NZAG National Executive

Meet your current executive and find out about the goals they have for NZAG.

Current National Executive Members:

President: Stephen Neville

I am Professor of Nursing and Co-Director of the AUT Centre for Active Ageing at Auckland University of Technology. I hold honorary appointments at the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Puthisastra Phnom Penh, and am Editor for the Journal of Clinical Nursing. My teaching, research and publications are in the areas of older persons’ health, marginalised populations and health workforce participation. I have expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. My recent research and publications include loneliness in older people living in the community, age-friendly communities, co-participation of older adults in research, and the health and wellbeing of older Pacific Island peoples. I feel very privileged to be the current President of NZAG and aim to facilitate achieving the goals and aspirations of our organisation. These include providing a platform where the views, as well as the issues that impact on the health and well-being of older people are not only heard but result in positive action.


 Vice President:  Dr Debra Waters, Dunedin

To help NZAG promote national and international research and education on positive active ageing. I am the Director of Gerontology Research at the University of Otago, which is a joint appointment across the Department of Medicine and School of Physiotherapy. I am also the Director of the University of Otago research theme called Collaboration of Ageing Research Excellence (CARE) and the Deputy-Director of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge. I work closely with Age Concern Otago and am part of the Southern wide multi-sector falls governance group. I also hold a research appointment at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in the US, and have collaborators in France and The Netherlands.  My areas of research focus are on falls prevention using community-based and peer-led models and body composition changes with ageing, how this impacts on physical function and frailty, and effective life-style interventions. Ageing well and staying independent is my overarching goal for older adults.

Treasurer: Carol Wham

As Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Massey University Carol teaches gerontology nutrition and supervises postgraduate students undertaking research in this field. Carol leads the ENRICH study (Evaluating Nutrition Risk and Intervening to enCourage Healthy-eating) which aims to develop an innovative approach for preventing and reversing malnutrition among vulnerable older adults. She is also an  investigator for (LiLACS NZ)  “Life and Living to Advanced Age: a Cohort study in NZ”.  The dietary assessments undertaken in this study have provided novel findings related to the nutritional status of adults in advanced age and has helped identify modifiable factors related to risk of malnutrition. Carol is a member of Dietitians New Zealand’s Special Interest group in Gerontology Nutrition, an advisor to the Committee on Healthy Ageing of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation and an Associate Editor for ‘Nutrition and Dietetics’. She is keen to support NZAG to foster improved health and quality of life for older people and support initiatives to enable older people to remain independent in their own homes.  In particular Carol is committed to improving the nutrition status of older adults through enterprises which improve the procurement, preparation, cooking and enjoyment of food.

Committee Member: Asmita Patel

Dr Asmita Patel is a Research Fellow in the School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies at Auckland University of Technology. My doctoral thesis examined older adults’ perceived motives, benefits and barriers for physical activity within the context of the Green Prescription physical activity scripting programme. My postdoctoral work (funded by Cancer Society New Zealand and the Movember Foundation) focused on the role of physical activity in prostate cancer survivorship. My other area of research has focused on the role of Chinese medicine in New Zealand. I also hold a teaching position at New Zealand College of Chinese Medicine.  I am currently involved in a research project that is examining issues related to loneliness and social isolation in individuals with complex medical issues.  I am interested in health promotion and quality of life research that can contribute to successful and meaningful ageing throughout the lifespan.


Committee Member: Dr. Kathy Glasgow

Dr Kathy Glasgow has a background in health, policy and research.  She holds a MA (applied) in Social Science Research and a PhD in Social Policy. For her doctorate she explored attitudes to ageing amongst the baby boomer cohort in New Zealand, underlying values and implications for social policy. She currently works as a Senior Nursing Advisor in the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health and within this role has a focus on the older persons’ health workforce. She is a registered nurse (RGON) with a background in critical care, graduate nurse education, occupational health, and primary care. Kathy has also worked as a policy analyst, project coordinator and researcher, including for Age Concern New Zealand promoting positive ageing, and for the NZ Institute for Research on Ageing as a research fellow. She maintains a keen interest in societal attitudes to ageing and older people.

Regional Hub Representatives:


Auckland and Northland: Jed Montayre, Auckland

Jed holds a lecturer and researcher position at Auckland University of Technology. He is a member of the steering group for the AUT Centre for Active Ageing. Jed’s research platform is around ethnogerontology, older migrants’ experiences of ageing in New Zealand, Asian health and future trends in the nursing workforce. Jed’s teaching areas include gerontology nursing, biosciences for nurses and care for clients experiencing altered neurological function. In 2018, Jed was one of the 26 nurse scholars selected worldwide to participate in the prestigious International Council of Nurses’ Global Nursing Leadership Institute Programme. He was also the New Zealand Young Nurse of the Year 2016.

 Lower North Island: Dr Judith Davey, Wellington

I would like to see NZAG broadening its scope to cover all aspects of Positive Ageing, which I am a strong advocate of. I am currently a Senior Research Associate of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. From 2002 to early 2007 I was the Director of the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing (NZiRA) and, previous to that, Associate Professor in Social Policy, also at Victoria. My focus for research is the ageing of the population and its policy implications. Recently I have been looking at workforce ageing and age-friendly cities and communities. I have a regular research-based blog hosted by Age Concern New Zealand.


South Island: Linda Robertson, Dunedin

I am an Associate Professor at the School of Occupational Therapy at Otago Polytechnic where I also have the role of the research coordinator  in the school. My areas of teaching are Clinical Reasoning and Client Education. As a researcher my interest lies in older people and in critically exploring evidence based practice. My recent publications have been on the topics of how novices make sense of evidence based practice and the use of peer leader in community based falls prevention groups.




Student Representative


Lara Vlietstra

I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Otago. After successfully graduating as a physiotherapist in 2014 in the Netherlands, I decided to pursue two postgraduate degrees – in Clinical Health Sciences and in Geriatric Physiotherapy – at the Utrecht University/University Medical Centre Utrecht and Avans+, both in the Netherlands. Soon, I was struck by the phenomenon of sarcopenia, and after graduating from both my master degrees, I decided to submit a PhD proposal within the sarcopenia research area, which successfully got accepted. By the 1st of February 2018, I started my PhD within the Department of Medicine and School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago, working with Debra Waters and Kim Meredith-Jones. I feel very honored that I am the student representative and I am looking forward to focussing on developing and supporting a student section of the NZAG in the forthcoming years.