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Members of the Board of Trustees

Hawksbury’s Board of Trustees is composed of seven members, including a Trustee representing the people supported by the Trust.  Its Chairman is Richard Thomson.

The Board of Trustees have the crucial role of determining the strategies for Hawksbury’s funds and governance activities and overseeing their implementation

Richard Thomson - Chair

PGDip. Clin. Psych, MA, BA Hons (first class)


Richard ThomsonRichard is the Dunedin based Chair of Hawksbury, a position he has held now for over 20 years.

He trained at Otago University as a Clinical Psychologist and after graduating was offered a position as a lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago Medical School. After several years Richard resigned his position to run the Dunedin Environment Centre as part of a major campaign to prevent an aluminium smelter being built at Aramoana on the Otago Harbour. During this period he set up, with his partner Anita, a small shop that helped to pay the rent on the campaign headquarters. As a result of this he discovered a love of retail that has resulted over the last thirty years in the building up of the Acquisitions retail chain which now number 20 stores from Auckland to Dunedin.

Richard has remained active in health however. As well as his long-term involvement with Hawksbury he has spent time as a Board Member on the old Otago Area Health Board, and from 2000 until his recent retirement in 2019 he has been a member of the Otago DHB and then the Southern DHB. This included seven years as Chair of the Board. When the SDHB Board was dismissed by the Minister of Health in 2015 he was appointed by the Minister as a deputy Commissioner to run the DHB – a position he held until retiring in 2019. In 2010 he was elected as top polling Councillor to the Dunedin City Council. He served two terms as a Councillor before work pressure meant he decided not to stand for election in 2016. In his second term he was the Chair of Finance for the Council. Richard is also a Trustee or Director of a number of other organisations including the Health Care Otago Charitable Trust and was a director and Chairman of Composite Retail Group before relinquishing that position in 2015. From 2010 to 2013 he was a Board member of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. He is currently a Board member of Dunedin City Holdings, Dunedin Stadium Properties, and Dunedin Railways.

Matthew Taylor - Treasurer

BCom, CA

Matthew TaylorMatt joined Hawksbury as a Trustee in May 2012, thanks to a referral from our previous and valued Treasurer. Matt is well-known throughout the South Island as a Business Advisor, and he has found immense pleasure in using the skills he has gained in practice over 30 years for the benefit of the Trust. Matt appreciates the invaluable support of staff and management working in the Canterbury and Otago residences, and can see the positive impact of their efforts on the lives of our clients and their families. As a result, he has found his time with Hawksbury to be a very rewarding experience.

In his day job, Matt is the Executive Managing Partner - NZ at Findex and is responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of their 23 offices around New Zealand. Across all areas of the business community, Matt offers a complete range of business advisory and accounting services. He is known for providing quality, practical advice based on tried and tested experience, combined with a dedication to clients and their businesses.


Matt grew up on the family Orchard in a farming community in Central Otago. He enjoys spending time with his wife and children, and when he is not travelling or enjoying his children’s’ pursuits, he rides his motorbike, spends time in his garden and plays golf.


Catherine Woods - Board of Trustee member


Catherine WoodsCatherine’s interest in the Hawksbury started when her brother Dennis was looking for a new place to live after so many years at Templeton Hospital.

Born in Dunedin where Catherine also completed her schooling, she trained as a primary teacher, and moved around New Zealand teaching in quite a few places before settling in Christchurch in the 1990's. Back then she had a very strong interest in the Pony Club movement especially when her two boys were riding and was a firm believer in the philosophies expressed within this movement for young people.

Now retired from teaching, Catherine finds she has life so busy she wonders, just like so many retirees, how she ever had time to work. Two days a week Catherine does volunteer work. Catherine has started doing biographies for palliative patients which is a new project she’s enjoying. Apart from those volunteering activities, she loves spending time with her grandchildren both here and in Australia. Catherine also does a shift at Nurse Maude Hospice which she finds rewarding and meaningful. Catherine belongs to a Walking Group and a Book Club as well. Along with those activities, there is her love for her garden, and she has different craft work on the go.

Catherine enjoys being involved with the Hawksbury Family and is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees.


W.D. (Bill) McElhinney - Board of Trustee member

Queen’s Service Order (QSO)

Bill McElhinneyBill has had an association with intellectual disability for the past forty-three years. He was Chairperson of the Templeton Centre Parents Association throughout the period of de-institutionalisation and was awarded the Queen’s Service Order, in 1999, for his work and leadership during that process. He joined Hawksbury as a Trustee in 1998 and has served in that position ever since. Bill still enjoys working with Hawksbury and being involved with the changes that are taking place and the positive effect that it makes to the life of our people. He hopes to continue to be able to contribute to the on-going success ofHawksbury and further enhance the lives of the intellectually disabled folk we care for.

His involvement with intellectual disability has also includes working with the Templeton Centre Welfare Council and held the position of Chairperson for the last eleven years. He has also been a Trustee for Enrich Chaplaincy Trust since its inception in 2009. He is also a Trustee of Hapai Foundation which was formed when the Templeton Welfare Council was disbanded in 2020. The Hapai Foundation is currently introducing the Hapai “Access Card” to further enhance the lives of all people with a disability (https://www.hapaifoundation.org.nz).

Felicity Bond - Resident’s Representative

MA Psychology (Dist) Otago

Felicity BondFelicity was delighted to join the Hawksbury Board in 2010 in the role of representative for residents for whom Hawksbury is home. Her specific role on the Board is to filter all information and decisions through the lens of service users. This enables those who live daily with disability to effectively have a voice in shaping the direction and development of the support they receive.

Felicity has been the Manager of Dunedin Friend-Link since 1993, a service for people with intellectual disabilities which focuses on the social and recreational aspects of life. She is involved with several disability groups and organisations including the self-advocacy group, People First, the Disability Service Providers Network and the Enabling Good Lives working party. Felicity is also accredited by the Ministry of Justice and is contracted by the Ministry as a Restorative Justice Facilitator. She is committed to using restorative practices in a wide range of everyday situations to prevent or deescalate situations of potential conflict.

Felicity is fortunate in that her work brings her into close contact with many people who are supported by a range of services, both residential and vocational. This enables a broad view of both what is most important to people themselves and the different way things are done across the sector. When providing services, obviously the voice of those most affected needs to be listened to and heard. Felicity is committed to her role of keeping this voice at the very heart of Hawksbury governance.

Spending as much time as possible at the family’s Central Otago farmhouse retreat is a major aim in life, along with vicarious travel through overseas based adult children. 

Megan Hopper - Deputy Chair


Megan HooperMegan joined the Hawksbury Board in 2020 after being impressed by the management teams' commitment to continually improving the functioning of organisation for the ultimate benefit of residents and its long-term sustainability. In addition to her governance role for Hawksbury, Megan works as an advisor to the health and disability sector, assisting organisations to meet legislative and best practice requirements as well as improve the quality and efficiency of the service they provide.


Megan's background has included 25 years in healthcare, including clinical, operational, management and governance roles in Australia, Scotland and New Zealand. Megan is a qualified Lead Auditor and Registered Nurse with post-graduate qualifications in quality management and health and safety. Megan is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Organisation for Quality.


Megan has a particular interest in helping disability and clinical teams to function better through empowerment, to move beyond compliance and focus on improving the quality of the user experience. Megan is also a Director of Vector Consulting. Based in Queenstown, she enjoys exploring the Southern Alps on skis and foot whenever she can.


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