Rotorua hero te pa tu tangata


Ngā mihi nui to all our conference speakers


Hon Matt Doocey

Conference day one: Minister's address
Friday 5 April at 9.00am

Matt is the Associate Minister of Health (Rural), Minister for Mental Health, Minister for ACC, Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, Minister for Youth and Associate Minister of Transport.

Matt has been the MP for Waimakariri since the 2014 election.

He previously worked in mental health in New Zealand and the UK, before returning home to work at the Canterbury District Health Board.

Matt went to St Bede’s College before completing a BSc (Hons) in Social Policy, an MA in Healthcare Management from Kingston University in London, and an MSc in Global Politics from Birkbeck College, University of London.

NRHC24 Cath Cosgrove photo 1000x1000

Dr Cath Cosgrave

Keynote: Unleashing the power of Attract-Connect-Stay to build a strong rural health workforce
Friday 5 April at 4.30pm

Cath is one of Australia’s leading experts in rural health workforce. Her research on how the rural health workforce can be fundamentally strengthened has informed the practice and approaches of peak rural health agencies, government departments, rural health services, and rural communities.

Her innovative 'Whole-of-Person Retention Improvement Framework' and 'Attract Connect Stay' solution, particularly the Community Connector Program, have gained international recognition for generating new understandings of, and solutions for rural health workforce. Cath currently operates a management consultancy business that offers training and support to rural health and social care services.

Her business helps services and communities to establish and implement the Attract Connect Stay solution, which improves their ability to attract and retain healthcare professionals in rural areas.

Cath is deeply passionate about addressing rural access inequities and resource challenges and dedicated to supporting rural communities in becoming thriving and sustainable places to live and work.

NRHC 24 John Macaskill Smith 1000x1000

John Macaskill-Smith

Keynote: A technological future for rural health
Saturday 6 April at 8.35am

John is CEO of Spark Health – focused on supporting and spring boarding clinical digital innovation across the sector: Connecting people and systems.

John has a broad background and many success stories leading change and transformation in the health sector. John has experience across the spectrum – Government, MoH/HFA NGO: leading one of New Zealand’s largest PHO over 5 DHBs with a massive rural/regional high need population; Clinical start-ups – Tend and Equine Health, and internationally in the UK, US and the Middle East. He has been responsible for major innovations introducing business, technology and clinical changes that have spread to national and international adoption.

John is also involved in governance roles across New Zealand and in a number of international settings across health, animal health, IT and education.

NRHC24 Riana Manuel TWO190723 Portraits 51

Riana Manuel

Keynote: Health leadership from a Te Ao Māori perspective
Friday 5 April at 11.00am

National Director of Hauora Māori Services
Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Kahungunu

Riana is the first to lead Te Aka Whai Ora as it works to transform health outcomes for Māori.

She has extensive experience leading kaupapa Māori organisations, and before joining Te Aka Whai Ora, was Chief Executive of Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki and Hauraki Primary Health Organisation.

Riana is a registered nurse practitioner and a dedicated advocate for advancing hauora Māori.

“This reform highlights partnership and has an equity focus… after 30 years in the health sector, those are extremely important to me. Ultimately if we get it right for Māori and Pasifika whānau, we’ll get it right for everybody.”

NRHC24 Ratu Mataira photo 500x500

Dr Ratu Mataira

Keynote: Solving global climate change from the Ngauranga Gorge
Saturday 6 April at 4.30pm

Physicist Dr Ratu Mataira is on a mission to harness the power of the sun; right here in Te Whanganui-a-tara Wellington.

Ratu Mataira completed his PhD in Applied Superconductivity, specialising in No-Insulation HTS Coils and Superconducting Power Supply Technologies. By the end of his PhD he had set the bar as the most prodigious student to graduate Robinson Research Institute, the world leader in such technologies.

The 31-year-old leads OpenStar Technologies, a Wellington based start-up building a 'levitated dipole' fusion reactor prototype. Fusion is the process that happens inside the sun and other stars, when hydrogen atoms "fuse" to make helium, releasing tremendous amounts of energy.

NRHC24 Chris pic

Chris Eketone

Session: Te Aka Toitū project - how rural connectivity can drive opportunities in remote rural communities
Friday 5 April at 11.45am

My primary role for the past 30 years is as Presiding Member at Te Kura Toitu o Te Whaiti nui a Toi (Restricted Composite Special Character School). In 2000 the kura became part of Tūhoe Education Authority which was probably one of the first (unofficial) Kahui Ako made up of 14 kura within Te Rohe Potae o Tūhoe. One of our guiding philosophies was “Tatou Katoa, Tatou Ka Toa” (Strength in Unity). Although that organisation devolved following Iwi settlement, this continues to be what motivates us to not only find, but also be part of the solution to support our remote / isolated communities – whether it be health, employment, iwitanga and / or education. In our case it has been to develop relationships in order to build and sustain a wireless network across the rugged Te Urewera terrain. Nau mai haere mai i a matou haerenga.


Keld Hunia

Session: Te Aka Toitū project - how rural connectivity can drive opportunities in remote rural communities
Friday 5 April at 11.45am

I have worked in the Adult Education sector with Te Wananga o Aotearoa for the last 25 years primarily in the Home Based Learning space with program development, facilitation, delivery and project management. Seeing the difference that learning resources from these programs has done for whanau over the years made the decision to join Te Aka Toitu trust a no brainer when I got the call to action from Lesley. The space is different but the challenge is the same getting resources into the homes of those who need them so they have a chance to bridge the gap.. I am a gym junkie a Warriors fan since 95. I enjoy playing golf and I love the ocean either in it or on it fishing from my kayak and as we say in surf ;ife saving “ In it for life”.

NRHC24 Lesley Immink

Lesley Immink

Session: Te Aka Toitū project - how rural connectivity can drive opportunities in remote rural communities
Friday 5 April at 11.45am

Lesley is an experienced tourism business professional, and former Chief Executive of NZ Tourism Export Council. Lesley brings these set of skills to her current role as Deputy Mayor of Whakatāne District and Chair of Te Aka Toitū – a local digital connectivity trust. Lesley advocates for digital equity and believes that every family should have access to an UBI - Universal Basic Internet, especially those who live in rural, remote and isolated communities.