Governance member elections to the Nursing Council of New Zealand

Tēnā koutou and Talofa lava

The Ministry of Health is seeking election of three Nursing Council members for a term of three years, nominations are now open and close on the 30 June 2020.

These are important strategic positions elected by the profession to ensure the Council remains focused and connected to its regulatory role, where public safety is at the heart of decision making.  The Council welcomes Board member diversity and supports equity for Māori in governance roles. Taking on a governance role requires a shift in mindset from everyday management to influencing and monitoring at a strategic level. The commitment to a governance role also brings about opportunities to connect with the nursing profession through the development of policy and setting standards. The functions of the Council are set out in section 118 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act.2003. 

The following is a guide to the experience and skills that Council members require:

  • An understanding of and a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how this informs the organisational and governance frameworks.
  • A sound knowledge of the Council’s role and the recognition that as a Council member you will be in a position of trust, in the eyes of the public and the profession.
  • The ability to think strategically and place self-interest to one side to ensure good decision making.
  • The ability to separate management from the strategic role of governance and manage the boundary between the two respectfully.
  • A clear understanding of the difference between the roles of the Council and professional nursing organisations.
  • An understanding of good financial reporting.
  • Knowledge of both nursing education and practice. 

The Council member election process is managed through an independent company Electionz

Information on Electionz is available through their website,

and available on our Nursing Council website -, regarding the voting process. 

Ngā mihi                                        Ma ia manuia

Catherine Byrne
Chief Executive and Registrar
Nursing Council of New Zealand
To’a Fereti
Nursing Council of New Zealand

What’s it like to be an elected Council member?

Read the experiences from two of our current Council members to learn what being a Council member involves.


Tania Kemp (Nurse member) 

Kia ora, my name is Tania Kemp and I come from Pitt Island in the Chatham Islands, and am of  Ngā Māhanga o Ngāti Tairi, Taranaki and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri decent.  I am a Nurse Practitioner in South Canterbury. I am a Council member of the Nursing Council, appointed by the Minister of Health (2015 – current).

Serving in a governance role is a privilege. There are more than 60,000 nurses in New Zealand and to have the opportunity to help shape standards that protect the safety of the public of Aotearoa is a significant governance responsibility.  This requires me to look beyond my own area of nursing expertise and shift my focus from operational management to governance to protect the public in New Zealand.
To govern effectively Council members, require a knowledge and respect of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Te Ao Māori, and recognition of the role the Council plays in fostering culturally safe care in setting standards that contribute to the improvement of health equity for Māori.

The Council is a complex organisation and therefore it has required a period of learning to enhance my understanding of the Council’s statutory functions and unique role. My experience and knowledge of nursing and health care informs my perspective but when faced with making strategic decisions I rely on the Council’s evidence and good information with "public safety" at the heart of my decision making. 

Good governance requires me to understand the difference between management and governance. As a Council member my role is to focus on strategic issues rather than the day to day management of issues. The Council has a great management team (the engine room) that operationalises and informs the strategic plan. 

I hope that any time a board member serves on the Nursing Council of NZ it is reflected in a way that is deemed for the betterment of public safety and the profession.


Joanne Hewlett (Lay member) 

My name is Joanne Hewlett and I am one of three lay members to the Nursing Council. Being a Nursing Council member is a privilege and a commitment I enjoy and take seriously. My role is to provide effective governance to ensure the work of the Council remains focused on the safety of the public.

The Act requires three lay members to be represented on the Council, which I believe adds an extra layer of transparency and trust for members of the public. As a lay member I enjoy the freedom of participating from a public perspective, alongside a deep respect for the nursing profession.

Being a Council member has required immense learning and understanding of the wider health sector.  Understanding the HPCA Act is immensely important likewise the nursing education requirements and practice scopes. The Council is supportive and provides an initial orientation, ongoing explanations, plus workshops on topics such as good governance, finance and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Ultimately best decision making relies on being fair, placing self-interests to the side, understanding the bigger picture and seeking clarification when it is required. 

It is an honour to protect the public by setting standards for nurses practising in Aotearoa, New Zealand.