About us

Our Mission

To eliminate the stigma around perinatal mental health in New Zealand by championing awareness and facilitating best practice in perinatal mental health and wellbeing to ensure all families have access to appropriate information and support.

PADA was formerly the Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Trust (PMHNZ)

There was no national umbrella organisation for perinatal mental health in New Zealand. A brainstorming day was held in Wellington in June 2009. This was attended by 30 representatives from a range of agencies and organisations connected with perinatal distress issues from around New Zealand. They identified interests in, aims and objectives for a national networking group for Perinatal Distress. A “working group” was conceived and the Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Trust was born on 3rd February 2011. The organisation grew rapidly and in 2015 it was decided that a more memorable name was needed but one that still reflected our aims. After much thought, argument and finally consensus, the Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Trust was reborn as PADA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa).

PADA Staff

Treena Cooper treena
Events and Training 
I am the Events and Training Coordinator working 15 hours per week. I worked for 12 years as a corporate travel consultant, so bring to the Trust valuable organisational and people skills. I am the organiser of the Seminar Series and looking forward to sharing with you the schedule for 2017. I have
two boys aged 10 and 11 so spend lots of time involved in school, sport and scouting activities and I also enjoy decorating cakes.


Melanie Byrne91-nz-talent-25-09-06
Website, Social Media & Membership 
A mum to two girls aged 7 and 10, I feel fortunate to be in a role that allows me to give back to others experiencing perinatal distress.  I’m thrilled to combine previous roles at Plunket, Geneva Healthcare, and Mediaworks, to work in a team motivated to make a difference.  Perinatal distress affects the whole whanau and wider community, and PADA is embracing the power of social media to connect, and equip Health care providers, to improve outcomes for those affected throughout New Zealand.


Gillian Ransomimg_5409
Fundraising Manager
As a mum of two young boys I recognise that becoming a parent is the biggest life changing event a person can ever go through. I’m privileged to work in a job that allows me the ability to make a positive difference to families and whanau affected by mental illness related to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. I’ve worked in a number of fundraising roles over the course of my career and I love the excitement and satisfaction that comes with fundraising for a good cause. With 25% of New Zealand women experiencing depression either during or after pregnancy, the work of PADA cannot be underestimated. For me, fundraising on behalf of families suffering some form of perinatal distress, feels like I’m contributing back to society whilst working in a team of passionate people who feel the same way.

Maka Bgonimaka-jpg1
Finance Manager
My role as the Financial Co-ordinator is a part-time role of 5 hours per week. I am responsible for the full finance function and I also support the team by providing financial advice. I am a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years post qualifying experience in accounting and auditing in a diverse range of industries. I love working for PADA because it gives me the opportunity to lend a hand to a great cause.

Our Vision

To eliminate the stigma around perinatal mental health in New Zealand. 


Our Supporters

PADA is extremely grateful to the following funders and supporters who enable us to improve outcomes for families and whanau affected by mental illness related to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. Without this support we would not be able to deliver our much needed service throughout New Zealand. You can make a donation to PADA by clicking here. If you would like to talk about contributing to PADA please contact us

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Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees represent the length and breadth of New Zealand.

Board Members

  • Bice Awan – Secretary – Former CE of Skylight and other senior positions – Wellington
  • Leigh Bredenkamp – Director, e-Borne solutions – Wellington
  • Brendon Smith – Father & Child Trust – Auckland
  • Rona Carroll – GP – Wellington
  • Carrie Cornsweet Barber – Director, Clinical Psychology TrainingSchool of Psychology, University of Waikato
  • Nimisha Waller – RGON, RM, MMid, DHSc Candidate LMC Midwife & Senior Midwifery Lecturer, Auckland

Bice Awan, Secretary, Wellington       

As Skylight founder/CE and past Mental Health Commissioner, I was touched by the need for services to support those where being pregnant and facing parenthood can be difficult. Perinatal mental health was of particular interest to me as it appeared there was no consistency of services. As a national body, PADA can work with leaders to make a difference to the quality of lives for infants, parents, family/whanau and all those connected with them. I bring this expertise, together with executive leadership and governance experience to PADA to work with the passionate and capable team.

Leigh Bredenkamp, Wellingtonleigh-bredenkamp

As a communications professional, I welcome the opportunity to further promote the mental health of women and men during the time when a family welcomes a new baby into their lives. Through PADA, I will continue to work to strengthen awareness of mental health issues which can affect families. I believe the health and wellbeing of whanau of all cultures, ethnicities, religions and compositions is crucial for society to thrive. And for families to thrive, communities need to be educated, supportive and well resourced.

Brendon Smith, Aucklandbrendon-smith

As a new father, I sank into depression while trying to cope with the needs of my partner and two babies.  Even though I’d heard the term postnatal depression, I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t like going to work and I didn’t want to see my mates. The symptoms continued for about a year after I left my role in IT sales to become a stay-at-home dad then aged 37. I have become a support worker for Father and Child, a Trust set up by fathers for fathers, based in Onehunga, Auckland.

Rona Carroll, Wellington

As a mother of three children and a health professional who supports families in the perinatal period, I have been privileged to hear many mothers (and fathers) share stories of their distress and struggles during this unique period in their life.  I am a general practitioner (GP) with a special interest in perinatal mental health. I work at Evolve Youth Service where I support younger parents, and currently also work at the specialist maternal mental health service in Wellington. A more recent area of interest for me is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and I am enjoying learning about ways to use this in my work with parents and adolescents.

I have an interest in breastfeeding support, and am a qualified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and a La Leche League leader. I am also a member of the maternal morbidity panel and am completing a postgraduate certificate in perinatal mental health through Otago University.

Carrie Cornsweet Barber, Ph.D., Waikato               

I was working as a child clinical psychologist when, after two miscarriages, I was 26 weeks into my third pregnancy and finally feeling comfortable, like this one might be ok…then I started having contractions, and ended up in the hospital, and then on bedrest at home (out in the country, alone) for two months.

It all turned out ok—my son decided to stay in there as long as possible, and eventually had to be extracted by cesarian, but it was the first step on my path toward an interest in helping other women coping with stress and distress during pregnancy and in early parenting.  I now train aspiring psychologists and work on developing tools to help new parents cope with the changes and challenges they face.

Nimisha Waller, Auckland

Nimisha Waller is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Health and Environmental
 Science at AUT University. She has practised 
midwifery in tertiary units and as an LMC. She has 
been a supervisor and a member of the competency
review panel for MCNZ, reviewer for NZCOM 
Midwifery Standards Review, and an NZCOM educator for the Midwifery First Year Practice (MYFP).

She is an expert advisor and an Academic member/Deputy Chair on the MOH Compliance panel that monitors the Code in New Zealand (Breastfeeding).
Nimisha has a particular interest in maternal wellbeing, diabetes and obesity, newborn, postnatal distress, traumatic birth and PTSD. Her doctoral study is on post-birth conversation between midwives and women, and the impact it has on them.



Ambassadors and Advisors

  • Jude Dobson – TV Broadcaster / Producer
  • Liz Macdonald – Psychiatrist Mothers & Babies Service – Christchurch
  • Susan Goldstiver – Reg. Psychotherapist PND Specialist – Auckland
  • Emma Green – Registered Psychotherapist – Auckland
  • Joan Hay – Parents Centre New Zealand (retired) – Wellington
  • Dr. Sara Weeks – Psychiatrist – Auckland

Annual Reports