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.
Our leadership team
We are a mix of ambulance service experts and leadership professionals who love our work, our service, and our region.
- Kate Jennings, Executive Director, Clinical Communications Centre and Patient Co-ordination. Kate joined us three years back and has been taking good care of our 111 team and operations ever since. She has recently picked up leadership for the Patient Transfer side of our work. Kate brings big centre experience from her time in the England and has done a great job of achieving ‘ACE’ accreditation – making us one of just a few comms centres world-wide in this ‘centre of excellence’ club.
- Paul Fake, Executive Director, Quality, Innovation and Improvement. Having a paramedic background keeps Paul close to the reality of our work. Supported by his team, he looks after clinical quality and always has an eye on new or innovative ways of doing things. Paul is all about understanding things from a patient point of view, making sure we are as much about compassion as we are clinical excellence.
- Chris Wright, Executive Director, People and Culture. Quality training, clear health and safety processes, and having a meaningful staff wellness programme are some of the things that make Wellington Free a great place to work. Sometimes we spend so much time looking after others that we forget to look after ourselves, so Chris is big on getting all of us thinking and talking about our mental wellness every day.
- Geoff Procter, Executive Director, Healthcare Services. Geoff looks after the emergency ambulance service road staff and keeps a lot of wheels turning by juggling shift patterns, logistics, managing deployment, and problem solving so we can be here for you - 24/7, 365 days a year. Geoff is also a practicing paramedic who keeps the work fresh and real by regularly helping out on shifts.
- Mike Grant, Chief Executive. Joining the team in 2017, Mike has his eye on the long term. He is leading the organisation towards a very patient centred model where we are working with others to get the right sort of care to people in the best possible way. He places high value on tikanga Māori and is getting us all ready for the onset of exciting new technology.
- Sarah Lewis, Executive Director, Corporate Services. Sarah and her team keep a sharp eye on finances, property, IT systems and all the things that make an organisation tick. They provide and analyse important data to help us understand our work and are the safe-keepers of our organisational policies.
- Laura Golland, Executive Director, Fundraising and Communications. We are lucky to have a well-loved brand here at Wellington Free and Laura's job is to keep our profile high and well supported. Her team works with the community to raise the extra funds the organisation needs each year.
How lucky are we 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.
Ross Martin, Chairman. 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.
Kerry Prendergast, Deputy 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.
Catherine Rossiter-Stead. Catherine joined the Board in 2013. She is a marketing and communications specialist with a background in the music industry.
She has held senior management roles in a number of organisations, and formed her own marketing and communications consultancy, PRomote Communications, in 2010. She headed-up the highly-successful 2011 Rugby World Cup activity in the region. Catherine was appointed by the New Zealand Rugby Union as the first woman to serve on the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union Board.
She is also a member of the Wairarapa District Licensing Committee and has recently taken up the role of chairing the local Chamber of Commerce.
Alan Isaac. 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.
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.
Ken Greer. Ken has been a GP in Northland for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Otago Medical School who completed his Clinical training at Wellington hospital and has postgraduate qualifications in Occupational Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Alongside practising his profession, he has always been a small business owner/operator and currently owns and runs Northland Village Surgery in partnership with Compass Health. In addition currently he is the Primary Care Clinical Advisor to Capital & Coast District Health Board working in the Systems Integration and Development Unit.
As the board chairman of Wellington After Hours Medical Services Ltd for 13 years, he guided the development of this company into a sustainable commercial model that local GPs were keen to invest in. The Wellington Accident and Urgent Medical Clinic (WAMC) was transformed into the ACC Accredited facility it is today where General Practices provide out of hours care to Wellington City. He stood down from the WAMC board in 2015.
Ria Earp. Ria joined the Wellington Free Ambulance Board in August 2019. As a descendent of Te Arawa (Ngāti Pikao and Ngāti Whakaue), Ria brings a new awareness and focus to Māori culture and health.
Previously, Ria was Chief Executive of Mary Potter Hospice, holding the position from 2006 through to 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.
She has also been on a number of advisory committees and boards including: Te Rōpū Taki Māori, (Māori Advisory Group, Hospice New Zealand); Advisory Group on Official Statistics, Statistics NZ; Cancer Treatment Advisory Group, Ministry of Health; Palliative Care Advisory Group /Working Group, Ministry of Health; and Refugee Services Board – to name a few.
Shirley Martin, our Patron and long-time supporter of Wellington Free Ambulance.
More than 50 years ago, Shirley was a member and later president of the ‘Ladies Auxiliary’, a group of women who worked hard on getting the whole community behind keeping Wellington Free Ambulance free.
She fondly remembers the stand out fundraising events.
“We were the first to hold a charity race day. Companies paid for big marquees. It was a real event,” Shirley remembers. “We had beautiful food and the ladies wore hats and gloves.”
“I will remember the last ball forever,” she says, remembering the final fundraising ball held at the Majestic Cabaret on Willis Street. “We had a waiting list of people who wanted to get in. It was just a night to remember,” she says. “Black-tie and ballroom dancing. It was such a wonderful place to hold a function – the best in Wellington.”
“The ladies of the Auxilary prepared all the food. We were the first to arrive and the last to leave at these events. It was hard work you know. It wasn’t about sitting pretty.”
In 1989 things wound up. “As many women are in the workforce it is difficult to recruit new members who have the time to commit themselves to take office, or even serve on the auxiliary.”
Shirley continues to support Wellington Free Ambulance and attends most of our events, although she doesn’t need to do any of the work anymore!
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!
Find out more about how you can be a supporter.