About NorthAble

Since 1990, NorthAble has been providing equipment, information, and disability support services in Te Tai Tokerau.

The principles of Enabling Good Lives were established in 2011, and since then, they have been the guiding principle of how disability services should be set up, structured, and delivered on behalf of the clients that we serve.

NorthAble has worked hard to embed these principles into our day-to-day operations and roles.  They are part of what we do and how we do it.

Download Northable's 2023 End of Year Report

The principle's are:


Disabled people are in control of their lives.

Beginning early

Invest early in families and whānau to support them; to be aspirational for their disabled child; to build community and natural supports; and to support disabled children to become independent, rather than waiting for a crisis before support is available.


Disabled people have the support tailored to their individual needs and goals, and that takes a whole life approach rather than being split across programmes.

Ordinary life outcomes

Disabled people are supported to live everyday life in everyday places. They are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation - like others at similar stages of life.

Mainstream first

Disabled people are supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.

Mana enhancing

The abilities and contributions of disabled people and their families are recognised and respected.

Easy to use

Disabled people have supports that are simple to use and flexible.

Relationship building

Supports building and strengthening relationships between disabled people, their whānau and the community.

How we became Northlands largest disability support organisation.

In 1990, the Northland Disabilities Resource Centre Trust was formed by a small group of people with lived experience of disability who had identified the lack of readily available information about disability services in Northland. Initially the organisation operated as a DIAS (Disability Information and Advisory Service), but other services were added as the need was identified. In 1996 they had outgrown the original office and moved to 40 John St.

In 2005 the name of the organisation officially changed to NorthAble Matapuna Hauora. Under this banner, which focuses not only on disability, but the whole concept of well-being, the organisation continues to grow, with new services added to meet the ever-changing needs of our population throughout Te Taitokerau and the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our NorthAble Logo

Our logo has been refined over the years to evoke values and direction of our organisation. In 2021 we adopted the Koru shape which represents peace, tranquility, change and personal growth. But it was also inspired by Northland and the harmony between the land and the sea.  The 3 words, evoking, empowering and compassion were all considered when designing the logo concepts which come across in this design.

Taonga Harakeke

This Taonga was designed and woven by Polly Rau. She was moved by the input of Disability Resource Centre participants into the Huarahi Maori programme during their weaving session and wanted to acknowledge their creations. The Taonga speaks of a person’s journey through life, beginning at the time of conception. This taonga is hung in a meeting room to awhi the Tukutuku and the tangata Hauaa.

Nga Kete

Nga Kete were made for Northland Disabilities Resource Centre by then manager, Joanne Samuel. These kete are a contemporary interpretation of the three baskets of knowledge. All three are made from harakeke, or flax.  The topmost kete speaks of the earth, the mountains, of growing things and our physical lives. The second kete speaks of the ocean, te moana, the cleansing power of water and our emotional lives. The lowest kete talks of the air, our breath and our spirit, and the movement of experience and learning that is necessary in our lives.

Te Maataapuna Hauora

Tena ra……. E te iwi e

Ko matou tenei

Te Maataapuna Hauora
E tu atu nei
ki te mihi kia koutou

Ki te Atua
Nga whakawhetai maha
Mo nga manaakitanga
Ki runga I a tatou

Titiro mai e te iwi
Ki tenei roopu manaaki

Aroha mai… ki a matou

Nga kaiawhina kaiwhakahaere
o te kaupapa

Awhinatia tautokotia
Te hunga hauaa o te taitokerau
E rapu nei he oranga mo ratou

Kia piki ano
te hinengaro me te wairua
Ki te taumata hirahira
O nga whakaaro

Korihi ano

Meet the Senior Leadership Team

Janette Searle

Chief Executive Officer


Janette joined NorthAble Matapuna Hauora in February 2024 as CEO. She comes from the social change and social enterprise world and has established successful businesses doing good (internationally) and brought sectors together to collectively create sustainable change. She’s shared her passion for social change as a keynote speaker at conferences and at TedX Auckland, where she talked about establishing a social enterprise that has been changing lives in the Asia Pacific region.

Adam Dade

General Manager - Contract Commissioning Service Delivery


Tracey Rissetto

General Manager Business Support/Finance Accountant


TeRau Arena Allen

Kaiārahi Kaupapa Māori Development


Katrina Holder

Executive to Chief Executive Officer


The Trustees

Marion Blake
Marion Blake



Marion’s career in leading, delivering, managing, and developing health and social services systems has spanned times of major social change. As CEO of Platform Trust from 1990 – 2020, Marion’s work supported a national collaboration of community health and disability organisations. This work was to represent the perspectives, challenges, and achievements of these community organisations to the multiple Government entities that fund, oversee, monitor and scrutinise providers of health and disability support across Aotearoa. It reinforced her long-held view that community organisations and activity are critical to preserving all citizens' inclusion. Marion has local and national governance roles and is currently the chair of NZ Navigator Trust, a Director of Wild Bamboo and a trustee of Weeds Action Native Habitat Restoration Trust. In 2018 Marion was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to people with mental health and addiction issues.

Alistair Drake
Alistair Drake



Alistair comes from Glasgow, Scotland arriving in NZ in 1983. He is married with one son and two grandchildren. He graduated from Strathclyde University Glasgow and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He is a member of the Scottish and New Zealand Institutes of Chartered Accountants and works for the Department of Conservation in Northland and Auckland. He was a manager of the Corporate Services Department of the Whangarei District Council for seven years. Before that, he was with Thomas de La Rue-Banknote Printers in financial roles in NZ, England and Kenya. He is also a graduate of Leadership NZ and looks forward to new learnings during his contribution to NorthAble.

Mereana Te Whata
Mereana Te Whata



Ko Ngāpuhi, Ngātihine, Ngāti Porou te iwi. Tupu ake a Mereana i Tautoro. Mereana grew up in Tautoro. Ngākau nui ana ia i te hauora whānui o te tangata ahakoa ko wai. She is passionate about the health and well-being of people no matter who they are. Mahi ia mō te Hauora Māori mō te wā roa. She has worked in the Māori Health arena for some time. Nā tōna wharanga i 2004, whakamahi ana ia i tētahi tūru wīra. E whakapau kaha ana ia ki te tautoko ngā tāngata whaikaha. Due to her injury in 2004, she uses a wheelchair. She gives her all in the support of ngā tāngata whaikaha. He Kaitiaki a Mereana i tēnei wā ki runga i te Poari o NorthAble Matapuna Hauora. Mereana is currently a trustee on the Board of NorthAble Matapuna Hauora. Hei tā Mereana, “Mā te mahitahi ka tutuki ngā kaupapa”. As expressed by Mereana, “By working together objectives are achieved” Tohu: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Theology, Holy Order of Priest, Post Graduate Diploma in Arts with Distinction, Bachelor of Laws. Kia kaha rā tātau!

Sandie Waddell
Sandie Waddell



Sandie was co-founder of the Northland Disabilities Resource Centre in the late 80s, the forerunner to NorthAble as it is today. A wheelchair user since an accident in 1978, she returned to Whangarei four years ago after a move to Wellington in the late 1990s. She has significant experience in the sector, having worked in senior roles in government agencies and as a provider organisation's CEO More recently, as a quality auditor of health and disability services, as well as a consultant providing services to businesses, NGOs, government, and local body organisations around disability. Sandie is passionate about her role as a trustee, to support NorthAble as they move forward into a changing environment that will enable people with disability to have more control over their life journeys.

Carol Searle
Carol Searle



Carol has worked at a senior level in government agencies, appointed as the first Deputy Director General of Disability Support Services in the Ministry of Health. Carol has managed several services in the health, disability, mental health, and addiction sectors. In governance roles, Carol has assisted in establishing Trusts such as Take My Hands Trust and worked alongside Boards to ensure sound governance practices are in place. In Northland, this has included becoming the Chair of the Whangarei Budgeting Service. Carol enjoys working alongside teams to assist them in developing their full potential and ensure that vulnerable families within the community are supported well so they can live their best lives.

Zoe Berry
Zoe Berry



Zoe became a Registered General Nurse in her 20's working predominantly in theatre and day surgery. In 2000 she moved to primary health, working in a busy general practice clinic specialising in respiratory disease and allergies. In 2004 she moved to NZ, where she worked at Whangarei Hospital. After 4 years with Northland DHB, Zoe took up the challenge and moved into the role of General Manager for Kamo Home and Village Charitable Trust. Zoe's passion is in quality management and assurance as I believe a commitment to these are fundamental to great outcomes for service users and providers.

Tania Bissett
Tania Bissett



Kia ora, My name is Tania Bissett and I use she/her/ia pronouns. I have mobilised with a wheelchair for the last 20 years and also identify as Mana Hauā / Tangata Whaikaha Māori. I was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau but also lived in Te Whangārei-A-Tara for 4 years to complete a tech degree. My mum hails from Poroti and dad from Turangi - I now live back in Whangārei with my whānau. I am an empathetic kaiwhatu (weaver) of he tāngata (people), tūrangawaewae (places) and meaningful mahi (projects). Community, Taiohi, Digital Literacy, and Te Ao Māori is my kaupapa (jam).

Josie Clayton

Finance Administrator

Vicki Wakefield

Financial Mentor

Jessica McCready

Financial Mentor

Claire Lewinksi

Pathway Finder

Anna McIntosh

Senior Financial Mentor

Shannon Philips

Community Educator

Paytyn Bristow

Service Facilitator

Anne-Marie Morgan

Service Facilitator

Pam Arbon

Support Coordinator

Nicole Ross

Emergency Planner and Response Mentor

Natalie Woods

LYNKZ Programme Facilitator

Anne Leahy

Service Facilitator

Georgia Montrose

Front Office Administrator

Kris Finlayson

Āhei Project Coordinator

Nikita Cleto-Olsen

EQ+ Information and Sales Consultant

Tarien Vanaswegen

Support Coodinator

Tipene Pownceby

Service Facilitator

Persephone de Magdalene

EQ+ Manager

Sharon Tahere

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Alistair Drake


Mereana Te Whata


Sandie Waddell


Carol Searle


Cheyenne Harris

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Abbe Clark

LYNKZ Facilitator

Zoe Berry


Tania Bissett


Join the team

See our latest job vacancies


Sales Manager EQ+

Full Time

We are looking for the right person with the right attitude who is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives.    

A significant proportion of this role will be managing and growing EQ+, our retail business that sells mobility and other equipment.   We are looking for someone who can grow both our existing and new customer base.  The position involves cultivating, sustaining, and capitalising on relationships with both new and established clients to drive business growth. You will also be collaborating in the development and formulation of business expansion strategies with the Senior Leadership Team.

EQ+, which is Northland’s largest supplier of equipment and products to support people who may have a temporary or permanent impairment. You will lead the team to achieve sales targets, develop strong relationships with key clients and partners across the region, and grow the business overall.  A background in retail sales and management is advantageous as you will be overseeing the day-to-day shop management and staff.

We are also looking to grow the social enterprise aspect of our business, so there is room for growth for those interested in business development.    

Our store is in Whangarei, and you will be required to travel across Northland.  

We offer an attractive remuneration package based on experience and complemented by our incentive scheme.  

Preferred experience and qualifications or certifications:

  • Sales Skills: Strong ability to identify opportunities, negotiate contracts, and close deals.
  • Relationship Building: Excellent interpersonal skills for client, contractor, and stakeholder relationships.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Capacity to develop innovative solutions for customer and partner needs.
  • Communication Skills: Clear, concise communication for proposals, negotiations, and updates.
  • Strategic Thinking: Development and execution of growth-oriented business plans.
  • Customer Focus: Commitment to understanding and addressing client needs.
  • Results Orientation: Track record of achieving ambitious sales and development goals.

We will send an application form for you to complete and return to the same email address. If you are interested in a confidential chat for more information about this role, please contact Katrina on (09) 430 0988 or 027 438 9034.

Applications close on the 7th of June 2024 at 5pm however we will be screening applications as they come through and may close this earlier if we find the right person (so don’t delay!).

Employment Pathway Broker

30 - 40 hrs per week/Fixed Term Contract

Our Āhei Internship team want someone to join them who has the skills, networks and capabilities to support rangatahi whaikaha (youth with disabilities) into meaningful internships and sustainable employment opportunities. We are looking for an Employment Pathway Broker who can liaise with businesses and support interns and their family / whānau throughout their time with us and beyond. This program offers interns not only work experience, but also teaches key work-readiness skills, builds mana and opportunities for rangatahi whaikaha to move into and stay in employment.

Lived experience of a disability of any kind will be advantageous to this role, and we encourage those who identify as disabled to apply. We are more than happy to provide supports and/or accommodations for the interview process. Please advise upon the application of any support you may need.

As part of the NorthAble team, you will have an opportunity to be part of an organisation that puts people at the heart of what we do, be that our teams or clients. We are a whānau-first organisation, be that at home or our team here at work.

This role is based in Whangārei and is a 30 to 40-hour per-week role. We are flexible on set days and times however the successful candidate will need to be available on Mondays and Fridays. Some occasional weekend or outside-of-office hours work may be required occasionally. This role is on a contract until the 31st of December, 2024.

Duties include:

  • Actively liaise with local businesses to create internship work experience roles (primary role).
  • Broker employment opportunities for interns’ post-internship work (primary role).
  • Conduct site and role assessments to match interns to the right job (primary role).
  • Help deliver learning workshops for interns.
  • Work with interns and their whānau in order to create the best environment for success.
  • Managing enrolments, provided course communication, provided support, and tracked the progress of participants.
  • Provide regular updates and support to the Āhei Project Coordinator.
  • Work with multiple key stakeholders to provide a successful internship experience.
  • Support and mentor interns throughout the program.
  • Continuous improvement to the program.

Skills and Experience:

This is a people-based role, we’re after the right person who can build relationships and rapport quickly and easily.

  • Experience in sales (highly regarded).
  • Experience working in an Employment Broker or Human Resources role (highly regarded).
  • Highly organised, proficient administration and business support skills (highly regarded).
  • Experience working with disabled people (desirable).
  • Experience working with youth (desirable).
  • Ability and confidence relating with diverse people with different levels of needs.
  • Excellent and effective written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Capacity to work within a team and autonomously with minimal supervision.
  • An understanding of the Enabling Good Lives philosophy, NZ Disability Strategy, Treaty of Waitangi, and the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Familiarity with Tikanga Māori.
  • Have a client-focused approach to work goals.


  • Work with autonomy and manage your own workload.
  • Hybrid flexible working model.
  • A diversity-inclusive work environment.
  • Family-friendly culture.
  • Laptop and mobile phone.

Success in this role is about bringing yourself to work and being who you are.

If you are interested in this new and exciting opportunity, please apply using the Seek link now.

Please note you must be eligible to work permanently in New Zealand.

For further information and a full copy of the Position Description, please email hr@northable.org.nz or call on (09) 430 0988 for confidential enquiry.

Application close by 30 May 2024 at 5pm. However, we will be screening applications as they come through and may close this earlier if we find the right person (so don’t delay!).

Companies that support us

NorthAble relies on the generosity of local businesses and individuals to continue the good work we do.

Below is a list of our supporters.

Lottery Grants Board

Lottery Grants Board

Rothbury Insurance Brokers

A big thanks to Rothbury Insurance Brokers for providing the funding for this website

Rothbury Insurance Brokers
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