About A Better StartHealthy and successful lives for tamariki
The Challenge Board provide management oversight, advice and support to the Challenge and its leadership.
CO-CHaiR | Dr Pat Tuohy
Dr Pat Tuohy brings with him a wealth of experience in the health sector and until recently was the Ministry of Health’s Chief Advisor for Child and Youth Health.
He has spent 10 years as a senior lecturer in Community Paediatrics at the Otago Clinical School of Medicine and was a Director of Child Health Policy for Plunket.
Pat is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of our tamariki and addressing inequity.
Co-Chair | Materoa Mar
Materoa Mar is of Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whatua and Ngāti Porou descent and is Director – Māori Health for a large Primary Healthcare Organisation based in Palmerston North and also leads the Whanau Ora Alliance Te Tihi o Ruahine.
BA/LLB (Auckland), MSc (distinction, Oxford), MNZM, for services to Māori health and development
Tribal affilitations: Ngati Ranginui, Ngati Hine, Ngati Haua, Ngati Hako
Sharon was appointed Chair of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board in April 2021. She was the Northern Regional Health Authority’s Strategy Manager and a key member of its Māori Health Team. She helped write the first contracts between Māori health providers and government. She was a strategic and operational leader for multiple Māori health teams. Sharon has supported Māori health and wellbeing through her consulting business, Shea Pita and Associates Ltd.
PROFESSOR BARRY BORMAN
Professor Barry Borman is Professor of Epidemiology at Massey University and an expert in the epidemiology of congenital anomalies. He has been the Director of the New Zealand Congenital Anomalies Register (NZCAR) since 1987, which monitors the occurrence of congenital anomalies in NZ, and conducts studies into their causes. He represents NZ at the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research. Since the late 1990s, Prof Borman has been extensively involved in advising governments, crown agencies and the health sector on issues around folic acid fortification to reduce the risk of babies being born with neural tube defects (eg, spina bifida, anencephaly). He has been a member of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Primary Industries technical advisory groups. Barry is also Director of Environmental Health Intelligence NZ (EHINZ), which monitors the effect of the environment on the health of NZers, under a contract to the Ministry of Health.
Dame Winnie Laban
Dame Winnie is a former New Zealand politician. She served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mana electorate, representing the Labour Party, and was the Labour Party’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs and for interfaith dialogue. Laban is the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington and is a respected leader in the Pasifika community.
PROFESSOR Simon Holdaway
Simon Holdaway is Professor of Archaeology with adjunct Professorial appointments at Macquarie University (in Environment and Geography) and at the University of York in the UK.
He serves as Associate DVC Research in the University’s Office of Research Strategy and Integrity where he is involved in the development of strategic research initiatives and researcher development opportunities across the University.
Amber is the current Kaiārahi, Strategic Manager, Hauora for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. For the past two decades Amber has translated between worlds, as an inter-cultural navigator for various institutions and groups, both māori and mainstream in the areas of hauora and education. She has had the privilege of holding representative positions for her hapū and Iwi, and has worked directly with whānau whānui as a practitioner in preventing violence and as a registered midwife working with Rakatahi Maōri, as a contract manager, researcher and educator.
Former Board Members
A Better Start National Science Challenge thanks our former Board members for their service, advice and support to the Challenge and its leadership.
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – 12 May 2020
Dr Collin Tukuitonga
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – June 2022
Professor Christa Fouche
Board tenure: 1 September 2019 - 31 December 2022
PROFESSOR PETER CRAMPTON
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – 21 May 2021
Dr Monique Faleafa
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – 31 December 2019
Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – 30 April 2019
Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding
Board tenure: 1 August 2015 – 31 December 2015
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of those who helped in our set-up phase:
Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, Distinguished Professor Niki Davis of the University of Canterbury, Distinguished Professor Richard Faull of the University of Auckland, the late Emeritus Professor David Fergusson of the University of Otago and Cathy Wiley of the New Zealand Institute of Educational Research.