OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council is a not-for-profit, politically non-partisan incorporated society.
OraTaiao is governed by an Executive Board of members including two Co-Convenors (one of whom is Māori) elected annually.
Current membership of OraTaiao exceeds 800 health professionals, health students, and associate members.
Dr Dermot Coffey
Dermot is a General Practitioner based in Christchurch. His interests include the role of GPs as environmental advocates, the social determinants of health and active transport. In his spare time he loves to run and cycle in the Port Hills.
The space of Māori co-convenor is being held open until there is someone who can fill this role. Applications from members are encouraged – please be in touch with Dermot [email protected]
Cathy Kern, Coordinator
Cathy has several years' experience as a policy analyst in the quasi-government sector, typically in health and wellbeing and most recently with the professional colleges for physicians and for psychiatrists. These roles often included research, advocacy, and some comms work. She holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing/comms and a Masters of Applied Social Science Research. Her keen interest in plant-based diets led her to a home with a big garden one hour north of Wellington (via the world's most beautiful train commute). She is contracted to this role for 12 hours a week until September.
Cathy is standing in for Julia Crosfield who has been coordinator since 2018. Thank you to Julia!
Executive Board Members:
Dr Richard Jaine, Secretary
Richard is a Public Health Medicine Specialist who works at the University of Otago, Wellington. His interests include tobacco control, healthy food environments, and the health impacts of climate change. He is also a long-suffering Hurricanes rugby fan.
Dr Mark Smith, Treasurer
Mark is a Consultant General Surgeon at Dunedin Hospital with a special interest in surgery for benign and malignant foregut conditions including bariatric surgery for obesity. His interest in climate change developed when he was living in Portland, Oregon, and could see first hand how some of the drivers of climate change also affected human health. He returned to NZ in 2011 and has lived in Dunedin with his family since 2018. Mark currently fills the role of Treasurer for OraTaiao and is learning to keep quiet in the future when exec roles are allocated.
Summer Wright, Organisational Membership Officer
Summer (Ngāti Maniapoto) is a dietitian in training with the vision of increasing cohesiveness between environmental health and nutrition practice. She has a background in Māori health, and is passionate about food sovereignty and climate justice. Summer has also worked in the disability sector as a youth worker and support worker. In her spare time, she enjoys artistic pursuits, animals, and the outdoors.
Bruce Tsai, Membership Officer
Bruce is a 4th year medical student passionate about health advocacy and sustainability. He has presented a statement to the WHO and facilitated a breakout at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. He is currently the Pacific Regional Focal point for the UN MGCY Co-ordination team for oceans and marine resource conservation (SDG 14). In his spare time he enjoys making music, playing basketball, or a game of chess.
Dr Penelope Milsom, International Coordinator
Penny is a medical doctor and for the past 6 years has been working internationally within different organisational contexts and disciplines including as a clinician, researcher and lecturer and advocate for health, social and, more recently, climate justice. She is currently completing a PhD at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in global health governance. Her research interests include the political economy of child health inequalities and how to translate child health equity research into transformative social and political action.
Dr Matt Jenks
Matt is an anaesthetist at Dunedin Hospital. He has long had an interest in environmentally sustainable healthcare practice initially focussing on operating theatre recycling and more recently the contribution of healthcare to the problem of climate change. He is an executive member of OraTaiao the New Zealand Climate and Health Council and runs his Hilux Surf on waste vegetable oil from the local Japanese restaurant.
Dr George Laking
George (Te Whakatōhea) is a Medical Oncologist in Auckland and Northland. George's involvement in tobacco control spurred an interest in the motivated denial of science. He sees a parallel between people’s adjustment to major illness, and society’s adjustment to looming environmental catastrophe. Outside of his clinical and advocacy work, he likes to get away on bikepacking trips.
Rebecca Sinclair (Registered Nurse)
Rebecca works as a Public Health Nurse and is the climate change representative for the College of Nurses Aotearoa. She has a passion for both children's health and the environment, particularly in relation to sustainable healthy food. She is based in Auckland with her husband and two young children. She loves music, the outdoors and is excited to be part of the movement towards net zero.
Dr Andy Phillips
Andy is passionate about sustainable living and taking action on climate change. He has been working on conservation projects and building awareness of human impact for the past 40 years. Andy is a trustee of Hastings Environment Centre and has worked as a researcher, clinician and Executive leader in Health for over 30 years.
Michael Brenndorfer (Registered Nurse)
Michael works as a Youth Health Nurse and Nurse Educator for School Nurses in West Auckland. He has an interest in health and climate justice, specifically from Youth Health and a te Tiriti-based Positive Youth Development perspective. He has previously mobilised large events for climate change, including a 500-strong bicycle ride for 350.org, and has contributed to policy submissions on behalf of NZ Nurses Organisation on carbon emissions.
Romelli (Pākehā/Andean) grew up in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and is an Occupational Therapist/Kaiwhakaora Ngangahau working for mental health services in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. They are passionate about cultivating respectful relationship with Pachamama~Papatūānuku~Mother Earth and interested in how people and communities experience and adjust to the everyday impacts of climate change on wellbeing. Romelli has an interest in plant based eating. They also play folk music and ride bikes in their spare time.
Anna is a pākehā medical and public health student, and retired lawyer from Ōtautahi. Currently based in Tāmaki Makaurau, she is interested in advancing the role of health students and health professionals as advocates for their patients. Anna is passionate about action on climate change and health equity in Aotearoa, and advocate for a Health In All Policies approach to environmental policy. In her spare time, Anna is an amateur orchardist and organic vegetable grower, general adventurer, unprofessional quizzer, and cat enthusiast.
Bala is interested in research on vertical health programmes and ideas on utilisation of local knowledge for future public health initiatives. Additionally, a lecturer, an analyst and a clinical research manager experienced in both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Siobhan Trevallyan (bio to follow)
Other team members:
Dr Graeme Lindsay, Web Officer
Graeme is a public health physician and lectures in environmental health. Research and interests have focused on environmental health, particularly climate change, transport, air pollution, cycling and health, health sector sustainability. Executive board member for OraTaiao from its foundation in 2009 until 2015, and has been a board member for the Counties Manukau District Health Board Environmental Advisory Group.