Dr. Deborah Powell

National Secretary

Deborah holds the position of National Secretary for NZRDA and has the overall management responsibility for the union with a particular interest in Collective Employment Negotiations and Personal Grievances. She represents health practitioners in claim situations with both employers and individuals. She holds a BSc from Victoria University and a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery from University of Auckland.

Melissa Dobbyn

Advocate

Melissa has been in a part time role with CNS since 2006. She currently handles RDA member issues and doctors’ run reviews.
We attribute Melissa’s excellent organisational and communication skills to her previous work in the fashion industry, and to her two gorgeous daughters.

David Munro

Advocate

David has thirty years’ experience working in employment relations. That experience began at Shortland Freezing Works where David was a shop-floor delegate, and progressed to senior positions with the Distribution Union and then the Engineers Union. For the last decade he has consulted to a wide range of clients in the public and private sector, and from both sides of the employment table. David specialises in complex bargaining and holds a First Class Honours degree in political science from Auckland University. In his spare time David is active in his local community on school Boards of Trustees and in the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club. With only one daughter still living at home David and his wife Susan are now also enjoying being grand-parents for the first time.

Katie Webber

Communications Officer

Katie joined the team in early 2019 after moving to Auckland from Melbourne. Originally from London, Katie holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Brighton, and her previous experience includes working within Digital Communications, Marketing and Journalism.

Jono Whyte

Associate Advocate

Jono joined us full-time in 2018 having completed an LLB and BA (Hons) in History at the University of Auckland. Jono has a strong interest in employment law, especially in drafting and bargaining for collective agreements, and is passionate about advancing workers’ interests and expanding democracy in the workplace. In his current role, he offers support to our advocates and responds to member inquiries.

Denise Tairua

Advocate

Denise has worked in various laboratories in Auckland, including Medlab, DML, Middlemore Hospital and Lab+, and has also worked in Quality Assurance for an Auckland Cosmetic company. As a past long-time New Zealand Medical Laboratory Workers’ Union (NZMLWU) member, strike co-ordinator and NZMLWU delegate, she brings a broad knowledge of operations and industry-specific issues, including Health & Safety and Quality, to her role as advocate.

Hannah Gear

Receptionist & Personal Assistant

Hannah joined us full-time in late 2018. She handles receptionist duties, travel bookings and various other administrative tasks. She is the friendly voice that will most likely greet you when you call NZRDA. Hannah has an extensive background in administration that spans across industries including construction, advertising and animal health.

Abbey Trewavas

Associate Advocate

Abbey joined us full time in 2018 after completing a conjoint LLB/BA majoring in politics and history from the University of Waikato. Whilst at university, Abbey was heavily involved in a number of competitions as the Competitions Officer of the Law Student Association, namely negotiation and client interviewing. Abbey has a strong interest in employment law and after 7 years in retail, is passionate about ensuring employees are treated with fairness and respect. In her current role, she offers support to advocates and responds to member inquiries.

Deepana Ponnampalam

Associate Advocate

Deepana is an experienced pharmacist, She worked as a pharmacist in both community and hospital settings prior to joining our team in 2018. In her current role she is responsible for run reviews and providing support to advocates. Coming from a health background, Deepana has a thorough understanding of the struggles faced by health professionals in the workplace, and she is passionate about being part of an organisation that stands up for employee rights in the health sector.

Omar Hamed

Advocate

Omar joined us in 2016. He has a Masters in History from Auckland University and an LLB from AUT. His post-graduate research looked at how workers and communities stopped the privatisation of New Zealand’s public health system in the 1990s. He has six years’ experience as a union official representing call centre, fast food, cinema and hotel workers.

Luke Coxon

Advocate

Luke has more than 15 years’ experience as a union advocate, starting as a delegate in the hotel sector and then working as an organiser/advocate for three different unions representing employees in a number of different sectors (paramedics, finance, oil refinery, retail, food transport and logistics). He has specialised in greenfields union organising – the establishment of union organisation and membership in sites/companies where no union existed. He also has experience in the international trade union movement, working with the Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights and as a consultant for the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). He has Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Auckland, and before joining us he took a break from the union movement and was a volunteer with humanitarian/development organisations in the Philippines.

Samantha McLeod

Administration

Sam joined the team in late 2010 in a part time role. She currently handles accounts and insurance administration. Sam previously worked as a Treasurer for Plunket since leaving full time work as an Accountant to have 2 lovely boys. Sam is also the secretary for the NZRDA Education Trust.

Tara Martin

Advocate

Tara joined us full time in early 2015 after studying law at the University of Auckland. In her current role as an advocate she has experience negotiating and enforcing collective agreements as well as in dispute resolution, defending individual members and representing members with personal grievances. Tara is passionate about fairness and the important role of the union in safeguarding and promoting employee rights.

Bill Manning

Legal Counsel

Bill Manning is a barrister based in Auckland. He has had more than 20 years experience in civil litigation. He has worked with Deborah and the RDA on employment and industrial matters since the early 90s. For the last few months or so he has been a member of our medico-legal team representing RMOs and other health professionals facing investigation or disciplinary processes. When not working for us, he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time swimming, cycling and running; none of which can be terribly healthy.

NZRDA Staff

The NZRDA uses both advocates and delegates to provide services to members. The delegates are RMOs working alongside you, and are the first point of call when you have a query or issue to discuss. For more information on the delegate role, and to see profiles of some of your delegates, please visit this page.

Your Advocates

The advocates are based in Auckland and respond to your emails and telephone calls, providing support and help when you need it. The Auckland office is also responsible for membership communication and administration, as well as holding an overview of the RMO workforce and addressing big-picture issues across the country. See below for more information on the advocates who are there to assist and advise you.

Dr. Deborah Powell

National Secretary

Melissa Dobbyn

Advocate

David Munro

Advocate

Katie Webber

Communications Officer

Jono Whyte

Associate Advocate

Denise Tairua

Advocate

Hannah Gear

Receptionist & Personal Assistant

Abbey Trewavas

Associate Advocate

Deepana Ponnampalam

Associate Advocate

Omar Hamed

Advocate

Luke Coxon

Advocate

Samantha McLeod

Administration

Tara Martin

Advocate

Bill Manning

Legal Counsel

Get in touch with NZRDA

If you have any questions or general enquiries, get in touch with us using the contact details below or the form on this page.

Membership queries: membership@nzrda.org.nz
General & contract queries: ask@nzrda.org.nz

Freephone: 0800 803 993

VIEW OUR FULL CONTACT DETAILS