Our key people at a national level

Our President is Pati Umaga and our management team is made up of  Gary Williams (National Operations Manager) and Esther Woodbury (National Policy and Relationships Manager).

Pati Umaga

National Executive Committee

Pati has wide Pasefika networks and chairs a number of strategic and governance groups including: the Wellington Pasefika Disability Network Trust, Faiva Ora (MOH Pasifika Disability Action Plan) Leadership Group and the ACC Serious Injury Group.

Read Pati Umaga's bio

Gary Williams

National Operations Manager

It’s been over 7 years since I retired as the CEO of DPA. Over that time, Ruth Jones and I have run our own consultancy in Christchurch.  Our particular niche is disabled peoples’ and Maori issues.The NEC has now engaged me until the end of June to support them to reinvigorate DPA.   There are gnarly issues to sort out such as operational policies and finances.

Read Gary Williams's bio

Our governance team

The National Executive Committee

Our governance team, called the National Executive Committee (NEC) is elected by DPA members. 

Members of the Committee live in all parts of New Zealand. They have a wealth of experience dealing with disability issues and they play a very active part in our organisation. 

The NEC is led by President Pati Umaga. To ensure the team has a depth of experience, the presidential term is four years, although the actual term as president is for two years: This means that at any one time, there is an elected President, a President-Elect or an Immediate Past-President. Gerri Pomeroy is DPA's President Elect.

Our present committee members

Pati Umaga


 Pati took up the DPA Presidency in November 2015.

Pati has wide Pasefika networks and chairs a number of strategic and governance groups including: the Wellington Pasefika Disability Network Trust, Faiva Ora (MOH Pasifika Disability Action Plan) Leadership Group and the ACC Serious Injury Group.


Read Pati Umaga's bio

Gerri Pomeroy

President Elect

Gerri has been an active member of DPA since 2000.

She has been using a wheelchair for seven years because of radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

Gerri is very interested in accessibility of the transport system and works for CCS Disability Action as an Access Co-ordinator.

Read Gerri Pomeroy's bio


Debbie Ward


I am a disabled woman who has lived with my impairment since birth. I am committed to supporting the National Secretariat and members to once again represent the voice of disabled New Zealanders. Building strong alliances with Disabled Person Organisations, Government bodies, not for profit sector, business sector and of course disabled people across Aotearoa.
Read Debbie Ward's bio

Marty Van der Kley


My name is Marty Van der Kley, and I have grown up with a physical impairment known as Spina Bifida   I have been actively involved in DPA Christchurch since 2007, and am currently Vice-President of DPA Christchurch.  I have a general interest around the area of Disability and creating awareness, around various issues which can impact on disabled people and the wider community.  

Read Marty Van der Kley's bio

Yi Small


I have been involved with DPA Western Bay of Plenty since 2013.  I have a physical disability (Post-Polio Syndrome).

I am passionate about the rights of disabled people and speak for them in my local community, ,for example  I give the local council advice on access issues;

After 13 years working as a senior accountant I am able to work systematically, thoughtfully and logically, This is a useful skill for the National Executive Committee.

Read Yi Small's bio

Nick Ruane


I have a law and commerce degree, and a Masters degree, the focus of my masters was on DPA, the topic was "Collaboration in the process of legislative lobbying: A study of a Disabled Persons Organisation lobbying for change in New Zealand, 1993-1996".

I have had several years experience in the political environment, most recently 2 years working in MP Mojo Mather's office. I understand how disability is perceived in this current political environment and I know how to get a better political audience for disability in this current environment.


Read Nick Ruane's bio

The National Secretariat

DPA’s management team is the National Secretariat, based in Wellington and led by Gary Williams the National Operations Manager and Dr Esther Woodbury the National Policy and Relationships Manager

The National Secretariat team is:

Esther Woodbury

National Policy and Relationships Manager

Esther Woodbury is new to the DPA national office, as of April 2016. Esther has previously worked as a disability advisor for government agencies, and spent a long time studying at various universities and working as a tutor and researcher.

Read Esther Woodbury's bio

Sharyn McCann

Finance Officer

Having joined the DPA national office team in August 2014, Sharyn manages everything finance, administration and more for DPA and you will often speak to her when ringing our Wellington office.
Read Sharyn McCann's bio

Paula Booth

Analyst - Policy and Relationship

I became involved with DPA in 2012. I am passionate about access to places and information for people with disabilities. I am a member of the Wellington City Council Accessibility Advisory Group and a board member for Emerge Supported Employment.

I believe that the future of disability rights relies heavily on the youth of today. We have had some great leaders start us off on the journey but we need to ensure the younger generation has the skills and knowledge to pick up where they left off.
Read Paula Booth's bio