Our Team

Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust | Te Whare Oranga Ngākau was formed in July 2014 by concerned citizens wanting to make a difference to our suicide statistics in New Zealand.

The Trust was formed because there was very little support available to families bereaved by suicide or those that are suicidal. We provide much needed support and give a voice to the thousands of families devastated by suicide.

Contact our General Manager at:
Clare Curran: message@lifematters.org.nz

How We Operate

In August 2023, the Trust secured a contract with Te Whatu Ora to fund our Peer Support Service. This positive change has allowed many of our wonderful volunteers to be paid for their mahi and enabled us to extend our opening hours. However, all other costs rely on the success of funding applications, fundraising campaigns and generous donations from sponsors and community. We welcome donations which go towards operational costs, subsidising counselling services and training in suicide prevention.

How Do We Serve Our Community

Our aim is to reduce the suicides in our country by promoting suicide prevention strategies, educating and supporting our community, raising awareness about suicide by breaking the stigma and supporting those bereaved by it. Most of our work is done out of the Hope Centre | Te Whare Tūmanako in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Meet the Team

Corinda

Patron and Life Member

Corinda founded Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust in 2013. She was involved in various volunteer roles as Chair, Treasurer, Secretary of the Board and as a Peer Supporter. In 2020 she became General Manager and Co-General Manager before her resignation in May 2024. Following her resignation Corinda was made Patron of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust to acknowledge the work she has done. Corinda continues to advocate for suicide bereaved whānau. You can contact Corinda on patron@lifematters.org.nz or 021 293 0094

Corinda's story:

I lost my beloved son Ross, aged twenty, to suicide in March 2013 due to failures of the system and individuals. Because I believethat Ross’ suicide could have been prevented and due to the lack of support after his suicide, I called a public meeting to connect with like-minded people. I am the founding member of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust. My aim is to make sure that nobody struggles to get help when they ask for it. From this end, a petition was started with Denise’s help and we delivered it to the House of Representatives, and respectfully requested a comprehensive independent nationwide Inquiry into Mental Health Services to be conducted to determine if current services meet the requirements and if future planning is adequate to meet future demand. We hope that the growing nationwide support will help us to make sure that nobody should die in despair and alone in the health care system. Zero suicide in health care is my aim.

Denise

Life Member

I have been associated with Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust from the beginning. I met Corinda at a public meeting she had initiated and I believed in the cause. With support from my whanau at the many events we held back in the day we managed to help get it to where it is today. It certainly has come a long way in 10 years. Congratulations. P.S I was made a life member of Life Matters last year which is quite an honour.

Bev

Life Member

Since 2013 Bev has provided much support to Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust as a volunteer, peer supporter, bereavement facilitator and a trustee. Her support has been invaluable. Bev has been made a Life Member for services she has provided to the Trust for over ten years.

We wish you well on your new journey down in Southland, Bev.

Clare

General Manager

Between 2008 and 2020 Clare was the Labour Member of Parliament for Dunedin South before retiring at the 2020 election. Clare was a committed local member of parliament, advocating and representing her constituents, particularly on issues related to housing, health, mental health and equality. She was a staunch voice for the South Dunedin suburbs, especially after the significant 2015 floods. Alongside her role as a Co-General Manager for Life Matters, Clare chairs the board of the Dunedin Night Shelter.

James

Chair

Ko Kapukataumahaka te māunga
Ko Pukihaukea te awa
Ko Tākitimute waka
Ko Wharetutu Newton tōku tīpuna
Ko Ngāi Tahu tōku iwi
Ko Te Rūnanga o Awarua tōku hapū
Ko Te Rau Aroha tōku marae
Nō Taiari ahau
Ko Braden rāua ko Kathyrn ōku mātua
Ko Hemi tōku ingoa

James is proud to be part of a team that is driven for positive change in our mental health system. He who himself has lived experience of mental health distress and suicide, understands the huge impacts of mental health on whānau, and friends. He is extremely passionate about the work Life Matters undertakes, he has been a volunteer and a Peer Supporter there for quite some years! Professionally James works in Rural Policy for a farmers advocacy group. He brings a wide range of governance experience to the board, and is actively involved in other organisations around the city. He was brought up in Central Otago and of Kai Tahu decent. In his free time, you will find him on the tracks around Dunedin or in a good book.  

Michael

Treasurer and Deputy Chair

Growing up in Dunedin, I have local roots and am grateful to be able to help where I can in the community. I have over 10 years' experience as a Chartered Accountant and work with boards of both for-profit and non-profit entities to help them achieve their goals. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, a round of golf and mountain biking.

Simon

Trustee

The work that Life Matters undertakes is close to my heart. Being part of this work gives me the chance to lend my skills and knowledge to a cause I have thought about daily for the past four years. My career has revolved around relationship building, both in the public and private sectors. I am currently the Relationship Manager for Alvarium Wealth, an investment firm based in Auckland. Outside of work you’ll find me on the golf course, in the surf, or spending time with my partner and friends.

Emily

Secretary of the Board

Kia Ora, I am locally based and am so excited to be a part of the Life matters team. I have spent the last few years earning an English degree as well as working for various organisations. I am incredibly grateful to be able to lend a helping hand to such important work. Currently, I work as a legal administrator at GHP Law, a Law Firm based in Dunedin. When I am not working, I enjoy watching and playing Ice Sports, the odd game of Golf and spending time with friends and my kitty

Rebecca

Trustee

Kia ora, my name is Rebecca and I have recently joined the Life Matters Board.  

Born and bred in Dunedin, I have a sense of pride for our community, and it's an absolute privilege to be involved with the Trust. Having completed a psychology degree during my studies, I feel a strong connection to the mission of the Trust. The alarming mental health statistics in our country deeply concern me, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the passionate individuals at Life Matters who are making a significant difference.

I am currently an Associate at a local law firm practising in employment and health and safety law.  I’m particularly passionate about working with employees and employers to prioritise and foster positive, inclusive and mentally healthy workplaces.

Outside of work, you’ll find me spending time with my family and friends out on the golf course or seeking out new adventures around the city.

Jade

Office Manager

Kia ora, I'm Jade and now based in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Growing up in Vietnam where mental health is not talked about and having experienced first-hand how detrimental stigma can be, I am now passionate about raising awareness of the importance of open and direct conversations about mental health and suicide in our communities - which is why I am grateful to be one of Life Matters' safeTALK trainers, as well as Office Manager. For me, mental health education is suicide prevention.


Cuba

Team Leader

Kia ora! My name is Cuba (she/her) and I am at Life Matters because the experiences I have had in my life have left me deeply interested in the meaning that surrounds how people engage with mental health and with each other. Holistic and community-based care is such a dynamic space and so needed in Aotearoa’s current mental health landscape. I love visual arts, writing, and making things, and the space for self-expression created by the life experience whānau here at Te Whare Tūmanako the Hope Centre.

Christine

Team Leader

Kia ora. My name is Christine.

I am at Life Matters because I believe in the effectiveness of community-based care and the impact it can have on those seeking wellness and authenticity, on those seeking to realise their full potential and growth. I see too many stuck in the cycle of hopelessness and despair.

I have lived experience of mental health and the journey to wellness and want to use this experience to support tangata whaiora seeking a way out of their dark place, wanting to improve their lives and wellbeing. The joy of finding ‘you’, finding who you are, of being authentic, is incredible.

Grace

Senior Peer Supporter 🌈

Kia ora! My name is Grace and I am a recent psychology and neuroscience graduate with a passion for understanding the intricate interplay between the mind, body and environment. Driven by a desire to enact meaningful change within the mental health landscape, I am a firm advocate for the power of holistic, empathetic and person-centered care. Since beginning my journey at the Hope Centre, Te Whare Tūmanako, I have developed a deep appreciation for the way peer support curates a safe space for authentic connection. It also effectively bridges a gap in the mental health system by providing cost-free “top of the cliff” support to tāngata whaiora. Outside Life Matters I am happiest when immersed in creativity and nature.  

Amy

Senior Peer Supporter 🌈

Kia ora community,

My name is Amy, and I am so pleased to be working with an organisation I admire. I have been trained in Intentional Peer Support, and prior to joining Life Matters, I completed a research Master’s in Psychology.

My thesis explored therapists’ perspectives on treatment boundaries in psychotherapy practice with a special interest in additional considerations for people who have experienced complex trauma.

Through my studies and lived experiences I have come to understand that human connection and authentic conversations have the power to transform pain into purpose and loss into lessons. In the words of Desmond Tutu: “my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Joy

Peer Supporter

Kia ora, my name is Joy Larson. I am married and we have three boys. James and his partner live in Central Otago, and Matthew and his wife live in Scotland. Our first born son, Mark, died in Oct 2003. I worked in Education (Primary School) for over 25 years. I was involved with both children and parents and loved being able to help them. I then decided on a new direction and trained in March 2020 to become a Peer Support Person. I feel that I have a lot of life experiences that will help many people. I am very privileged to be involved as a Peer Supporter with Life Matters. I love the Life Matters philosophy and want to support those affected by suicide and or mental health.

Nusa

Peer Supporter

Talofa lava, My name is Nusa. I am a proud Pacific Islander from the beautiful island of Samoa "685 to the world." I have 6 beautiful children including my nephew, and a daughter who I adopted out at birth and am lucky to still be part of her life. I have lost both my parents and my son all due to illnesses, but what hits different was loosing my husband to suicide in Jan 2021. Mental health is real! I am blessed to be in a space where I can use my life experiences to help anyone that walks through our doors. Much love & God bless!

Rifa

Peer Supporter

Hello! I’m Rifa and I’m from South Asia. I’m currently a fourth year student at University of Otago completing my graduate diploma in public health. I have a great interest in mental health and well-being, and how other aspects of health are affected by mental health. There is still stigma associated with mental health and getting help as well as the lack of cultural representation in mental health spaces. I hope that by volunteering at Life Matters, I can hold a space for both representation as well as help more people to be able to reach out.

Bertie

Peer Supporter 🌈

Hey, my name is Bertie! I have just completed my honours degree in biomedical science. In my spare time I enjoy baking, painting and listening to music (especially Taylor Swift). I joined Life Matters at the start of 2023 as a volunteer because I want to make a direct impact in people’s lives, especially when it comes to mental health support. I now have been taken on as a full time staff member.

Bella

Peer Supporter

Kia ora, my name is Bella and I completed my degree in Psychology at the University of Otago. Life Matters appealed to me because we share the goals of reducing stigma around mental health and suicide and increasing support, and I wanted to meet some like-minded people. Everybody has a story to tell and as a Peer Supporter I am able to listen to so many diverse experiences. It is wonderful to be able to spread hope in the community and support the wellbeing of others.

Olivia

Peer Supporter

Hi, my name is Olivia and I have been a peer supporter since 2020. I am from the United States but moved out here in 2018 for uni and to be closer to family. I am currently studying a Masters, researching youth mental health, and in my spare time I enjoy skiing, golf, and finding new cafes to try! I joined Life Matters because I wanted to let other people know that they are not the only ones struggling and to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Tai

Peer Supporter

Kia Ora!

My name is Tai and I am a Psychology and Sports Development and Management student at the University of Otago. Although I was born in Ōtepoti Dunedin, I have spent most of my life in Whangarei, Northland. I am an avid sports lover, who loves an adventure. I love all types of sports but specifically rugby, football, and snowboarding. I am passionate about making an impact in the mental health sector as I have seen various mental health services fail those close to me. I am excited to be working at Life Matters, as it allows me to actively contribute to diminishing the stigma surrounding Mental Health. Kia Kaha!

Will

Peer Supporter 🌈

Kia Ora! My name is Will, and I am a Dunedin born student currently studying Law and Psychology at Otago. I began peer supporting at the beginning of 2023 and loved getting to connect with the diverse community of Ōtepoti, so I decided to start working for Life Matters full time. After going through the grieving process of losing a friend to suicide this year the work I do at Life Matters is something that is extremely important to me. I have experienced firsthand how difficult it can be to access mental health support in New Zealand and wanted to be a part of the solution. I support people with a wide range of issues but have particular interest and experience in support regarding men’s mental health, ADHD, LGBTQI+, and sleep. When I’m not doing peer support I enjoy skateboarding, skiing, reading, or having a jam on some decks.

Lily

Peer Supporter

Kia ora, my name is Lily (she/her) and I am currently a third year student studying psychology and sports science at the University of Otago. I was inspired by Life Matters and the work they were doing within the community so decided to become a part of it! I am passionate about people and love the relational, mutual, and holistic aspects of peer support. In my free time I love to get out for a run, play netball, or sit down with a good book.

Anna

Peer Supporter

Kia Ora! My name is Anna, and I am a psychology, marketing, and criminology student with a passion for reducing the stigma around mental health and creating meaningful change in the mental health space. I not only have lived experience with mental health but have also experienced struggle and grief through those around me. My experience at Te Whare Tūmanako has taught me the importance of an authentic and mutual connection for improving wellbeing and the importance of our services for providing a safe space for those experiencing distress. I am happiest when I am reading a good book, making friends with neighbourhood cats or connecting with nature.

Sophie

Peer Supporter 🌈

Kia ora! My name is Jade Florence Sophie and I’m one of the peer supporters here at Life Matters. My pronouns are she/her and I am a proud transgender woman. I was born and raised here in Otēpoti Dunedin and am so glad to be here supporting and advocating for the local queer community.

My experience of gender identity was closely tied with my experience of mental distress. In some of my darkest days the thing I really wished for was someone who understood the nuance of what I was going through and had the language to help me feel seen. The journey of queerness can be a lonely one. I hope to make the most of my lived experience to join people on their own journeys and offer an understanding ear to tangata whaiora.

To quote the brilliant transgender musician SOPHIE. “‘Cause we’ve all got a dark place. Maybe if we shine some light there, it won’t be so hard.”

Cas

Peer Supporter 🌈

Kia Ora,

I'm Cas and I'm a former journalist and musician. I have recently completed a communications diploma but originally studied music and audio engineering. In my spare time I love having a big sing-along, playing tabletop games with my friends, reading and video gaming. I have personal and secondary experience of mental distress, and joined life matters as I want to be able to support people to be able to see the light that already exists within them and that they are not alone on their mental health journey. E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea. I will never be lost, for I am a seed sown in Rangiātea.

Tasher

Ambassador of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

Introducing Tasher. All muscles, no floof … and a fearless social warrior for supporting mental well-being and suicide prevention. As Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust's official mascot, Tasher is a regular at our Hope Centre, where she does her most precious mahi – providing comfort, cuddles and company to our guests, especially those who are distressed, and, sometimes, suicidal.

Olivia

Newsletter Designer

Hello, my name is Olivia King and I am a recent graduate of the University of Otago. Being a psychology student, I have a huge passion for helping others, doing good and speaking out about mental health. I've heard of too many people whose lives have been lost to suicide, and when I saw Life Matters were looking for volunteers to help with newsletter and content work I went for it. I started as a volunteer in July 2018 and now work casually helping create online newsletters, work on training modules and develop content to promote upcoming events. I am so proud to work for a team focused on reducing stigma, educating others and most importantly providing support to those affected by suicide and/or mental health difficulties. I am loving helping develop and build the Trust by working behind-the-scenes and have learnt so much already. Knowing I am working for people who are so driven to spread support, love and acceptance is the most rewarding part of this role and I am so grateful to be in this position.