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Speaker Spotlight—NZRA Conference 2021

14 Aug 2021 10:39 AM | Deleted user

We have a fantastic line up of speakers at this year's conference. Here's a brief bio on each of them, so you can get a glimpse into the diverse group of contributors this year.

CATE GRACE [Kai Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha]

Cate works as Person with Lived Experience Engagement Lead with the Burwood Academy Trust. She is the founder and kaiwhakahaere of Whānau Whanake, a community-based social enterprise supporting Māori and whānau health and wellbeing.

Cate also lives with the experience of disability and is involved in the governance of several disability advocacy and Māori organisations.

Cate’s passion is to increase accessibility and participation for those facing barriers, creating diverse and thriving places within our local communities and wider society.


Jacquie is of Ngāpuhi, Irish and French descent and is an Associate Professor at the Auckland University of Technology. Her academic practice is focused on social justice, anti-racism and equity in health for Māori.

Generally, she takes a kaupapa Māori approach to her research, meaning that her projects are based on whānau strengths, community needs and local solutions to complex issues.

She has a particular interest in the use of creative methodologies of research dissemination and has had her poetry published in several academic journals and books.

JOSH CALDWELL [Pirirākau, Ngāti Ranginui]

When Josh is not providing peer support to people with newly acquired spinal cord injury, he works as a research assistant and as the Person with Lived Experience (PLEx) Network Coordinator for the Burwood Academy Trust.

Josh acquired his SCI in 2016 as a result of an autoimmune disease. Josh’s involvement with peer support research has allowed him to develop his research skills further while also ensuring that the resulting research findings are applicable to people who are learning to live well with a SCI and useable by peer support providers.


Martin is the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer within the Ministry of Health, working in partnership with the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Office in providing transdisciplinary clinical leadership and advice.

The role works at a systems level as well as providing support to clinicians, programmes, and projects across the Ministry. He is aligning a work programme around what he describes as the five challenges facing allied health. This includes the challenges of demonstrating the value add of the allied health professions to population health outcomes; and working towards the concept of transdisciplinary working in the provision of healthcare services. Martin was the 2019-20 New Zealand Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice.


I am a Māori, have a big whānau (family), and belong to many. I was a teacher and an educator for many years but that disappereared when I suffered stroke in 2005. I could not talk or do anything for myself. Though people were all around me, I was terrified and felt alone.

My brain was damaged, but I knew enough to know that education could give me purpose, direction, and hope. There were educational achievements and successes, but the greatest was knowing who I am and who I belong to.

I am Rukingi, a stroke survivor.


Sarah’s personal experience of mental illness shaped her university study with the areas of psychology, medical law, bioethics, and psychological medicine being the focus through to PhD level.

Combining this theoretical education and personal experience, Sarah has spent the last 20 years working and advocating for an improved mental health sector and societal perceptions of mental health from the perspective of a person who personally experiences mental illness.

Since 2011 Sarah has worked as a service user academic with the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago. Through this role, she has promoted and progressed service user-led and co-produced education and research.

This work has resulted in the establishment of "World of Difference" – a service user academia education and research team, which Sarah currently leads. The education and research programs being led or co-produced by the World of Difference team are focused on ending discrimination, and promoting recovery, inclusion, and respect for the human rights of people who experience mental distress.


Tim has a background in educational psychology, research, and app development. Tim works as a research assistant with the Burwood Academy, and is also a consultant to central and local governments on accessibility issues.

Tim focuses on using technology to solve accessibility issues after facing many accessibility issues in his own experiences as a tetraplegic.

Tim has a business, Smart Access, which collects and sells data on 35 accessibility variables to local governments to help better prioritise infrastructure spending. In his spare time, Tim is embarking on PhD studies!

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