The Society’s Constitution
The Society’s AGM 2021
The 2021 AGM was held virtually at 2pm on Sunday, 17th October 2021.
In keeping with the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, the Board decided that the AGM would go ahead and attendance in a virtual capacity would be enabled.
The Board members elected/re-elected at the AGM were:
- Daniel Clay
- George Hewitt
- Pippa Huddleston
- Emma Lovett
- Katherine Thomas
- Reuben Woods
Three Board members retained their position on the Board until the 2022 AGM, and therefore did not stand for re-election:
- Renata Kotua
- Merryn Straker
- Meg Smith
Click here for more information about the election of the Board members for the 2021-2022 term.
The following documents for the 2021 AGM can be downloaded here:
If you have any queries regarding this notice, please contact the office on 0800 503 603 or please email Clare on email@example.com.
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The Society’s Board
Renata Kotua – Co-chairperson
Kia ora tātou. Ko Renata tōku ingoa. He huri noa āhau ki Hongoeka. Ko Ngāti Toa Rangatira tōku iwi.
Hello everyone. My name is Renata. My iwi is Ngāti Toa Rangatira and I grew up in Hongoeka Bay, Plimmerton. I’ve called Auckland home for around 15 years now.
I spent the first 30ish years of my life ignoring my disability, striving to be as normal as possible. I had no disabled friends and I refused to engage with disability supports. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t swim, didn’t have many friends and my apartment was a mess because I was always too tired to clean it after dealing with public transport and being on my feet working retail.
Thankfully with maturity has come true acceptance. I finally made peace with my CP and figured out how to work smarter, not harder. I am ultimately much happier as a result. These days I drive, I have a wide and inclusive circle of friends, I get home help and in 2018 I learned how to swim thanks to support from the Get Physical Program.
I am a firm believer in opportunity and prosperity for all regardless of your ability or where you come from. I feel privileged to be in a position to contribute to the board by sharing my life experience, insight and perspective. For me it is essential that the CP Society is relevant to everyone in Aotearoa with Cerebral Palsy and that moving forward we offer supports to improve the quality of life for all our members and that we deliver in a way that is meaningful, practical, sustainable and kind.
During my first term on the board I had a new baby, I was studying psychology part time, I was working as a research assistant for the University of Auckland on a joint project between Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, the Māori Health Department of Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and the NZ Cerebral Palsy Register addressing inequalities in health between Māori and non-Māori with CP, and I was on the Disability Advisory Panel for Auckland Council.
This year a much-needed change of pace! I resigned from the Council and am having a break from uni. This year I will be focusing on my work with the CP Society and being a good Māmā.
Outside of work I am a prolific kid spammer and happiest when I am out and about with my two girls – pre-Covid we hit all the good playgrounds, pools and beaches around town and enjoyed the odd road trip further afield. I am looking forward to being able to get out and about more so baby Martha can see and enjoy more of the world with me and her big sister Te Ākau.
Meg Smith – Co-chairperson
Tēnā Koutou Katoa,
Thank you for voting me onto the board last year and providing me with this wonderful opportunity. The last year on the CP Society board has been an extraordinary experience to be part of. As many of you know, it’s been a year of quite some change and with that there has been a lot of mahi to do. We have all committed a significant amount of time and energy, however, it has definitely all been worth it. It has been amazing to be part of such an incredible team/board. A team that came together as strangers a year ago, that has met mainly on Zoom (due to COVID) and has worked extremely hard together to get to the place where we are today makes me feel very proud. We have all stepped up to take on our share of work and together we are now in a position to move the CPS forward with a fantastic strategic plan, team and vision.
My personal connection with CP is through my daughter Molly who is now 11 years old. I also have a 9-year-old son, Archie. Molly has taught me a great deal about the world and what is important and I feel humbled and privileged to be her mother.
Over this last year, as well as joining the board, I started a doctoral degree looking into the experiences of NZ tamariki living with CP, and their whanau. This is an area that I have discovered has had very little research done in NZ. I am really enjoying the journey that this work is taking me on.
I continue to work on the CP Clinical Network, and am now in the position of co-chair with Professor Sue Stott. This is a reflection of the commitment and connection that the CP Society has made with the Clinical Network. The network is essentially a quality improvement program that aims to provide clinical leadership in the development and maintenance of a nation-wide clinical service for tamariki, rangitahi and their whanau who seek services and support for CP care. The group has made great progress over the last two years through work in early diagnosis and intervention, the CP Register, transition to adulthood, capturing the voices of people with CP and therapy models. I see this work as crucial for improving and progressing the way people with CP are supported in NZ and ultimately with optimising outcomes and quality of life.
I have been a nurse for over 25 years and in the last 15 years I have worked mainly in health management. I have a Masters in Health Management with first class honours. Previously I worked as the Charge Nurse Manager for the Paediatric Orthopaedic service at Starship Children’s Hospital where many children with CP came through the service. This allowed me to gain insight into the challenges and barriers that whanau living with CP face. In my current Clinical Nurse Specialist role, I facilitate a quality improvement program across three hospitals within Waitemata DHB. The program focuses on capturing the patient’s experience of care received, which is then used as a driver for quality improvements to care delivery.
Like many parents of tamariki with CP, I have dedicated a lot of time and energy into navigating the health and education systems in order to optimise outcomes for my daughter. This, along with my professional experience, has given me a good understanding of systemic structures across government services in NZ for our tamariki living with CP. I have a strong desire to use my skills, knowledge and experience to help make a difference to improving the lives of all people living with CP and to help navigate our society into a strong position of advocacy and leadership in health, wellbeing and inclusion.
Merryn Straker – Board Treasurer
I am the Chief Operating Officer of Straker Translations, a company co-founded with my husband Grant and now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Currently also a director for T3W a Maori tech initiative to grow large NZ Maori export businesses. Merryn and Grant have three boys and their middle son Oscar has Ataxic Cerebral Palsy.
My work life includes growing a large mostly export business in 10 countries but firmly keeping our core roots and head office here in New Zealand. I have strong technical skills and system and process knowledge and have driven our business in the translation of 140 languages across all manner of industries.
I am passionate about the CP Society advocating for change at the governmental level to even up the playing fields for families of non ACC CP kids and adults to enable better access to therapy and equipment. It doesn’t matter if you are on an ACC path or a non ACC path we all have challenges to deal with but we need to work out how to get more meaningful inputs for the non ACC kids and adults to lighten the load on their lives.
I’m strong believer in the benefits of intensive therapy – not necessarily about week in week out – but incorporating short intensives to enable an uptick in function and then to carry on in the home environment in everyday life. Dr Karen Pape’s work and input with Pia Stampe for Oscar was life changing and the mantra ‘Habit hides recovery’ was proven immensely with our son. The options available to change the lives of from baby to adulthood is rapidly changing offers greater chances to live a better life with better work opportunities and a chance to participate in a meaningful and enjoyable way in Society.
It is important the Society has something to offer for all members and all ages and stages but the best way we can do this is to create meaningful governmental change so we change from providing vouchers that are essential to many members to enabling them to access those essentials at a governmental level. It’s not always about get the government to spend more it can be about repurposing how it is currently provided. I look forward to working with the Board on a journey to enact meaningful change – it won’t be quick but if we don’t start the journey we can’t hope to get any success.
Daniel Clay – Board Member
Kia ora e te whānau CP!
I am currently in my second term on the CP Society Board, helping to maintain the momentum of improving member services and providing stability and continuity to the governance team.
My fun loving nine-year old daughter Indie is a power chair user and lives with CP. This empowers me with a thorough understanding of the challenges and successes of living with CP. My experience with the CP Society has also facilitated opportunities to connect with adults with CP, enabling me to build my knowledge of their needs and goals. This insight and experience motivates me to promote solutions that address the systemic issues and challenges that CP can create for whānau and individuals.
Since 2020, the CPS Board has made several bold and positive changes to the strategy and investments of the CP Society, which I believe were necessary from both a member focus and good governance perspective. I am proud to have been part of these changes, and am privileged to continue to provide my time and expertise to implement the remaining changes and new strategy.
I am also the director of one of the two investment subsidiaries, Cerebral Investments Ltd. These positions are unpaid voluntary roles, but could not be for a better cause and I am happy to utilise my professional experience and expertise to benefit the CP community.
I am married to Amy and we have four children, and live in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. I am currently Chief Executive Officer of an iwi owned property development and investment company. I have held directorship positions on various company and charitable trust boards.
Prior to this I was a practising lawyer for 20 years with two national commercial law firms and a partner in both firms over 10 years. This experience provides me with the skills to provide the oversight and insight into shareholder/member facing organisations such as the CP Society, investment companies (such as the CPS’s commercial subsidiaries) and a client (member) focus. My legal background also provides me with the ability to ensure good governance practices are maintained and risks and compliance are managed well.
George Hewitt – Board member
Kia ora tātou.
I’m George and I’m honoured to be serving my first term as a member of the Cerebral Palsy Society board. I am 25 and live with a spastic quadriplegia form of CP – which I would have to say provides pretty good life experience for this role.
I grew up just south of a small town called Pahiatua on a sheep and beef farm with my family. I studied at Massey University in Palmerston North before venturing into the unknown on a solo backpacking trip for six months in South America.
I have had a media role in the disability services sector for the last 3 years up in Auckland so have an understanding of a leading disability organisation and see huge potential in the part the CP Society can play in this sector.
I have a strong rural connection and can be a sounding board for society members outside of the Auckland region. When I grew up, I knew no-one else in my community with CP that I could relate to, with the same unique walking gait or disability.
Moving up to Auckland changed this. I met others with CP and got to know people with differing disabilities. I now see real value in connecting with others with CP, sharing life’s stories, tips and tricks to success.
I’m always more than happy to share my experiences with others and I hope through my time on the board young New Zealanders growing up with CP can see great opportunity in the lives they lead, and be inspired by the fact they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
I am very excited by what the CP Society is doing in this time and see the Society connecting more with its members and resources to better serve the 10,000 Kiwis living with Cerebral Palsy across the country.
Outside of CPS I have a role in digital marketing, play and volunteer for NZ Wheelchair rugby in social media, love working on decreasing my golfing handicap, I am also a New Zealand Young Farmers member and like to keep in touch with friends and family.
Pippa Huddleston – Board Member
Kia ora tātou
I’m Pippa and I’m honoured to be a member of your Board of Directors. I am 26 and have had spastic quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy my whole life, so consider myself a bit of an expert on the matter!
I grew up in Hawke’s Bay, studied at Lincoln University, then lived in Christchurch and Auckland for a year each before returning to study in Hamilton in 2020. I bring a unique out-of-Auckland perspective to the Board, which I feel is pivotal given our widespread membership.
I have been involved in leadership in various capacities since I was 15, and am passionate about the personal development of our rangatahi. Ensuring youth and young adults with CP have equal opportunity as their peers to gain and refine intra- and inter- personal skills is a priority of mine. I have always been made to feel like I can do anything my siblings, peers and colleagues can do, and I would like to see the CPS become a space that allows others to feel the same.
I am so excited to be a part of this phase of the CPS journey. There are so many opportunities for us right now, and I want to see the CPS reach its full potential as a leading voice in the disability sector.
Outside of the CPS, I am a full-time PhD student, a part-time environmental planner, a member of the Board of Directors for CanTeen Aotearoa and a small-business owner. I love going on adventures to catch up with friends and family whenever I can!
Emma Lovett – Board Member
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you on the Cerebral Palsy Society board.
My 5-year-old son, Reid, has Cerebral Palsy. Although we are early in our CP journey, there are numerous areas that can, and should, be improved by our Society to set up pathways for a smoother transition into adulthood.
My family and I can relate to many people who are travelling the hurdles medically, financially, educationally, and personally. We have undertaken many rounds of intensive therapy both in New Zealand and overseas. We fund-raised to take Reid to St Louis, USA for SDR surgery, which was successful in achieving a greater level of mobility and independence for Reid.
Success of the society will be driven by strong member engagement and feedback, alongside thorough analysis of the overall operations of the Society before any major decisions are made. 2020 brought with it a whole lot of change and a new world, as a community we are continuing to evolve and adapt to the “new normal”. We invite you to express your thoughts and expectations. We have an opportunity to bring about the right change and move forward positively by providing Freedom and Choice of our Members.
In 2019, I founded the business ‘Adaptive Footwear’ which brings orthotic and user-friendly footwear options to New Zealand. Managing and operating our business has enabled me the privilege of meeting and talking to many of our members and gaining a greater understanding of the support and resources people of all ages require. Being entrepreneurial, I look at things from a holistic view, am collaborative, and not afraid to seek solutions outside of the box. I invite open, honest conversation to ensure decisions are made in accordance with the evolving needs of our community.
I have an operational background in Government departments including Child Protection Services and New Zealand Customs Service. In my role as a Senior Customs Officer, I trained new Officers, as well as created and implemented a national training framework to formally structure the learning of policies and processes.
I am looking forward to working with our Members and Staff.
Kat Thomas – Board Member
I’m Kat and am honoured to have been elected to serve on the board of the CP Society. My 8 year old daughter Ella lives with CP, and over the years of learning to be her advocate and ally I have met an incredible network of families. I hope I am able to return some of the support I have gained in my role on the board.
My professional background is in the arts, education community and activism. I am currently completing my doctoral studies in arts as a tool for social change at the University of Auckland. When the busy life I lead with my children allow I also teach at the university, and am a drama therapist. In the past I worked for InterAct theatre engaging in the creative arts with the disability community. I am passionate about making a difference and am experienced with grass-roots support, working alongside communities to generate change and self-efficacy. In 2021 I directed Squeaky Wheel, an award-winning verbatim theatre show sharing the stories of those living with CP, as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.
I am based in Auckland, where I grew up, although my studies have allowed me to live in Dunedin, Wellington and overseas. Through supporting Ella I have gained awareness of how tricky it can be to navigate the systems of health, disability & education. I successfully fundraised for Ella to receive SDR surgery in St Louis, and during that time we generated a positive amount of support that was tracked through different forms of media. I feel that sharing our story and providing a strong voice for Ella can in turn help others as we work toward a more inclusive society.
In my spare time I am with Ella and her brother Frankie, either at the park or beach, playing Go Fish or drawing dinosaurs. I also enjoy football, writing and cooking.
Reuben Woods – Board Member
Kia ora koutou, I have been a corporate solicitor for more than 20 years working in New Zealand and London, and a partner at global law firm DLA Piper for more than 10 years. I have a teenage daughter (Phoebe) and young identical twin boys (Nico and Quinn), one of whom has CP. My partner is a medical doctor which helps our whanau to navigate and understand the various treatments and therapies available to Nico and also the inner workings of our public health system.
My work involves advising corporates, private equity investors and others on acquiring companies and businesses, capital raising, restructuring and governance. I also have governance experience having sat on the board of a not-for-profit regional sports trust for more than a decade, and having served on the CP Society board. I believe that there is great strength and innovation that can be derived from diversity in decision making, and I am heavily involved in my law firm’s diversity & inclusion programme and chair our ethnic diversity committee. I expect that there is some real talent in our membership that I would like to see the CP Society identify and harness, where possible.
The CP Society is an entity of real substance that can and must make a positive impact on the lives of members. I believe it must be governed professionally, responsibly and transparently.
I am from Kai Tahu. My hobbies (pre-kids) were surfing, guitar and most any sport I could get involved in. Nowadays all my time is consumed by the whanau and work, but I’m hopeful those hobbies will return to my life at some stage…
To contact the Board please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org