Meet Our Team
Sam’s multi-faceted career spans practicing in rural and urban settings; funding and planning across three DHBs; teaching; and GM of an addiction service. Completing a PhD about growing the addictions workforce, Sam has a passion for supporting our members to foster excellence and build great careers in addiction practice.
Karen and her husband migrated from South Africa to Wellington in early 2016. She joined the dapaanz whānau as a volunteer later that year, and became our Registrar in March 2017. She loves to travel and has enjoyed exploring Aotearoa. An avid cat lover, she has two rescue cats; one from SA, the other from Wellington SPCA.
Born in Wellington, Kat has called Kāpiti home for the last 30 years. In her free time, Kat coaches premier, college, representative and development netball and likes to get creative with craft projects. Whānau is a huge part of Kat’s life and she enjoys spending time with her friends, partner, family and young daughter.
Nicki has enjoyed supporting for-purpose or social enterprises in health, education or sustainability since 2009, after time in both the private and public sector. An explorer of places and ideas; a fan of green space, craft and cheese, Nicki studied or worked in several cities in Aotearoa and Europe, before settling in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2002.
Ben is the Deputy Executive Director, Programmes for the New Zealand Drug Foundation. He is passionate about developing approaches that support people to live healthy, successful lives with everything they need to make their own choices. Ben is a Registered Practitioner and Accredited Supervisor.
Takurua Tawera is Pou Whakarae for dapaanz, nominated by the Māori caucus, and sits on the dapaanz board. A registered practitioner, Takurua is also Co-chair (Māori Caucus) for Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga/National Network of Family Violence Services and Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign Trust.
Denise teaches health psychology and professional practice at Victoria University-Te Herenga Waka. Her social justice research informs her commitment to the welfare of people with vulnerabilities in disasters and more generally. She has been an AOD sector consumer, health professional, educator and researcher for more than 25 years.
Topou has worked in the MH&A sector for more than 15 years and is a registered practitioner and accredited supervisor. Currently working at Waitematā DHB in workforce development, he is committed to developing the addiction workforce in Aotearoa and supporting them to achieve their career goals.
KEVIN HOLLINGSWORTHBoard Member
Maik is a registered practitioner and accredited clinical supervisor. He has extensive experience working within hospital settings, including the Regional Forensic and Rehabilitation Service in Porirua (Te Korowai Whariki) and the Acute Inpatient Ward at Wellington Hospital. He also runs groups within the community and with the Probation Service. He currently delivers a contract with Ministry of Justice in Wellington.
Kia ora, ko Dr. Stevens II toku ingoa. My ancestors descend from the mighty north of Ngāti Kahu ki Whaingaroa/Ngāpuhi. I’m an interdisciplinary expert with seven specialities across health, social service, education, financial capability, research and indigenous sectors. I created my organisation called StandingTallNZ.org which works with Māori and Pacific men affected by the trauma of childhood sexual violence.
Bridgitte is passionate about supporting a professional gambling harm workforce that embraces mana enhancing practice and strengthens kaimahi resilience. Bridgitte is a Registered Social Worker and member of Dapaanz. Her current role is National Director of PGF Services. As a previous addiction counsellor, with lived experience of addiction, she understands the mahi and effort required to work in the sector.
POLLY WEBSDELLBoard Member
IRENE WHITTAKERBoard Member