SLIANZ Committee

Fran Collins- Co-President

Term:  2/2

Based in: Wellington

I was born in England, then made the decision with my partner to travel the world. We landed in New Zealand at the start of 2017 and spent a year exploring this beautiful country, which is when we fell in love. We then spent the most part of 2018 travelling Australia whilst awaiting our residency to be granted to come back to New Zealand permanently, we landed for Christmas 2018.

Originally a BSL interpreter, since being in New Zealand permanently, I have spent time developing my NZSL skills with support from the Interpreter and Deaf communities here in Aotearoa. This led to me accepting a Staff Interpreter Role, based in Wellington.

I’m very excited and feel privileged to support the association as a co-president as we move through this process of becoming a strategic governing body and establishing systems that are effective for the long term sustainability of SLIANZ to support our members. We have an incredibly strong committee/board who have the skills required to move us in the direction of governance, we look forward to progressing along strategically towards our vision and mission.

Alan Wendt – Co-President

Term: 2/2

Based in: Wellington

Tote Hemehema

Tote Hemehema – Secretary

Term: 1/ 2

Based in: Auckland

I was born in West Auckland and grew up in Helensville, a small town in the country and have always lived around the West Auckland region. I am part Tongan, part English and my Nana is from Nottingham in England (like Robin Hood).

I graduated in 2013 (the last breed of the Diploma students) and enjoy working in all areas especially medical and education.

I studied for four years at Auckland University (Medical School) many years ago when I wanted to be a Paediatrician. I didn’t complete it because I got pregnant with my son Rhythm. I also have a daughter, Baylie.

My years of experience at University and in medicine have been great assets in education and medical interpreting.

I’m learning more Te Reo and would like to eventually look at trilingual and legal interpreting too.

I’m looking forward to using my skills and experience to help build on the foundation set by the previous Committee’s. I’m excited to learn more about SLIANZ and where I can support my Team and the SLIANZ members.

Reb Guy – Treasurer

Term: 1/ 2

Based in: Auckland

I was born in Wellington but moved to Auckland when I was 4, so Auckland is where my roots sunk deep, specifically in Mt Roskill, where I grew up and where I live now.

I got my first BA from the University of Auckland, majoring in art history and linguistics, and got my first taste of NZSL as part of a sociolinguistics topic. From there I worked and travelled, sticking mostly with jobs where I could use my love of English (copy writing, editing, theatre). I graduated with a BA in Interpreting NZSL-English in 2015 and have been working as a community and compulsory education interpreter ever since. I love my job.

I also love karaoke, board games and animals of all kinds.

This will be my second time in the SLIANZ committee, my first as treasurer. My goals are to serve the organisation to the best of my ability, especially as we find ourselves at the beginning of a new strategic journey. I hope my enthusiasm and strong work ethic can be a source of support for the whole committee.

Amy Hewgill – Committee Member

Term: 2/ 2

Based in: Christchurch

Kia Ora! I was born in America but moved to Christchurch in 2006 and started learning NZSL.  After being encouraged by the local Deaf community (and lots of earthquakes) I started my retraining at AUT to become a NZSL/English interpreter.  I graduated with a BA in interpreting in late 2015 and returned to Otautahi.  I now do community work but especially love the challenges that medical interpreting offers.

I originally trained in Sound Engineering, working on video games and movies in Austin, TX.  I have an interest in all things wool and owned a wool shop many years back teaching people to knit and dyeing wool, hence the sign name “wool”.  I have a husband and two young clever little girls who keep me very busy.  I am a sustainable maker/mender and love all things crafty.

I currently hold the Tuakana/Teina and Mentoring portfolios.  I am a graduate of the Tuakana/Teina programme and hope to continue to see it flourish.  My goal over the next two years is to support the members in the programme and carry on building the programme to best serve their needs.

Margaret Picard – Committee Member

Term: 1/2

Based in: Auckland

Kia ora, I was born and raised in Papatoetoe, South Auckland. My dad is from Scotland and my mum is from England. They came to New Zealand with my two sisters just before I was born. I met my husband playing indoor cricket in Auckland, and we had our first daughter before relocating to Napier for five years where our second daughter was born. We came back to Auckland for work commitments and now live in West Auckland, although our dream is to one day get back to the Bay.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, my NZSL journey started on my OE to the UK where I worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor. I realised then that I was passionate about equal access to education for minority groups. When I returned home I completed a BA in Educational Philosophy.  After a few years of life, work and family in between, I took a NZSL night class. It was here I discovered a focus for my previous training and continued on to study the NZSL – English interpreting degree.
I graduated in 2014 and spent a few years in education interpreting before my current role at NZ Relay where I get to work with an amzing team of interpreters and connect with Deaf people all over the country. I also do community interpreting which I love.
I feel like I’ve come onto the committee/board at a really interesting time as SLIANZ navigates changes towards Governance. I am looking forward to continuing the hard work that has gone before me and serving our members to the best of my ability towards our vision and mission.

Lisa Thompson  – Committee Member

Term: 1/2

Based in: Wellington

Kia ora everyone. I was born in Wellington and grew up on the Kāpiti Coast. I started learning to sign
at 11 years old after meeting a Deaf friend, and I quickly fell in love with NZSL. My mum also has
Deaf friends and signs, so she encouraged me tremendously in my learning and with getting to know
the Wellington Deaf community and interpreters. It was really clear to me that NZSL interpreting
was the career I wanted to pursue, so at the age of 18, I made the move to Auckland and began my
degree. I graduated in 2018 alongside wonderful classmates and friends.
Now I am working full time as an educational interpreter, with some community work on the side,
and I absolutely love my job. This year I was eager to join the committee because I am passionate
about how SLIANZ connects, supports and advances the quality of interpreters. I look forward to
learning more about SLIANZ and developing my skills whilst on the committee, as well as getting to
know and support interpreters from all over Aotearoa, and working towards our vision and mission
alongside a strong committee. Thanks so much for this opportunity. Kia ora koutou katoa.

Danny Hadfield – Committee Member

Term: 1/2

Based in: Auckland

Kia ora koutou.

I graduated AUT in 2019 and have been interpreting full time ever since. I’m originally from Nelson and try and go home when ever I can and stay connected with the Nelson Deaf Community. I do a mix of community and tertiary interpreting and am passionate about supporting Deaf Students in their university journeys.

Being elected to the SLIANZ committee has been a great opportunity for me to gain a deeper knowledge on what is happening within the interpreting community and has provided me with the opportunity to connect and work alongside SLIANZ members from different communities around Aotearoa.

While I’m only in my first term of being on the committee I have already gained so much and am looking forward to contributing to the work that the committee will be doing throughout my term. My role on the committee will be to support and oversee the PD and sponsorship management areas, as well as assisting with the shift to a more governance focussed SLIANZ committee.

Ngā mini nui.