon mitral valvuloplasty for management of mitral stenosis and rheumatic valvular heart disease; structural heart disease management with ASD, left atrial appendage occlusion, PFO closure, balloon aortic valvuloplasty and TAVI (transcatheter aortic value intervention); implantation of permanent pacemakers and implantable loop recorders.

Philip is a senior clinical lecturer in cardiology at Otago University Wellington School of Medicine.

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Teremoana Metuamate

Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Hauā, Mangaia, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāpuhi
Māori Health Services Advisor | ACC

Teremoana is the Kaitohutohu Hauora Māori (Māori Health Services Advisor) for Raranga in Māori Health Partnerships at ACC.

Teremoana was part of the team that led the development of ACC’s Kawa Whakaruruhau (Cultural Safety) policy and supporting resources, including Te Whānau Māori me ō mahi guidance on Māori cultural competencies. The policy, which launched in 2023, supports a meaningful and sustainable advancement towards cultural safety in health and rehabilitation services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Dr Gemma Nightingale

Gynaecology, Obstetrics | Bowen Hospital

Gemma is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist working as part of the Complete Gynaecology group. She trained in the UK with a special interest in Urogynaecology and vaginal surgery.

Gemma moved to New Zealand in 2020 and works as a Consultant at Hutt Valley DHB.

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Dr Tim O'Meeghan


Tim's experience in cardiology began with a second-year house surgeon posting in 1988 to the Cardiology Service at Green Lane Hospital, followed by an attachment that same year to the Cardiac Surgery run. He was Medical Registrar at Auckland Hospital in 1990, half of which time was spent in the Coronary Care Unit. There followed a six month registrar attachment in the Green Lane Cardiology Service at Green Lane Hospital, and after spells in general medicine and in intensive care, he was back at the Green Lane Cardiology Unit.
For 18 months in 1995/1996, Tim gained further cardiology experience at the Nepean Hospital, Penrith, NSW.

He was appointed Consultant Cardiologist, Southern Health, Invercargill in 1996 and remained there until May 1998 when he took up the appointment of Cardiologist, Hutt Valley Health with additional sessions at Wellington Hospital. Tim became Clinical Head, Cardiology Department, Hutt Hospital in 2002.
Tim is an all-round clinical cardiologist with a special interest and expertise in echocardiography.

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Eldon Paea

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaaka, Moriori, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou
Head of Māori Health Partnerships | ACC

Eldon joined ACC in 2018, as a Commercial Manager in the procurement team. In 2020, he took on the role of Māori Health manager and was appointed as Head of Māori Health Partnerships in 2023.

Eldon and his team are responsible for commissioning services that will improve access, experience and outcomes for whānau Māori. Their mahi includes a focus on building trusted partnerships with Māori across the health sector, lifting cultural safety across ACC services and delivering culturally appropriate, whānau-centred healing options, including rongoā Māori services and new regional kaupapa Māori solutions.

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Adele Rostami

Specialist Dietitian | Royston Hospital

Adele is a specialist dietitian who has had advanced training and experience through her 20 years in the NHS, UK and the last 4 years in New Zealand.

Her areas of expertise include; gastroenterology, diabetes, heart health, nutritional support, bariatric surgery and specialist weight management input, disordered eating behaviours and eating disorders

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Mr Kes Wickremesekera (JK Wicks)

Endovascular Surgery, Vascular Surgery | Wakefield Hospital

JK graduated from Otago University in 1994 and completed a general surgery fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2005. He trained in vascular and endovascular surgery and achieved his second fellowship in vascular surgery in 2009.

Of Sri Lankan descent, JK Wicks grew up in New Zealand. His father was a local GP and both of his brothers are also surgeons in the Wellington region. He is a vascular and endovascular surgeon having trained in many of the leading centres of vascular surgery in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Specialist Vein Health he was a consultant vascular surgeon at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

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Mr Kusal Wickremesekera

General Surgery | Wakefield Hospital

Kusal completed his medical school training in 1991 through the University of Otago. He trained in General Surgery in New Zealand and obtained his FRACS in 2001. He undertook full time laboratory and clinical research on the topic of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and was conferred a PhD in Surgery through the University of Otago.
He is active in teaching medical students at the Wellington School of Medicine where he is currently a Honorary Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the University of Otago. He currently works as a Specialist Upper GI and Hepatobiliary, Laparoscopic and General Surgeon working at Southern Cross Hospital, Wakefield Hospital and Wellington Hospital.

He has a special interest in obesity surgery (particularly laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy), gastro-oesphageal cancer, benign tumours of the upper GI tract, cholecystectomy (gallstone disease), liver and pancreatic tumours.

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Dr Rodney Wu

Managing Radiologist - Wellington & Manawatu | RHCNZ

Rodney's career as an expert diagnostic radiologist spans more than 25 years, during which time he has cultivated his specialist interests in body imaging, cardiac and PET/CT. Rodney graduated from Otago University in 1989.

He completed his radiology training in Wellington and a fellowship in body imaging at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide.

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Dr Emily Yassaie

Plastic, Reconstructive and Craniofacial Surgeon

Emily is a Plastic, Reconstructive and Craniofacial Surgeon with extensive experience in conditions affecting the face. She attended Otago medical school followed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery training programme. Emily received world renowned subspecialty craniofacial training in Vancouver, Canada and the Alder Hey Craniofacial Unit in Liverpool, UK. She is one of a handful of surgeons in New Zealand with this skill set.

Emily has a broad practice covering general plastic surgery as well as her specialty interests of facial palsy, ear reconstruction, facial differences, and craniofacial conditions. Dr Yassaie performed New Zealand's first corneal neurotization at the end of 2022.

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Dr Omid Yassaie

Robotic Urology, Urology | Wakefield Hospital

Omid is an urologist with extensive experience in general urological conditions including kidney stones, benign prostatic enlargement and peno-scrotal conditions. He has a sub-specialty interest in urological cancers. After his medical degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Surgical Anatomy at the University of Otago, he completed his urology surgical training in New Zealand. Omid then undertook a Uro-oncology fellowship at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and the University of British Columbia, Canada, focusing on the assessment and management of complex urologic cancers in a high-volume, internationally renowned unit.

Following this, Omid completed a further fellowship year at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, UK, dedicated exclusively to Robotics where he was involved in over 150 robotic prostatectomy, partial nephrectomy and cystectomy procedures. With a keen interest in research, Omid is widely published and has presented his studies internationally. He is currently completing his Masters thesis in ‘Volatile Organic Urinary Compounds in the Diagnosis and Risk Stratification in Prostate Cancer’ through the University of Liverpool, UK.