People profiles

Putiputi OBrien

It is with sadness we acknowledge the passing of our patroness Mrs Puti Puti O’Brien.

Puti Puti was a public health nurse following nursing registration in 1945. She became a district health coordinator and then manager of the Ngati Awa ki Rangitaiki initiative. Puti Puti was also the patron of Te Kaunihera O Nga Neehi Māori O Aotearoa (the National Council of Māori Nurses) and the College of Nurses Aotearoa. A a recipient of Te Runanga O Aotearoa’s Akenehi Hei award for her contribution to Māori health. In 1987, she was awarded the Queen's Service Order for her contribution to community and welfare organisations at local and national levels.

Puti Puti’s words to Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa/New Zealand are as relevant today as the day she wrote them:

“Kia Tiaho, Kia Puawai te Maramatanga”, the Illumination, the Blossoming of Enlightenment, for me is the endeavour to seek professional enlightenment and advancement which reflects my passion and commitment for nurses and nursing and my desire to see nurses meet the needs of all our people of Aotearoa. This is how I see us as nurses of this group. Going forth to serve for a Smokefree Aoteaora.

Kia kaha – be strong and be brave. May our dear Lord bless you every day.

Arohanui, Puti Puti O’Brien.

Grace Wong

Grace Wong, Director, Smokefree Nurses


Grace’s work is devoted to tobacco control, nurses and equity. She is a senior lecturer in Nursing at AUT University and PhD STAR scholar. Grace was a public health nurse and researcher/policy analyst at Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand.

Evelyn Hikuroa

Evelyn Hikuroa, Strategy Development for Māori Nurses

Evelyn Hikuroa (Ngati Maniapoto) RN is a senior lecturer in the Department of Nursing and Health Studies at the Manukau Institute of Technology. She teaches Māori Health and Nursing with a Community Focus to undergraduate nursing students. Evelyn holds a PGCert Clinical Teaching, PGCert in Public Health, and is a Masters candidate.


Loma-Linda Tasi, Strategy Development for Pacific Nurses

Loma-Linda has worked in the Health and Disability sector for almost 20 years, and is passionate about improving Pacific people’s health outcomes. In the past decade Linda has been involved in the Quit Smoking Programme and developing the Pacific Services for The Quit Group. Linda also worked as a Quitline Advisor, Acting Quitline Manager, and Quitline Team Leader before taking up the Pacific Services Advisor role at Quit. Linda is a Senior Nurse Lecturer for the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific Programme at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and is involved in the Smokefree Pasifika Action Network (SPAN).


Mary  Carthew, Strategy Lead Primary Health Care

Mary is a primary health care nurse with experience working in public health, district nursing and primary health care teams throughout the Auckland and Northland regions. Her current role of Associate Director of Nursing, Primary Health Care at Mania Health PHO is one of two leadership roles aligned with the current PHO structure in Northland. The intent of the position is to partner nursing leadership between the Northland PHOs and the Northland DHB by working strategically for the benefit of all nurses across Northland.

Karen at WSD 29-5-15 croped-359-774-159

Karen Stevens, Steering Group member


Karen joined the Steering Committee in 2014, bringing her extensive experience in Smoking Cessation and Smokefree Hospitals. Karen is the current manager of Smokefree services at ADHB managing Stop Smoking Maternity services, and hospital services for “Better Help for Smokers to Quit” including a central stop smoking referrals service. Karen has worked on Smokefree hospital issues since September 2004. Prior to this she was a Respiratory Nurse Educator.


Penny Thompson, Steering Group member


Penny is a registered nurse with 8 years experience, currently working in the of Smokefree Programme Manager for the Hawkes Bay District Health Board.   I am lucky to be surrounded by a team of people who share my commitment and passion for Smokefree.

Sue Stenveson-708-655-829

Sue Stevenson, Steering Group member


Sue has a nursing background, having worked for the CDHB for the last 28 years. Her current role as Hospital Smokefree Co-ordinator involves developing and maintaining hospital systems to enable effective and efficient delivery of the ABC Smokefree Strategy and to provide education and support to hospital staff on the ABC, provision of NRT and cessation options.


Shona McLeod, Project Co-ordinator Smokefree Nurses


Shona joined the Smokefree Nurses Team in February 2014. She has a DHB funding and planning background. Most recently she worked as a health promoter in a DHB Public Health Unit.

Pauline Allan-Downs

Special acknowledgment is made to Pauline Allan-Downs who started this initiative.

Pauline is a registered nurse and after a career as a practitioner and educator she now provides clinical supervision and professional development for nurses and smoking cessation practitioners in the community.

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