About NorthAble

Since 1990, NorthAble's has been providing equipment, information, and disability support services in Te Taitokerau.

The principles of Enabling Good Lives were established in 2011.  For 11 years, they have been the guiding principle in 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 into our day-to-day operations and roles.  They are part of what we do and how we do it.

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 wellbeing, 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 team

Adam Dade

Chief Operating Officer


Vanessa Jennings

Business Services and Operations Manager


Bronwyn Collett

Facilitation Services Manager


TeRau Allen

Kaiarahi Kaupapa Māori


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.

Carol Searle
Carol Searle

Board Secretary


Carol joined the Board of NorthAble Matapuna Hauora in 2022, also taking up the role of Board Secretary. 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.

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.

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

Support Coordinator

Zelde Morrison-Smith

NorthAble EQ+ Retail & Sales Supervisor

Anne-Marie Morgan

Service Facilitator

Pam Arbon

Support Coordinator

Nicole Ross

COVID Response Mentor

Natalie Wood

LYNKZ Programme Facilitator

Anne Leahy

Service Facilitator

Georgia Montrose

Front Office Administrator

Tracey Rissetto

Finance Accountant

Kris Finlayson

Āhei Project Coordinator

Nikita Cleto-Olsen

EQ+ Information and Sales Consultant

Nirvanha Wharerau-Ripia

EQ+ Information and Sales Consultant

Tarien Vanaswegen

Support Coodinator

Mila Tatana

Employment and Support Mentor

Tipene Horomona-Haora

Āhei Mentor

Tipene Pownceby

Support Coordinator

Mila Tatana

Employment and Support Mentor

Marion Blake


Sharon Tahere

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Alistair Drake


Carol Searle

Board Secretary

Mereana Te Whata

Sandie Waddell

Cheyenne Harris

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Abbe Clark

LYNKZ Facilitator

Join the team

See our latest job vacancies


Administrator for LYNKZ Community Participation Programme

This is a 12-month fixed-term contract for a LYNKZ Administrator looking to work 25 hours per a week Monday to Friday.

We are seeking an Administrator to support our NorthAble LYNKZ community participation program. You will ensure the smooth operation of our program and contribute to the well-being and development of individuals with disabilities.

The supportive environment we offer would suit people with a lived experience of disability, and we would encourage you to apply for this role.

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; whether our teams or our clients, we are all about whānau. 

Based in Whangārei, this position is part-time, 25hrs per week on a 12-month fixed-term Monday to Friday, 9:00 am-2:00 pm.

The ideal candidate should have strong organisational skills, excellent communication abilities, and a genuine passion for making a positive impact in the lives of others. The principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Enabling Good Lives will underpin the delivery of this role.

Please click the below green button for more information about the administration for LYNKZ Community Participation Programme role or request the Job Description and Application form from hr@northable.org.nz

Support Coordinator

Full Time

The Support Coordinator role supports the ongoing delivery of service facilitation to individuals, family/whanau in Northland to ensure that they are empowered to make choices over their own lives. This role works in partnership with the Service Facilitator role to manage an identified caseload and ensure that the services and support in place for individuals and their families remain fit for purpose throughout life stages and changes.

Key Objectives include:

  • Completing reviews with clients and family on existing outcome plans.
  • Providing information on community services and supports available and completing referrals as required.
  • Creation and management of client files within client management systems including Socrates and any other required CMS.
  • Complete assessments for NZTA Total Mobility scheme.
  • Collaborate with multi-disciplinary teams involved in supporting individuals as required.

Please request the Job Description and Application form from hr@northable.org.nz

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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