Our Team

Dementia Waikato staff are highly qualified Registered Health Professionals, caring and knowledgeable about living well with dementia. Our Board of Trustees comprises people with a mix of professional skills and experiences of dementia that together provide a sound base for responsible and sensitive governing of Alzheimers Waikato Charitable Trust which trades as Dementia Waikato. 

Howard Vickridge
Manager, RN
Howard developed his interest in dementia a decade ago and became a Registered Nurse in 2013. He nursed in an acute psychogeriatric ward at Waikato DHB before being appointed Manager of Dementia Waikato in June 2016, where he was previously a trustee. His earlier career includes communications and marketing in consultancy, government, local body and not-for-profit environments. After completing a BA in social anthropology in 2003 he spent the next eight years in arts management. Howard is passionate about promoting the rights of people living with dementia, encouraging people to speak out about their experience, and helping people with dementia to maximise their quality of life. Howard Vickridge, RN. B.Nurs., B.A., PG Cert. Ph. 07 282 0451
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Sara Farmer
Business Operations Leader
Sara's senior experience in both commercial and government administration bolsters Dementia Waikato's capacity to use every dollar wisely and to account accurately for all our work. She has additional expertise in industrial relations and health & safety, along with well-honed marketing experience. Sara has a passion for strengthening services for people with dementia and contributing in the not-for-profit sector, driven from personal experiences. Sara loves family life with her partner and their two young boys at their home where a stream runs along the back boundary and her chickens roam the front yard. Sara Farmer, B.Com. Ph. 07 9294042
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Susan Buchanan
Support Coordinator, RN
Susan is a Registered nurse with wide nursing experience in many areas and especially in aged care/dementia. Her six years prior to joining Dementia Waikato have been as an education coordinator in the residential care and dementia sector and she continues her keen interest in this field. Susan has lived in Hamilton since 1995 andwas originally from rural New Zealand. She enjoys time with family and friends, her pet dog Oscar, gardening and the outdoors. Susan Buchanan, RN Comp., Cert Adult Teaching, Graduate Cert. TESOL. Ph. 07 282 0455
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Jill Edmunds
Support Coordinator, NZROT
Jill's career in occupational therapy has encompassed community and rural work in New Zealand and Australia. She has extensive experience in helping people with neurological conditions to maintain as much function and independence as possible, and in supporting rehabilitation. In recent years she has completed additional studies in dementia. Jill lives with her husband on the Coromandel Peninsula, and probably eats far too much fresh Snapper. Jill Edmunds, NZ Registered Occupational Therapist. Ph. 07 282 1372
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Tom Slater
Support Coordinator
Tom gained his Occupational Therapy degree in the United Kingdom where he worked across a variety of settings in acute hospitals in and around London. This work included time on the dementia wards at King’s College Hospital London, and the Frank Cooksey neurological rehabilitation unit. Since moving to New Zealand he has worked in community settings completing ACC assessments, including housing and environmental modifications, to promote functional independence and safety. He now lives on a small lifestyle block with his wife and children, where he is able to enjoy manual tasks such as fencing, sheep rearing, and basic wood work. Tom Slater BSc (Hon), NZ registered Occupational Therapist. Ph. 072820453
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Shannon Willemen
Services Coordinator
Shannon joined Dementia Waikato in July 2013. Prior to this she had worked in roles including teaching, retail management, and caring for people with disabilities in the Waikato area. Following three and a half years working directly with clients as a Support Coordinator, Shannon became Services Coordinator with responsibility for overseeing the field staff organisation and logistics for all our programmes, as well as supporting some clients directly. Shannon Willemen Ph. 07 929 4042
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Dr Broughton Thomas
Geriatrician (retired)
Broughton is a recently retired specialist geriatrician who worked for the Waikato DHB for 30 years. During this time he referred many of his patients to Dementia Waikato and worked closely with the Dementia Waikato team. Broughton has been a Trustee since 2013 and was chair of Trustees from June 2015 - June 2017. His wide knowledge and experience in health of the older person contributes to maintaining service quality and practice standards within the organisation.
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Bernard Lamusse
Chartered Accountant
Bernard is a chartered accountant, a partner at BDO Waikato and leader of their Not-For-Profit sector services. He was a Founding Trustee of Alzheimers Waikato Charitable Trust in 2010. Bernard's financial advice and guidance in financial governance has helped Dementia Waikato grow as demand for our services continues to increase. He always makes the time to advise the staff on financial matters and is in regular contact with the manager and administrator.
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Trish Thorne
Wintec Lecturer and consumer representative
Trish is a lecturer at Wintec in the Centre for Business Information Technology and Enterprise and has been a Trustee of Alzheimers Waikato Charitable Trust since 2013. Trish supported and cared for her late husband who experienced younger onset dementia and brings this understanding, in a addition to her professional skills, to the Board.
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Rosemary Robertson
Chair of Trustees, Lawyer
Rosemary is a lawyer moving into semi-retirement. Her legal career began in commercial litigation, more recently focusing on family law, with an emphasis on property issues. Those issues included estate disputes, and applications to the Court to appoint Welfare Guardians and Property Managers for folk who have lost the capacity to make decisions about their own health and property. Her personal experience in the dementia field includes close involvement with her mother who had Alzheimer’s, and her father and parents in law who all had end of life needs arising from different forms of dementia. Rosemary became a Trustee in 2016.
Dhammika Silva
Lecturer
Dhammika is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management/Planning and Research at the Waikato Institute of Technology. She holds an MBA (Waikato) and is currently completing her PhD. After spending nearly a decade working in industry in various roles, Dhammika grew passionate about academia and ultimately came into teaching to share her skills and experiences with her students. In addition to her wealth of industry experience Dhammika holds professional qualifications in tertiary teaching. Her work emphasises putting theory into practice in the contemporary project-based learning environment. After experiencing and losing one of her beloved family members from her extended family to dementia, Dhammika saw how the right supports and attitudes help a person experiencing symptoms to retain their unique individuality and character. “The experience of dementia is unique to each person and it’s essential that we interact with everyone on a human level, respecting their individuality.” Dhammika loves entertaining friends and family at her home, is passionate about gardening and interior decoration, and in her spare time plays the piano. Dhammika Silva. MBA, Waik; GradCertTESOL, CATE Wintec
Alan Rex
Human Resources Manager & Business Consultant
Alan is an HR professional with over 20 years’ experience across the private and public sectors. He is passionate about developing employees and helping organisations to be the best they can be. Alan has a family member with dementia and wanted to become a trustee to give back to the local community
Paul Street
Trustee, Company Director