Our people are experts at caring
We are here for you when it matters to you, because it matters to us.
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.
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.
Kerry Prendergast, Chairwoman. 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 New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust, Wellington Jazz Music Festival Trust, WorkSafe New Zealand, the Endangered Species Foundation and the Wellington Community Trust. She was awarded a CNZM in 2011 for her services to local government, and 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 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., Chairman of the Audit Committees for Sport and Recreation NZ, and Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd in the lead up to the rugby world cup.
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 Chair of Masterton Trust Lands Trust – a Trust that manages a large property portfolio in Masterton with income returned to the local community in the form of grants to education & the arts, on the Wairarapa DHB board and is Chair of its finance audit & risk committee.
Leanne is also active in a variety of community organisations including Trade Aid and Wairarapa Community Health Trust. She replaced Catherine Rossiter-Stead as our Wairarapa board representative in April 2021.
Stephen Ward. Stephen is a partner in the corporate and commercial department of Simpson Grierson. He advises corporations and crown entities on all aspects of corporate governance, statutory compliance, companies law, mergers and acquisitions, overseas investment in New Zealand and related issues.
Stephen has more than 25 years experience establishing, managing, amalgamating and winding up life and general insurance companies, superannuation schemes, KiwiSaver schemes and other investment vehicles. He is an independent non executive director of ASX-listed Sydney Airport and of Sovereign Assurance Company Limited.
He is also a trustee of the Life Flight Trust, a New Zealand Rugby Union Appeal Council member and the Independent Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme.
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.
Ross Martin. Ross joined the Board in 2007. He is a chartered accountant and a graduate of the Stanford University Advanced Management programme. For 17 years Ross was at the head of Stagecoach Asia Pacific, where he led the successful expansion from 180 buses in Wellington to over 2350 buses, ten ferries and 7000 employees in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.
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.
She 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 Womens’ Affairs.Ria is also chairwoman of Te Rōpū Taki Māori, the Māori advisory group for Hospice New Zealand; chairwoman of Te Rōpū, the Māori advisory group for Health Quality and Safety Commission; and a board member for Hospice New Zealand.
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 Finance & Infrastructure - Liz Barton (Acting)
General Manager People - Liz Barton
General Manager Fundraising and Communications - Claire Carruthers
The Senior Leadership Team
Head of Clinical Quality - Paul Fake
Head of Emergency Ambulance Services - Kate Worthington
Head of Clinical Communications - Kate Jennings
Chief Information Officer - Mike McGovern
Events and Volunteers Manager - Christine Aitchison
Support Services Manager - Teresa O'Toole (Acting)
Head of People and Capability - Katrina Henderson (Acting)
Head of Safety and Wellness - Tony Tikuku
Finance Manager - Alex Bass
Senior Communications Manager - Rachel Wilson
Our Medical Directors
Dr Dave O’Byrne and Dr Andy Swain
- 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 & 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 New Zealand with major trauma.
Let’s not forget about the people who keep us here and uniquely free for anyone needing emergency care.
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!
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