We are governed by a Board which works to ensure that our organisation is well managed and focussed in its activities. The Board determines the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ’s policies and assures its good financial management.


John Knight, Chairman

John has been with the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation for 15 years – about 8 of those as chairman. Based in the Hawke’s Bay, John also supports his local asthma organisation, which has grown (under his guidance) from a small society to a registered charitable trust. In addition to his involvement with charities, John works in the real estate industry and is a member of Business Mentors. He has a sound understanding and knowledge of management and governance roles, along with outstanding strategic and leadership skills. John is also the chair of an early childhood education (ECE) trust, which is a successful ECE provider around the country. John and his wife Sharron have three children and eight grandchildren.


Janice Kuka

Janice is from Tauranga Moana and is of Ngatiranginui and Ngaiterangi descent. Her current role is Managing Director at Nga Mataapuna Oranga – Māori PHO covering the Western Bay of Plenty and parts of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Janice comes from a professional background within the health industry and has experience both in hospital and community sectors. She sits on a number of health boards in Tauranga as well as Auckland.


Ruth Gardener

Ruth is a retired Registered Nurse with a particular interest in respiratory health and education. Ruth lectured at the Otago Polytechnic School of Nursing and prior to this worked as a clinical nurse respiratory educator at Dunedin Hospital and in a general practice. Ruth is committed to advocating for people with respiratory conditions to ensure they have access to education and services to help them manage their disease. To assist this process, Ruth believes, primary, secondary and tertiary care providers need to work closely together to effectively use, strengthen and develop services for people.


Cheryl Davies

Ngati Raukawa, Ngati WehiWehi oku iwi. Cheryl has managed the Tu Kotahi Māori Asthma Trust over the past 30 years. Tu Kotahi was formed as the first Māori Asthma Society in New Zealand in the early 1990′s. She has presented at a number of conferences both nationally and internationally with a focus on discussing Māori and respiratory illnesses and healthy housing. Cheryl has a keen interest in research involving Māori and has been involved with a number of key research projects over the past 25 years.

Board Phillip

Philip Aldridge

Philip Aldridge is an experienced Executive Manager and Director. Philip is currently the Chief Executive for Waihanga Ara Rua - the Workforce Development Council for Construction and Infrastructure. Philip has worked across both private and government sectors and has held management roles at Infratrain NZ, Telecom New Zealand, AgITO, The Treasury, and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST). He has led mergers/amalgamations, set up private/public partnerships, developed and successfully implemented strategic plans, managed a NZ$2 billion investment portfolio and developed new channels to market. He has a BSC (Hons), an MBA, and has studied at Sloan School of Management (MIT) in Boston.


Paul Larson

BPharm (Hons), PGDipClinPharm (Distinction), PGCertTravMed, RegPharmNZ, MPS

BPharm (Hons), PGDipClinPharm (Distinction), PGCertTravMed, RegPharmNZ, MPS

Paul has owned Larson’s Pharmacy, a large community pharmacy (incorporating a NZ Post and Kiwibank) in Green Island, Dunedin for 23 years and had also previously owned a city based pharmacy in Dunedin and a rural pharmacy in Ranfurly. His previous work life for approximately 8 years prior to community pharmacy included working at the National Poisons Centre in Dunedin, Dunedin Hospital as Medicines Information Pharmacist, and as a Hospital Pharmacist at Palmerston North and Gisborne. He also owns Henrietta Soaps Limited a wholesale and online retail soap business.

He has a wide range of Governance experience and is currently sitting as a board member on: The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (Wellington), Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (Wellington), Wellsouth Primary Health Network (Dunedin), Propharma Southern Advisory Committee (Christchurch) and the Dunedin Urgent Pharmacy. He is a past board member of: Consumer NZ (Inc) incorporating a role as Chair of their Audit and Risk Committee, Pharmaceutical Services Limited, New Zealand College of Pharmacists, Pharmacy Industry Training Organisation, New Zealand Pharmacy, Education and Research Foundation and the Franchise Representatives Board of NZ Post and Kiwibank.

He is very passionate about pharmacy and the wider heath sector and how pharmacy can work together with our other health professional colleagues to bring improvements to our patient’s lives.


Jeannine Stairmand

Jeannine Stairmand (Ngati Porou, Tauiwi), is a Senior Lecturer in Te Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare and member of the C3-Cancer and Chronic Conditions Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington. Jeannine is a nurse with a Masters in Public Health.

She has a comprehensive background having worked in diverse roles in the health sector over the past 20+ years including Maori health, primary care, policy and funding and public health. She currently convenes Hauora Maori for 4th and 5th year medical students based in Wellington and her research areas of interest include health inequities, service delivery, Hauora Maori, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and cancer screening and supportive care.

Her interest in cancer stems from her work in Māori health, public health and health promotion, particularly breast and cervical screening.

Jeannine's research interests include Māori health, cancer and health promotion and prevention. Jeannine undertakes community service activities and is a ministerial appointment to the National Kaitiaki Group.

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Taumata O Te Ra

Taumata is of Ngati Manomano, Ngati Raukawa, Ngapuhi, and Ngai Tuhoe descent. At the age of 8, he suffered from an almost lethal asthma attack, affecting the way I lived my life greatly. Since this event, he has spent his life learning what it’s like to live with asthma, and how to live his life best to help keep it under control.

Leadership and responsibility for health and well-being have been very important to him. This led him to pursue fundraising for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation through running (something that I’m not fond of, nor particularly good at). He wanted to prove that, even with asthma, it is possible to live a healthy and happy life while keeping it under control. This perspective helped him to achieve success in his career as a landscaper, while also maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle, aiding in the control of his asthma. He is honoured to sit on the board of such a great organisation which aims to help people understand that respiratory conditions don’t have to control your life.