Healthy Christchurch Champions are drawn from sponsoring organisations and includes:

  • Canterbury District Health Board - David Meates (CEO) and Murray Cleverley (Chair)
  • Christchurch City Council - Lianne Dalziel (Mayor)
  • Christchurch City Council - Michael Aitken (General Manager of Community Services)
  • Community and Public Health - Evon Currie (General Manager)
  • CPIT - Jenn Bestwick (Chair)
  • Environment Canterbury - Rex Williams (Commissioner)
  • NZ Police - Superintendent Gary Knowles (District Commander Canterbury)
  • Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu - Arihia Bennett (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Pegasus Health Community Board - Professor Andrew Hornblow (Chairperson)
  • Pegasus Health Board - Les Toop (Chair)
  • University of Otago (Christchurch) - Professor Peter Joyce (Dean)

This individual leadership ensures Healthy Christchurch has high level support which has proved crucial to successful Healthy City/Community initiatives around the world.

The Healthy Christchurch Champions' Statement of Intent (March 2014) highlights the areas the Champions choose to focus their attention on, one of which is reducing alcohol related harm.

andrewhornblowProfessor Andrew Hornblow - Pegasus Health Community Board

Professor Andrew Hornblow brings to Healthy Christchurch a wide ranging career, including time as a clinical psychologist, university teacher and researcher, and Medical School Dean. He has also been Chair of national advisory agencies and professional organisations, and a long-standing contributor to community organisations in Christchurch.

"Healthy Christchurch must benefit everyone", he believes. "Promoting the wellbeing of all and addressing the corrosive effects of inequalities have been identified consistently as key elements in any healthy community, and will be vital to the new Christchurch".

Arihia BennettArihia Bennett - Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu

Arihia began her career in health and social services in 1979, as a Māori Affairs social services cadet in Christchurch. From 1981 to 2005 she worked for Child, Youth and Family, taking six years out to work in tourism.

In 2006, Arihia was appointed regional manager Te Waipounamu for Barnardos NZ. She held this position for five years. Prior to taking up her current position 2012, Arihia was Kaiārahi/Chief Executive Officer of He Oranga Pounamu (HOP), an organisation mandated by Ngāi Tahu to organise and integrate health and social services in the Ngāi Tahu rohe.

Arihia has held advisory positions to government, including Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commissioner (CERC) following the September 2010 earthquake. She has held governance roles associated with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, including Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation, where she was a director from 1999-2002, and then chair until 2005.

In 2008, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and the community. Arihia has worked with tamariki, whānau and communities throughout her career. She has also worked alongside Papatipu Rūnanga from a voluntary or community point of view and she views her current role as a chance to fuse the two together.

David MeatesDavid Meates - Canterbury District Health Board

David is Chief Executive of the Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards - responsible for the health services for over 550,000 New Zealanders, and the leadership of over 9,500 direct employees and thousands more NGO health sector workers contracted by the DHB.

He is a big picture thinker and has particular skills in leading change, and motivating and mobilising others to be part of the transformation. David is passionate about health and what's possible when people grasp the vision and work collectively for the greater good. The achievements of the Canterbury Health System are testimony to his leadership.  Recent experiences in Canterbury have shown David is adept at managing large teams through a crisis and developing and implementing robust recovery plans.

Originally from Canterbury, David has worked in both the private and public sectors, in NZ and the UK. He has also led and been involved on a number of national groups ranging from workforce negotiations to CEO alliances.

Superintendent Gary Knowles - NZ Police

Superintendent Gary Knowles has been a member of the New Zealand Police for 36 years and has worked in a variety of operational and leadership roles both in General Duties and Criminal Investigations throughout the country.

In 2005 he was appointed to the position of Area Commander for Christchurch Central City and had responsibility and ownership of providing policing services for a busy metropolitan city.

In February 2009 he was appointed to the position of District Commander for Tasman and had responsibility and ownership for providing policing services for the top of the South Island and West Coast. Superintendent Knowles was the Officer in Charge of the Pike River Mining Disaster in November 2010.

In January 2012 Superintendent Knowles was appointed to his current role as District Commander for the Canterbury Police District.

Gary is a fourth generation Cantabrian who grew up in Christchurch and did all his schooling in Christchurch City.

JennBestwickJenn Bestwick - CPIT

Jenn Bestwick was appointed CPIT Council Chair in February 2010.

Jenn's professional career has been largely in strategy and business development.  Following a number of years in the health sector Jenn led the strategic consulting practice for KPMG in Auckland for a number of years working extensively in the public and private sectors.  Following a move to Christchurch, Jenn managed the Oxford Clinic complex before spening a number of years working with Ngāi Tahu where she was General Manager, Strategy and Planning for Ngāi Tahu Holdings Group, the commercial arm of the iwi's operations.  Following that Jenn worked with Environment Canterbury as Programme Director for the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. 

Jenn's other governance roles include being a member of the Board of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited (the Crown Entity established to settle the earthquake claims of AMI policy holders) and Tourism New Zealand.

As Chair of the Council, Jenn is ex officio a trustee of the CPIT Foundation.

Lianne DalzielMayor Lianne Dalziel - Christchurch City Council

Hon Lianne Dalziel (LLB) was elected as the Mayor of Christchurch in October 2013, after serving for 23 years in the New Zealand Parliament, the last four terms as the Member of Parliament for Christchurch East.

Lianne served as a Cabinet Minister in the 5th Labour Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rt. Hon Helen Clark (1999-2008).  During that time Lianne held a number of portfolios, including Immigration, Commerce, Food Safety, Women’s Affairs and Senior Citizens and associate roles in Education and Justice.

Lianne has become a champion of resilience, with Christchurch selected as one of the first tranche of cities to participate in the 100 Resilient City Network pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Michael AitkenMichael Aitken - Christchurch City Council

Michael has held the position of General Manager of Community Services with the Christchurch City Council since 2008. He is also one of the city's four Civil Defence Controllers. The Community Services Group includes:

  • Libraries
  • Recreation and Sports
  • the Christchurch Art Gallery
  • Social Housing
  • Community Support, and
  • Vbase.

Prior to his role at the Council, Michael held a range of senior management positions in health in Christchurch and Auckland, and ten years in practice as a Clinical Psychologist in Christchurch, the last clinical role as Manager/Senior Psychologist in the Psychiatric Emergency Service.

Peter JoyceProfessor Peter Joyce - University of Otago (Christchurch)

Professor Peter Joyce has been Dean of the University of Otago (Christchurch) since 2005.

For the previous 20 years he had been Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine.

He continues to have a small clinical commitment, and continues some research in bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, and ageing.


Rex Williams - Environment Canterbury

Rex Williams headRex Williams is the Chancellor of Canterbury University, a government-appointed commissioner at Environment Canterbury, and Chair of H W Richardson Group.

He is also former Chair of the West Coast District Health Board.

Rex was the Managing Director of Holcim Cement and has more than 30 years' experience in senior management positions. He has served on a number of boards and is recognised for his business acumen and governance skills.

Rex was a key founder of the Environmental lobby group, the Water Rights Trust formed in 2002 to address increasing concern about poor water management and deteriorating water quality in Canterbury. He is a keen recreational angler and enjoys a number of outdoor sports.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch