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.

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 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

General Manager - Contract Commissioning Service Delivery


Vanessa Jennings

General Manager - Business Services and Operations


Tracey Rissetto

Finance Accountant


TeRau Allen

Kaiārahi 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



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

Service Facilitator

Zelde Morrison-Smith

NorthAble EQ+ Retail & Sales Supervisor

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

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

Service Facilitator

Mila Tatana

Employment and Support Mentor

Marion Blake


Sharon Tahere

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Alistair Drake


Carol Searle


Mereana Te Whata

Sandie Waddell

Cheyenne Harris

Facilitation Services Lead Facilitator

Abbe Clark

LYNKZ Facilitator

Join the team

See our latest job vacancies


Service Facilitator

Full Time

NorthAble Matapuna Hauora has been supporting the people of Te Taitokerau since 1990. Underpinned by our core values: 





Ngākau pono/Integrity



NorthAble’s purpose is working alongside tāngata whaikaha to support them to lead their best life.

Due to population increases, we are bringing on additional Service Facilitators in our organisation, giving you a chance to join a forward-thinking team prepared for the future of delivering outcomes under the Enabling Good Lives Principles. We offer flexibility in work locations and hours, so applications from across the rohe are welcome. We also encourage people with lived experience of disability to apply.

The Service Facilitator role works with an identified caseload to ensure that individuals and their family/whānau are supported through a whole-of-life approach through the utilisation of the principles of Enabling Good Lives. The right candidate will have the skills and attitude required to empower individuals and families/whānau to think aspirationally about their life goals and facilitate access to support to meet these goals across a variety of funded and community support options.

Key Objectives include:

  • Establish and build rapport with individuals and their family/whānau.
  • Gather information as required from a range of sources to establish desired outcomes.
  • Work with the individual and family/whānau to develop action-person-centered outcome plans.
  • Actively apply the aims and objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the Principles of Enabling Good Lives.

Required Skills and Competencies:

  • Experience in the disability sector (either professional or lived experience) preferred.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons, and Enabling Good Lives Principles. (Preferred)
  • Knowledge of the Code of Health & Disability Services Consumer’s Rights. (Preferred)
  • Knowledge and understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equitable service delivery.
  • Customer service focused: committed to providing exceptional customer service across all channels – written, phone, and face-to-face.
  • Communication: the ability to communicate clearly and concisely, with varying communication styles depending on the audience.
  • Attention to detail: excellent attention to detail and written skills when communicating with others, both internally and externally.
  • Teamwork: willingness to assist and support others as required and get on with team members. 
  • Time management: accomplish objectives effectively within the time frame given and carry out administrative duties within the portfolio efficiently and on time.

For a full copy of the Job Description or to express an interest in this role, please email hr@northable.org.nz. We will send an application form for you to complete and return to the same address.

If you require more information about this role, please contact Nikita on 09 430 0988

Applications close on the 5th of January 2024 at 5 pm. 

Chief Executive Officer

Full Time

Te Tumuhere – The CEO 

Are you a strategic, future-focused leader with experience in the non-profit sector? This role will suit someone looking for an opportunity to further their career in a well-established, thriving organisation. Bring your ambition to achieve the extraordinary, and you will find that the board and the team are right alongside you. 

Ko wai mātou – about us 

We are honoured to support Tāngata Whaikaha (people with disabilities), their whānau and the wider community of Te Taitokerau. NorthAble Matapuna Hauora is a registered charitable trust that has been serving the community for over 30 years. Our purpose is to work alongside Tāngata Whaikaha to support them in leading their best lives. 

NorthAble currently employs 47 staff members to deliver our comprehensive range of services. We are funded for a range of community support services by contracts from the Government (to the value of approximately $3.8 million); we also have an equipment shop and manage the Whangarei Budgeting Service.

As our upcoming annual report will detail, the organisation is in great shape; we are in a strong position culturally, operationally, and financially. All this means we can move forward with even greater ambition to further support the success of Tāngata Whaikaha, their whānau and our community. 

We are ready to take our mahi to the next level. 

Te tūranga - the role 

Reporting to the board of trustees and based in Whāngarei, this role leads the senior leadership team and has primary responsibility for all aspects of the organisation's delivery. 

The senior leadership team includes:

  • GM of Business Services and Operations
  • GM of Contract Commissioning Service Delivery 
  • Kaiārahi Kaupapa Māori
  • Finance Accountant

This role works with the board and the senior leadership team to implement the strategy and associated business/project plans and deliver outstanding leadership of NorthAble Matapuna Hauora.

Te Tumuhere - The CEO is accountable for ensuring the team is fully supported, resourced, and enabled to do their best work. The role must shape a positive environment, embrace te ao Māori, and promote a high-quality, sustainable service model. 

The role is also the face and voice of the organisation. It is responsible for championing our kaupapa and listening to the ideas and needs of all our key stakeholders, including Tāngata Whaikaha, whānau, the wider community, Iwi and the Government.

He kōrero e pā ana ki a koe – about you 

You will not be content with the status quo and will have a proven track record of leading innovation. 

You will have a background in non-profit leadership, with strong capabilities across organisational strategy, stakeholder engagement, financial management, organisational culture, and operations. 

You will embrace the strengths of your colleagues in a collaborative approach to leadership while also honouring the responsibility as Chief Executive to deliver clarity, smooth operations, and effective strategic leadership for the organisation. 

You will have: 

  • Proven leadership experience in a non-profit environment, ideally across disability, health, and social services.
  • An alignment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 
  • Outstanding communication skills and track record of effective engagement across diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Sound knowledge of governance, contracts, and policy management. 

We welcome applications from people who live with a disability.

Kō tā mātou mahi – this is what we do/this is the work we do 

In this role, you can look forward to: 

  • Building on a strong, established foundation of mahi, and setting your sights on the horizon.
  • The opportunity to lead an outstanding team of values-driven professionals who are passionate about the kaupapa of the organisation. 
  • Meaningful mahi, knowing you are making a positive difference for Tāngata Whaikaha, whānau and your community.

  • Flexibility and support from a passionate and engaged board of trustees.

 Applicants must provide their CV and a cover letter, addressing their understanding of the sector and how their skillset aligns with the criteria sought.

For a confidential discussion about the position, please contact Carol Searle, Interim CEO, on 0274638 588

For all applications, email carol.searle@northable.org.nz

Closing Date: Wednesday 24th January 2024.

Employment Pathway Broker

Full-time, Fixed-term

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 Support Mentor who can liaise with businesses and support interns and their families/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 happy to provide support 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 it our teams or clients. We are a whānau-first organisation, be it at home or our team here at work.

This is a full-time, fixed-term, Monday to Friday role based in Whangārei, although occasional weekend or outside-of-office hours work may be required.

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 to create the best environment for success.
  • Managing enrolments, course communication, support and tracking participants' progress.
  • 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 are 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.

Success in this role is about bringing yourself to work and being who you are. If you feel motivated to apply for this role but don’t meet all criteria, we’d still like to hear from you.

The starting date for this role will be the 8th of January 2024.

Please request a job application form and job description from Nikita Du Plessis. Email the completed job application form, CV/Resumé and cover letter to hr@northable.org.nz.

If you would like more information on this position, please call Kris or Adam on (09) 430 0988.

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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