Community Forum

The Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery must arrange for a community forum to be held, under section 6 of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, for the purpose of providing him with information or advice on earthquake recovery matters.

Under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act, the forum must consist of at least 20 members and meet at least six times a year.

The Community Forum consists of 24 members from a wide cross-section of the Canterbury community representing business and ethnic interests, as well as residents associations and groups.

The Minister also holds regular briefings with local elected representatives, including community board members, councillors and district health board members, in Canterbury to discuss progress on recovery.

Community Forum notices »

Community Forum members

Richard Ballantyne Rachael Fonotia Trevor McIntyre Emma Twaddell
Leah Carr Wendy Gilchrist Lesley Murdoch Suzanne Vallance
Joseph Chamberlain Maria Godinet-Watts Jocelyn Papprill Brian Vieceli
Weng Kei Chen Ruth Jones Faye Parfitt Rachel Vogan
Gill Cox Tom McBrearty John Peet Siong Sah (John) Wong
Martin Evans Deborah McCormick Patricia Siataga Darren Wright

Richard Ballantyne

Richard is a Board Member and Executive Director, and former Managing Director, of J Ballantyne & Co Ltd.

Educated in Canterbury, Richard gained a B.A. (History), B.Com (Accounting and Economics) at Canterbury University and is a Chartered Accountant.

Richard is a Board Member of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, a Life Member and past President of the New Zealand Retailers Association, a Fellow of the Institute of Management, Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

He is a Trustee of the Cholmondeley Foundation, which supports the children’s home, a Board Member of the Central City Business Association, former Chairman and Board Member of Medbury School, former Board Member of the Laura Fergusson Home and a former Chairman of the Canterbury Promotion Council (now Canterbury Marketing).

Richard's specific business interests involve:

  • The welfare of the central city as the cultural, social and commercial heart of the region for the benefit of both local and visiting people.
  • The successful co-existence of the country's commercial, agricultural and economic interests with the environment (still one of the best in the world and requires careful management) and our dependence on the management of both in the long term.
  • As the firm has branches in Christchurch City, Christchurch International Airport and Timaru, Richard is supportive of the sustainable development and potential of the Canterbury Region.
  • The governance, succession planning and management issues facing privately owned companies in New Zealand.

He is married with three grown up children and in his spare time enjoys gardening, fly fishing, golf and reading history

Leah Carr

Leah has been involved in the commercial and financial services sector for over 25 years, consulting domestically and internationally to a wide range of corporate organisations, overseas governments and small to medium enterprises in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sectors. Her key strengths are in strategy and planning, cultural alignment, marketing and organisational operational structures and workability.

A Cantabrian by birth and from a family with an established and well known Canterbury business, Leah has been a local business owner for 20 years.

She has a strong commitment to Canterbury and the community, has developed a number of community based programmes within Schools on a voluntary basis, and worked in a volunteer capacity as a Vice President for Save the Children New Zealand with responsibility for the Canterbury region.

More recently Leah has acted as a representative for SCNZ on the National Disaster Relief Forum to support the Canterbury Earthquake response, including managing the provision of Save the Children’s Journey of Hope programmes in Canterbury, designed to offer psycho social support to parents, caregivers, teens and children.

Leah is married, her husband is a teacher, and they two daughters.

Joseph Chamberlain

Joey was Deputy Head Boy at Aranui High School in 2011. He was also the student representative on the Board of Trustees for Aranui High School. Joey represented Christchurch East at the 2010 Youth Parliament. He says this made him realise how he needed to be more involved in his community.

Following the Youth Parliament he continued with opportunities presented via the Ministry of Youth Development, including co-facilitating a Youth Forum called YouthQuake. This in turn assisted him to get involved in the Otautahi Youth Council, and then to join the Community Forum. He is a committed advocate for youth in all his activities and will truly represent the views of the youth in this city.

Weng Kei Chen

I arrived in Christchurch 42 years ago to begin my tertiary education at Canterbury University. Since then, Christchurch has been my home.

I began my engineering career in local government in Christchurch. During this time I had the opportunity to make significant contributions towards the growth and progress of Christchurch. In particular, its road networks asset management, subdivisional projects and commercial developments. I am also privileged to serve on New Zealand Utility Advisory Group and Standards NZ.

In addition to my busy career I am very fortunate to have a very supportive wife and family enabling me to serve the community. My community involvement range from activities in the Chinese Community; Trustee member for Burnside High School; advocating for resettlements strategies and the well being of our newer communities. My volunteer work also led me to serve as President of New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils, Advisor to Human Rights Commissions project on National Plan of Action, and Voluntary Sector Community Task Force.

Gill Cox

No information available.

Martin Evans

Martin represents the Canterbury Property Investors Association.  This is an association of about 600 members who are property investors and landlords of residential and commercial properties in Christchurch.

Martin is immediate past president of NZ Property Investors Federation, President of the Independent Property Managers Association, a business mentor with Business Mentors NZ and a past president of the Christchurch Budget Service.

He is managing director of A1 Property Managers Ltd, which manages hundreds of residential properties in Christchurch. He owns a large portfolio of properties.

Martin was born and bred in Christchurch and has children and grandchildren here.  He has travelled the world but believes he has not found a city more perfect than Christchurch to reside in.  He is saddened by the way the city has been devastated but at the same time is excited by the prospects of the rebuild.

Rachael Fonotia

No information available.

Wendy Gilchrist

Wendy is a keen member of her Christchurch community, in particular the eastern seaside suburbs, and believes that the values of respect and caring for one another and a commitment to working collaboratively will ensure a positive outcome to the rebuild of Canterbury. "We need to support the vulnerable in our community while facilitating excellent local ideas for our recovery."

Wendy is currently an elected member of the Canterbury District Health Board and a member of the Human Rights Review Tribunal. With a background in nursing, osteoporosis research and business she brings a broad range of skills and a desire to make a significant contribution to the CERA Community Forum on behalf of her community.

Wendy was Chair of the Canterbury Osteoporosis Society for three years and involved in promoting the establishment of Osteoporosis New Zealand. She was the sole driver in the successful establishment of a public bus service for school students from Sumner area to the schools north of the city. This is now a regular service. For the last four years, Wendy has been lobbying the Council for design elements to be added to the new Ferrymead Bridge. The building of the new bridge provides an opportunity to create a sense of arrival to the Eastern seaside suburbs that does not currently exist. This initiative is supported by the Hagley Ferrymead Community Board, and has been presented to Council with 100 signatures and an offer to initiate fund raising if required.

Maria Godinet-Watts

Maria was nominated by PACIFICA Christchurch (national pacific women’s voluntary organisation) to advocate on behalf of Pacific People, Women, Arts and interested areas of sports that have large Pacific participation.

Maria was educated in, and has lived and worked in Christchurch almost all her life.  Her interests are family, and effective and sustainable economic and community development.  She has strong ties in the Pacific and women’s networks, locally, nationally and internationally.

Maria believes her key strengths are reflective of her multiple ancestry and genealogical ties to Samoa, England through her paternal grandfather, and Scotland through her maternal grandmother.

She has had a wide range of experience over a number of years primarily in the field of economic and community development, from early childhood through to adult community education, and has knowledge, skills and experience in governance through public sector management, including parliamentary systems, policy development and analysis and community based organisations.

Ruth Jones

Ruth is Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Māhaki and Ngāti Porou but was born and has spent most of her life in Christchurch.

As a person with living experience of disability, Ruth is committed to ensuring that diverse peoples, including Māori and disabled people, have equal opportunity and can be an integral part of the new Christchurch.

Ruth is a qualified social worker and has worked in the disability sector as a practitioner manager for the last twenty years and has also worked in the tertiary education sector and as an advisor to the Christchurch City Council and NGOs.  She is now a consultant.

Currently Ruth is the Chair of Workbridge, is on the Te Wai Pounamu Regional Leadership Group for Whānau Ora and is a member of the National Taskforce for Stopping Violence within Families.

Tom McBrearty

Chair CanCERN, C.E.O. Salcom Technologies

Tom has worked in a variety of industries including tourism, printing, fishing, bicycle manufacturing, motoring and newspapers. He has held marketing and management positions, including CEO roles, at the Young Designer Awards Trust and NZIM. He is currently CEO at Salcom Technologies.

Tom has also been a Board Member and Chairman of District Tourism, New Zealand Institute of Management, New Zealand Automobile Association. A founding member of NZ Business Mentors and Advisor for Young Enterprise, Tom brings considerable experience in business and communication. He has a wide network of contacts who can help develop a sustainable and viable future for the Canterbury Region in a period of history that will challenge and demand a combination of community engagement, investment, vision, leadership and cooperation.

Deborah McCormick

Deborah is proud to have been educated in Christchurch. As a young arts graduate looking for career opportunities in Christchurch she surrounded herself with like-minded individuals and set up the Art & Industry Biennial Trust. Their vision is for Cantabrians to be stimulated and excited by and engaged with contemporary public art. SCAPE has established, over the past twelve years, a vital platform for artists to develop dynamic, critical and progressive new public artworks.

Following the earthquakes SCAPE, and the entire Christchurch arts community, is confronted with a new situation, challenges and opportunities, both artistic and operational.

Deborah believes she has the time, necessary skills, professional network and experience to be part of the Community Forum and looks forward to being involved in the processes and strategies required to rebuild the city – economically, structurally, socially and emotionally. She sees the arts an integral part of its development.

Deborah is committed to advocating for art and culture in the recovery and rebuilding processes, in a way which is responsive to different situations and opportunities.

"I am committed to playing a leadership role. The arts needs to be open to the community as an active agent for, and generator of, the recovery and rebuilding processes, and to act as a model of connectivity through artistic process."

Trevor McIntyre

Trevor is currently Headmaster at Christchurch Boys High School.  He came to this position eight years ago from being Deputy Principal at Timaru Boys High School.

Since being in Christchurch he has had numerous community-focussed roles, the most significant one being on the University of Canterbury Council. He has also had positions on the Young Designers Trust, the Trades Innovation Institute Advisory Board at the CPIT and Actionworks Trust.

He has also had several appointments to Ministerial reference groups and City Council working groups. One recent initiative was some work done in advocating for a rationalisation and collation of the numerous Youth Services in the city.

Trevor is currently a member of the Institute of Directors. He has a keen interest in education, youth affairs, sport, business and tourism. Trevor has not always been in education.  He was involved in the 1980s in owning and operating a 186 hectare sheep and deer farm.

Lesley Murdoch

Lesley was Captain of the New Zealand Cricket Team and is a former New Zealand Hockey player. She competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She is currently a primary age coach with the Marist Hockey Club and the Riccarton Cricket Club. She has been a director of New Zealand Cricket and Hockey and was a member of the Hood Committee for New Zealand Cricket Review.

Lesley currently works for NewstalkZB and Sky Sport and sits on The New Zealand Community Trust. Awarded an MBE for Services to Sport in 1985, Lesley is proud to being a passionate and committed Cantabrian living in the best city in the world.

She has a vision for getting more youth involved in sport, believing sport's positive impact on the physical and mental growth of young people leads to a more productive community on and off the sporting fields.

"In the new Christchurch, the future of sporting facilities will be built for the next Red and Black generations and how they service the needs of the community.  This is a great opportunity to exercise best practice and be a world leader in optimizing facilities in accordance with budgetary constraints."

Lesley is married and a mother of four.

Jocelyn Papprill

A resident of Mt Pleasant with her partner and 5 hens, Jocelyn is committed to Christchurch, its environment and its communities.  Recently elected Chairperson of the Mt Pleasant Memorial Community Centre and Residents’ Association, Jocelyn works with a diverse, highly skilled and future focussed committee.

She is also a committee member of Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch, and Secretary of the Christchurch Branch of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, in addition to being a member of organisations like Spokes Canterbury, NZ Historic Places Trust and Forest & Bird.

Formerly a teacher of Geography, Social Studies and English for 25 years before taking up a part-time job as an educator for sustainability at Environment Canterbury, Jocelyn sometimes works as a tutor for the Sustainable Living programme, as a facilitator for the Untouched World Charitable Foundation programmes, and gives her time to a number of youth-led activities.

Her interests are varied and include cycling, tramping, gardening, travel, reading and cooking.

Faye Parfitt

For the past 11 years Faye has been Secretary of the Halswell Residents Association, which has actively addressed the needs and issues of the Halswell Community since 1994.

Faye has been involved for 24 years in the real estate business, the last 2 years as an independent agent, and has served two terms on the Real Estate Institute District Committee, Faye believes she has learned much about efficiency and what works best in unpredictable and changing markets, and will bring this adaptability to the Community Forum along with a realistic disposition and a strong desire to engage with others in the restoration of Christchurch.

Faye is a Trustee of the Lincoln Envirotown Trust, set up by Dr Sue Jarvis to encourage and educate people in environmentally sustainable principals and actions, and represents Lincoln Envirotown on the Lincoln Community Committee.

Born in Christchurch and brought up in Somerfield, Faye and her husband have lived in the Halswell vicinity for 42 years. They have two married sons and four precious grandchildren. "I’m mindful that they will ultimately 'inherit' the effects of the decisions that are to be made in the rebuild of our City."

John Peet

Dr John Peet was born in the UK and has lived in Christchurch for over 50 years. He has a BSc in Chemical Technology, a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has worked in the paper and petroleum industries in the UK.

He is retired from his position in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Canterbury, where his main focus over the last two decades was issues of sustainable development. He is author of Energy and the Ecological Economics of Sustainability and papers on systems, sustainability and the ethical requirements of stakeholder involvement.

John has worked with a number of local, national and international non-government organisations on issues of sustainable development, and since retiring is able to give more time to these commitments. He is currently Chair of Sustainable Aotearoa NZ, a committee member of Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch, Engineers for Social Responsibility, the NZ Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science, and Network Waitangi Otautahi.

Patricia Siataga

Patricia was born in Christchurch and raised in Spreydon. She comes to this forum with a passion for the people of Christchurch. She has spent many years working in marketing and student services at the CPIT and University of Canterbury. Currently, she is the Careers Coordinator and Cultural liaison at Catholic Cathedral College.

She is proud to embrace her European Samoan heritage, having been raised in a large, extended, diverse family which was one connected to the founding of the Samoan community in Christchurch. Her family, church, sporting connections and working experiences have developed a passion for talking, listening and bringing people together. She is a people person who connects on many different levels with many diverse communities. Through hard work and a dedication to self-growth, she has developed a strong passion for making the best out of any situation and believes the people of Christchurch can truly rise up stronger and better than before.

"To me the passion I feel for what I do is about putting people first."

Emma Twaddell

Emma represents the St Albans community and was nominated by the St Albans Residents Association (SARA). The intention of the Residents Association is to play a positive parting the development of a vibrant and healthy community brought about by involvement and empowerment of its residents.

"I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbour, teacher, business owner, and Chairperson of SARA. I personally like to live, play and work locally. I like to walk, bike and use public transport. I compost and I don’t have a dryer. I support local businesses and think local traffic management is lacking. I dream of a future where people are happy, healthy, educated and safe. And living sustainably in vibrant communities in a world leading city."

Suzanne Vallance

Suzanne is a member of the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design at Lincoln University. She began teaching full-time in 2008 after completing her PhD on the topic of urban sustainability in New Zealand. Since then her research interests have expanded to include work on residential intensification, urban resilience and community-led planning. Her empirical work in these areas draws upon literature on sudden shocks (earthquakes, tsunami and swineflu) as well as 'long emergencies' such as peak oil, an aging population, sea-level rise, and loss of biodiversity.

Since the September earthquake she has been working with a range of community groups and organisations, as well as individuals, to promote a process enabling residents to develop and articulate a vision for Christchurch that will instil a sense of pride, optimism and confidence in the city. Allowing communities adequate voice is an essential part of the rejuvenation process; it underpins economic, social and environmental recovery.

Suzanne is delighted to be part of the Community Forum and is keen to draw upon her international, national and local connections in order to contribute to the earthquake recovery effort.

Brian Vieceli

Brian Vieceli is the chair of the Christchurch Hospitality Incorporated (CHI), which represents hospitality businesses with a combined turnover of more than $458 million and 7000 employees. CHI has the full support of the New Zealand Hotel Council, Restaurant Association of New Zealand and the Hospitality Association of New Zealand.

Now retired, Brian has previously held several corporate roles, including Executive Chairman of Constellation Wines New Zealand Ltd, Managing Director of National Liquor Distributors Ltd, Managing Director of Quill Humphreys Ltd and General Manager Marketing and Development Magnum Corporation Ltd. He also chaired New Zealand Winegrowers, the wine industry's national body.

Brian is the current chairman of Clearwater Golf Club and his family has substantial investments in the hospitality industry, including the Bangalore Polo Club within the red zone. He has held community roles including founding Trustee of Canterbury Westland Sports Trust, director of Kilmarnock Enterprises Ltd and committee member of Canterbury Jockey Club.

Brian says the hospitality industry helps provide the heartbeat of a city. He says rebuilt Christchurch can, with good planning, provide exciting and innovative hospitality and accommodation.

Rachel Vogan

President New Zealand Nursery & Garden Industry Association (NGIA)

Rachel takes great pride in often being referred to as the Garden City Girl - her long history and passion for all things green is obvious. She has 25 years of experience in the garden industry and is passionate and committed to The Garden City. Her work experience has been wide and varied, having worked in both business and in the community on garden related projects.

Siong Sah (John) Wong

Born & educated at Sacred Heart School in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia, John came to Christchurch and the University of Canterbury in 1975, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce.

He worked as accountant at Lane Walker Rudkin in Christchurch and Malaysia LNG, Bintulu, was Chief Accountant at Canterbury International Ltd 1978-1990.  He started his own management consultancy in 1991 providing services in immigration & commercial property investments and management for offshore clients.

John obtained the Chartered Accountants Public Practicing Certificate in 1996 and has worked as a sole practitioner since then.  He was a member of Public Practice Committee of NZICA Canterbury Branch.

John is involved in many local community groups, is currently President of Canterbury Foochow Association, Chair of NZ Malaysia Business Council and a Trustee of the University of Canterbury Foundation.

He is Past President of Canterbury Malaysian Society and the Christchurch Chinese Lions Club, past Deputy Chair of The Canterbury Community Trust, and was also a Trustee of Merrin School and the Aurora Centre of the Performing Arts, a Council Member of Christchurch College of Education, a member of Police Asian Advisory.

John’s interests include playing golf, social basketball and jogging. He is married to Lee Sing and has three adult children.

Darren Wright

Darren has a Masters Degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. He is the Deputy Chair of the Sumner School Board of Trustees, is Chair of the Sumner RSA/Surf Life Saving Club Rebuild Committee, and Station Officer at the Sumner Volunteer Fire Brigade and is the Vice President of the Mid Canterbury Fire Brigades Sub Association.

Darren is currently employed as a consultant for commercial and residential insurance claims and has had a varied career ranging from a senior energy trader for Amerada Hess in London to a property developer in Redcliffs.

Darren is a married with three small children andhas lived and worked in Sumner for the past 9 years. He is passionate about Sumner and Redcliffs and is a significant land owner in the area. While accepting the realities of our situation Darren believes that Sumner, Redcliffs and all of Christchurch will rise from this disaster as a stronger and better place to live.