Board of Trustees
The Board is made up of a diverse set of people all dedicated to ensuring that mental health and addictions services and resources in the Auckland region are as effective and as accessible as possible.
George Hill (Kaumatua): For twelve years he managed the Methodist Mission based in central Auckland. He has worked within the Health and Disability Commission and in Adult Maori literacy. Chaired the Cultural Reference Group which had the responsibility of adapting the ASIST Training for Maori, working closely with “LivingWorks”, Canada.
George has an extensive working history in the community NGO sector. Has completed the T4T Training for ASIST.He has been a kaumatua at Lifeline Aotearoa since 2003, attending and coordinating the aspect to many ASIST Workshops.
Kiri Hannifin (Co-chair): Kiri completed her LLB and BA (Politics) at the University of Canterbury. She has worked in several legal areas in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom she also worked implementing European equality law before returning to New Zealand to work as a political advisor for the fifth Labour Government. She has been working around intimate partner violence and child abuse since 2007.
Johnny O’Connell (Co-Chair): Johnny is dedicated to changing health and social systems so that they provide the best possible experience for those that use them. He works at the intersection of health and social care, facilitating the development of integrated services predominantly in mental health, primary care, social care and justice. Johnny has worked in the commercial sector, education, intellectual disabilities, mental health and currently works in primary care. Johnny is keen to contribute his strategic thinking and energy to developing the positive impact that Changing Minds has for the people that we aim to assist.
Malcolm Dixon (Secretary): Malcolm is really passionate about the work that Changing Minds does, striving to ensure that people not only recover from their mental distress, but that they thrive and flourish, and build resilience. He has been involved with a number of different consumer-lead organisations and projects since retiring early from severe mental stress himself after 24 years as a Medical Laboratory Technologist in 1990. He later worked at Georgie Pie, McDonald’s, and with disabled people. He is also strongly interested in ensuring that there is a reduction in the stigma and discrimination that often emerges in regards to mental health and addiction issues.
Tania Anderson (Treasurer): Tania has done a lot of work designing and leading a range of change projects aimed at improving outcomes for people in public health, as well as the private sector. As the director of New & North consulting – an organisation that does good work, with good people for good impact – Tania is excited by intersections and connections that foster innovative solutions for positive change. She is excited to come on board with Changing Minds to identify opportunities for systemic impact in mental health and addictions. Outside of work she is involved in the social enterprise and innovation community, fostering networks with others doing good work for good impact.
James King: I was born and educated in Auckland. I have Maori, Fijian and Pakeha ancestry and was adopted into an English family. Over the years I’ve had some personal experiences which have led me to become interested in mental health and addictions. I have lived a life of sobriety on and off for a number of years, and have experienced being homeless for a period of several months. In 2007 I experienced a major breakdown. While in hospital I became interested in painting and since then I’ve been involved with a number of successful group and solo exhibitions. My background is in the arts and journalism and I have been working as a broadcast journalist and talkback host for more than a decade. I’ve also written news and opinion articles for newspapers, magazines, blogs and radio. Currently I Co-host a mental health radio show called ‘Take it From Us’.
Julia Hunter: I am of Samoan and Pakeha descent. I grew up in Auckland and graduated from Auckland University with a BA/LLB. I have a mix of legal, research and policy experience in the health field. Early in my career, I worked as a legal advisor at the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner not long after The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights came into effect. I then worked for a year in Boston as a part-time research fellow for the Prescription Access Litigation Project, a non-profit consumer advocacy initiative, and undertook assistant research work at The Harvard School of Public Health. Following this, I worked for three years as a policy advisor at the UK General Medical Council.
Since returning to NZ, I have been very involved in my children’s local school community, which has included working for a year as a teacher aide at their school. I am co-writing a non-fiction book for primary-aged children on New Zealand civics, which aims to help children feel empowered to participate in society now and as they get older.
I am excited to be on the Board of an organisation like Changing Minds that is committed to working towards a socially inclusive New Zealand – a vision that I hold dear and actively promote in my own family and wider circles.