Jennifer Gill ONZM

Portrait of Jennifer Gill ONZMWith more than 35 years’ experience in Aotearoa New Zealand philanthropy, Jennifer Gill was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to philanthropy and was the inaugural winner of the Perpetual Guardian Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award.

“The chance to be on the board of a new foundation and be a part of shaping it from the ground up is a very unique and exciting opportunity. It’s so encouraging to see an organisation like MAS saying, “Listen, we can add value here and take care of the wider Aotearoa New Zealand public as well as our Members."

“I started working in philanthropy in 1984 and have been part of funding numerous initiatives into the health sector, so I’ll be able to provide a counterbalance to my fellow trustees with medical experience. I’ll be dependent on them for their sector knowledge, and they can draw on my extensive philanthropy knowledge.”

Dr Carrie Bryers

Ngā Puhi

Portrait of Dr Carrie BryersDr Carrie Bryers has an impressive career in public health with diverse background in Māori health, nursing and medicine. She is currently undertaking specialty training as an advanced registrar with the NZ College of Public Health Medicine and has played an instrumental role in the covid response in Aotearoa.

“I’m excited to create an overall vision for the MAS Foundation together with my fellow trustees and hopefully bring some valuable public health experience with me. For me, it’s about critiquing the bigger picture."

"My background is in medicine, working with patients, but I’ve always wanted to work in a broader sense, sparking systemic change and looking at the impacts at a community and population level. I’m very passionate about paying attention to equity too, ensuring what we do is inclusive of the commitments we have to the Tiriti o Waitangi and doing that with integrity.”

Professor Boyd Swinburn

Portrait of Professor Boyd SwinburnCurrently a Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland, Professor Boyd Swinburn is an internationally recognised public health physician and has more than 30 years’ experience in health research. “I’ve been a MAS Member for all of my career, and when this idea came up, I thought it was a stroke of genius. MAS wants to be different and find a niche that other funding agencies are not fulfilling yet."

“A lot of businesses want to be good corporate citizens, but most are tied up in the existing systems where they need profit for shareholders. MAS has always operated on a different formula. This isn’t just a single page in a company report – this is serious."

“The government hasn’t been strong enough on prevention research and evaluation, so there’s an opportunity to be a catalyst with strategic research programmes.”

Folasaitu Dr Julia Ioane

Portrait of Folasaitu Dr Julia IoaneFolasaitu Dr Julia Ioane is a bilingual New Zealand-born Samoan, raised in South Auckland with a Matai title from the village of Fasitoouta, Samoa. Dr Ioane is an Associate Professor in psychology at Massey University and a registered clinical psychologist. She has board and governance experience in both the public and not-for-profit sectors. Dr Ioane promotes research that is practice-informed and evidence-based to ensure it has a meaningful impact on our communities; and that health education and promotion is delivered appropriately and inclusively for all diverse communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

“My background as a clinical psychologist working directly with our children and their families is something I will bring to the table. I work with our most high-need Māori and Pasifika communities where I know there isn’t enough research nor genuine opportunity to promote health that is clearly understood by all."

“More importantly, my background as a Samoan is something I will draw on. I can bring in that voice of our Pasifika community, which often doesn’t get representation. “It’s about early intervention, education and thinking about the ‘so what?’ behind everything we do to ensure we have a plan for sustaining any positive change we make. O le ala i le pule o le tautua (In order to lead, one must serve).”

Brendan O'Donovan

MAS Board Representative

Portrait of Brendan O’DonovanBrendan has extensive experience in the financial services industry, spending more than a dozen years as a Chief Economist at several New Zealand banks and chairing Investment Committees. Through his service as Chairman of The Co-operative Bank and Chairman of Co-operative Life, he brings a wealth of governance experience. He has also been a Licensed Independent Trustee, as well as Specialist Advisor to Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

He has been involved with MAS in a governance capacity since 2012 as a Licensed Independent Trustee, and more recently as Chair of the Investment Committee.

Associate Professor Matire Harwood


Portrait of Matire HarwoodMatire (MBChB, PhD) is a hauora Māori academic and GP dividing her time across the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at Auckland medical school and Papakura Marae Health Clinic in South Auckland. Matire is a member of the COVID-19 TAG, was a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine STAG and as a member of the Steering Group, recently appointed the Board members for the Māori Health Authority.

In 2017 she was awarded the L’Oréal UNESCO New Zealand ‘For Women In Science Fellowship’ for research in Indigenous health and in 2019 she received the Health Research Council’s Te Tohu Rapuora award for leadership in research to improve Māori health.

Executive Team

Heads of Foundation:

Dr Julie Wharewera-Mika

Ngāti Awa; Ngāi Tuhoe; Te Whānau-a-Apanui

Portrait of Mafi Funaki-Tahifote and Dr Julie Wharewera-MikaDr Julie Wharewera-Mika (Tangata Whenua – pictured right) completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Auckland and has extensive experience in the mental health & wellbeing field as a senior clinical psychologist and kaupapa Māori researcher. Julie joins MAS Foundation after recently completing a postdoctoral research fellowship with Brain Research NZ and a career as Director of Manu Ārahi – The Flying Doctors. She has held multiple governance roles including Bi-cultural Director of the NZ Psychological Society and as a Board member of the government appointed initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission which she continues to support as a consultant. She is passionate about advancing system transformation to enhance Māori & Pasifika wellbeing, including values-based leadership that embodies collaboration and partnerships empowering community-led and whānau-centred approaches.

Mafi Funaki-Tahifote

Tongan (Tongoleleka, HA’APAI, Kolofo’ou, Ma’ufanga, Tofoa – Tongatapu)

Mafi Funaki-Tahifote (Tangata Tiriti – pictured left) is Tongan and though born in New Zealand, she was raised in Tonga. Mafi returned to New Zealand for further education. She has recently completed an MBA from the University of Auckland and brings strong strategic experience. Mafi Funaki-Tahifote has extensive experience in the health field, having worked for the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand for twenty years holding both dietetic and senior executive management roles. Mrs Funaki-Tahifote also has considerable governance experience, currently a ministerially appointed board member of Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency, past Chair on the Board for Action Nutrition Aotearoa, former Co-Chair to the Pacific Islands Food and Nutrition Action Group and former member of her local school’s Board of Trustees. She has also worked with Te Hiringa Hauora previously, in her role as a member of the Pacific Advisory Group.

Operations Lead:

Melanie Malifa

Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi

Portrait of Melanie MalifaMelanie grew up in rural Whanganui where she developed a love for nature and being content with a life of simplicity.  She attended Massey University in Palmerston North where she studied Psychology. 

Melanie has extensive experience in pastoral leadership and in administration within the health, education and community sectors.  MAS Foundation’s vision of health equity in Aotearoa aligns with this passion and Melanie is excited to work in her role of providing support to the Heads of Foundation as well as the day-to-day work of the Foundation.

Specialist Advisors

Mark Ormbsy - Kaumātua/Tikanga Advisor

Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Wairere

Portrait of Mark OrmbsyMark has significant Māori engagement and cultural capability experience working in various government and iwi positions in the last two decades. Mark is also currently working on other engagement projects as the conduit between the Crown and Māori organic growers, as well as leading relationship development between the Crown and Māori and Pasifika providers of home ownership schemes. Mark is involved at a local level in cultural representation at events and protocols on behalf of Te Ātiawa in the Wellington region and is the takutai moana lead overseeing the marine and coastal area claim for Te Ātiawa ki te Upoko o te Ika ā Māui.

Finau Leveni - Pasifika Advisor

Portrait of Finau LeveniFinau is a member of the Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand management team and heads the international programmes team reporting directly to the CEO. Finau is an international Disaster Law Consultant and is passionate about elevating indigenous voices. She is a founding member of the Pacific Koloa Collective, a NZ based think-tank for indigenous Māori and Pacific practitioners in the aid and development sector.