Current Council

Council Members

Kirsten Westwood - President

Kirsten is an Employment Law Advocate providing employment law solutions for employees. Kirsten has enjoyed a variety of legal, HR and management roles in the UK and NZ .

Kirsten has a love of learning and experience across a range of sectors. .Alongside her role as President of the Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation, Kirsten is an elected member of the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust.

David Barry

Was appointed by the Council as a member of Council and Medical Director 22yrs ago. He was a Paediatric specialist for the Hawkes Bay Hospital Board and its successors for thirty four years. David participated in Regional, National and International clinical research in childhood diseases(Rheumatic Fever, New-born Infection, Cot Death, Asthma & Allergy and Obesity). He has had governance experience in ; The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of NZ, Committees of Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Paediatric Society of NZ, the Central Regional Health Authority and the HBDHB. His current roles are with the Hawkes Bay Digital Archives Trust, the Scott Trust Fund and Breathe HB (formerly Asthma HB)

Michael Jackson - Treasurer

Michael is the Managing Director of the progressive Hastings based Chartered Accounting firm, PKF Carr & Stanton Ltd, where he works with many of Hawke's Bay organisations, helping clients to unlock the potential in their business and achieve their strategic goals.

Michael is a Chartered Accountant, also a Director at PKF New Zealand Ltd, and Trustee of the Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust

Helen Francis

Helen is a registered general and mental health nurse who has specialised in community and primary care.  She is a Senior Advisor in Primary care at the Ministry of Health and is currently on secondment to the National Health Coordination Centre for Covid19 Response.

Helen is the Napier City Council, representative on the HBMRF.

She is also an elected Trustee on the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust and has completed her PhD with Massey University studying the needs of people with multiple long-term health conditions.

Di Petersen

Di is appointed by the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and has been on the Council since 1995.  She is very involved in the Central Hawke’s Bay community in Health, Justice and Social services as well as Victim Support and Family Violence prevention. She is also a Trustee of various organisations including CHB Health, the CHB District Community Trust, (which owns the AW Parsons indoor Pool and stadium) and Central Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Health Taskforce.


Paul Hendy

Paul has predominantly worked as a general practitioner in Napier since 1984. His interests are in internal medicine, pain control and immune therapy for allergy. He works in crisis mental health for the DHB and has also spent time in medical work in the Kingdom of Tonga, Pune India, PNG as well as three six month periods under the NHS in England. He attempts to read widely in areas of research and aim to apply these findings to the practical aspects of medical practice. In his spare time enjoys running, tramping, trumpet and motorcycling.


Alwyn Corban

Alwyn represents Hastings District Council on the HBMRF. After a long career as a winemaker Alwyn now has a mixed portfolio of interests.  He is a business consultant, mentor and a “not for profit” trustee. 

Alwyn is a trustee of Hawkes Bay Youth Development Trust (Graeme Dingle Foundation) which runs a suite of programmes in Hastings schools that build resilience in our children with an emphasis on mental resilience and is also a trustee of Napier Pilot City Trust which has the mission of building a kinder and fairer city through child friendly policies and restorative justice practices.  


Hayley Anderson

Hayley is privileged to join the HBMRC and looks forward to supporting the development of positive local research that adds to the current body of knowledge.

Hayley has worked as a nurse at Hawke’s Bay Hospital, tutored at EIT and worked in health promotion. She has been CEO of The Hastings Health Centre and GM Hohepa Homes Trust Board. As a Health Consultant she has had experiences in DHBs, Private Hospitals, Hospices and Aged Care. She has been a Board member with Hawkes Bay PHO, Te Matau a Maui Health Trust and chaired the Board of Cranford Hospice.

In late 2019 Hayley was elected to the Hawkes Bay District Health Board and has several associated committee responsibilities. Most recently she was one of a group of Incident Controllers leading the Hawkes Bay health response to COVID-19 and functioned in the health liaison role with Civil Defence Emergency Management. Since moving to L1 she has taken on a general management role within the DHB Public Health Unit.

Hayley is aware there has been some interesting research outcomes coming as a result of the work funded by HBMRC and is looking forward to sharing this information across the sector.

Anita Jagroop-Dearing

Anita migrated to New Zealand after more than 20 years of medical research and academic success as a Senior Scientist at the major teaching hospital, University College London Hospital (Royal Free Campus, Lon) in UK. Her research interests are in the field of Medical Health and Wellbeing, and more specifically heart disease, blood platelets, stroke, diabetes and nutrition where she has published extensively. Anita currently works at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), where she is the Chair of the Health Research Committee. She also sits on the EIT Strategic Research Committee as well the newly formed New Zealand Institute of Technology (NZIST) Health & Wellbeing Research Group. She is the International Postgraduate Programme Coordinator in Health Science, and a Senior Lecturer.

Anita was the Research Project Manager with the HBDHB for a programme of research involving the Havelock North, Campylobacter outbreak that affected up to 8,320 people in Aug 2016. Some of this work was recently (May, 2020) presented internationally where Anita won ‘Best Presentation Award’ at the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology Conference, Lon, UK. She is now on the Technical Committee & Editorial Review Board for this International Research Conference Series. Anita holds a range of professional memberships. To name a few, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH) UK, a Fellow of European Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (EPCCS) as well as on the Editorial Board of various medical journals. But mostly, Anita’s passion is scientific writing and publishing.


Cath Kingston

Cath is currently the Operations Manager for the New Cultivar Innovation Portfolio at Plant & Food Research and has a focus on building and maintaining connections within the organisation and with commercial partners and collaborators. As Operations Manager, she works with both science and business teams to resource and advance ideas and projects. With formal training in horticulture (a horticultural science degree from Massey University), she has worked with many key horticultural industries in New Zealand throughout her career, which has predominantly been with Plant & Food Research and its predecessor organisations. She was seconded to Summerfruit New Zealand as their research manager and spent more than six years as client relationship manager for Zespri.  Besides horticulture, she has worked in Government science funding agency Foundation for Research, Science & Technology (now MBIE).  She has been a Council member of the Hawkes Bay Medical Research Foundation for over 8 years and chairs the Health and Research Committee.

cath kingston

Rob Leikis

Rob Is an endocrinologist at Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. Rob grew up in the Hawkes Bay area, trained at Auckland Medical School. Worked in Waikato, Christchurch and Wales. Rob is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In addition to endocrinology specialty also works as a general physician for inpatient care and has been an investigator for a number of phase 2 and 3 pharmaceutical trials.

Rob is Married to a general practitioner and has 2 teenage sons. In spare time grows olives on a lifestyle block, enjoys cycling, skiing and attempting to keep up with sons activities.