On 18 December 2020, the Minister of Health announced the appointment of the Chair and five board members to the Board of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (the Board). The announcement was published in the government gazette(external link).

The Board is chaired by Hayden Wano. The board members are Professor Sunny Collings, Kevin Hague, Taimi Allan, Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, and Alexander El Amanni.

The Inaugural Board of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. Left to right: Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, Professor Sunny Collings, Kevin Hague, Hayden Wano (Chair), Taimi Allan, and Alexander El Amanni.

The Commission must make sure that it effectively seeks and understands the views of Māori as tangata whenua, of people with lived experience of mental distress or addiction (or both) and the people who support them, as well as Pacific people, and other groups and populations who are at greater risk of experiencing poorer mental health and wellbeing.

More information about this obligation is in our Statement of Intent 2020–2024 and our Statements of Performance Expectations. As a governing body, the Board must make sure that the Commission is meeting this obligation under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Act 2020(external link), alongside its functions.

Board members are appointed for their governance and mental health and wellbeing sector expertise but do not act as representatives or advocates for specific communities. They do, of course, draw on their perspectives, insights, and expertise to inform Board discussions and decision-making.

Some first thoughts from the Board

On 9 February 2021, Board members were formally welcomed at a pōwhiri, held at Pipitea marae. Watch the speech highlights, which followed the pōwhiri formalities, on YouTube.

How Board appointments were made

Appointments were made in accordance with the Crown Entities Act 2004 and followed the usual appointments process. As an independent Crown entity, the Board was appointed by the Governor-General, for terms of one or two years.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Act 2020 sets out criteria for the Governor-General to consider when making appointments, including the need for the Commission to collectively have knowledge, understanding, and experience of:

  • te ao Māori (Māori world view), tikanga Māori (Māori protocol and culture), and whānau-centred approaches to wellbeing
  • the cultural, economic, educational, spiritual, societal, environmental, and other factors that affect people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • mental health services and addiction services
  • public health approaches and population health approaches to improving health outcomes
  • improving overall system performance

and

  • have personal experience of mental distress
  • have personal experience of addiction.

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