We are delighted to welcome Dr Amanda Smith, an experienced Chief Advisor, to our New Zealand team at HG.
With a remarkable track record in the disability and mental health sectors, Amanda brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our organisation. Her extensive work experience includes a demonstrated proficiency in policy analysis, management, strategic planning, stakeholder management, public policy, and academic research. Notably, Amanda’s background as a dedicated social worker with a Doctorate in Health Science reflects her unwavering commitment to social justice and a strong focus on community and social services.
In this exclusive feature, we acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable contributions of Dr. Smith, shedding light on her invaluable insights gained through years of significant work in the sector.
Amanda Smith’s 20 Years of Experience in the New Zealand Disability Sector and Her Role at HG
Working in the health and disability sector for the last twenty-five years has been an absolute pleasure. There is something about a long-term commitment that allows you to see changes and developments over a long period of time. When I started working in the sector, there was talk of the NZ disability strategy as an aspirational goal for the future and something that all New Zealanders should strive for. Understanding rights was something that came naturally to me as someone who was brought up to celebrate diversity and completed universities studies that focused on justice and improving the lives of those who are marginalised.
Twenty-five years on and we are finally talking about disabled people’s rights as fundamentally necessary and as a country looking at the ways that we need to bring the United Nations on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to life. As part of that development, I had the pleasure of being part of the move of the Disability Directorate from the Ministry of Health to the new Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People. This focus on disabled people both in terms of transforming disability support and advocating across government is the beginning of big changes for disabled people in New Zealand. This along with the proposed improvements to the mental health system should contribute to improving wellbeing for all New Zealanders.
I love a good challenge and particularly to be as helpful as I can in the face of challenging times. One of the biggest challenges we have faced in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic found me learning about all sorts of new health information and terminology whilst supporting the Ministry of Health’s response to the pandemic in support of the disability community. This is a time that has caused great reflection, significant learning, and big changes to the way organisations work.
As a social worker, I have a commitment to my profession through my role as a professional conduct committee member and to social services more broadly. I also have a strong belief in continuous learning which has led me to complete my Doctorate in Health Science, studying the voices of people who receive services under the High and CompIex Framework in New Zealand.
I have a strong belief in the importance of true leadership and am very proud to join an organization that also holds that belief but contributes in a very meaningful way. I am delighted to join Hardy group and look forward to the many years to come.