Workshop facilitators

Our people bring diverse skills, cultures and life experiences.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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."


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    Kayte Godward

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Malo e lelei, Talofa Lava, Bula! 

    I believe a profound connection occurs within each of us when we collaborate with others to explore, examine, and accept the human experience in its entirety. It is in the sharp ebbs, expansive flows, weathered highs, and cavernous lows that we exist in our shared humanity. It is those visceral, teachable moments from our lived experience that connect us. 

    My journey has led me into a variety of roles across the health and social services where I specialised in crisis-intervention both on the front-line and as an educator in work-force development. I currently provide services as an independent consultant/educator working with various organisations.

    In my creative life, I am an award-winning professional actress, writer, director, wife, and mother of two beautiful tamariki. We all live near Raglan on the west coast.

    Mauri Ora!

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    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.

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     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.


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    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.

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    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. 

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    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.


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    Mathew McMillan

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    I grew up in the Hawkes Bay but live in Nelson with my wife and our three boys.  I have a Social Work and Health Science background and have worked in a variety of settings including Alcohol and Drug Outpatient and Inpatient Services.  I am now self-employed and operate a small Addiction Service with the help of two counselors.  My focus is problem gambling and gaming, though I also provide clinical supervision and teach part-time. I was motivated into this work for a number of reasons and remain passionate about seeing effective support for those facing addiction issues and mental distress.  

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    Michelle Brewerton


    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    Michelle is a project lead with Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui.

    She has qualifications in Psychotherapy and Health Science and has worked in the Alcohol and Drug Sector for 20 years as a clinician, supervisor in Counties Manukau and family advisor for CADS Auckland.

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    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.

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    Moira Gilmour

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    Moira is one of our Addiction 101 facilitators.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Shona McNeil

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I'm originally from bonnie Scotland having moved here with my husband in 2011. Scots and Māori have lots in common and I value what I've learnt from tangata whenua about holistic wellbeing and the importance of tūrangawaewae, especially being so far from 'home', and try to incorporate these as a Blueprint Facilitator. 

    My background is in the arts where I combined my love of theatre with a passion for stimulating creativity and wellbeing with all ages and abilities.  I use creative skills such as sand tray in my practice as a counsellor with Abuse & Rape Crisis in Manawatū.  

    For self care, I love the garden, walking on the beach with our dogs, and singing traditional African American spirituals.

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    Shreya Rao

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora tātou 
    Ko Puketāpapa te maunga 
    Ko Manukau te moana 
    Nō Tāmaki Makaurau ahau
    Ko Shreya tōku ingoa

     I began working in the advocacy space in 2012. I was passionate about youth mental health and wanted to see a change. My advocacy took me into clinical services, onto governance boards, and on various panels at conferences. I advocated for youth friendly services, services that catered to our Asian youth, and focused energy on prevention. During this time, I also gained conjoint degrees in Public Health and Science (Psychology). 

    My proudest achievements are the young people I mentored through programmes with the Mental Health Foundation and Changing Minds. Our young people have spoken at schools, showcased art and poetry, and shared their stories on tv. It gives me great pride to see these rangatahi continue to champion the kaupapa our forebearers began. 

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    Shubhangi Kaushik

    Facilitator - MH101®

    As a registered psychologist, I am interested in organisational change and how and why people adapt to and embrace change. I view working with organisations as low hanging fruit to increase awareness of mental wellbeing and build a positive workplace culture, therefore creating a wider impact in peoples lives.

    In my professional life, I have worked across different verticals of the non-government and government mental health sector, both at a strategic and grass-roots level, providing consultation on strategic vision, service design, development, implementation and delivery, and project and change management.

    Much of my working career has involved facilitation in some way, shape or form. I see it as a way to equip others with the tools they need to understand mental well-being, supporting early intervention. I also see it as a great learning opportunity for myself, meeting new people and fostering positive discussions on important topics, while developing new perspectives.

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