Te Whare Taumata O Nēhi Taiwhenua O Aotearoa

Rural nurses New Zealand

Te Whare Taumata O Nēhi Taiwhenua O Aotearoa bring an informed and united nurse perspective to the Hauora Taiwhenua Council.  

About Us

Our Chapter includes enrolled nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students from across rural New Zealand.  

We advocate and encourage the New Zealand rural nursing workforce and support access to education and supervision for rural nurses.  

Through our knowledge, connections, and expertise, we work to support and strengthen rural nursing in Aotearoa. 

Executive Committee

Rhonda Johnson

Clinical Health Planner Central Otago

Rhonda Johnson, RN.  Working as a consultant Clinical Health Planner for Jacobs.  Lives in Central Otago.  Member of Rural Nurses group since foundation in 2017.

Stacy-Maree Thwaites

Debi Lawry

Board Member Central Otago

I have been a nurse for 47 years. It is a career that has been varied, challenging and utterly rewarding. I have worked in urban settings, and rural New Zealand. From tertiary/quaternary hospitals to remote rural hospitals, I have been privileged to work with nurses and other healthcare professionals who share my passion for providing quality healthcare. The past 15 years my focus has been rural New Zealand. My jobs included nursing leadership roles and latterly management roles.

I joined the Rural Hospital Network executive team, to provide a nursing voice in this national organisation. I learned that rural nurses belonged to various organisations – but these focussed on the nursing profession rather than the challenges of nursing in a rural environment. Some nurses participated in the Rural GP Network. This organisation provided leadership in the rural health space, but was strongly primary healthcare focussed at that time. So rural hospital nurses didn’t identify with the organisation.

Eventually an opportunity arose for a group of like minded rural nurses, to establish a network for all rural nurses to connect. It differs from other organisations in that it has non financial membership, it connects to rural nurses across New Zealand via it’s Facebook presence and its website. An executive has been established to champion projects and provide leadership. We have deliberately tried to include nurses throughout Aotearoa working in a variety of areas. Our aim is inclusion and to improve the profile and support of rural nurses.

I live in Central Otago so have strong links rurally throughout the lower South Island. However, through Rural Nurses NZ, I feel part of a larger whanau of rural healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, and these connections remind me constantly of all that rural people have in common. Together we have more chance to improve support for rural nurses and therefore improve the healthcare that is provided to our rural communities.

Virginia Maskill

Researcher & Senior Lecturer at Otago University Christchurch

Virginia Maskill has been an Executive Committee Representative Member (Educators/Academics with Rural interest), for Rural Nurses, New Zealand, since 2017.  Virginia is also a researcher and senior lecturer at the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies at the University of Otago, Christchurch where her role includes being the Rural Health Academic Lead, for the Centre, undertaking rural health care research, and convening the Rural Nursing and the Primary Health Care – Urban/Rural Papers Papers.

Catherine Beazley

Nurse Practitioner Hokianga Health

I began working as a Nurse Practitioner in 2013 and currently work in primary health care for Hokianga Health (a Maori Provider) in the remote north-west of the North Island.
Having started work in rural practice in 2000, I have gained experience in a number of positions including working as an inpatient RN on small acute ward; rural practice nursing and community nursing.
Regionally I am a member of the Primary Options Programme Northland group and Manaaki Manawa Heart Care Clinical Governance Group. I am also involved in a new rural research project, focused on the impact of introducing a haematology analyser at a rural hospital. I believe we need to work collectively to inspire future growth of this particular area of specialist nursing.

Christine Dorsey

Hospital Services Manager Hokianga Health

I live in the Hokianga, in rural North Island. I am currently employed at Hokianga Health as the Hospital Services Manager for our small rural hospital. My roles include overseeing the 24/7 accident and emergency, acute inpatients, and residential care services.

My background is in emergency care and midwifery across both primary and secondary care.

At an organisational level I am a member of the executive team and co-ordinate internal meetings and ongoing professional development for staff. I am also currently the chairperson for the South Hokianga St John- an endangered service in the current climate.

With regards to rural nursing my interests are in developing standardised clinical guidelines and standing orders for safe, effective use in rural New Zealand. In addition to this I am supportive of further work and resources to improve easily accessible professional development options for rural nurses.

Deb Bailey Lawson

Rural Generalist Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast Buller/ Te Wai Pounamu

Deb Bailey Lawson transplanted from the US in 2002. She has worked in rural primary healthcare starting in 2007, moving out from her undergraduate degree in 2005 to a rural placement as a Practice Nurse in Reefton, West Coast South Island.

She has always enjoyed working in rural places and working amongst rural people. She completed her Masters of Nursing – clinical, Primary Care in 2016, within the Nurse Practitioner pathway set out by NCNZ. While the 20016 Kaikoura Earthquake caused a bit of personal upheaval for a time, she has now returned to the West Coast landing a job as a Rural Nurse Specialist in Ngakawau. She is married to a wonderful guy named Chris and is the proud Grandmother of 6 grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, running, gardening and appreciating God’s creations.

Rhoena Davis

Board Member Northland

Northland Nurse Practitioner Rhoena Davis is the Deputy Chairperson, and former Secretary and Northern North Island representative. Ko Nga Puhi Nui Tonu te Iwi Rangatira. Ko Ngatokimatawhaurua te Waka. Ko Hokianga me Rangaumu nga Moana. Ko Tamatea raua ko Puwheke nga Maunga. Ko Te Rarawa raua ko Ngati Kahu nga Hapu. Ko Tomoniko Kanara raua ko Kawana Matenga tona Tupuna Matua. 

Rhoena began her career in rural nursing in 1993 after graduating from Northland Polytechnic as a comprehensive Registered Nurse. Her career began at the Bay of Islands Hospital in general rural nursing including paediatrics, coronary care and acute emergency care. She later undertook a role within Public Health working in small rural communities. She has worked with the Ngati Hine Health Trust as a mobile rural nurse and later moved onto a clinical management role. In 2010 Rhoena was endorsed by New Zealand Nursing Council as a Nurse Practitioner and has subsequently maintained her rural nursing perspective within the Ngati Hine Health Trust, Te Kohanga Whakaora (Kaitaia) and the Whangaroa Health Services. Each organisation has provided a diverse arena for learning, and growing as a rural advanced nurse. Rhoena also has representation on the New Zealand College of Nurses (Fellow); Te Tai Tokerau Nursing Leaders Group (Nurse Practitioners); Northland Rheumatic Fever Group; Northern General Practice Emergency Service Steering Group; the New Zealand Rural Nurses working group; and as a Nurse Practitioner mentor she has been part of nine aspiring nurses’ pathways to becoming Nurse Practitioners