Inform, Involve, Influence

What is the purpose of the consumer council?

The Consumer Council has input in to, and may be consulted about, a variety of aspects of health service provision and policy. This input will assist with planning, promoting, and providing services that meet the needs of our community.

The Consumer Council is a strong and viable voice in the planning and provision of health services across South Canterbury. Using the banner of “Inform, Involve, Influence,” the Consumer Council has both a communication role and a quality improvement role, with the focus being on community engagement and the promotion of innovation and best practice.

You can contact the Consumer Council on

Te Whakapai Ake i te Reo Matatini o te Hapori - Community Health Literacy Project

The key objective of our Consumer Council Te Whakapai Ake i te Reo Matatini o te Hapori - Community Health Literacy Project is to maximise people’s ability to negotiate and fully participate in their personal health journeys, so that they can make appropriate health decisions about their own health and that of their whānau. This is a key element in reducing inequities that particularly affect Māori, Pasifika and those with long term health conditions within the health system.

What is health literacy?

Health literacy is focused on consumers of health services and supports them to:

  • Have the confidence to ask questions
  • Understand how to navigate and interact with the health system
  • Learn how and where to find relevant, accurate health information
  • Understand health messages, nutritional information, and instructions such as those on medicine labels and prescriptions
  • Complete medical forms and respond to professionals
  • Arrange appointments and know what to take with them to those appointments.

A high level of health literacy enables people to negotiate the health system and take a more proactive approach to their own health and wellbeing.

Please see the below health literacy information:

The Consumer Council consists of the following members:

Jill Merritt - Deputy Chairperson


Having become a new member for the Consumer Council, l hope l can bring a passionate voice for the community, representing the greater South Canterbury area from Twizel to the Rangitata Bridge.

I am now in a position where l permanently care for my aged mother and have seen first-hand all the wonderful and widespread services that are available to the aged.  The problem in the past has been educating the consumer of the existence of these services and in many cases encouraging them to utilize these. We all want better health and in many cases just visiting our GP is not sufficient to still leading and enjoying a quality life in those golden years.

I hope to be a voice for the meek and hidden consumer in our wider community.

Andrew Humphrey

Kiwi by birth, Timaruvian by choice. In my role as a Medical Laboratory Scientist for over 30 years I have discovered that I know nothing. By asking questions I have helped people express their ideas and opinions, and help them get the answers to their own questions. I have been fortunate to experience the professional care and expertise of the staff at both Timaru and Christchurch Hospitals. As a consumer of the SCDHB services I hope I can encourage and support other consumers in helping the DHB provide the best care possible.

What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people!

Julie Patterson

I joined the Consumer Council to be a voice for those that can’t speak for themselves. Having had personal experience with the health system both here and in Australia and with my 89 year old Dad as well, I felt that I had something to contribute to improve things and that we could learn from others.

I now live in Timaru with my husband Terry and our two rescue dogs and rescue chickens. Our children have flown the coop and two of the three are happily living overseas. I came from a 26 year career in helping people in the community, where I’ve never been scared to speak out but have challenged the norm and fought for the underdog. I’m a see something, do something type of person too. I like challenges and in 2021 will be re-training for a year at our local ARA Institute, so that I can go back into the workforce with a totally different career.

I see my time on the Consumer Council being an extension of my previous career, along with a good dollop of common sense, life experiences, practical thinking and much more. I look forward to the future and working for the South Canterbury people and hope that my endeavours will contribute to the overall success of the South Canterbury District Health Board.

Siesina Latu


Malo e lelei, my name is Sina Latu. My husband and I have 5 grown up children in different places for education and sports. We moved to Timaru from Tonga in February 2005. Timaru is our home and it is a lovely place to raise up children, it’s big enough and small enough.

I wear many hats. I am a Registered Social Worker working for Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children. Also, I am the general manager of our Tongan Society South Canterbury Inc. I am also a trustee of our church and sit in a few Boards.

I am happy to be part of this group and can bring in our Tongan/Pasifika view when needed as we are very much part of this community. Looking forward to learn from others in this group and contribute when I can for the benefit of our communities.



Dominique Enright


Ko Aoraki te mauka

Ko Waitaki te awa

Ko Kāti Huirapa te hapū

Ko Kāi Tahu te iwi

Ko Dominique ahau

Kiaora, I am Dominique Enright and honoured to be a voice on the SCDHB Consumer Council.

I relocated from Lower Hutt to Te Tihi o Maru with my husband and toddler in March 2020, right on the cusp of the first COVID rāhui.

I am originally from Ōtepoti where I completed the majority of my studies and I worked as an executive assistant before being promoted to Mum.

I have a passion for women and the care available to them especially in their journey in to motherhood; everything from breastfeeding, to finding your village,  to supporting new whānau and their tamariki especially in those important first 1000 days.

I am kept busy with a four year old and a rapidly growing pēpi. I have recently returned to my role at Te Aitarakihi. Our weekdays are spent at our local Playcentre and our weekends are spent discovering

Gareth Ford

Kia ora katoa

Growing up in the Upper Clutha Wanaka area was a great start to life, finishing my schooling at St Andrews College in Christchurch. I then followed in my great grandfather’s footsteps, becoming a butcher.  For more than a decade I served my community as a volunteer firefighter, representing New Zealand twice at the World Firefighter Games and at the Ground Zero commemorations in New York. I also sat as vice chair of the Hawea Community Association for several years, working alongside the Queenstown Lakes District Council. My busy work life was complemented by my love of the great outdoors and adventure sports, including 20 years of motor sports at national and international levels.

My life was turned upside down in 2009, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I crashed and burned, thinking life was over but after picking up the pieces of my life I moved to Timaru, gaining qualifications in Mental Health and Addiction.  I’ve since served on the SCDHB Community Public Health Advisory Committee, soaking up information and learning the daily workings of our Health Board.

Having seven children that range from 21 down to 7 keeps me busy and in touch with our youth and my fiancé is employed in Aged Care and keeps me informed with what is happening for the older members of our community.

I enjoy meeting people hearing their stories, concerns and achievements also like to treat people as I would like to be treated no matter of their age, race or sexuality or circumstances.

Katrina van den Broeke

Born in Timaru, I left for tertiary study and work. Over the last few years, I have regularly returned to Timaru to care for my elderly parents, including my father who lived with dementia. During the Covid lockdown, travel restrictions impacted my ability to travel when my parents really needed help. Things went wrong, and they were affected by gaps in service provision, gaps which under normal circumstances might be filled by family/whanau.

In Timaru, my mother and I have had extensive experience with hospital services, dementia care services, in-home community care, and assessment processes for residential care. As a Consumer Council member, I have participated in the hospital’s Preventing Delirium project, providing the perspective of patients and family/whanau when receiving hospital care. This project is  particularly relevant to older patients, and patients experiencing cognitive impairment.

My professional background is in higher education where I have led both professional development and research initiatives - particularly focusing on more inclusive teaching and learning.

I view my role on the Consumer Council as a voice for the interests of older people, people living with disability, people with dementia, and especially their family carers, whose needs are sometimes overlooked.

Lata Kumar


I joined the Consumer Council in 2022, some four months back representing the Multicultural sector, I am the Vice Chair of Aoraki Multicultural Council, President of The South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society, on Board of the Fundraising Committee of Hospice Canterbury, Secretary of Bula Club (Fiji Indians) having a vast experience volunteering for Social Services, I felt that I have a lot to contribute towards the needs for our people.

I was born and bred in Fiji, travelled various countries during my 13 years of working with The European Union.  I moved to New Zealand in 2010, followed my partner’s dreams to move to Timaru which is our home now.  I am working at the Timaru District Council. I come from a small family of four siblings, two brothers and two sisters, I have two boys, they are well settled and happily living in Fiji.

I feel my time with Consumer Council will make a difference in mine and my people’s life, hope to give my best to enable assistance and support to this team of dedicated Board.