Hospice New Zealand

Our people

Who is Hospice New Zealand?

Hospice NZ exists to lead the hospice movement to ensure that every New Zealander has access to quality palliative care.  

Our small but dedicated team is based in Wellington, you can read a little about the Board and our people below

The Board

Hospice NZ is governed by a board which implements the national body's vision and strategic plan. The Board  are elected representatives from amongst the hospice membership.

Board members

Dr Richard Thurlow  (PhD) (Chair) is the Chief Executive Officer of Waipuna Hospice in Tauranga. He has worked in the hospice movement for 11 years (nine as CEO) after a 20-year career in research science. Richard brings a strong interest in IT and data analysis and experience of management, planning, project management and leadership.

Peter Buckland (Deputy Chair) is the Chief Executive of Mercy Healthcare Auckland Limited.  He has worked in the hospice movement for more than 30 years in various roles and locations. During his time with hospice Peter has been in leadership roles with Hospices in New Zealand and South Africa and was also the CEO of the Hospice Association of South Africa.

Biddy Harford was co-opted to the Board in late 2018. Biddy is CEO of Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt and has previously been on the Hospice NZ Board and held the roles of Chair and Deputy Chair. Biddy has been with Te Omanga Hospice for over 30 years holding a number of roles.

John Peters was elected to the Board of the Nelson Tasman Hospice following his retirement from full-time work in 2012. He was elected as Nelson Tasman Hospice Chair in January 2014. John has had a wide-ranging career and has held a number of senior leadership and governance positions in both the health and commercial sectors. 

Dr Bill Taine MBChB, FRACS is a board member with Hospice South Canterbury in Timaru.  Bill joined the local hospice board after retiring from his career as an orthopaedic surgeon. Bill began with the hospice as a gardener and handyman, becoming a Board member in recent years.  From a governance perspective Bill has also been involved in the NZ Orthopaedic Association, Bidwill Trust Hospital, Run Timaru and South Canterbury DHB as Medical Advisor and CMO.   Bill joined the Hospice NZ Board in April 2018.

Clinical advisors to the Board

Dr Brian Ensor originally trained in General Practice, and moved into hospice work in 1990 at Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt. Brian has held the role of medical director at Hospice North Shore and most recently with 14+ years at Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.  Brian is current the Medical Director for Hospice Waikato in Hamilton. In addition he is a senior clinical lecturer at the Univeristy of Otago in Wellington. Over those years Brian has served as an office holder with ANZSPM, and the Chapter of Palliative Medicine. He has an interest in palliative medicine education, and also in benchmarking; having run the “inter-hospice benchmarking on medications in the last 24 hours of life.”  

Wayne Naylor has been Director of Nursing at Hospice Waikato in Hamilton since September 2012. Over his nursing career he has worked primarily in oncology, haematology and palliative care. He has been a Research Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Lecturer. Wayne also spent almost four years as a Senior Analyst for the Palliative Care Council of New Zealand before moving to his current role.

Our people

Jo Seagar - Hospice Ambassador & Patron
Jo has been voluntary Hospice Ambassador since 1999. This role sees her travel around the country and even across the world on hospice related events. Jo accepted the role of Patron for Hospice NZ at the end of 2010; a role which reflects her level of commitment, energy and enthusiasm for hospice. Jo attends many events every year and uses any opportunity to raise awareness of hospice through her many activities. 

Mary Schumacher - Chief Executive
Mary joined Hospice NZ in 2006 moving from the role of Chief Executive at Mary Potter Hospice - a role she held for 10 years. Mary holds a Masters in Social Work and previously managed community, rest home and private hospital services for older people.

Rachel Wilson - Sponsorship & Communications Manager (2IC)
Rachel joined the team at Hospice NZ in 2004 after spending three years as a fundraiser with Mary Potter Hospice. Rachel has a Diploma in Business majoring in Marketing. Prior to joining hospice, Rachel spent two years as a fundraiser for the New Zealand Red Cross in the Otago/Southland region.

Chris Murphy - Project Leader
Chris joined Hospice NZ in August 2015. Chris is a Registered Nurse and has practiced in England, Wales and New Zealand. Chris has worked in New Zealand for 23 years, which has included working with Hospice Waikato, Te Omanga Hospice and Mary Potter Hospice. Her specific experience and specialist qualifications include palliative care, community practice, caring for older people, management, education and quality. Chris has a MA (Applied) Nursing and a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing (Palliative Care).

Sarah Nichol – Project Leader
Sarah joined the Hospice NZ team in 2018, moving on after 14 years with Cranford Hospice in Hawkes Bay. Initially starting her hospice career as a Registered Nurse, Sarah has more recently been Quality Coordinator. She holds Postgraduate qualifications in Palliative Care, a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Service Management and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Sarah has a particular interest and experience in programme evaluation and consumer feedback and has been an active member of working groups for Hospice New Zealand, including early Data and Outcomes work and the Hospice New Zealand Standards review.

Moira Marcroft – Corporate Partnerships
Moira joined the team in September 2015. She has a strong background in corporate and community partnerships, fundraising, events and business development. Moira has experience working at a national level at the Cancer Society of New Zealand and also local experience in her previous role as Fundraising Manager of Hospice North Shore.

Kate Jones – Team Administrator
Kate joined the Hospice NZ team in September 2018. Kate was previously a community support worker at Kenepuru Hospital, working primarily supporting older people returning home after a hospital admission. Kate has an interest in older peoples health and has studied dementia and advanced care planning. Previously Kate held executive PA roles across a number of Government departments and private companies.

Ria Earp - Advisory Maori Services (contract role) 

Ria joined the Hospice NZ team in early 2018 from her previous role as CEO of Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington, a role she held for eleven years.  Prior to Mary Potter Hospice, Ria was the Deputy Director General, Māori Health for the Ministry of Health for nine years. This had followed a long career as a senior manager in the public service across a range of portfolios. 

She is the current Chair of Te Rōpū Taki Māori, the Māori advisory group for Hospice New Zealand.  Ria has a deep interest in Māori community development and is of Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Pikiao descent.


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