Medical and Scientific Committee

The members of the Medical and Scientific Committee bring a wide range of disciplines and expertise together to carefully and independently review the many grant applications Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand receive. The members’ biographies are outlined below.

Pene Milne


Pene has sold real estate in Auckland since 2001, and merged her business Milne & Co Real Estate with NZ Sotheby’s International Realty in 2015. Prior to this, Pene was a senior nurse manager and clinical risk manager working for the BOP District Health Board over 18 years.

Pene was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1996 and has been in remission since 2004 after extensive treatments culminated in a bone marrow transplant. She has three adult children and a real appreciation of the challenges to be faced with diagnosis and treatment issues while supporting and raising young children.

Pene has lived in Auckland since 2000, and been with the LBCNZ board since 2011.

Dr Peter Browett

Peter is a Professor of Pathology and Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology at the University of Auckland School of Medicine, Consultant Haematologist at Auckland City Hospital, and Consultant Haematologist at Diagnostic Medlab.

His involvement with Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand stems from his clinical interest in the management of patients with haematological malignancies, including blood cell and bone marrow transplantation. In the laboratory, he has an interest in cell marker and molecular studies in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and inherited blood disorders. Peter has had a long association with LBC, acting as Medical Director and trustee for many years.

Ned Fletcher

Ned is a director of the Manukau-based law firm, Kayes Fletcher Walker Limited, which holds the warrant to prosecute all serious crime in South Auckland on behalf of the Government. In 2015, he was awarded a PhD for his thesis on the meaning of the English text of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Ned was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and Burkett’s Lymphoma in 2012 and received chemotherapy treatment at Auckland Hospital. He and his family were involved in fundraising for the new haematology ward in 2014.

Fale Andrew Lesā JP. 

Fale was recently elected to the Manurewa Local Board at Auckland Council and the Wiri Licensing Trust. He was appointed by cabinet to the Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee for eight years and oversaw a review of the national travel assistance scheme for the Minister of Health in addition to appointing the new workforce development councils. Fale is currently on the boards of Kidney Health New Zealand, Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa, and Emerge Aotearoa. He is also the former deputy chairman of both the Auckland Conservation Board (DOC) and the board at Manurewa High School.

He is passionate about underrepresented consumers and equity. He lives in South Auckland with his grandparents who survived cancer. Fale is a native Samoan speaker and conversational in Te Reo Māori.

Andrew McKenzie

Andrew is Chief Executive of Housing New Zealand, a Crown entity responsible for stewardship and management of the Government’s 61,000 state houses.

Andrew holds a BCA and a BA from the University of Wellington and is a Chartered Accountant. Prior to his current role, Andrew held senior finance roles at Fletcher Building, Auckland Council, Auckland City Council and Wellington City Council for six years. In 2013, he was recognised as the EY New Zealand CFO of the year.

Shai Patel

Shai was born and bred in London but has been in New Zealand since 2003. He has a Law Degree from the UK and has been in the financial services for over 10 years specialising in Risk Insurances specialising in Shareholder Contingency for small to medium businesses.

For years Shai has seen what he does has helped people financially at a time that people need help. The industry is a great industry to work in and he loves meeting and helping people and businesses.

Shai has been involved with many cancer claims over the years and has had a number of clients and friends diagnosed with Leukaemia. Being part of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand has given him an opportunity to understand how amazing the organisation is and the great work they do.

Shai is also a Trustee of Future Whangaparaoa Trust.

Mark Radburnd

Mark is Chief Executive of Profiler Tech, a high-tech startup company.

Mark holds a B. Com from the University of Canterbury. Prior to his current role, Mark has held senior Finance and management roles in both national and international companies including more recently, General Electric Inc.

Mark is involved with other Community Organisations and Charatable Trusts. He is currently Secretary of the local Saint Vincent De Paul Society and a Trustee of the North West Christchurch Community and Sporting Trust.

Personal interests include reading, travel, rugby, cycling and multisport. Married to Rose, with one son (26 years) and one daughter (24 years).

Matt Roberts

Matthew is Chief Executive of SAS IT with expertise in technology, risk and business transformation.  He has a long history within community service roles and has sat on the boards of a number of not-for-profits, charitable institutions, including YMCA National and Auckland, and Diabetes Auckland. He is also a trustee of the John Nesfield Trust and a mentor at the Massey University incubator which provides an innovative ecosystem for entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

Dr Bart Baker


Bart Baker began his haematology career as a registrar in the Haematology Department at Christchurch Hospital before completing his training as a Research Fellow in the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. He was appointed to his current position as a General Haematologist for the Regional Cancer Treatment Service based at Palmerston North Hospital in 1992.

Peter Browett BMedSc, MBChB, FRACP, FRCPA

Peter is a consultant haematologist at Auckland City Hospital and Professor of Pathology in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. He is a graduate of the University of Otago Medical School, and after postgraduate training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Auckland, he was a Wellcome – HRC research fellow in the Department of Haematology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London.

Peter is involved in several co-operative group and investigator initiated studies in blood disorders and stem cell transplantation. He is co-director of the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Research Unit, with interests in blood cancer genomics, biomarkers in leukaemia, and the monitoring of measurable residual disease. Peter is clinical director of the Auckland Regional Tissue Bank and Grafton Clinical Genomics.

Seán MacPherson

Seán MacPherson is a haematologist and senior clinical lecturer employed jointly by the University of Otago, Christchurch, and by Canterbury District Health Board. He is part of the UOC Haematology Research Group, currently investigating immunosuppression in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Cross-campus laboratory collaborations involve research into acute myeloid leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and haemostasis. Seán is an enthusiastic teacher and uses a number of innovative techniques including song, poetry and drama to get his message across.

Ian Morison

Ian Morison is a Professor of Pathology at the Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, and a consultant pathologist for Southern Community Laboratories, Dunedin. Ian’s career combines diagnostic haematology and research haematology. The goals of his research are to use genetic and epigenetic analysis of blood disorders to reveal the origins and treatment opportunities within childhood leukaemia; to find new diagnostic markers of myelodysplastic syndrome; to understand platelet formation through the lessons learnt from families with low platelets; and to understand the onset of myeloma.

Ian particularly enjoys working with New Zealand families to answer research questions that are relevant internationally.

Marie Hughes

Marie Hughes is a haematologist with Bay of Plenty District Health Board. Marie gained her medical degree and a science degree with the University of Glasgow, UK. She initially worked as a registrar in the haematology department, Christchurch Hospital and went on to complete her specialist training in the UK. Marie worked in Scotland as a consultant haematologist with a special interest in clinical haemato-oncology before moving back to NZ to take up her current post in 2015.

Dr Robert Weinkove

Rob Weinkove is a haematologist at Capital & Coast District Health Board and research fellow at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington. He studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and Kings College London, and specialised in haematology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London.

He has a PhD from the University of Otago Wellington. Rob’s current research interests include tumour immunotherapy using innate-like T cells and haematology supportive care.

Rob is an active member of the CLL/indolent lymphoma and supportive care subcommittees of the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group. He joined the Medical & Scientific Committee in 2013.

Peter Fergusson


Peter brings a wealth of experience (at CEO and Board level) across a range of sectors. Peter has held CEO roles at the YMCA, Independent Living Services, Franchise Association of NZ, NZ Squash and Northland Rugby Union.

He is currently Chair of Osteoporosis NZ, Chair of CANGO (Alliance of Cancer NGO’s), member of the Te Aho o Te Kahu Haematology Leadership Group, the National Child Cancer Network and has previously served on the Boards of Cerebral Palsy NZ (life member), NZ Recreation Association, Manawanui and NZ Federation of Disability Information Centres.

Sophie Chen

Finance Manager

Sophie has been the LBC Finance Manager for over 14 years and in that time has helped implement a range of new financial systems and processes to ensure the organisation’s finances continue to run smoothly and successfully.

As a chartered accountant, Sophie is responsible for managing all financial aspects of LBC including funding management, strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting, risk management, taxation, accounting and payroll management, Prior to working for LBC Sophie worked in a similar finance and accounting role at Microsoft New Zealand.

Emma Barker

Head of Support Services and Operations

Emma has a background in psychology and business management with several years’ experience in clinical and operational management within not-for-profits. Emma has previously specialised in clinical service and team management in the mental health arena and before that worked as a Psychologist in London, and has specialised in anxiety and depression prevention programmes for youth. Emma has been with LBC for over 5 years and believes strongly in building support and resilience for patients, their family and carers, as well as for the health professionals involved. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2421

Annabel Lush

Business Manager

Annabel joined LBC in 2014 in a new role to develop and strengthen business partnerships and sponsorships as well as working on new fundraising and philanthropic opportunities. She is also responsible for Trust funding.

Annabel has both law and marketing qualifications from The University of Auckland. She worked for many years in the hospitality and tourism sector, including management roles with Air New Zealand and Sheraton Hotels in New Zealand, Australia and China before moving to the not-for-profit profession.

Faye Holahan

Head of Marketing & Fundraising

Faye has recently joined LBC with over 15 years of fundraising, marketing and communications experience in the not-for-profit sector. She’s responsible for driving sustainable growth and brand profile for LBC through fundraising (including Shave for a Cure and the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge), donor development, marketing and communications.

Faye started her not-for-profit career in London before moving to New Zealand in 2009 and has spent much of this time in healthcare including senior roles with NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, ChildFund and Southern Cross Health Society.

Tim Maifeleni

Regional Manager, Support Services

Northern Region

Tim is a registered nurse and has been working at LBC for over six years. Prior to starting his role at LBC, Tim was working in the oncology/haematology ward in Starship Children’s Hospital. He is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives outside of the usual hospital setting and empowering them to achieve the goals they aspire to and enjoys being able to support patients on an emotional level. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2425

Deborah Tomlin

Regional Manager, Support Services

Southern Region

Deborah is a registered nurse with many years’ experience working in a number of medical specialities. Recently she has been working in the UK as the Education Manager for a Pharmaceutical company providing education and support to patients and staff, and prior to that she was employed as a community nurse supporting patients undergoing a range of therapies in their own homes. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2416

Natasha Donovan

Senior Support Services Coordinator

Northern Region

Natasha has a background as a Registered Social Worker and has experience in supporting families through the challenges of cancer, in and out of the hospital setting. Natasha joined the LBC team a couple of years ago and is enthusiastic about applying her skills as a Support Services Coordinator to support patients and their families through their journey, in a compassionate and caring manner. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2430

Melody Bevan

Support Services Coordinator – on Maternity Leave until February 2024

Northern Region

Melody is based in Auckland and works alongside Annette Cody to provide support for patients living in the Waitemata DHB area.  She has previously worked in haematology wards, clinics, and transplant units both in New Zealand and the UK. She enjoys being able to use her skills to support patients and families through all stages of their blood cancer journeys. | T 0800 15 10 15

Annette Cody

Support Services Coordinator

Auckland and Tauranga

Annette has a strong background in Hospice and palliative care.  She is both a registered nurse and a counsellor. She holds a Masters of Health Science focusing on the psychological and spiritual impact of disease. In addition to this, she brings a depth of personal understanding of how serious illness can affect people. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2408


Rochelle Mills

Senior Support Services Coordinator

Midland Region

Rochelle is a registered nurse who worked at Starship Children’s hospital in oncology/haematology prior to her role at LBC. Rochelle moved to Auckland after finishing study in Dunedin and is now based in Hamilton. Rochelle is passionate about being able to provide more personalised care with a holistic approach to patients and their families. She loves being able to support people in a variety of settings and enjoys connecting people up in groups for peer support. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2431

Sean Reeves

Support Services Coordinator

Midland Region

Sean joined the LBC family after an extensive career in haematology & oncology across NZ, Australia, Asia Pacific and Europe. Sean is passionate about using this experience to support, advocate and improve the lives of those living in Aotearoa with a blood cancer diagnosis. Appreciating that a blood cancer affects not just the patient but the whole whanau and family, Sean is there for all those who need a place to turn for support. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2413

Sally Black

Senior Support Services Coordinator

Central Region

Sally has a Bachelor of Social Work and has worked within the health sector in family support and community social work roles for many years before joining the LBC team. Sally has a passion for people and ensuring that during challenging times they are well resourced, informed and supported. Sally also enjoys helping patients and their families build resilience and strong support systems. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2411

Nicki Roy

Senior Support Services Coordinator

Central Region

Nicki has a Bachelor of Nursing and has worked as a Registered Nurse in a number of New Zealand hospitals primarily in haematology/oncology. More recently she has worked in the community supporting patients and their families to live well with cancer.
Nicki is motivated to empower patients through education and to provide support in a caring and encouraging way. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2427

Helen McDermott

Senior Support Services Coordinator

Southern Region

Helen is a registered nurse and has worked in the Haematology Department at Christchurch Hospital for 15 years, firstly in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit then in their clinical trials and research area. Her role as a Support Services Coordinator means Helen can combine her knowledge with the practical, educational and emotional support to patients and their family and friends as they manage their diagnosis. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2410

Kate McHardy

Support Services Coordinator

Southern Region

Kate is a registered nurse who joined LBC in 2022 after working for many years in the Haematology Department of Christchurch Hospital. She is a compassionate communicator and is dedicated in helping patients and their families feel supported while navigating the hurdles of their cancer journey. Kate particularly enjoys facilitating in-person support groups and seeing the positive impact they can make. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2426

Sharon Verrall

Support Services Coordinator

Sharon has a background as a registered nurse and for many years worked in the Haematology Department at Auckland Hospital. Sharon loves her role as a Support Services Coordinator as it means she has the opportunity to have ongoing contact with patients outside of the hospital environment. Sharon enjoys the rewarding feeling of building long term supportive relationships knowing that a phone call can make so much difference. | T 0800 15 10 15 | DDI 09 200 2415

Naomi McRae

Naomi has been at PwC since 2010 and leads the PwC Foundation, the firm’s charitable arm. Prior to this, Naomi had an established career in Human Resources having worked in large corporations across the globe.

Naomi was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma back in 2010 and has been in remission since 2011. She has had two miracle boys post chemotherapy treatment and is very passionate about using her professional skills to help pave the way for current and future blood cancer patients.

She has been part of LBC’s Consumer Advisory Board since 2016 and joined the main board of LBC as a trustee in 2022. She has also fundraised extensively for LBC in the past taking part in various challenges such as the Pork Pie Mini run and the Sky Tower Step Up Challenge.

Naomi lives on the North Shore of Auckland with her cricket mad whanau – husband Sam and sons Lauchie and Owen.