About Us

We are the only emergency ambulance service in greater Wellington and the Wairarapa, and the only ones in the country who are free.

Get Involved

We are the only emergency ambulance service in greater Wellington and the Wairarapa, and the only ones in the country who are free.

What we do

Our people


Our people are experts at caring

We are here for you when it matters to you, because it matters to us.

Paramedic walking down hallway with stretcher 

Our call takers are the calm voice at the end of the line. They are a critical part of the team, connecting you to the help you need.

Dispatchers make sure we get the right help to the right people, in the best possible time.

Our paramedics know what to do in an emergency and how to get you the help you need. Three plus years of clinical training and continual on-the-job learning means they are equipped and ready to look after you in your time of crisis. More than that, they care about you and your community.

Our Patient Transfer team collect and transport patients from A to B between hospital treatments. They offer reassurance you are in safe hands and you will be looked after in the best possible way.

Volunteer Event Medics are at events, fairs and sports fields most weekends. They do everything from strapping ankles to giving life-saving care until an ambulance arrives.

Our people are here for you.

Our Board

We are lucky to have a Board made up of highly skilled, dedicated people from a cross section of professions. They meet quarterly to ensure the effective governance of all aspects of our service.

Dame Kerry Prendergast, Chair

Former-Wellington Mayor and Vice President of Local Government New Zealand, Kerry holds an MBA from Victoria University. 

Kerry joined the Wellington Free Board in 2013 and is also Chairwoman, Director, or Trustee of several other organisations including the Royal NZ Ballet, Wellington Opera, Oceania Healthcare, Capital Kiwi, VUW Foundation, the Wellington Community Trust, and Fishserve. She chaired Tourism NZ, NZ Film Commission, EPA, and was on WorkSafe NZ. She was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 for her services to local government and a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019. She is a distinguished Alumni of Victoria University.

Alan Isaac, Deputy Chair

Alan has a long career in accounting, corporate advisory work and a wide range of directorships. During the 80s, his expertise in helping struggling corporates through a process of recovery saw him become involved in many assignments where organisations reshaped themselves in order to carry on and thrive. 

In recent years, Alan has held high profile directorships for organisations both here and overseas, including President of the International Cricket Council, Chairman of Cricket NZ Inc., a member of the Board of Sport and Recreation NZ, and Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup. He currently Chairs the Board of the NZ Community Trust and is a Board member of Skellerup Holdings Ltd, Oceania Healthcare Ltd and Scales Corporation. He was awarded a CNZM in 2013 for services to sport and business.

As a proud Wellington, he values the opportunity to be able to contribute to Wellington Free Ambulance.

Ria Earp

Ria joined the Wellington Free Ambulance Board in August 2019. She is Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Pikiao (Te Arawa) and has had extensive experience in leadership, health and social service management and Māori advice. Previously, Ria was Chief Executive of Mary Potter Hospice, holding the position for over 10 years until 2017. 

Wellington Free Ambulance is one of the iconic health organisations in the region where the quality of service is maintained to a really high level and it continues to be supported by the community.

Ria has also been the Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Health, Acting Chief Executive at the Ministry of Youth Affairs, and Manager for Te Ohu Whakatupu - Ministry of Women's Affairs.  Ria is also chairwoman of Te Rōpū Taki Māori, the Māori Leadership group for Hospice New Zealand; chairwoman of Te Kāhui Piringa, the Māori partnership group for Health Quality and Safety Commission - Te Tāhū Hauora; and a board member for Hospice New Zealand.

Louise Marsden

Louise is a Partner at Mafic Partners, an infrastructure advisory firm.  Louise’s involvement in infrastructure has been in various capacities: as a debt provider, equity owner, asset manager and in governance roles.  She currently serves as a Board Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Te Toi Mahana, the Wellington-based Community Housing Provider, and on the Board of the Wellington Free Ambulance Service Trust.

She holds a degree in Accounting and Finance, is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) and a Chartered Member of the IOD.

Chris Masters

Chris has been a GP in Hutt Valley since 1997 and has clinical interests in travel medicine and minor surgical procedures. He has been looking after patients at Ropata Health since 1997, first as a Registrar and as a Partner since 1999.

Chris is currently a shareholder and director of Ropata Health and has also been a Trustee of Cosine PHO since 2005 and Director of NZ Health Group since 2021.  His professional interests lie in the areas of Integrated Care and Clinical Quality, and he has been the Clinical Director of Primary and Integrated Care for Hutt Valley DHB (now Health NZ) since 2017.

Neil Paviour-Smith

Neil has over 35 years' experience in various roles in New Zealand capital markets based in Wellington for all that period. Since 2001, he has been Managing Director of Forsyth Barr, a leading wealth management, sharebroking and investment banking firm.  He is the former Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington having been a member of the university Council for nine years.  

He is a Director of NZ Initiative and NZ Art Show and is helping to establish a charity hospital in Wellington with the Wellington Regional Charity Hospital Trust.  He is a former director of NZX and Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CAANZ).  He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors.  Neil was an inaugural recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award in 2005.

Michael Quigg

A consultant at Quigg Partners, Michael has been in law for over 40 years and has practiced in all areas of Employment law, including Health and Safety. Michael has previously held various Board appointments, most recently completing 6 years sitting on the New Zealand Parole Board and for 10 years chaired the New Zealand Law Society Employment Law Committee.

Michael’s other governance roles have included the Home of Compassion Board, the New Zealand Cricket Museums Trust and he was a Member of the National Board of IHC for eight years.  Michael has also served as President of Cricket Wellington for five years.  Over the past 25 years, Michael presented at various The Institute of Directors' courses with the most recent being the Chairman’s Workshop at which he presented for over 10 years. He also currently holds a Board position at Whānau Mercy Ministries.

Leanne Southey

Leanne is a partner in the Wairarapa accountancy firm Southey Sayer Ltd and was honoured with a fellowship to the Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ in 2018.

Outside of Southey Sayer, Leanne is an elected Trustee of the Masterton Community Trust and a Director of Wellington Water Ltd and Trust House Ltd.  Leanne is also active in a variety of community organisations including Trade Aid and Wairarapa Community Health Trust. Leanne believes Wellington Free Ambulance plays a key part in providing health services to our region and it's a privilege to be part of such an organisation.

Our Leadership Team

We are a mix of ambulance service experts and leadership professionals who love our work, our service, and our region.

Dave Robinson is the Chief Executive of Wellington Free Ambulance, a role he has held since 2021. Dave has more than 20 years' experience in community, health and public services, and has held senior management roles within the New Zealand Army and New Zealand Defence Force. 

The Executive Leadership Team 

General Manager Operations - Eric Tibbott 
General Manager of People and Enabling Services - Liz Belke
General Manager Fundraising and Communications - Claire Carruthers 

The Senior Leadership Team 

Emergency Planning Manager - Katie Wilson
Head of Event Medical Services- Daniel Ashcroft 
Head of Clinical Communications - Kate Jennings
Head of Commercial - Kevin Broome
Head of Communications - Rachel Wilson 
Head of Digital & Data/CIO - Mike McGovern
Head of Emergency Ambulance Services - Kate Worthington
Head of Finance - Dan Snell (Acting)
Head of Patient Transfer Services - Ratna Attli
Head of People & Capability - Susan Greager
Head of Performance, Reporting and Assurance - Teresa O'Toole 
Head of Programme Delivery - Matt Savage
Head of Health, Safety & Wellness - Kim Payton

Our Medical Directors


Dr Andy Swain, Dr Erica Douglass and Dr Dave O’Byrne

Dr Andy Swain has served as our Medical Director since 2008. He is also Associate Professor in Paramedicine at AUT, Clinical Lecturer in Emergency Medicine at the University of Otago Wellington, and Clinical Director of Wellington Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. He works and teaches in Wellington Free Ambulance and in the Emergency Department of Wellington Hospital and is familiar with ambulance and helicopter environments. Andy has been involved with ambulance services since 1985 and he led the development of community paramedicine and flight paramedicine in the Greater Wellington Region.

Dr Dave O’Byrne joined Wellington Free Ambulance as Deputy Medical Director in 2019. Outside of his work with Wellington Free, he is an Emergency Physician at Hutt Valley District Health Board. Dave is involved in the oversight and direction of Wellington Free Ambulance, especially around our team of Extended Care Paramedics, and advanced airway management.

Dave is a member on the national ambulance clinical procedures and guidelines working group, and contributes to the development of national policies that determine the treatment and destination of patients in Aotearoa New Zealand with major trauma.

Dr Erica Douglass joined the team in 2023. Erica began her medical career as a paramedic in Colorado, USA before going on to complete her medical training as an Emergency Medicine Specialist. Her passion for prehospital medicine drove her to complete a fellowship in prehospital and disaster medicine after which she spent 10 years as medical director for both ground and critical care flight / retrieval teams in the US before relocating with her family to Gisborne, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Her further areas of interest and expertise are in trauma care, airway management, critical care and flight medicine and quality improvement through education. She is excited to be joining the Wellington Free Team and will be working as an emergency consultant at Wellington Regional Hospital. 

Our Supporters

Let’s not forget about the people who keep us here and uniquely free for anyone needing emergency care.

Members of the public alongside staff from Wellington free ambulance, outside an ambulance and waving at camera

We are a charity that is only partly funded by government; the rest comes from the community. We are lucky to have businesses, schools, groups - both big and small, and people like you supporting us, so that we can keep caring for those in our communities. Nice One!

Find out more about how you can be a supporter.



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You Rights & More info


Your Rights

As our patient, and under the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Code of Rights, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • Be fully informed
  • Freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment and exploitation
  • dignity and independence
  • Services of an appropriate standard
  • Effective communication
  • Be fully informed
  • Make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Support
  • Respect of teaching or research
  • Complain

If we don’t respect these, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to put it right.

Support in the process

If you need support or help with making a complaint, you can contact the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner and ask for an advocate.

0800 555 050


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