Meet the Team

Deb Fothergill

Health Programmes Manager

Deb has had significant success in both nursing and leadership roles within primary care.  In her role of General Practice Development Deb is looking forward to working alongside general practice teams to support the delivery of accessible high quality healthcare within a strong local primary care system.

Samara Welch

Health Improvement Practitioner Lead

Samara has significant experience in the social sector including leadership and management roles. After completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and Criminology and a Masters of Applied Social Work, Samara joined the National Collective of independent Women’s Refuge as a Registered Social Worker. She spent six years with the organisation and worked at a national level as the Contract and Service Development Coordinator.

Samara returned to Hawke’s Bay with her partner in 2020, taking a position at Hawke’s Bay DHB in the Haumaru Whānau Team as a Child Protection Co-ordinator.

Samara is excited to work with Health Hawke’s Bay supporting a team of Health Improvement Practitioners (HIP) working within the Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction Service (IPMHAS). She says it’s vitally important to be supporting the staff working in the community trying to grow whānau resilience.

Donna Whitiwhiti

Health Coach Team Lead

Ko Kahuranaki te maunga
Ko Ngaruroro te awa
Ko Ngai te Upokoiri te hapū
Ko Omahu te Marae
Ko Harata Hokahoka Hakiwai tōku whaea
Ko Otarara me Hikurangi ōku maunga
Ko Te Tutaekuri te awa
Ko Ngāti Pārau te hapū
Ko Waiohiki te Marae
Ko Pineamine Āti Whitiwhiti tōku matua
Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi
Ko Donna Whitiwhiti tōku ingoa.

Over the years Donna has held several positions working within Hawke’s Bay communities, particularly with Māori to support and improve their quality of life which is a lifelong passion.  She enjoys working in the IPMHA space alongside a great team of people.

Ehara taku toa he toa takitahi engari he toa takitini

Veronica Luckman

Health Improvement Practitioner

Kia ora koutou
Ko Veronica taku ingoa
No Tirau ahau.

Originally from Waikato, Veronica relocated to sunny Hawkes Bay in 2019 and works as a health improvement practitioner across Tamatea, Maraenui, Carlyle and Shakespeare medical centers.

Veronica has a background in acute mental health nursing in Hawke’s Bay and in Hamilton, including experience and postgraduate education in talking therapy and leadership.

Veronica has seen the impact a “gap” in service delivery of mental health support in our health system has created, and is driven to be a part of the change to bridge the gap and to support tangata whaiora to create a life worth living.

Lance Tupaea

Health Coach

Lance grew up in Waipukurau and enjoyed five years in Australia with his partner before returning to Hawke’s Bay to settle down and start a family.

Lance enjoys working with whānau and supporting our people to make positive changes in their lives, no matter how big or small, with the goal of living a healthier lifestyle.

Haylee Williams

Health Improvement Practitioner

Hayley is born and bred in Hawke’s Bay, and counts herself lucky to continue raising her three children here, aged from 22 -10,.

Hayley worked for over five years as a registered nurse for our community in the primary health care setting . Having seen the effects health and mental wellness have on our tangata and whānau, Hayley credentialed in mental health and addictions, adding to the support she can offer our community.

Hayley enjoys finding ways to offer the best acute support to strengthen their health and wellbeing in her role as a health improvement practitioner at The Doctors Napier.

Kylee Stok

Health Coach

Kia ora koutou

Kylee was born and bred in sunny Hawke’s Bay. She is māmā to three boys who are very heavily involved in rugby so when not at work, she can be seen on the sideline of a rugby field cheering her boys on.

Kylee has a passion for supporting and encouraging people; and her career has seen her hold several roles across the health and social sector — in aged-care facilities as a health care assistant and activities coordinator, and as a cessation practitioner, youth navigator, and Kia Ora programme facilitator.

Kylee has also worked with the district health board as a smokefree Māori support worker; and piloting and facilitating a community cultural leadership program.

With qualifications in health and wellbeing, youth work, te ara reo, smoking cessation, group fitness, and Whānau Ora; Kylee’s past roles and experiences see her well-equipped with the skills, knowledge, and tools to fulfill her role as a health coach and continue supporting our people.

Rebecca Mackenzie

Health Improvement Practitioner

After training as a psychologist, Rebecca worked as a change agent, manager, trainer, HR advisor, project manager, consultant, and therapist; and more recently worked in health management roles at the district health board and Health Hawke’s Bay.

During her training in psychodrama and group work, Rebecca developed clinical skills and is now training as an artistic therapist.

In her role as a health improvement practitioner at Hauora Heretaunga, she sees the opportunity to make a real difference for our whānau on a daily basis, in line with the vision and values of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.

Rebecca lives in Haumoana with her three daughters, dog, cat, and three chooks; where she enjoys walking, yoga, and swimming in the ocean.

Sonia Pedersen

Health Improvement Practitioner

Following her nurse training, Sonia traveled overseas and returned home to Hawke’s Bay with her two young children following the sudden death of her husband.

Sonia has worked for over 10 years at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, where she has worked in the community, nurse clinic at the WINZ office, and in general practice. More recently she has worked in a nurse leadership role, and during COVID lockdown helped coordinate clinical requirements in the Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) team.

In 2019, Sonia obtained a Post Grad Diploma in Nurse Prescribing and trained to be a Mental Health Credentialed Nurse.

Sonia feels privileged to serve the community in her role as a health improvement practitioner while also continuing in her nurse prescribing position at Hauora Heretaunga.

Trey Ferguson

Health Coach

Trey started his healthcare career in 2015 as dental assistant at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, where he now works as a health coach.

Trey was motivated to do this mahi by his my own mental and spiritual struggle. He found his way through it, and gained a lot of knowledge and life experience which he enjoys sharing with others to support them on their journey to health and happiness.

Sally Tither

Health Improvement Practitioner

A registered nurse, Sally has worked for over 30 years in primary health including student health, public health, urgent care, and general practice.

Having completed credentialing in mental health and addictions work, Sally’s main focus for the last four years has been helping individuals work on their emotional and mental health and wellbeing within general practice at The Hastings Health Centre.

Sally lived in various parts of New Zealand before settling in Hawke’s Bay to raise her four children alongside her husband.



Emma Laking

Health Coach

Tēnā koe
Ko Taranaki tōku maunga
Ko Waingongoro tōku awa
Ko Aōtea tōku waka
Ko Ngā Ruahinerangi tōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Manuhiakai tōku hapū
Ko Paraha rāua
Ko Laking tōku whānau
Ko Emma Laking tōku ingoa

With a career background predominantly in hospitality, Emma has a passion and interest for our Hawke’s Bay community and their wellbeing.

Working at The Hastings Health Centre as a health coach, Emma is proud to be a part of the kaupapa offering positive support and guidance. She enjoys working alongside whānau, community and  other agencies to achieve great outcomes for the community.

Having been a young Māori Māmā, with a blended whānau of seven, Emma’s own trials, triumphs, and experiences influence and inform her work.

Ahakoa no hea, ahakoa ko wai — No matter where your from, no matter who you are

Trixie Terry

Trixie Terry

Health Improvement Practitioner

Kia ora koutou
Ko Trixie Terry tōku ingoa

Trixie is a Health Improvement Practitioner based at Queen Street Practice in Wairoa.

A Social Worker for 37 years and with over 22 years’ experience in secondary mental health, Trixie enjoys being based in the Wairoa Health Centre where she can quickly and effectively communicate with other health professionals.

Trixie grew up in Mahia and is passionate about working alongside primary health colleagues to support people to live healthier lifestyles in the Wairoa community.

David McAuley

David McAuley

Health Improvement Practitioner

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world? 

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

David grew up in Napier works as a Health Improvement Practitioner for the Tamatea, Shakespeare, Carlyle and Maraenui medical centers where he formerly worked as a social worker.

David believes whānau are experts on their own situation, and he enjoys working with them to provide tools and building blocks to ensure long-lasting positive change.

Kylie Wardle

Health Improvement Practitioner