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.

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.

Abbey Trewavas

Advocate

Abbey first joined us as an Associate in 2018 after completing a conjoint LLB/BA at the University of Waikato, she is now an advocate with a passion for industrial relations and employment law. Over the years, Abbey has negotiated collective agreements in both the public and private sector, with her portfolio now including Medical Laboratory Workers, Physiotherapists, Sterile Service Technicians and Dental Therapists to name a few. Abbey specialises in pay equity and jointly leads the conjoint Pay Equity claim for Allied, Scientific and Technical workers in the public 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.

Lachlan Balfour

Advocate

Lachlan joined us in January 2020 after completing his BA/LLB at the University of Auckland, focusing on employment law and Te Tiriti o Waitangi issues. He is passionate about expanding democracy in the workplace and ensuring hard-fought wins are enforced. When not advocating for workers’ rights, he maintains an interest in independent radio gained while at university.

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.

Megan Yepitrop

Administration

Holly Whittfield

Associate Advocate

Holly entered the union advocacy world in early 2022 after completing a Bachelor of Applied Management and gaining experience in HR in the kiwifruit industry. Having worked in hospitality during her university years, Holly is no stranger to poor working conditions. Her time in HR further expanded the need for employee advocacy, especially as Covid continues to challenge workplaces. Rest and meal breaks, and safer hours remain two of her crucial ER focus points.

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

Denise Tairua

Advocate

Abbey Trewavas

Advocate

Omar Hamed

Advocate

Luke Coxon

Advocate

Samantha McLeod

Administration

Lachlan Balfour

Advocate

Bill Manning

Legal Counsel

Megan Yepitrop

Administration

Holly Whittfield

Associate Advocate

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