Breadcrumbs

2012 Alumni

Sonia Pivac

Sonia Pivac

I strongly believe that the time is right to explore social change and push for social justice. Access to all spheres of society, via NZSL, is something I am passionate about. Deaf people need and deserve direct, unrestricted access to sign language, right from birth and throughout all aspects of life. As a society we are a long way from achieving this, and other equalities, so there is a long journey ahead.

Qualified in cultural anthropology and sociology, I have many years NZSL teaching experience, and am extensively involved in the Deaf community. Professional and personal balance is important; my storage room is packed with sports equipment!

Currently, I am the Creative Director of Deafradio Ltd, a Deaf-lead video production and resource company, which launched Seeflow, a new online NZSL translation service, in March 2012. It’s an enthralling adventure, and I’m enjoying the challenge to innovate.

Gerri Pomeroy

Gerri Pomeroy

My name is Gerri Pomeroy. I live in Hamilton and belong to a loving and supportive family that includes three beautiful grandchildren who truly light up my life!

I fought a fierce battle with rhabdomyosarcoma in my early twenties, and consequences of the treatment mean I can no longer walk and now use a wheelchair. This makes me a member of a community of people who have a unique expereience and perspective to contribute to society. I'm particularly interested in transport systems and how they enable people to move around communities. I'm currently the Access and Mobility representative on the Waikato Regional Transport Committee and actively promote accessible transport system infrastructure and service delivery at every opportunity.

I work part-time for New Zealand Blood Service and CCS Disability Action and am relishing the opportunity to participate in the Be. Leadership programme. It is providing an opportunity for participants to explore diverse perspectives and bring fresh strategies to our advocacy for a barrier free society.

Ross Livingstone

Ross Livingstone

My name is Ross Livingstone and I live in the Wellington region with my wife and two primary school aged children. I sustained a C6/7 spinal injury in 1980. I have been fortunate to work in a range of management roles in the private retail sector and more recently in local and central government, focusing on access and opportunity for all people.

I have participated fully in life through work and sport, having played wheelchair rugby, participated in sailing, swimming and biking.

Kim Eruera

Kim Eruera

Mauriora!

I am Kim Eruera and am of Maori and Canadian descent. My background is in Maori Health and art, and I graduated in 2009 from AUT with a Bachelor of Maori Development, majoring in Youth in Development. I currently work in Mental Health at Kites Trust, and am working on Postgraduate Studies in Maori with a Mental Health focus.

I am passionate about peoples rights for self-determination, inclusion and equality, and believe with perseverance and creativity we can all make a meaningful contribution to Leadership and lasting social change in Aotearoa.

It is my privilege to a be a part of the 2012 Be. Leadership, and the Be. whanau, and I look forward to the exciting and awesome year ahead.

Brent Macpherson

Brent Macpherson

I’m Brent Macpherson, director of Stretch Productions, which is a film productions company with an emphasis on culturally diverse people from all walks of life. Due to my acting background in the 1990s and my passion for the arts, I founded the New Zealand Deaf Short Film competition in 2004 and established my productions company in 2007.

I have a degree in psychology from Massy University, and I worked for three years in Tasmania as a therapist for families with deaf children. Subsequently I became the Northern Regional Manager for the Deaf Association (now known as Deaf Aotearoa), with a strong focus on community development.

I’m passionate about social change for the disability community, as well as the Deaf community using media as a vehicle for social change. I firmly believe the media is a powerful tool through which wider society can gain a positive perception and attitude towards people with disabilities.

Layla Mackay

Layla MackayMy name is Layla Rudneva-Mackay. I am a 36-year-old dyslexic living in Auckland. I’m an artist and a mother who is currently completing a Doctorate in Fine Arts at Auckland University.

I’m interested in a range of possible developments for Dyslexics of all ages:

  • The creation of a wider understanding of Dyslexia in order for society to accommodate Dyslexics.
  • Increased accessibility for Dyslexics in education and the work place.
  • The development of a Dyslexic community and a place for Dyslexics to access new technologies and learn to operate in the ‘text world’ of modern society.

I’m also interested in how my artistic practice can raise awareness of difference.

Kim Silvey

Kim Silvey

Kiaora, my name is Kim Silvey, I am 53, currently living in Whangarei and feel like a 'newbie' to the concept of disability! I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 11 years ago and despite signalling the end of my career as a paediatric nurse specialist at Starship and KidzFirst, it heralded a much altered and expanded, perspective on 'disability': from nursing in a 'medical model' frame of mind to experiencing, advocating for and promoting, a shift to a 'social model' frame of mind.

I work mainly with the disability sector within our community and was both surprised, humbled and honoured to be chosen as part of the Be Leadership Team 2012. Two months into the programme and I feel positively overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the calibre, passion and commitment of our team and I realise I have both a responsibility to live up to both the expectations of Be. Leadership Team and also to myself: commitments I am determined to fulfil, with the help and support of the others.

Kia kaha.

Neelu Memon

Neelu Memon

I am Neelusha (Neelu) Memon, 27 years old and I live in Christchurch. I've lived experience of disability since the age of 16 when I lost part of my sight to a brain injury.  However I have not let that put barriers on my life.

I recently finished my masters thesis is human ser in disability policy at the University of Canterbury, and I'm passionate about the acknowledgement that people who live with impairments are given in political processes.

I'm also very keen on sports and practices, running, cycling and a range of winter sports. I competed at the World Paracycling Champs in France with my tandem rider Annaliisa Farrel, climbed Mount Aspiring with the support of Gavin Lang, and this year completed the Coast to Coast with 4 supporters, earning the title of the first legally blind person to complete the Coast to Coast. With the support, anything is achievable!

Tony Howe

Tony Howe

My name is Tony Howe and I am 45 years old.

I've worked as an Information Consultant at the Auckland Disability Resource Centre (DRC) for the last twenty years and coached the NZ Wheelchair Rugby Team (aka the 'Wheel Blacks') to medals at both the 1996 and 2000 Paralympics. I am a proud parent, blessed with good friends and family support, and I look forward to the Be. Leadership challenge and the opportunities for growth that might occur.

Carol Waterman

Carol Waterman

My name is Carol Waterman and I live in Auckland. These days I have much of my time taken up by my two year old granddaughter and my passion around social change in the education of our children who are dyslexic.

This passion started thirty years ago with my daughter and how her learning environment created many unhelpful beliefs about herself. It was through my daughter that I discovered both my father and myself had experienced the same with our education, both of us developing great strategies to fit in with the world.

At the moment I teach a class of adults who left school feeling dumb and i love watching the lights go on when they discover it was the system not them.

Rachel Mullins

Rachel Mullins

Hi I’m Rachel Mullins, a true Cantabrian and red and black supporter. Over the last 12 years I have worked in the disability sector in a variety of roles and I currently work for the Christchurch City Council, helping to ensure that our services and facilities within Recreation and Sport are as welcoming and accessible to disabled people as possible.

My life experience of having Cerebral Palsy has made me passionate about the rights of disabled people and I’m excited to Be. a part of Be. Leadership and an organisation that wants to make New Zealand a truly 100% accessible society.

In my spare time I love anything entertainment! (movies music theatre) I also love to travel and shop!

Alex Smith

Alex Smith

Hi, I'm Alex and I am a born and bred Wellingtonian, which provides me with much needed diversity, culture/art, music, and the wind blowing in the right direction to get me up the hills on a tiring day...

I am a researcher/thinker, dancer/crafter,  and organiser/unifier.  My hope for New Zealand/Aotearoa, is that we become a world leader in accessibility for all those that live in and visit this beautiful place. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience our ecological beauty in bush, on beach, and in the city centers.

Genevieve McLachlan

Genevieve Maclachlan

Hi, I’m Genevieve McLachlan, a 44-year old business owner with Cerebral Palsy and a visual impairment. I have a wonderful Guide Dog Hobbit who is almost 10 and has been with me since he was 18-months old so we have a very special bond. I live in Upper Hutt near Wellington.

Most of my working life has been spent in the Disability sector and five years ago I established my own business, Adaptive Technology Solutions which works with people with a whole range of accident or health related disabilities and impairments to help them access assistive technology. I love working for myself and experiencing the sheer joy when people are able to achieve their goals through the use of assistive technology.

I’m involved with SailAbility Wellington and am part of their racing team. In 2010 I competed in and won my first Regatta in Taupo and in January 2011 I competed in the Kiwi Cup/NZ Access Class Nationals in Napier where I came second in my division and third overall in my Class.

I also enjoy cycling and have recently received funding for a pedal assist kit for my three-wheel recumbent bike which allowed me to complete a 20K bike ride up the Rimutaka Incline and back down again with 11 friends. I don’t let my disabilities stop me achieving my goals and am very honoured to have been offered a place on the 2012 Be. Leadership program.

Simon Atkinson

Simon Atkinson

My name is Simon Atkinson, I’m 40 years old and I live in Christchurch.  I’m an advocate for disability issues and people living with intellectual disabilities.  My interest in advocacy first started in 2004 when I was approached to be involved with People First, and I have found the work extremely rewarding. I am also on a range of committees including the Disability Advisory Group for Christchurch and the Accessibility Transport Action Committee.

In recent years, I have extremely enjoyed traveling and engaging with the accessibility community around the world, developing my deep commitment to advancing accessibility in New Zealand so that all people are given the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

My leadership role models are Helen Clarke and Len Brown and I hope to meet them some day. The Be. Leadership course is opening up a world of new opportunities for me and I’m very grateful for the experience.

Judy Small

Judy Small

The youngest of three daughters and a mother of three children now in their twenties, my ambition to do what I can to make life better for disabled people comes from my father.

My first 14 years were spent in Manurewa, when it was a small suburb of Auckland surrounded by farms and had only a few shops. At the age of 30, I enrolled at Waikato University where I graduated nine years later with a Masters in Sociology. For the past 11 years I have worked in various roles in the public service including my current position in the Office for Disability Issues.

I am indebted to my father for his wisdom, council and dogged staunchness; standing up and saying what he believed he and others deserved, not because they were blind people but because they were citizens of New Zealand. This is true leadership and a principal I aspire to achieve as well.