Vaping Educational Advisory Group

Professor Richard Edwards

Richard trained as a public health physician in the UK, and came to Wellington in November 2005. He has over 20 year’s experience in tobacco control practice and research in the UK and New Zealand. Richard is co-director of ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre and co-director of the Whakahā o te Pā Harakeke research programme.

His main research interests are in tobacco use epidemiology and tobacco control (see ASPIRE2025). He has also carried out research in a variety of other areas, notably environmental epidemiology and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. He is a member of the leadership group of the Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI).

His current research focus is on smokefree policy research, particularly in relation to achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa goal of ending significant tobacco use in Aotearoa/New Zealand for all peoples by 2025.

He is co-principal investigator of the Evidence for Achieving Smokefree Aotearoa Equitably (EASE) study (New Zealand arm of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Evaluation project).


Prof Janet Hoek

Janet’s first degrees were in English Literature and she also studied Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, and French. Her Honours research examined nineteenth century poetry and she explored irony Beowulf, a very early medieval poem, in her Masterate thesis. She later completed a post-graduate diploma in marketing and her PhD examined question wording effects in surveys. Janet’s is co-Director of ASPIRE 2025, a University of Otago Research Theme whose members undertake research supporting the Government’s smokefree 2025 goal.

Janet has led several Health Research Council projects. Her work has examined plain (or standardised) packaging and tobacco branding, and informed policy in New Zealand and internationally; a subsequent study project examined novel on-pack tobacco warnings. She led a feasibility study assessing ‘smart’ e-cigarettes and is currently project examining how to encourage full transition from smoking to e-cigarettes among smokers while deterring uptake among non-smokers. Janet has been an AI on HRC-funded obesity studies, including a novel project – Kids’ Cam – that examines food marketing in children’s environments.

Along with several public health colleagues and key external partners, Janet has just received funding for an HRC programme: Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke (Realising the vision for a smokefree future), and a further project, which will examine interventions to promote and support cessation among RYO users. Janet has also received funding from the Royal Society Marsden Fund; she led a project that critically evaluated tobacco industry arguments framing smoking as an “informed choice”. Janet is currently leading a second Marsden study probing identity shifts as smokers adopt vaping and potentially become both smoke- and vape-free.

Janet has been a member of several NGO and government advisory groups, provided evidence to government and Select Committees, and was a member of an Australian government expert advisory group overseeing the introduction of plain packaging. She has sat on several research grant and selection committees, as well as strategy development and policy groups. She was Deputy Chair of the 2018 PBRF Business and Economics panel.


Matthew Tukaki

NZ Māori Council Executive Director. Tukaki is of Ngai Te Rangi descent and has strong tribal affiliations with Matakana Island which is off the coast of the city of Tauranga in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty.

Matt was the former head of Drake International Australia, one of the world’s oldest employment companies and latterly as the founder of Entrehub, formally co-founder of the Sustain Group, formerly a director of the board of Australia’s Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and a current member of Australia’s peak mental health body, Suicide Prevention Australia.

He was previously chair of Deakin University’s Centre for Social and Responsible Organisations, chair of the international advisory board of the joint initiative between the United States National Science Foundation and the University of Sydney (BESERG).

In 2015 Tukaki was appointed as chair of Australia’s National Coalition for Suicide Prevention and has been a non-executive director of the board of that country’s peak mental health body, Suicide Prevention Australia. Tukaki served as Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia between November 2017 and April 2019. In March 2018 Tukaki was appointed as executive chairman of the National Maori Authority Ngā Ngaru Rautahi O Aotearoa and in mid 2018 became the Chair of the New Zealand’s Maori Council Tamaki (Auckland) and a member of the National Executive of the New Zealand Maori Council (where he also serves in the role of Executive Director). In April 2019 he was invited to be Chair of the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care Appointments Panel. Tukaki remains a member of a number of private and public sector boards.

In November 2017 Tukaki was appointed into the role of executive chairman of the National Maori Authority, Nga Ngaru Rautahi O Aotearoa. In 2018 Tukaki also became the chair of the Auckland District Maori Council, one of the sixteen Districts of the New Zealand Maori Council. In July Tukaki was elected to the National Executive of the New Zealand Maori Council with a clear agenda on moving the council towards leading the national social policy debate. This new agenda began to emerge across a number of fronts including suicide prevention, homelessness and the affordability of life extending and lifesaving drugs for Maori. The latter was the first call to the Maori Affairs Select Committee of the New Zealand Parliament in its history. Tukaki has been involved in a large number of public, social and economic policy areas across the Maori world.


Professor Lutz Beckert

Beckert is the convenor of the Introductory Fortnight and joins the Māori Health team on the Block Course at the Marae visits, where his strength lies in organising icebreaker activities and fun games. His teaching interests are in cultural safety, learning methodology and professional development.

Together with Professor Suetonia Palmer, Professor Beckert is the co-convenor of the Clinical Orientation week. Lutz also teaches into the CardioRespiratory – CVPD module.

Together with the MIHI team, Professor Beckert and Professor Suetonia Palmer are also teaching Hauora Māori. The indigenous and non-indigenous teaching team has created a culturally safe environment for Māori, which keeps Māori patient/whānau/communities’ voices at the centre of the kaupapa. It provides a shared language for those involved in medical education and health services. This has implication for both teaching and clinical practice and has resulted in the development of a cohesive and respectful team environment enabling teaching, clinical services and research.


Prof Bob Hancox

Bob Hancox is a respiratory specialist who combines epidemiological and clinical research to investigate why people develop diseases such as asthma, allergies, and chronic lung disease and to find better ways to assess and treat these disorders. Much of his research is based on the long-running Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which has followed 1,037 children since their birth in Dunedin in the early 1970s into adult life. Important findings from this research reveal how childhood experiences and lifestyle affect lung health in adulthood. He also leads the Next Generation Study, which assesses the children of the Dunedin Study members to understand how health and well-being transfer across generations. Other research has included investigations into the long-term effects of television viewing on children’s health, social, and educational development, and into the early-life origins of obesity.


Dr Stuart Jones

Jones originates from the Far North, however headed to the far south attending Otago Medical School from which he graduated in 1995. He spent his initial post-graduate years working at Dunedin Hospital before taking up a post as respiratory research fellow at the Dunedin School of Medicine.

In 2003 he graduated with a PhD from Otago University with a thesis entitled: Exhaled nitric oxide and the clinical control of airway inflammation. He commenced his respiratory specialist training in Dunedin before heading to the UK for a further 3 years of training. During his time in the UK he was based in Cambridge where he worked at the local university hospital (Addenbrookes) and at Papworth Hospital, a specialist cardio-respiratory unit. While at Papworth he trained in pulmonary hypertension and sleep medicine. He then went to Edinburgh where he worked as a sleep fellow at the Royal Infirmary.

He is currently employed as a Respiratory and Sleep Physician at Middlemore Hospital. He specialises in general respiratory medicine, with a particular interest in sleep medicine, asthma and airway inflammation, and bronchiectasis.

Dr Jones is also the Past President of the New Zealand branch of TSANZ (Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand).


Dr David McNamara

McNamara is a Paediatric Respiratory Specialist at Starship Children’s Hospital where he is the clinical leader of the paediatric respiratory team. He trained in Auckland and Sydney.

David has a special interest in asthma and obstructive sleep apnoea in children and has been involved in national guideline development for both of these.


Professor Philip Pattemore

Pattemore is involved in teaching and research at the University of Otago, Christchurch and as a specialist respiratory and general paediatrician at Christchurch Hospital.

Philip’s interests are in epidemiology and natural history of asthma, clinical aspects of cystic fibrosis, and the effects of tobacco smoking in children.

Since 1995, Philip has assisted in representing the Paediatric Society of New Zealand in Smokefree Advocacy and submissions to Select Committees on Smokefree legislation. He was a founding member of Doctors for Healthy Trade.


Richard Dykes

Richard is the Headmaster at Nelson College, where is he is a member of the national principals association SPANZ and the regional principals association TOTSSPA.  Immediately prior to this position, Richard was principal at Glendowie College and president of the Auckland principals association ASSPA.

Richard is an experienced Principal who has worked at a variety of schools throughout New Zealand,  In 2019 he was the recipient of a Woolf Fisher Fellowship that allowed him to visit high-performing schools in North America and the UK, as well as attend a school leadership course at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Boston.

Prior to teaching Richard worked in the commercial sector.


Nicola Corna

Nurse Practitioner, Respiratory Services, CMDHB

Nicola has worked as part of the respiratory team at Counties Manukau District Health Board for almost 20 years, achieving Nurse practitioner in 2019.  Her work includes screening, assessing and diagnosing people with chronic respiratory and related conditions, prescribing and managing treatment and follow up.

Nicola has been involved with working groups at local, regional and national level developing NZ specific guidelines for the management of respiratory conditions and advocating for improved respiratory health across Aotearoa.

Currently a member of the following groups:

  • Secretary for the NZNO College of Respiratory Nurses.
  • COPD national guidelines working group for Asthma and Respiratory Foundation developing the first NZ national COPD guidelines
  • Scientific Advisory Board for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation.
  • International Council of Nurses
  • Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • Auckland regional COPD pathway guidelines update group 2015 to date.

 Past member of the following groups:

  • Respiratory Nurses section NZNO (2009 – 2014) Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair.
  • Respiratory Working Group 2014 to the National Health Committee (NHC). I was the sole nursing representative.
  • Member of the Greater Auckland regional COPD pathway guidelines group – 2010 to 2012, which formulated the regional clinical guidelines for COPD used across all 3 Auckland DHB’s.


Assoc Prof Jim Reid

Jim graduated in medicine at the University of Otago, after previously training as a pharmacist. He undertook his postgraduate work at the University of Miami in Florida.

He also has a private medical practice at the Caversham Medical Centre, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Jim has a special interest in Respiratory Medicine and has published widely in asthma and COPD.

He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and is also a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. Jim is a member of the Medical Advisory Panel of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand and is a Director or the Best Practice Advocacy Centre New Zealand.


Joanna Turner

Research & Education Manager ARFNZ

Joanna is responsible for overseeing and managing the development and implementation of key education programmes.  She sits on the ARFNZ Scientific Advisory Board and assists in the development and dissemination of the NZ Child Asthma Guidelines, the NZ Adolescent and Adult Asthma Guidelines and the NZ COPD Guidelines.

Joanna is a registered pharmacist with an extensive background working in community pharmacy.



Letitia Harding

Chief Executive ARFNZ

Letitia has over 25 years extensive experience in the health sector, which includes the introduction of new health technologies, improving access to medicines, initiating imaging and diagnostic trials and establishing international healthcare networks.

She holds a Bachelor of Science, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and a Masters in Health Management, from the University of Auckland. Letitia has sat on a number of international and national advisory boards, and been an invited speaker at both New Zealand and overseas conferences. Her most recent appointments include;  GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma) 2020 advocate and being recognised as a leader in the field of Asthma; Chair of the Patient Focal Group Planning Committee (GARD) and Co-Chair of the Western-Pacific Region for (GARD) – the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD).


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