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
Operations Manager
I am the Operations Manager for PADA. Having worked for 12 years as a corporate travel consultant, I 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 2018. I have two boys aged 11 and 12 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 & Database Manager
A mum to two girls aged 9 and 12, 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 Ransom
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.

Sharon Vaka
Finance Coordinator
My role as the Financial Co-ordinator is a part-time role of 5 hours per week. I am responsible for all things Financial.  My background is in Hospitality Management which has taken me to many corners of the world. I now specialise in Accounts Management and Human Resources for a variety of small and medium businesses.  I am also mum to two precious primary school aged children.  I am excited to transfer my skills to a PADA which is making a positive difference in the life of Kiwi families.


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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ChristineTaylor Foundation
for Mental Health

The Duncalfe Family





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 Training School of Psychology, University of Waikato
  • Joanne Rama – RcompN, RM, and Pregnancy and parenting educator at ADHB and Kaitiaki Whakawhanau Maori,for Ngati Whatua, Auckland
  • Clare Barnett -M.Couns (Hons), P.G.Cert.Prof.Supervision, R.M, R.Comp.N, B.A, C.T.T



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, Auckland

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.

Joanne Rama, Auckland

Ko Joanne Rama taku ingoa
Ko Pirongia taku Maunga
Ko waipapa taku awa
Ko kahotea taku marae
Ko Ngati Hinetu taku hapu
Ko Ngati Apakura taku iwi
Nga mihi mahana ki a koutou
I am the partner of John, mother of 10, godmother of 2, and Nanny Jo to 12 mokopuna. I am a daughter, sister, aunty, and cousin to many.

I graduated as a registered nurse in 1990, and as a midwife in 1992. I was one of the first LMC Maori Midwives to practice in south Auckland and spent 18 years providing care for Maori whanau, during this time I was a founding member of putea o pua trust that created what is now know as Turuki health in Mangere, I also helped establish Nga Maia which is the National Maori midwives organisation.

My passion was and still is to restore traditional Maori birth knowledge and wisdom to whanau. My other passion is Maternal mental health. I have lived experience with perinatal depression as do my daughters and nieces. I also work as a alcohol and drug professional at the social detox at The Auckland city mission and I contract to ADHB to provide community and pregnancy and parenting programmes and I also have a contract with Whai Maia to provide facilitaion for a kaupapa Maori pregnancy and parenting programme. I am excited about supporting PADA to continue shining the light on the dark little corner of Maternal mental health.

Clare Barnett, Waikato

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Kapukataumahaka te Māunga
Ko Mata-Au te Awa
Ko Waterman te Waka,
KoTerpstra tōku tupuna Tatimana, ko Moorhouse tōku tupuna Ingarihi
Ko Otepoti te kainga tuatahi engari nō Kirikiriroa ahau inianei..
Ko Clare Barnett tōku ingoa.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

My passion for maternal and family mental wellbeing started with the story of how the rhesus factor affected my mother’s birthing history, and my own birth. This thread continued in my nursing where I first noticed the stigma of mental health compared with how we talk about physical health. Working as a midwife also gave me greater insight into how maternal wellbeing affects family and baby wellbeing, and the vital role we all play in supporting women and families as they navigate pregnancy, birthing and parenting.  I now weave these understandings into my role as a counsellor, specialising in supporting women and families through perinatal distress, and in my education support of student midwives at WINTEC.

I am delighted to be on the PADA Board. I have previously been involved in PADA education and advisory support and totally believe in the strategic importance of the work PADA does within Aotearoa/New Zealand. I am in awe of what this organisation has managed to achieve in such a short time, with a typical Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude on limited resources. PADA’s strong leadership team, ability to gather expertise in the area of perinatal mental health, and commitment to debunk mental health stigma’s and to break-through information and resource barriers is the reason I choose to give my time and energy to the work they do.


Ambassadors and Advisors

  • Jude Dobson – TV Broadcaster / Producer
  • Liz Macdonald – Psychiatrist Mothers & Babies Service – Christchurch
  • Susan Goldstiver – Reg. Psychotherapist PND Specialist – Auckland
  • Nimisha Waller – RGON, RM, MMid, DHSc Candidate LMC Midwife & Senior Midwifery Lecturer, Auckland
  • Emma Green – Registered Psychotherapist – Auckland
  • Joan Hay – Parents Centre New Zealand (retired) – Wellington
  • Dr. Sara Weeks – Psychiatrist – Auckland