Who We Are

Health Connections Vision

Health Connections believe healthy, well connected children and youth are key to a positive future for Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Our Values

  • Partnership and innovation are central to the Health Connections way of working.
  • Integrity and openness are the foundations in which Health Connections engage our clients.
  • Kaumatuaship supports and guides Health Connections work.
Health Connections have experience partnering with government agencies, non-government agencies, Marae based services and charitable organisations. Health Connections is part of a well-connected network that are skilled in partnering and collaborating to promote and enhance collective impact.

Our Team


Pat Mitchell

Pat is a Registered Nurse of 20 years and has worked both in the UK and NZ designing, developing and delivering child and youth health and development services. Pat completed her Master of Nursing research thesis in understanding how nurses contribute to quality improvement to improve health and well being outcomes. Pat has a strong passion for leadership, quality improvement and effective change management across the youth health sector.

Maria Kekus

Maria is a Child and Youth Nurse Practitioner with extensive experience in child and youth health through her work in the primary health care and NGO sectors both in England and New Zealand. Maria brings both clinical and strategic leadership skills to the team.

Rawiri Wharemate

Rāwiri is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Tainui, Ngāti Pūkenga descent. Rawiri provides the Kaumātuaship for Health Connections. Rawiri has extensive experience in the Child and Youth Mental Health field. Under the guidance of Rawiri, Health Connections ensures all their work embraces the principles and values of the Tiritiō Waitangi and Whānau Ora.

Michelle Ranstead photo_preview


Registered Nurse


Liz Calder

Clinical Team Leader

Jess Tiplady photo_preview


Nurse Practitioner

Chrissie Lander Photo_preview

Chrissie Lander

Clinical Administrator



Heiner Otumuli



Joe Pomelile



Stacey Porter

Cultural Advisor


Milsie Rogers

Registered Nurse

What are people saying about Health Connections?

  • Really enjoyed the training and new learning. Great Course and very relevant content; really enjoyed the role modelling activity – Awesome!
    Introduction to HEEADSSS course participant
  • Great course, opens up and challenges thinking, questioning process when working with adolescence; a very good course. Thank you. Informative, encouraging and thought provoking.
    Introduction to HEEADSSS Course Participant
    School nurse
  • It was a honour and pleasure to have you guys come out and share your wisdom thank you so much
    Robson Alualu Tavita
    Chief Executive for the Tuilaepa Youth Mentoring Service (TYMS)
  • Just needed to tell you that this stuff (oars and dares) is transformational. I've tried my first forays with adults (obesity and alcohol) and even with a couple of young people.
    Specialist Consultant
  • Many thanks for presenting at the Goodfellow Symposium. We were thrilled by the attendance, the atmosphere and the quality of presentations. Once again I appreciate your contribution to the success of the symposium.
    Professor Bruce Arroll
    Director - Goodfellow Unit
  • Thank you Maria, Pat and team at Health Connections for the workshop you provided for our nurses (and one GP) in Christchurch. As a Team Leader I was very impressed by the quality of your processes right from the beginning of the negotiation for us contracting your service to the presentation. I appreciated the detailed programme ideas combined with the ability to “flex” to our specific goals and geographical setting. Sitting beside one of our local GP’s during some of the workshop it was great to hear her praise of your teaching frameworks as well. Your presentation was very well constructed with great prompts to remind us of previous learning – dusting off a few cobwebs but yet ensuring we had a solid base to incorporate new knowledge. In my role as Team Leader it was great to know my team were all on the same page with a secure foundational knowledge base and yet inspired for the next level. As a team we have been inspired to make better use of our HEADSSS assessments - increased confidence to use Brief Intervention and formulate more effective Youth and Whanau centred health plans. Your evidenced based presentation has also inspired a new level of hunger for up-to-date researched clinical practice for my team – all but one (who near retirement felt she had an excuse clause) have begun the process of doing their PDRP and are encouraging other locally employed school nurses also. Many also on the team are looking at semester two next year as a group to apply for post graduate study, even two looking at Nursing Practitioner level. When you consider the costs of investing in professional development and I now look at the ongoing benefits it has certainly paid dividends beyond expectations. Also wanted to make special mention of Maria, her exceptional knowledge base and ability to give examples from her practice and encourage the learner to reflect on their own practice was invaluable. Maria has also provided post workshop support with resources for our team which again has been fantastic. Have really appreciated being connected to the team at Health Connections and feel connected literally to a new support network in itself because of the knowledgeable and passionate team they are. Thank you Vivienne Neilson Team Leader School Based Nursing Nurse Maude Christchurch
    Vivienne Neilson
    Nurse Maude