Executive Leadership Team


The ELT membership is decided by the Director-General of Health, and includes:

Dr Ashley Bloomfield: Director-General of Health and Chief ExecutiveDr Ashley Bloomfield: Director-General of Health and Chief Executive

Dr Bloomfield qualified in medicine at the University of Auckland in 1990 and after several years of clinical work specialised in public health medicine. His particular area of professional interest is non-communicable disease prevention and control, and he spent 2011 at the World Health Organization in Geneva working on this topic at a global level.

Dr Bloomfield was Chief Executive at Hutt Valley District Health Board from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, he held a number of senior leadership roles within the Ministry of Health.

Maree Roberts: Deputy Director-General System Strategy and PolicyMaree Roberts: Deputy Director-General System Strategy and Policy

Maree has had a wide range of experience in the public service, primarily in social sector policy relating to children, young people, families and communities.

Maree has held several senior roles in the Ministry for Social Development in Policy and Service Delivery and recently in the new Ministry for Children. Maree has managed large government programmes such as the White Paper for Vulnerable Children and the development of the Vulnerable Children Act. She has also led several change programmes relating to Child, Youth and Family, Vulnerable Children and the Ministerial Work Programme on Family and Sexual Violence.

Over her career, Maree has had a variety of roles including as a Private Secretary, managing employment and skills policy in the Department of Labour, and working for the Ministry of Education in Christchurch following the earthquakes. Recently Maree contributed to the set-up of the new Children’s Ministry.

Sue Gordon: Deputy Chief Executive COVID-19 Health System ResponseSue Gordon: Deputy Director-General Corporate Services

Most recently Sue was Public Sector Manager at Microsoft NZ working with government agencies and had responsibility for negotiation and delivery of the all-of-government agreement.

Prior to Microsoft, Sue held senior management roles at Land Information NZ and the Ministry for Economic Development leading their corporate functions.

Sue’s first management role was HR Manager in the Ministry of Health. The commitment and passion of the people who work in the health sector were a highlight of her time with the Ministry and she is delighted to be returning to the Ministry and the wider health sector.

Robyn Shearer: Deputy Director-General, DHB Performance and SupportRobyn Shearer: Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Robyn comes to this role with a vast range of sector experience having been the CEO for Te Pou o te Whakaaro nui for the last ten years.

During her time Robyn has grown Te Pou to be internationally recognised for evidence based workforce programmes in mental health, addiction and disability and has created strong sector partnerships to enhance people’s lives through service improvement.

Robyn comes from a clinical background, beginning her experience with nursing and has worked in front line mental health services and leadership roles in District Health Boards.

She has also worked in the Health Research Council and Ministry of Health in workforce development, policy and leading the Mental Health Group.

Shayne Hunter: Deputy Director-General Data and DigitalShayne Hunter: Deputy Director-General Data and Digital

Shayne has spent the last 15 years in the health and disability sector where he developed a strong a passion for information and technology enabled improvements for the system and for the health outcomes for individuals and our population.

His most recent role has been the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs where he’s been a member of the ELT for each district health board.

He currently chairs the Central Region DHB’s CIO group and was previously the Chair of the Health Sector National IS Leaders Forum.

Deborah Woodley: Deputy Director-General Population Health and PreventionDeborah Woodley: Deputy Director-General Population Health and Prevention

Deborah first joined the Ministry of Health in 1996 and during her time with the organisation held a range of senior leadership roles mainly related to personal and population health. Highlights of her career to date include the establishment of the New Zealand Blood Service and Healthline, the development of the palliative care strategy and management of the cancer programme including the development of bowel screening.

She returns to the Ministry after spending two years at Hutt Valley DHB as Service Group Manager, Surgical, Women's and Children's Health.

Clare Perry: Deputy Director-General Health System Improvement and Innovation (Acting)Clare Perry: Deputy Director-General Health System Improvement and Innovation

Clare has spent the last four years in Group Manager roles at the Ministry of Health with responsibilities for health system improvement, integrated service design and service commissioning.

Clare trained as a graduate nurse at Guy’s Hospital London, making Aotearoa New Zealand her home in 1986. Clare has over 25 years’ health and disability sector experience including 15 years clinical practice in hospitals and in primary care. Her experience includes operational management, educator roles and working with Māori and Pacific communities in South Auckland supporting the health and wellbeing of tamariki under five and their whānau.

In her time at the Ministry, Clare has led strategic initiatives to deliver ongoing improvements in service quality and health outcomes. These include leading legislative change on earnings compensation for people donating organs for transplantation, strengthening national telehealth, maternity, primary care and ambulance services, and overseeing the implementation of regulatory change in abortion law, medicinal cannabis and vaping reform.

John Whaanga: Deputy Director-General, Māori HealthJohn Whaanga: Deputy Director-General, Māori Health

John is affiliated to Ngāti Rākaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Rongomaiwahine. In 2018, John was acknowledged in parliament for his work in successfully negotiating a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Ngā Iwi me Ngā Hapū o Te Rohe o Te Wairoa – this was the culmination of over 30 years work. 

John began his career in the Department of Conservation in 1989 (working on Treaty of Waitangi policy and negotiations), before moving on to the Ministry of Education (Māori Education Group) in 1991. 

John originally joined the Ministry of Health in 1993, as a foundation member of the then newly-established Māori Health Directorate, Te Kete Hauora. John then spent six years working in the Ministry, culminating in management roles in both public health and Māori health (as Manager, Te Kete Hauora).

In the last six years John has undertaken a number of significant roles in tertiary education, including as: Chief Advisor Wānanga, Tertiary Education Commission; Deputy Chief Executive, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa; and Chief Operating Officer, Taratahi Institute of Agriculture.

Lorraine Hetaraka: Chief Nursing OfficerLorraine Hetaraka: Chief Nursing Officer

Lorraine Hetaraka (Tapuika, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Kahu) joined the Ministry on 15 March.

Lorraine has been the Chief Executive of Te Arawa Whānau Ora for the last year and has made a significant contribution to Māori and other high-needs populations’ wellbeing in the communities this organisation supports. 

Lorraine has a strong clinical and academic background in nursing leadership. She started her career as a registered nurse and then progressed into roles as a Nursing Leader and Nursing Director accountable for strategy, workforce planning, policy and primary healthcare delivery. This included working for the National Hauora Coalition and Procare Health and Homecare Medical. She was also joint Associate Director of Nursing: Māori at Auckland District Health Board and the University of Auckland for four years.

Dr Andrew Connolly: Chief Medical Officer

Dr Andrew Connolly joined the Ministry on 15 February, on secondment from Counties Manukau DHB for the 2021 year.

Andrew is a General and Colorectal surgeon at Counties Manukau DHB and will continue to have a clinical role at CMDHB during the secondment. He is a former Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand and has recently served as Deputy Commissioner at Waikato DHB and as a Crown Monitor at Southern DHB, and remains as clinical advisory to both Boards. 

He has a strong interest in governance, education, and service improvement and has served on various national committees and boards including the Planned Care Advisory Group, the Health Quality and Safety Commission, and the Health Workforce Advisory Board. He also sits on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Indigenous Health Committee.

Martin Chadwick: Chief Allied Health Professions OfficerMartin Chadwick: Chief Allied Health Professions Officer 

Martin joins the Ministry of Health from the Bay of Plenty DHB where he has held the post of Executive of Director Allied Health, Scientific and Technical for the last two years.

Previously he held a similar role at Counties Manukau DHB for six years. He has over 25 years of health experience in a range of roles in both the USA and New Zealand and has filled a variety of clinical, managerial and strategic leadership roles. 

Martin has recently completed his doctoral degree via AUT examining health workforce change. Martin is passionate about the untapped potential that allied health professions can bring in improving the quality of care provided to our populations, and in turn better meeting equitable population health needs.

Adri Isbister: Deputy Director-General, DisabilityAdri Isbister: Deputy Director-General, Disability

Adri came to us from the Wairarapa DHB where she was CEO. During her tenure, Adri  led the development of cross-sector work and the implementation of Health Care Home, a primary care initiative.

Adri has over 25 years’ experience in the health and disability sector. She is the former leader of LIFE Unlimited, a national health and disability service provider. She also supported the implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and has held governance positions within the national Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Association (NASCA) and disability information services.

Adri holds an executive Masters in Business Administration and has received two business excellence awards.

Sarah Turner: Deputy Director, Office of the Director-General

Sarah Turner: Deputy Director-General, Office of the Director-General

Sarah comes to us from the Ministry of Justice, where she has spent the last eight years in group management and deputy secretary roles. 

Sarah’s management career has included policy, service delivery and operations, as well as leading and embedding organisational change.  Her most recent role spanned service design and improvement, service commissioning, and implementing legislative change. 

Sarah has led teams and business units ranging in size from nine to 900 people.

Anna Clark: Deputy Director-General Health WorkforceAnna Clark: Deputy Director-General Health Workforce

Anna comes to the Ministry of Health from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, where she has been the acting Head of the Office of the Chief Executive.

Anna has a strong public sector track record and brings a range of employment relation skills and workforce strategy development experience.

Anna’s management career has included practising as an employment lawyer in large law firms and in-house legal teams within both the public and private sectors. 

Celia Wellington: Deputy Director-General Corporate. Celia Wellington: Deputy Director-General Corporate Services

Celia has a background as an organisational psychologist, with over 12 years delivering organisational development consultancy services across the public and private sectors.

She went on to hold senior leadership roles within ACC, and then in ESR as General Manager People and Communications, before joining the Ministry as the Group Manager People and Capability.

She brings extensive experience in people strategy, policy development and implementation of organisation-wide initiatives, along with strong technical expertise in organisational and capability development, culture change and employee engagement.

Toni Gutschlag: Deputy Director-General Mental Health and Addiction (Acting). Toni Gutschlag: Deputy Director-General Mental Health and Addiction

Toni has spent her career working in the health sector with a significant portion of that in mental health and addiction related roles.  She has been involved in leading a number of change and improvement programmes and is passionate about ensuring that the system is focused on better wellbeing outcomes for all people.  

Toni has significant experience in psychosocial responses and recovery, and emergency management having worked in health in Christchurch through the earthquakes and the 2019 Mosque attacks. 

Within her role at the Ministry of Health she played a lead role in development of the psychosocial response to COVID-19 during the lockdown periods and preparing for future resurgences. Toni joined the Ministry of Health in 2020 having come from the Canterbury District Health Board where she held several senior management positions, most recent being the General Manager, Mental Health in Canterbury a role she held for seven years. She has also held a number of commissioning portfolios including mental health, older persons health, and disability. She has been involved in many national, regional and local service improvement and quality initiatives. 

Toni brings extensive expertise and experience in service commissioning, operations, service improvement and leading change.

Dr Don Matheson: Deputy Director-General, Public Health and Primary Care Transformation. Dr Don Matheson: Deputy Director-General, Public Health and Primary Care Transformation

Don is a specialist public health physician and prior to joining the Ministry he was working with the health sector in North Brisbane. He helped establish a ‘neutral space’ where different parts of the health and social sector worked together to tackle health challenges in the region.

Previously Don worked as an independent health systems consultant, and over a nine year period undertook evaluations of national and district health systems in the Asia Pacific region. He holds visiting professorships at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology.

From 2000 to 2008 he was the New Zealand government’s leading policy advisor on public health and international health, managed the development of the New Zealand Health Strategy, and co-led the health sector’s approach to addressing health inequalities. At the regional level, he served as WPRO’s regional adviser on non-communicable diseases. At the global level, he represented the NZ Minister of Health on the WHO Executive Board, and provided policy advice to World Health Reports on health care financing (2010), primary health care (2008), and to the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2008).

His early medical career was spent as a district medical officer on the Zimbabwe Mozambique border. Returning to Aotearoa NZ in the mid 1980s, Don became a general practitioner, and worked firstly with unions and Iater alongside mana whenua to establish community and iwi controlled health services in Newtown, Wellington and in the East Coast’s Ngāti Porou rohe.  

Karen Mitchell: Deputy Director General, InfrastructureKaren Mitchell: Deputy Director General, Infrastructure

Karen Mitchell took up this role in early 2021, bringing a wealth of infrastructure experience to the role from her time at Treasury leading the Infrastructure Transactions Unit (ITU) and transitioning it to the NZ Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga (Infracom). 

Karen originally trained as a pharmacist and has previously worked at the Ministry including in a group manager role establishing our National Screening Unit (NSU). Karen has also contributed to a range of other health strategy, policy, planning and funding initiatives, including in relation to the National Immunisation Register, Plunket services, and leading work to develop the National Ambulance Services Strategy. 

More recently, Karen led Public Private Partnership procurements and commercial negotiations for two new prisons, the Transmission Gully State Highway and the Social Housing Reform Programme. 

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