Workshop facilitators

Our people bring diverse skills, cultures and life experiences.

  • Erica

    John Davies

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    Before my nursing career, I lived and travelled extensively through Europe, Africa and Asia. My favourite place was Lamu on the Kenyan Coast. When I returned to New Zealand I did a degree in history and political science, despite having an aunty, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a sister and several close friends who were all nurses, plus a Mum who was going to be a nurse but became a teacher instead.

    Bowing to the inevitable, I completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 1998 at Christchurch Polytech. Following graduation, I was offered a place on the New Graduate Programme in Mental Health with the Northland District Health Board. Loving Northland, but missing home I returned to Christchurch and started my career in forensic psychiatry, a specialist area of mental health that sits between the criminal justice and health systems.

    By moving within different parts of one service, I have worked in acute, rehab and community settings giving me a very broad and deep knowledge of mental health and addiction issues, as the two almost always run side by side. I am extremely interested in the socio-political aspects of health and how factors external to the individual impact on health, trauma-informed care and how colonisation has impacted the physical and mental health of Māori.

  • Juliana

    Juliana Korzon

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I am a registered nurse with practitioner experience in mental health, addiction and disability settings in both New Zealand/Aotearoa and the United Kingdom. I also have over a decade of experience delivering adult education.

    I’m committed to supporting learners to advance their understanding of mental health and addiction for themselves, their loved ones and their communities.

    I’m of English and Polish descent. I live in Wellington with my partner and when I’m not at work I can often be found wandering the beaches and hills of the Miramar peninsular with my dogs.

  • Kate Twyford

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora koutou.   I grew up in the King Country and have ties to both the Waikato and Wellington.  My career has seen me work in a variety of roles within mental health settings both in New Zealand and overseas, more recently working with volunteers in the area of refugee resettlement.

    I feel privileged to work this role which promotes health, enhances skills and knowledge and recognises importance of culture in understanding wellbeing.  I value the shared experiences and wisdom that each participant brings to a workshop and the new insights I gain from their contribution to the group discussions.   

    In my spare time I love the view from on top of a mountain, scratching around in my vegetable garden and riding mountain bike trails.

  • Katie

    Katherine Owen

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I am a registered comprehensive nurse with 25 years’ experience working in the mental health and addiction sector both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom.

    I currently work in nursing education, developing the next generation of mental health nurses.

    I’m passionate about supporting the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations through community development and user-driven services. What I enjoy most about being an MH101 facilitator is meeting our amazing participants who bring empathy, compassion and the desire to make a difference in their own communities.

  • Katherine

    Katie Siueva

    Facilitator - MH101®

    There is something significant that happens when people come together in one of our workshops with the intention to understand an issue at a deeper level.

    I really enjoy being a part of this kaupapa; that we are investing time in meaningful conversations about health and wellbeing and learning how to better support ourselves and those around us. 

    When I'm not facilitating you can find me drinking too much coffee, walking near the beach or bush, listening to podcasts and spending time with whānau."


  • Kimberly

    Kimberly Bignell

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I've worked in the mental health sector in a variety of both clinical and peer roles over the last 12 years. MH101 is a workshop I feel proud to facilitate. It’s an incredibly respectful workshop that honours both the experience of mental distress and the experience of those in supporting roles – and that’s all of us!

    Most of my clinical work has been focused on children, young people and their families, as well as working alongside family members of those experiencing mental illness/distress.

    Alongside my colleagues, I try to approach a serious topic with a little lightness and a touch of humour.

  •  Kirsty Pillay-Hansen

    Kirsty Pillay-Hansen

    Facilitator - MH101

    Kia ora. I am proud to call beautiful sunny Tutukaka in Northland home and live in a pretty special place surrounded by native bush, tūi, kereru, gannets and the sea with my husband and our two sons.

    I'm South African-Indian and Pākeha and my husband is Māori-Chinese-Pākeha and I love working with people from diverse backgrounds.

    I am trained with an MA in psychology and my work background is in programme, training and facilitation roles in youth and community development, hauora and health promotion, mental health, mentoring and leadership development.

    My passion is adult training and education and working with groups of like-minded people to facilitate inclusive and safe spaces. Alongside this work with MH101, I provide supervision to youth workers across Northland and carry out research and programme development for the University of Auckland.

    I love being involved in my kids' school and our community and also time to myself, hanging out in nature, swimming in the sea, and spending time on my yoga mat.



    Kristal O'Neill

    Facilitator - Corrections Health Service Nurses Primary Mental Health and Addiction Education Programme

    I am passionate about improving the understanding of mental health and addiction within prison environments. I feel privileged to be a part of facilitating Registered Nurses learning in this unique area of practice. My background in acute mental health and counselling, as well as working as a mental health clinician in forensics/prison, has assisted me to connect to nurses in the Blueprint trainings. Listening to the experiences of nurses is one of the parts of this role that I most enjoy, as well as delivery of relevant information that applies to practice in 'real-time'. Every training leaves me feeling both inspired and grateful that we have a range of caring individuals working with people in their care in prison.

  • Lisa Perniskie


    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    I live in Ōtepoti/Dunedin with my partner and we have one daughter and two sons.  Living by the sea constantly nurtures my wellbeing.

    My background training and experiences are mainly in the arts, education, addiction and mental health fields.  I love working alongside people supporting them to rediscover their strengths and encouraging holistic wellbeing.

    Some of my passions and inspirations are art making, ongoing learning, being in nature, yoga, growing my own food, connecting with my whānau and my community.

    It’s a privilege to be part of Blueprint as a co-facilitator. Providing a learning space where people can come together to share knowledge and ideas about how to support our communities through the journey of addiction and recovery. I enjoy meeting people from diverse backgrounds and sharing different world views. 

  • Lotta

    Lotta Dann

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    Lotta has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over eight years.

    She is the community manager and content creator at and the author of two books on addiction, with a third due for publication in mid-2020.

    Lotta loves facilitating Addiction 101 for the opportunity it provides to have real and honest conversations about what's going on in our communities, and for the wealth of knowledge that gets passed around during each workshop.


  • Mana Lowe

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Ko Ngai Tahu Ko Tainui Ko Te Atiawa i aku Iwi.

    Kia ora koutou katoa.

    My name is Mana and I have worked in many community roles. 

    For the past nine years, I have been an addiction and mental health support counsellor. 

    What I love about my work is helping whanau figure out what is important for them, then supporting them to make and achieve their health and wellbeing goals.

    I see health and wellbeing as the whole person, body, mind, and spirit, and of course, there are the important things too, like family, friends, figuring out the world we live in, and how we see ourselves as a part of all of that. You know, the big stuff!  

  • Mel Lienert-Brown


    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora.  I am a registered nurse with over twenty years’ experience in clinical and educational settings. My practice is informed by Let's get real. Some of the key values that underpin my work are respect, compassion, hope, maanaki, and being genuine.

    I am excited to have the opportunity to work with participants in the workshops to enhance their understanding and skills so they are more confident in supporting people and whanau who are experiencing mental distress and/or addiction. 

    Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi

    With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive.

  • Erica

    Melissa Roberts

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    I have worked in the addiction and mental health field since 2010 after graduating with a Bachelor of Counseling. Throughout this time I have worked with people from all walks of life seeking support for concerns relating to their own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, within a district health board (DHB) setting and also in private practice. I am a full member of the NZ Association of Counsellors and am a dapaanz Accredited Supervisor.

    For the past few years, I have delivered training to staff on family and whānau engagement within addiction services, and a variety of other psychoeducational groups to clients, families and whānau.

    Participants who have attended training and workshops I have led have commented on how they appreciate the warm, empathic and engaging approach I bring to facilitating.

    My passion over has often included strongly the needs and experiences of family, whānau and communities that have been impacted by addiction and mental health needs.

    It is my privilege to be part of facilitating these workshops in our communities. I believe the greatest power we have to be part of the change and see a difference is to seek to understand and find a way to connect from a place of understanding and compassion. 

  • Moira Crispe

    I feel privileged to be a facilitator of MH101, as I’m passionate about facilitating discussion about mental health and wellbeing and supporting people to increase their knowledge and confidence.

    I have a broad knowledge of mental health with a focus on trauma informed care and suicide prevention. I bring a sense of compassion and empathy to the role.

    I really enjoy meeting and engaging with people who attend the workshop. It’s great to share about the services that are being provided in our communities, and the benefit these can provide to those facing challenges in life.

  • Moira Gilmour

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    Moira is one of our Addiction 101 facilitators.

  • Nan Blanchard

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora koutou

    I am a counsellor with over 20 years’ experience and a background in counsellor education, student counselling, private practice and supervision.

    My professional qualifications include a Master of Counselling from Massey University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington. I am a long-term member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

    I am delighted to be a facilitator for MH101®. I value the way this workshop provides a collaborative context for learning, drawing on lived experience and research informed practice to promote, enhance and develop wellbeing.

  • Nicola Tod


    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora koutou

    Originally from the UK, my background is in mental health occupational therapy and teaching. I have worked in a variety of settings over the last thirty years– schools, colleges, community, hospitals and prisons.

    My hope is to create a friendly, relaxed and safe environment in which people feel comfortable to share experiences, demystify mental illness/distress and explore these themes together.

    In my spare time, I enjoy theatre (both on and off stage), movies, splashing paints onto a canvas, occasional horse riding and confess to being a bit of a shopaholic. I live with my husband, a scruffy terrier and a whole lot of plants.

  • Rachel

    Rachel Stephenson 

    Facilitator - MH101®, Leading Wellbeing at Work

    I have a strong background in mental health and disability with close to 30 years’ experience in a variety of roles.

    I’m passionate about enhancing wellbeing and developing mental toughness and resilience.

    What I enjoy most about delivering MH101 is meeting new people, demystifying mental illness, reducing stigma, teaching participants how to look after themselves, validating the skills and experience that all participants bring with them and teaching a few new techniques to assist in supporting people’s experiences of mental distress.

    I believe one of my greatest strengths is storytelling and the ability to relate topics back to everyday life.

  • Renee

    Renee McDermott

    Facilitator - MH101®, Leading Wellbeing at Work

    Tena koutou katoa. I have worked in the mental health sector for more than 20 years. Over the years I have held a variety of roles, including systematic advocacy, management of peer mental health services, supervision, workshop development and one-on-ones with people who experience mental illness and their families.

    I have a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a certificate in Māori studies. I’m a qualified mental health supervisor and registered teacher.

    I have facilitated workshops for Blueprint for Learning for several years and I love working with an organisation that I know embraces holistic and evidence-based programmes to support strong, healthy workplaces, families and communities.

    I spent much of my youth living rurally and through my father remain connected with the farming community and the issues they face.

  • Rhys McDonald

    Facilitator - MH101® and Addiction101

    I work as a registered drug and alcohol counsellor for a district health board, bringing with me clinical experience in working with people and families who are experiencing issues with the use of drugs and alcohol.

    In addition, I have my own lived experience of addiction and recovery which enables me to bring a personal perspective to the workshops.

    What I love most about the work is seeing people realise as the day progresses that they already have many of the skills needed to support both themselves and others experiencing mental distress.

    I think it’s a privilege to be able to share my own journey in the workshop, which I hope helps in some way to reduce stigma and discrimination.

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Covid-19 Update

Under the Orange setting, we do not require a vaccine pass to attend in-person workshops. Participants are encouraged to wear a face mask when attending an in-person workshop, and physical distancing will be maintained. Online workshops continue to be available.