NEAC has up to 12 members who are appointed by the Minister of Health for a term of up to three years.

The members of NEAC are representative of a broad range of disciplines, professions and interests. Members bring expertise in ethics, health and disability research, health service provision and leadership, public health, epidemiology, law, Māori health and consumer advocacy.

Current members of NEAC are listed below.

Neil PickeringNeil Pickering.


Membership role: Health Research Council nominee

Neil is a senior lecturer in the Bioethics Centre at the University of Otago. He has published on a range of ethical issues and has been a member of a number of research projects both in New Zealand and in his previous job in the United Kingdom. His primary area of research is philosophy of mental health, and his book The Metaphor of Mental Illness was published by Oxford University Press in 2006 in their International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry series.

He was a member of the University of Otago Human Research Ethics Committee from 1999 to 2005. He was also on the Health Research Council of New Zealand Ethics Committee from 2005 to 2010 and was acting chair from 2007 to 2008. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry and a member of the committee of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law.

Appointed April 2013 and reappointed July 2016. Appointed Acting Chair September 2016. Appointed Chair 2019.

Dr Wayne MilesWayne Miles.

Membership role: Health professional

Wayne is director of Awhina Research and Knowledge, Waitemata District Health Board and a clinical associate professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine, The University of Auckland. He has had extensive experience as a psychiatrist, a clinical leader and a clinical researcher.

Wayne has been an HDEC member for seven years and is a member of the Health Research Council of New Zealand College of Experts. He is Deputy Chair of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Practice, Partnership and Policy Committee. Past roles have included membership of the board of the New Zealand Medical Association, president of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and Chairperson of the Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand.

Appointed November 2012 and reappointed March 2016.

Liz Richards. Liz Richards

Membership role: Community/consumer

Liz Richards is an independent director currently chairing the Top of the South Health Alliance and is a trustee for the Tasman Bays Heritage Trust. Previous roles include Chair of the Upper South A Health and Disability Ethics Committee and Deputy Chair of the Canterbury Community Trust and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board. Liz has also been active in governance roles for a number of community organisations in the Nelson region.

Liz has worked in health promotion and public sector housing management as well as lecturing in housing studies at Salford University. She has a Professional Qualification of the Chartered Institute of Housing and an MA in Housing from the University of Central England in Birmingham.

Appointed October 2015.

Hope Tupara. Dr Hope Tupara

Membership role: Health professional

Hope works from home, mostly in private contract research and as a practising midwife. She has a MA Midwifery and a PhD Public Health. She has published papers in the New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics and the American Journal of Bioethics. 

Hope has a special interest in iwi development, the Māori Women’s Welfare League and Whānau Ora.

Appointed October 2015.

Dana Wensley. Dr Dana Wensley

Membership role: Legal consultant

Dana has a Ph.D. in medical law and ethics from King’s College, London and her research transcends the traditional boundaries between law, medicine and ethics. She has held posts as research fellow at the Human Genome Research Centre (University of Otago) and assistant editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics (London). Dana has served as community representative on the Hospital Advisory Committee of the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board and is interested in health equity and allocation of resources at a local and national level.  In 2016 she was elected to the Tasman District Council and has served as Chair of the Accessibility for All Forum (Nelson/ Tasman). Dana currently chairs the Regulatory Committee of Tasman District Council.  

Appointed October 2015.

Mary-Anne Woodnorth. Dr Mary-Anne Woodnorth

Membership role: Health researcher

Mary-Anne originally trained to be a biomedical researcher at the University of Otago and has a PhD in Neuroscience. Since then she has worked in a variety of research settings throughout her entire career, including industry (Neuren Pharmaceuticals) and government (Health Research Council).  She has led the Research Office of Auckland District Health Board, New Zealand’s largest clinical research facility, since 2010.

These days Mary-Anne’s interests centre on improving the environment for high quality Aotearoa/New Zealand health research by supporting promising individuals to become research active, promoting the publication and sharing of research findings and examining the impact of research on clinical practice.

Appointed June 2019

Gordon Jackman. Gordon Jackman

Membership role:  Disability perspectives

Gordon Jackman was the inaugural (now retired) CEO of the Duncan Foundation, an organisation that supports people with neuromuscular conditions. He is on the Board of the Supported Lifestyle Trust of Hauraki and the Thames Public Art Trust. He has a MA 1st in Archaeology and worked on the East coast as an archaeologist for many years. He has had a parallel career as an Environmental Consultant, specialising in environmental toxicology, contaminated site management, wastewater treatment and forestry certification. He had polio when he was 10 months old and been active in the disability sector most of his life.

Appointed June 2019

Penny Haworth. Dr Penny Haworth

Membership role: Consumer perspectives

Penny Haworth is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Institute of Education, Massey University. Her education career spans over 40 years, with the last 25 years spent at Massey University. She holds a PhD, MA with distinction, BEd, Diploma in Second Language Teaching, and Diploma in Teaching with distinction. In her role as an Associate Professor she served on both the Massey University Human Ethics Committee (Southern B) as well as the Board of the Massey College of Humanities and Social Sciences for 5 years and was an elected member of the Executive Committee for the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching for 6 years.

Dr Haworth has led multiple research projects with a particular focus on the development of teacher efficacy and intercultural pedagogy with culturally diverse learners, and was lead researcher in an Early Childhood Centre of Innovation, a decile 1 kindergarten in partnership with a Samoan Upu Amata. She has published extensively in New Zealand and overseas. She has been an invited expert on Ministry of Education advisory committees and has held voluntary positions on several committees, including Little People of New Zealand and Phoenix Supported Employment.

Appointed 26 May 2020

Cindy Towns. Dr Cindy Towns

Membership role: Ethicist

Cindy is a General Physician and Community Geriatrician based at Wellington hospital. She holds an MBChB and PhD (Biomedical ethics) from the University of Otago and a BSc (Hons) from Idaho State University.  She is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Wellington School of Medicine and an Honorary Senior Lecturer with the University of Otago Bioethics Centre. 

She has published on a broad range of ethical and clinical subjects and has ongoing interests in ethical standards in hospital care, equity in healthcare and GBLTQ health. She gives GLBTQ cultural competency lectures to students, doctors and wider health professional groups.  Clinically, she has a special interest in the rare disease porphyria and sits on the Medical Advisory Board of the Australian Porphyria Association.  She serves on the Ethics Committee for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and has been a previous member of the RACP Specialist Advisory Committee for Geriatrics.  She is a past member of the Doctors in Training Council of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) and past president of the New Zealand Medical Students Association (NZMSA). She has served previously on the Medical Training Board and Medical Reference Groups advising the Ministers of Health and Education.

Appointed 26 May 2020

Vanessa Jordan. Dr Vanessa Jordan

Membership role:  Epidemiologist

Vanessa is an epidemiologist/methodologist specialising in trial design, biostatistics, systematic reviews and epidemiology. Vanessa holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biochemistry from the University of Otago and currently works as a senior research fellow at the University of Auckland and is academic coordinator for the post graduate paper on systematic review methodology run at the School of Population Health. As a methods specialist she works with researchers in public health, mental health, education and clinical medicine, and as such works with both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Vanessa also holds the position of New Zealand Cochrane Fellow. Cochrane is an international charity organisation with a vision of a world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesized research evidence. As part of this organisation she is an internationally recognised trainer in the methods used to complete Cochrane systematic reviews and holds an elected position on the international Cochrane Council.

Appointed 26 May 2020

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