The New Zealand Respiratory Awards took place on Friday 15 April at Te Papa Wellington. The event included both presentation of national Respiratory Media Awards and Respiratory Achievers Awards. 

The inaugural Media Awards is in place to recognise the important role that media play in respiratory education. The Achievers Awards acknowledge and celebrate New Zealanders with respiratory conditions who achieve great successes in their lives despite the challenges of their condition. 

Some Achievers live with life-threatening respiratory condition, yet have an incredibly positive attitude and outlook on life. Pauline Mohi says, “Lots of normal everyday things are an effort, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do them and that you shouldn’t do them.”


Congratulations to the amazing winners of our Respiratory Achievers Awards. From left to right Pauline Mohi (Christchurch), Holly Pittar (Wellington),  Jaide Campbell (Canterbury), Emily Arps (Christchurch), Regina Walker (Mt Maunganui) and Davis Herniman (Mt Maunganui), plus Josh Marker missing from photo (Whangarei).

Hi-res photos are available to download here and include profile photos and also receiving their Award at the event. A video of Davis and Regina, a mother and son team who deal with brittle asthma can be viewed here. Hi-res photos of guests at the event are available here

Congratulations also to Respiratory Media Awards winners Laura Bootham (radio category), Fleur Revell-Devlin and Mark Devlin (television category), Cate Broughton (print/online category), Virginia McMillan (health industry category). 

Below is a summary of each Achievers Awards winner. 

Asthma 5-12 years 
Jaide Campbell is a bright, brave and positive young girl who has chronic asthma and bronchiectasis. She lives her life to the fullest and doesn’t let her conditions get in the way, despite having over 30 hospital admissions. She takes an active role in her health management and knows when to take her medication. She is currently top of her class for math and reading, and always tries to keep up with her peers in all activities. Jaide has recently taken up horse riding and swimming lessons, and loves jumping on the trampoline and riding her bike. She has also started doing St John cadets to help others. Jaide’s Mum, Philippa McDougall says, “She knows her limits but always tries to exceed them, but knows when enough is enough.” Jaide has so many plans for her future and wants to be a respiratory doctor when she grows up.

Jaide lives in Amberley, Canterbury.

Asthma 13 to 18 years old
Josh Marker is a dedicated young athlete who has moderately severe asthma. He takes an active role in his asthma management through regular check-ups, effective communication of any breathing difficulties, and independently manages his daily medication (with supervision). Josh has particular trouble during the winter months as he is susceptible to exacerbation of his asthma symptoms, chest infections and pneumonia. However, he hasn’t let this get him down and competes in a variety of sports. Josh’s Mum, Jo Parker says, “He has achieved some impressive results.” Josh races BMX nationally and is one of the top ten riders in his age category in New Zealand, and is currently training in a selected high performance squad. Last year, Josh came first place in his school triathlon in his year group. He also competes at a high level of gymnastics, gaining 3rd place for vault in one of his competitions.
Lives in Maungatapere, Whangarei. Frequently goes to Auckland for BMX training and racing.

Asthma adult
Holly Pittar is passionate, talented and is a very severe asthmatic with steroid dependence. She has had a lifelong struggle with the condition, almost losing her life on a number of occasions. Holly manages her asthma by working together with her GP, medication and maintaining her health and fitness. Holly’s partner, Pete Stichbury says “She is an incredibly determined and strong person even though her asthma makes her life incredibly hard and emotional.” She was known in her college as incredibly talented in all regards, be it music, sport or academia – receiving an unbelievable number of awards even though frequently hospitalised or bedridden. Holly is currently studying to be a doctor and has finished third year medical school. She was awarded the Otago University Prestige Scholarship for getting distinction in second and third year medicine. Pete says, “She is incredibly caring to her patients and uses the knowledge that she has learned throughout her struggles to support and provide them when they are in need – she will be a fantastic doctor.”
Holly is from Tauriko, Tauranga. She is currently studying in Wellington and lives in Newtown.

Pauline Mohi is an active, positive role model and volunteer who lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She was diagnosed 25 years after giving up smoking. Pauline says, “Lots of normal everyday things are an effort, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do them and that you shouldn’t do them.” Pauline manages her condition by keeping active through a variety of classes including tai chi, walking and gym class. She is chair of a group in Canterbury which is dedicated to supporting people with COPD, and influencing respiratory health programmes. She regularly shares her story at pulmonary rehabilitation and is known to keep in contact with programme participants for support and encouragement. Nurse Louise Weatherall says, “You'll often see Pauline at events with her big bag of information she's collected from different health services to support others with similar respiratory conditions.” Pauline has also done a great job of raising awareness by leading a COPD walking train in Christchurch.

Pauline lives on Christchurch Central.
Other respiratory conditions
Emily Arps is an energetic, go-getter who lives with Kartageners Syndrome. This is a rare syndrome in which mucus builds up in the airways, causing frequent infections of the lungs, sinuses, and ears. Emily manages her condition by doing daily chest physiotherapy, sinus washouts, IV antibiotics as needed, exercise, and ensures she eats and sleeps well. She works as a health promotor and also engages in numerous volunteer roles. Emily recently lost a significant amount of weight which improved her respiratory health, and now exercises at any opportunity including mountain biking, kayaking and walking. She gets on with things, and even helped her Dad with a building project despite having an IV leur in her arm. Emily’s friend, Courtenay Chenery says “Not only is Emily one of the most vital and positive people I know, regardless of her condition, she is also incredibly humble and caring.”
Emily lives in St Albans, Christchurch.
Coby Forbes Award for Courage
Davis Herniman is a cheerful and cheeky young fella of Te Aitanga a Mahaki who lives with life threatening brittle asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis. At age seven, he had his first asthma attack and nearly died. He’s been to ICU over 10 times and Starship hospital a couple of times. Davis’ Mum Regina Walker, works incredibly hard to manage his condition. Nurse Steph Parker says, “He has an amazing Mum who is solely responsible for this fellow being alive. She recognises his symptoms and gets him to the hospital asap.” Regina keeps track of peak flows, finds the best medication through trial and error and has taken Davis to numerous specialists. She has also eliminated any possible triggers, including their pets, shaggy rugs and trees outside the house. Davis has a cheerful and positive attitude despite everything that he’s been through. He’s good at taking his medication, uses breathing techniques to help manage his asthma, and is an advocate for being smoke free. He has a great sense of humour and a good relationship with hospital staff. Davis enjoys playing rugby league and softball. This year he wants to play a few other sports, and also start biking to school.
Davis and Regina live in Mount Maunganui.