We have a fabulous team of very experienced carers, nurses and allied health professionals that are focused on achieving our mission. LFT is regarded as having a special feeling and it is the team that generates this through empathy, care and an adept understanding of our clients.
Robert has a long association with Laura Fergusson Trust dating back to the establishment of the organisation when his uncle was a resident. Robert has fond memories of what Laura Fergusson offered and how important this was for the whanau. This philosophy remains a driver for him. Robert became professionally involved with the organisation as a speech and language therapist before managing the residential service in Canterbury. Robert has a tohu (graduate and postgraduate) degrees and in 2017 he moved into the role of Pou Matua/Chief Executive for Laura Fergusson Trust Poneke. With the support of the team and Board of Trustees, Robert ensures that the organisation’s kaupapa, processes and day to day running are well positioned to achieve our strategy and moemoea/vision. Robert enjoys being super fit and will often be seen in all conditions making sure he is maintaining his hauora.
Kaiwhakahaere Matua/General Manager - Business
Megan joined LFT at the beginning of 2021 as GM Business, drawn to the organisation by its purpose and vision. As the GM Business, she is responsible for Human Resources, Finance, Facilities, Health & Safety and Technology. Megan has a broad and varied commercial career. She has brought her extensive experience in accounting to the GM Business role, combined with her experience in procurement, programme management and leadership. Megan appreciates the supportive and warm culture of the entire LFT whanau. Megan has enjoyed getting to know the LFT residents, and when she is not at her computer, can often be found sitting in the dining room outside her office, catching up and having a joke with staff and residents. When Megan is not at work, she loves spending time with her whanau, walking her dog and reading.
Kai Kiritaki/Client Services Manager
Deidre joined the Laura Fergusson Team in 2016 as the Therapy Coordinator after working in the community as a Speech-Language for the Hutt Valley District Health Board. She brings over 20 years rehabilitation experience working with adults across different aetiologies and settings including the community. It was during this time that she visited LFT in her role as Community Speech-Language Therapist. The energy and compassion of the staff, during those times, is what attracted her back as an employee. Deidre completed her Bachelor of Speech-Language Therapy at the University of Canterbury in 1996, working in Christchurch initially before heading to the UK for 2 years. Upon returning to New Zealand she chose Lower Hutt as her base working for the Hutt Valley DHB and ABI. Deidre has a passion for rehabilitation and getting the best possible outcomes for people living with a disability.
Kai Whakatakanga/Special Projects
Alison started with the Board in 2018 and then moved off the Board to a consulting role supporting Robert with the leadership development of Laura Fergusson. She has since moved into a Special Projects role which has included transitioning the Whanganui branch from Auckland to Wellington LFT. Her role is varied and covers many aspects of the organisation and she describes it as the best job ever! Alison has had a variety of senior and Chief Executive roles during her career, largely in the not for profit sector and focussed on health and education industries. She is a Fellow Chartered Accountant with a passion for supporting people and organisations to be great. In her down-time she is an avid reader. Living on the Kāpiti Coast brings all sorts of benefits for walking and socialising. Her main joy and pride is in her grandchildren and their parents with whom she spends as much time as she can.
Kaiwhakahaere Papamahi/Branch Manager
Growing up and advocating for my disabled brother has taught me to understand and respect the physical and neurological needs of an individual, and to explore possible solutions to enable an individual to live their best life. I am passionate about and enjoy interacting with people with disabilities and their whanau, to ensure the individual can reach their full potential. Having past experience working in the disability sector, coaching and management, I value the opportunity to manage a home where we do just that – provide an environment where a resident can participate and contribute in all aspects of their lives in a supported atmosphere.
Kaea Kaenga/Residential Lead
Maggie started with Laura Fergusson Trust as a kitchen hand back in 2000, then took on a variety of roles over the years as a support worker, coordinator, duty manager and now in her current role she heads up the residential serivce as Residential Lead. From day one, when Maggie walked in for her interview, she comments that although she lives in the area she never knew this peaceful setting existed. She felt a good vibe about the place and this sense of belonging has grown over the years. Maggie thrives on making a difference in the residents lives, is fully committed and says if she can put a smile on their faces each day then the day has been a good one. It makes her realise why she comes to work each day to support, encourage and inspire others.
Cameron first connected with LFT in the late 1990s when his sister-in-law was given the opportunity to join the community as resident. His early involvement centred around the social events for community members and hands-on work to improve the Naenae site. Cameron became a Trustee in 2007 as a part of LFT’s reinvigoration. He had the benefit of learning an immense amount about LFT’s kaupapa from the then long-standing Trustees and became Chair in 2014. He has carried that kaupapa into the next stage of LFT’s evolution through an active involvement in a future-focused strategy for LFT, the development of the Naenae site to cater for a larger onsite and off site community, and its expansion outside the Wellington region. Cameron draws strength from the LFT’s vision and mission and also from what he describes as “his amazing” fellow Trustees.
Deputy Chair & Chair of Finance and Audit Committee
Michael became a Trustee in 2018 following a desire to further support the local community in which he lives and works. A director and CEO of PKF Kendons based in Lower Hutt, Michael provides leadership on the commercial and financial oversight work of the Trustees as LFT continues to provide an environment and services to the community both in Wellington and further afield. In addition to his governance role with LFT, Michael is also actively involved with youth singing in the Barbershop style nationally through his role as Chair of the Young Singers in Harmony Trust and separately as a Trustee of the Christine Taylor Foundation for Mental Health. Outside of his work and governance roles, you’ll find Michael spending time with his young family or with his other family, the Barbershop singing community!
Trustee & Chair of Risk Committee
Fiona has been a Trustee with the LFT Board since 2017. With a background in public policy and executive management in government, Fiona was looking to be part of a community organisation focused on celebrating diversity and being a sustainable part of Wellington’s future. Fiona has been part of the Trust’s work to expand into community services and to develop a service in Whanganui. She also focused on LFT people and supporting LFT to put its people in the centre. Fiona is currently the Chair of the Trust’s Risk Sub Committee.
Trustee & Chair of Clinical Advisory Committee
I first became aware the world did not provide a level playing field when, as a child, my mother explained to me why she spent hours transcribing books into braille by hand. I began to understand that I should share some of my mother's time with other people who couldn't just pick up a book and read it, as I loved to do. Ever since then I have been fortunate through study, work, lived experience and the privilege of being a member of the wider LFT community, to have learned much more about the variety of challenges life presents people. My involvement with LFT and its Board is long, as is my institutional memory! LFT became home (and still is) for one of my 3 children, twenty three years ago. As a family member I value very much the sense of home that LFT can provide the residents who choose to live in an inclusive, caring and supported community. Similarly, I am enthusiastic about the development of LFT's outreach that enables the LFT to support people who chose to live in the wider community. Unfortunately, all these years later, the world still does not provide a level playing field. As trustees we must strive to have the vision, courage and wisdom to enable LFT with its successive generations of dedicated staff to continue to assist the members of the LFT community to live their best lives, despite the myriad of challenges they face on a daily basis....and as all of us aspire, to have their share of moments of joy! Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere Whakamua!
I joined the LFT Board in 2020, knowing of the organisation but not realising how committed the Staff, Community and the Board were to the Residents. I've been living with a spinal cord injury since 1982. Continued to work for another 25 years until a change was imminent. There are 2 types of people in this world 'Disabled' and those 'Waiting to be Disabled'. How we cope with those decisions within LFT is important. Being a wheelchair user, adds to the diversity of the Board and therefore help the Residents.
Debs is a recent addition to the Laura Fergusson Trust board. She brings with her over 20 years of experience of working across the health and social sectors in the areas of co-design, commissioning, and implementation. Deb has health and public sector experience both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. This experience has given Debs exposure to the broad range of issues and challenges facing those working within these sectors, and to the opportunities to work differently together to solve them. Deb has an extensive background supporting people following brain injury, including as a clinician and in designing and commissioning services for ACC. She has worked closely with the leadership of Laura Fergusson Trust over the years to improve outcomes for those with life changing injuries and illnesses and she is looking forward to supporting the Trust, and all those supported by the Trust to achieve their aspirations.
Vanessa joined LFT as a Trustee in early 2022, having returned to Wellington after ten years working abroad in financial services in London and Luxembourg. Many years ago Vanessa worked as an external financial auditor for LFT, and was captivated by the passion, commitment and professionalism of those working to make LFT a great place for residents to live, a great place to work, and a great support to the disability community. Vanessa brings her financial and commercial skillset to support management and fellow Trustees in the pursuit to deliver LFT’s vision of enabling good lives for all people with disabilities through aroha (empathy), kanorau awhitanga (embracing diversity) and kia mia (courage). Vanessa is currently the CFO at the Reserve Bank of NZ / Te Pūtea Matua.