Executive Management Team

The key to the efficient running of the Whanganui District Health Board is the clear division between the roles of the Board and Management. The board concentrates on setting policy, approving strategy, and monitoring progress toward meeting objectives while management is concerned with implementing policy and strategy at an “operational” level.

The Whanganui District Health Board is led by an Executive Management Team of eight. Appointed by the chief executive and Board. The team meets regularly to discuss the performance and day-to-day running of the Whanganui District Health Board.


Chief Executive expenses: July 2017 - June 2018

Chief Executive expenses: July 2016 - June 2017

Chief Executive expenses: July 2015 - June 2016
Chief Executive expenses: July 2014 - June 2015

Chief Executive expenses: July 2013 - June 2014
Chief Executive expenses: Jul - Dec 2013
Chief Executive expenses: Jan - Jun 2013
Chief Executive expenses: Jul - Dec 2012
Chief Executive expenses: Jan - Jun 2012
Chief Executive expenses: Jul - Dec 2011
Chief Executive expenses: Jan - Jun 2011
Chief Executive expenses: July 2010 - June 2011

Whanganui District Health Board Executive Management Team

Russell Simpson - Chief Executive

“I have worked in both the public and private sector at clinical, management and executive levels. My previous role was as a national General Manager in the Home and Community support sector. Prior to that I worked across Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs as an Executive Director. I originally trained as a physiologist specialising in pain management and neurophysiology. I am passionate about improving the health of our community with a strong whole-of-health system approach, in partnership with our intersectoral partners and our community."

Brian Walden - General Manager, Strategic & Corporate

"I have held a number senior management roles since joining the board in 1995 and commenced the role of general manager, strategic & corporate in 2011. I have previously worked in financial roles in the private sector and am a Chartered Accountant."

Rowena Kui - Director of Maori Health

"I am of Te Ātiawa descent. I am a nurse and midwife by training and have an extensive experience in working in Māori health, rural health, and health service planning and development. I enjoy leadership and the opportunity to by impart my knowledge and experience to support other to grow and develop. I am passionate about Māori health. I believe that the Māori concept of whānau ora  provides the perfect framework for the district health board and community providers to deliver services in such a way that collectively we can make a significantly positive impact on the health of Māori whanau and the health of our most vulnerable population groups."
Hentie Cilliers - Regional Manager Human Resources & Organisational Development Hentie Cilliers - General Manager Human Resources &
                             Organisational Development 

“After more than twenty years' work experience in a variety of public and private organisations, combined with a master's degree from the University of South Africa our family moved to New Zealand in 2005. In 2006 we settled in Whanganui where I joined the WDHB in 2008. I am passionate about health and wellbeing and supporting individuals to grow and develop."

Sandra Blake - Director of Nursing Patient Safety and Quality

"I am the director of nursing, patient safety and quality and the clinical lead for Reducing Harm from Falls, a national programme led by the Health Quality & Safety Commission. 
"I worked for Queensland Health for 22 years, returning to Whanganui in 2009.  My  experience includes charge of a tertiary colorectal unit and Associate Director of Nursing and Mental Health at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.  I was Nursing Director of Patient Safety for Queensland Health and set up the statewide patient safety centre. I am certified by the Cognitive Institute of Queensland as a trainer in root cause analyses and am trained in open disclosure."


Paul Malan.jpg

Paul Malan - General Manager, Service and Business Planning 

"Before coming to Whanganui DHB in September 2018, I spent 12 years with Hawke’s Bay DHB – first in finance and then in planning and funding. Prior to that, I worked in the private sector gaining experience in financial services, investment banking, business consultancy, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. My academic training is in Economics and Public Health and that perfectly complements my interest in the public sector’s role in a well-functioning, developed economy. I am passionate about effectiveness of the public sector and how we partner with the private for-profit and not-for-profit sectors to provide equitable and valuable services to the communities that we are part of. 


"I grew up in a rural community in Zimbabwe and have always admired the ingenuity that is evident in small communities with a strong identity – I get a sense of those factors in Whanganui. My wife grew up in Hastings and we returned to Aotearoa New Zealand with our two sons in 2001."

Dr Frank Rawlinson - Chief Medical Officer

"I completed medical training at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town gaining MB.ChB. in 1980  and psychiatric training in the UK, gaining MRC.Psych, in 1987.


"I'm married to Rozanna with two daughters, Danya and Zara. Arrived in New Zealand and Whanganui on 8 February 1988 and have lived here since.


"I have wide clinical experience covering all domains from hospital-based through rural health and private practice. 


"My organisational experience ranges from coal face worker through to executive ranks in secondary care and founding chair of an independent practitioner organisation negotiating and managing fund holding contracts in primary care. 


"I'm actively involved in: 

  • quality improvement - trying to improve the patient journey through health. 
  • clinical information system development - recognising enhancing clinician workflow as a critical component. 
  • promoting clinical governance boards as having accountability for clinical information systems, their implementation and ongoing quality oversight.


"I view a health literate, activated and engaged patient/community as necessary to enabling ongoing improvements in individual and population health.


"I have been the chief medical officer at Whanganui DHB since July 2015.


"I'm also an active mountain bike track builder promoting development of critical skills, intergenerational social engagement and healthy lifestyle."


Kim Fry - Regional Director of Allied Health

Kim Fry - Director of Allied Health

"My professional qualification and work experience is in social work, working in both physical and mental health settings as well as Social Service organisations in New Zealand and London. I have a Bachelor of Social Work and completed a Masters of Social Work after several years of work. My experience also includes management, leadership and coordination roles."