Whilst studying psychology at Auckland University I asked Professor Jenny Ogden if she knew of any voluntary work I could do as I had some time on my hands. She suggested I approached Dr Dorothy Gromwell at the Concussion Clinic, Auckland Hospital and that was the start of my relationship with Brain Injury. I worked for the next 3 years with Dr Dorothy Gromwell and Mr Philip Wrightson in the early 90s.
During this time the Stewart Centre was established under the banner of the Auckland Head Injury Society and I also made myself available to do some voluntary work there. I went on to become a neuropsychologist with a particular interest in working on the treatment side of brain injury rather than the assessment side as I could see that whilst people were being assessed and recommendations were being made there were very few psychologists at the time working on carrying out those recommendations.
I became the Vice President of the Northland Brain Injury Association in 2006 and then the president in 2008 when Alex Stewart stood down. In 2009 I became the Northland representative on the Brain Injury New Zealand National Council until it was wound up in 2011.
I have also been involved on the management side of health and was the Group Manager of Mental Health Services and Clinical Support at Northland DHB. I now own and run a medical centre in Whangarei in partnership with my wife who is a GP.
I am Chairperson of Brain Injury Waikato. I joined BIW Board in 2011, after having been introduced to BIW from the office manager there whom I did signage for through my signwriting business.
Being a small business owner my business skills were utilised to bring the financial state of Brain Injury Waikato up!
I sold my business and now work for Fonterra full-time looking after a team of 11 managing the Artwork and Packaging for all Fonterra export products including domestic butter products. I’m married to Grant Straiton who has completed 3 Trade Certificates in Printing Industry and Water Treatment Industry currently working for Fonterra learning his 4th Trade as a boiler man. We have 3 children, Casey 18, Serena 10 and Seth 9 and two rescue dogs, Rusty and Honey.
Living rurally in the Waikato near Gordonton. In the pockets of my time I work on my Health & Wellness business by helping others achieve their health goals.
I was employed by ACC for 23 years with the latter seven years of this time being within their Serious Injury Service.
I am President of Head Injury Southland and have been a board member of Brain Injury NZ since July 2016.
Brain injuries present so differently for many people and I embrace the increased public awareness of this often misunderstood condition.
Cathy joined the National BI NZ team in 2016 as the Southern Representative (Otago Region).
Cathy has experience in, governance (8 years on the Otago Head Injury Society Board), community committees, School Trustee along with 10 years self-employed. Cathy has worked the last 10 years Liaison Officer for BIA in Otago. Cathy is currently representing Brain Injury on the Ministry of Health Consumer Consortium as a family member.
Cathy has 30 years life experience living alongside brain injury gaining a wealth of knowledge along the way. Cathy is a strong voice for Brain Injury understanding the impact an injury can have on individuals and their families. Cathy uses her knowledge and experience to further the understanding of Brain Injury in the community wherever possible. Cathy is committed to improving equity and access for those with an injury to good quality supports and services whether in a rural or urban setting.
“Education was the key for our family, it is my goal to ensure Brain Injury NZ continues to support the regions liaison service which makes such a difference for families. We can only do so much on a regional basis but for real change we have to look nationally which is why I have committed to BI NZ”
Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa. Ko Joseph Akuhata-Brown ahau, No Kawakawa mai tawhiti ahau, ko Pukeamaru te maunga, ko karakatuwhero te awa, ko te whanau a Kauwhakatuakina oku hapu, Ko Ngati Porou te iwi, ti hei mauri ora.
Kaore te kumara e korero mo tona ake reka
I am privileged to represent on the National Board whanau who have sustained a brain injury. My background is psychology, pastoral farming, management and governance.
In this field I am chairman of the Brain Injury Association Gisborne and sit on the board of Strive Rehabilitation Tairawhiti. The reason for my interest in brain injury is not only academic, but also my daughter sustained a brain injury while horse riding.
Tena tatou katoa
While a first year student at the University of Otago I joined the Brain Injury Association Otago as a committee member. The organisations staff are incredibly dedicated, and the board is powered by everyday Otago community members, sacrificing their time to provide governance.
Over the past three years it has been my privilege to assist the organisation, serving locally as the treasurer and now as the co-chairperson. I will endeavor to serve diligently as the Southern Representative for Brain Injury New Zealand.