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The mental health and addiction quality improvement programme’s tāngata whai ora and whānau advisory rōpū (formerly called the consumer advisory group) provides it with expert advice and support from the tāngata whai ora and whānau lived experience perspective. This includes supporting and participating in programme events and projects, in addition to helping to connect the programme with a wide and diverse range of tāngata whai ora and whānau.

The advisory rōpū started in May 2018 and meets quarterly in March, June, September and December. It comprises eight tāngata whai ora and whānau who were selected using an open application process, plus the chair. The group works alongside and complements the Māori Advisory Group to the programme.

The rōpū is chaired by the national consumer (family and whānau) engagement advisor, Shaun McNeil, and secretariat is provided by the programme administrator, Hariata Bell.

For more information, please email MentalHealthAddiction@hqsc.govt.nz.

Group members:


Shaun McNeil (chair)

Shaun McNeil is the Commission's national consumer (family and whānau) engagement advisor. Shaun has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a leader in mental health services and suicide prevention, both in New Zealand and Scotland. Shaun is also involved in policy, consumer advocacy and health promotion, including membership of the advisory group to the national depression initiative and advising the Ministry of Health on suicide prevention. He has a bachelor of science in mental health practice and a background in mental health nursing.


Egan Bidois

Ko Takitimu, ko Mataatua, ko Te Arawa ōku waka
Takitimu, Mataatua, Te Arawa are (the names of) my ancestral canoes
Ko Ngāti Ranginui, ko Ngaiterangi, ko Te Arawa ōku iwi
Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi, Te Arawa are (the names of) my ancestral tribes
Ko Pirirākau, ko Ngāti Pikiao, ko Ngāti Whakaue ōku hapu
Pirirākau, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue are (the names of) my ancestral sub-tribes
Ko Poututerangi, ko Rakeiao, ko Te Takinga ōku marae
Poututerangi, Rakeiao, Te Takinga are (the names of) my ancestral meeting-houses/places
Ko Egan Bidois tōku ingoa
My name is Egan Bidois

Egan lives in Whanganui and has worked and volunteered in the mental health sector at both governmental/non-Government levels, district health boards (DHBs) and NGOs for over 20 years. He is currently employed as a team coach for Pathways Whanganui. Egan wishes to influence future care and support which does not result in the hurdles and hurt that he experienced. He brings forward experiences and perspectives seldom heard and advocates on behalf of those who, for whatever reason, do not choose to speak.


Leo McIntyre

Ko Remutaka te maunga
Ko Awakiarangi te awa
Ko Kōtimana me Aerihi ōku iwi
Ko Leo McIntyre tōku ingoa.

Leo is from Wellington and has worked/volunteered in the mental health and addiction sector for over 16 years, in a variety of consumer and management roles. He is currently chair of Balance Aotearoa, a national consumer-led and run NGO, and he is also a contractor working in mental health and private business. He represents Balance Aotearoa on the Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO) Coalition. Leo also has experience as a family member, supporting people with disabilities and mental health issues.


Martin Burke

Martin is from Dunedin, but now lives in Auckland. He is the consumer advisor for the Salvation Army in their addiction, reintegration, supportive accommodation and palliative care directorate. He lectures at the University of Otago (Canterbury) on addictions and mental health, at the National Addictions Centre. He has been a consumer advisor at Southern District Health Board (DHB) as well as Canterbury DHB in the forensic services area. He is also a member of the Alliance South Community Health Council. He is particularly interested in the peer/lived experience/service user contribution to academia and brings addiction expertise to the group.


Penelope Saunders-Francis

Pene is from rural Wairarapa and is a member of the Wairarapa MHA Consumer Leadership Group. She is also on the 3DHB (Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs) lived experience advisor group and the technical advisory group for the substance addiction (compulsory assessment and treatment) legislation. Her significant lived experience of addiction has led to her membership of the Central Regional Residential AOD (alcohol and other drug) Evaluation Panel, having worked for over 30 years to achieve better health outcomes for her peers, who are some of the most marginalised groups of consumers. She is passionate about genuine consumer involvement.


Tui Taurua

Ko Mataatua rawa ko Ngatokimatawhaorua oku waka
Ko NgaPuhi nui tonu
Ko Ngati Rahiri, ko Ngati Kawa, ko Ngati Rehia oku Hapu
Ko Waitangi oku Awa
Ko Te Pewhairangi oku Moana
Ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi oku Marae
Ko He Wakaputanga raua ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi oku whenua
Ko Kingi Taurua raua Ko Mate Horomoana Ashby oku Maatua
Ko Tui Taurua ahau

Tui lives on her Papakaianga in Waitangi.  Her Tangata Whaiora experiences began in 1977 and she began working in Mental Health in 1995.  She was the first Maori Consumer Advisor in Te Taitokerau when she started working at the first Maori Mental Health Service, MOKO Services, Waitemata DHB.  Currently, Tui is the Chair of the Interim Governance Roopu for Te Hiringa Hauora and continues to hold a Maori Tangata Whaiora advisory role on numerous national boards.  The ultimate goal of her recovery was to self-determine her own pathway and choices; her tino rangatiratanga.  This was achieved through understanding and implementing Te Ao and Matauranga Maori worldview practices. These actions changed her destiny.


Synthia Dash

Synthia is of Samoan and NZ European decent. She has worked in mental health, addictions, disability and social service sectors for 20 years; both in frontline support roles with people with disabilities, at risk youth and the elderly, as well as in back-facing roles in workforce development, cultural competency framework development, service quality and improvement, systemic advocacy and mental health research. Her passion for using her ‘living experience’ of mental illness and from supporting close whānau in their recovery journeys, continues to motivate her personal drive, to influence and affirm the voice of Tāngata Whaiora in service development, delivery and improvement, and in the development of both the clinical and cultural competency of the workforce. She is a proud mother to three amazing and spirited children, whom she has the pleasure of raising alongside her husband of Cook Islands and Kiwi New Zealand descent. She is excited to be providing the Pasifika perspective on the Tāngata Whaiora and Whānau advisory rōpū.

Last updated: 17th March, 2022