The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board comprises seven elected members and four members appointed by the Minister of Health. The board meets monthly – with every third meeting in Blenheim and the rest in Nelson.

About district health board elections 

In New Zealand, local elections are held every three years for district health boards and councils.

The elections are conducted under the provisions of the Local Electoral Act 2001, the Local Electoral Regulations 2001 and the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. The Nelson and Tasman and Marlborough District Councils conduct the NMDHB election on its behalf.

The most recent election was held in October 2019 resulting in the re-election of five existing members and the election of new two members.  In December 2019 the Minister of Health appointed the remaining four members and the board chair. The new board took effect on 9 December 2019. 


Jenny BlackJenny Black (Chair)

This is Jenny's fifth term on the board and fourth term as Chair. She started her career as a dietitian in Nelson in 1982 and gained her understanding of the 'healthy to illness' healthcare spectrum during her professional practice. 

Jenny believes in keeping people well, and where possible, providing healthcare as close to home as possible. She encourages people in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions to keep themselves in good health, live well and seek help when needed.


Craig DenissCraig Dennis (Deputy Chair)

Craig was appointed to the Board in 2016 and in 2019 was reappointed as Deputy Chair. He is a Chartered Accountant who over the last five years has led a consultancy company offering financial, business and governance advice for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The previous 25 years, Craig was in various senior finance and general management roles mainly in media companies. The last of those roles was as Director of the Results Delivery Office for Fairfax Media in New Zealand.

Craig is a director of several private companies involved in construction and developments and previously served on the Nelson Tasman Hospice Investment Trust when it delivered its new facility in Stoke.


GeraldHopeGerald Hope

Gerald is a current councillor on the Marlborough District Council. Mayor of Marlborough from 1998–2001. During that time he chaired the community and financial planning committee, environment committee and sat on various council-owned trading entities. 

Gerald served on the Cawthron Institute Trust for fifteen years, as well as serving on many community organisations, including chair of Hospice Marlborough Trust for ten years.

Outside of his Nelson Marlborough Health roles, Gerald is Chief Executive of the Marlborough Research Centre.


Brigid ForrestBrigid Forrest

Brigid has given 30 years of medical service to the 'Top of the South'. Starting in general practice with obstetrics, Brigid then retrained to become a community geriatrician working with the elderly to maintain their health and independence.

Brigid is currently a medical officer at Hospice Marlborough. She has served on school, community and local business advisory boards. Brigid has a strong community focus and believes in equitable health services for all.


Dawn McConnellDawn McConnell

Dawn spent 30 years as an employment relations specialist across New Zealand public sector agencies, including the Department of Maori Affairs, NZ Forest Service, State Services Commission and the Ministry of Defence – where she managed human resources.
Dawn is primarily interested in achieving better health outcomes for Maori, but recognises the need to ensure that these are achieved in co-operation with all health partners working to achieve better health outcomes for all people.

 Dawn was reappointed to the Board by the Minister of Health in 2019.


Allan PantingAllan Panting

Allan was elected to the Board in 2016 and re-elected in 2019. He retired from clinical practice in 2014, having worked in Nelson for almost 35 years as a surgeon.

Allan has held numerous leadership roles in Nelson Marlborough regional health bodies, including terms as secretary and president of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association and an executive director with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS).

Allan is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and holds the RACS' Colin McRae Medal. He is a strong advocate of physical activity and has a passion for sport. He has completed half-marathons, marathons and is a keen cyclist.


Stephen VallanceStephen Vallance

Stephen was elected to the Board in 2016 and re-elected in 2019. He is a retired general and vascular surgeon, who worked at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim for 24 years.

Stephen has served on a number of professional and non-professional committees including as President of the New Zealand Association of General Surgeons. He spent five years working as a locum at mostly rural Australian hospitals, including a stint as a flying surgeon in Queensland.


PaulMathesonWebPaul Matheson

Paul was elected to his first term on the Board in 2019. Paul served on the Nelson City Council as mayor for nine years, deputy mayor for six years and represented Local Government NZ at a national level.

Paul is currently a board member of the Nelson/Tasman Cancer society, chair of the Tahunanui Business Association and a trustee of Te Matau (a proposed marine educational centre).


OliviaHallWebOlivia Hall

Olivia was appointed to her first term on the Board in 2019. Olivia has whakapapa to many of the iwi in Te Tau Ihu (Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough) and is committed to her iwi of Ngāti Rārua.

Olivia is a curriculum manager at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, chair of Te Runanga o Ngāti Rārua, chair of Tasman Bays Heritage Trust (Nelson Provincial Museum), a trustee of Nelson College and a Nelson Marlborough Institute of Directors committee member.


JillKerseyWebJill Kersey

Jill was appointed to her first term on the Board in 2019.  Jill is a registered nurse with governance and leadership experience. Her previous roles include nurse tutor, midwife and the programme leader of the Bachelor of Nursing programme at Southland Polytechnic.

Jill's governance experience includes President of the NZ Nurses Association Southland, Vice President of AFS Southland chapter, nurse representative on the Southland Medical Foundation and as a member of the NZQA Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisory Group and the Cervical Screening Advisory Group. Jill has a Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Master of Nursing.