Minister of Health Volunteer Awards - Judging

This year’s judges are:

Simon O’ConnorImage of Simon O'Connor

In 2011, Simon was elected as the Member of Parliament for Tamaki.  Prior to his election, his background included a broad range of experiences from the commercial, public, and voluntary sectors.

Simon was educated at the University of Auckland and earned several degrees there, most recently, a Masters of Political Studies in 2010, which he undertook while working full-time. 

Between 1995 and 2004, Simon trained to become a Catholic priest. Though he completed his training, he did not seek ordination. Instead, he sought wider involvement in the community to make a practical, hands-on difference.

In 2014, Simon was re-elected in Tamaki and made Chair of the Health Select Committee in Parliament. He is also a member of the Commerce Select Committee.


Riki Nia NiaImage of Riki Nia Nia

Riki Nia Nia (Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu)  is currently the General Manager Maori Health for both Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards. He is also Chair of Tumu Whakarae (the national strategic Māori health leadership group for District Health Boards) and Chair of the Kia Ora Hauora Māori Health Careers Programme.

Riki has been in senior health management roles since 1997, including Public Health. Riki was also recently appointed to the Chair of Te Mana Taneora o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Māori Men’s Health Coalition.


Luamanuvao Winnie LabanImage of Luamanuvao Winifred ‘Winnie’ Laban

​Luamanuvao Winnie Laban QSO is the inaugural Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) at Victoria University of Wellington. The role was established in 2010 to provide strategic direction and support for Pasifika students and staff.

She has worked as a Community Worker, Probation Officer, School Counsellor, and Public Service Manager. During the 1990s she coordinated the South Pacific Consumer Protection Programme working in 15 Pacific Island nations.

In 1999, she was elected as the first Pacific Island woman in the New Zealand Parliament. She has previously served as a Member of Parliament for Mana Electorate representing the Labour Party, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister of Social Development, Economic Development, and Trade.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban is a Social Work graduate from Victoria University and completed a post-graduate Diploma in Development Studies from Massey University. She was bestowed the Samoan chiefly title of Luamanuvao in 1992.


Scott MillerImage of Scott Miller

Scott is the Chief Executive, of Volunteering New Zealand. Scott has extensive cross-sector experience, with time in central government, business, health and education, as well as the community and voluntary sector. Scott is an active volunteer in the disability sector and is studying towards his Masters in Non-profit Management at the University of Waikato.

As a third time judge of the Minister of Health Awards, Scott fully appreciates the commitment and dedication of New Zealand's health volunteers and their commitment to putting the well-being of people at the heart of our healthcare services.


Jane BodkinImage of Jane bodkin

Jane is a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, Ministry of Health. Jane has worked in a variety of clinical roles in mental health nursing prior to joining the Ministry in 2014. Most recently she was Senior Nurse in Consultation Liaison, Wellington Regional Public Hospital, and Clinical Nurse Specialist in a Wellington Community Mental Health Team.

Jane is a registered nurse and holds a Masters in Public Policy, School of Government, Victoria University, and a Masters in Nursing, Massey University, 2014, and a Bachelors of Arts, in History and Political Science, University of Otago. She currently has the mental health and addictions, nurse practitioner, enrolled nurse, and Māori nursing workforce portfolios and is working on implementation of the changes to health practitioner status legislation in the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer.

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