Our Board Members

Dr Denise Atkins – Chair (PhD, MEdMgmt (Hons), Dip Tchg) 
Senior Lecturer, Schools of Sport and Recreation, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, AUT University
Denise is a senior lecturer and academic development advisor in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at AUT University. She is a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award and undertakes research in the fields of Health & Physical Education, pedagogy and children’s voice. As a previous senior advisor with the Ministry of Education Denise worked in partnership with the Ministry of Health and SportNZ (formerly SPARC) and was responsible for implementing the Physical Activity Initiative (2005-2007). Denise has had experience leading and managing teams, working both in schools and with teachers in professional development. She has a passion for education and is committed to supporting initiatives in drowning prevention.  

Dr Kevin Moran, ONZM (PhD (Massey), BA Hons (Birmingham), MEd 1st Class Hons (Massey), Cert.Ed (Loughborough))
Principal Lecturer in Health & Physical Education, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland
Kevin is a Principal Lecturer in Physical Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland. Kevin has had a lifelong commitment to drowning prevention as a lifeguard, researcher, and educator. He has been a frontline surf lifeguard for over 50 years, still currently patrolling one of New Zealand’s rugged west coast beaches at Muriwai, near Auckland where he has been awarded Life Membership. In 2010 he was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Surf Life Saving Northern. Professional positions include: member of the International Advisory Committee for the WHO 2014 Drowning Report; member of the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) Research and Information Committee; Co-chair of the International Task Force on Open Water Drowning Prevention; foundation member of the New Zealand Drowning Prevention Council, and Foundation Chairman of Watersafe Auckland Inc (WAI) from 1994-2012. 

In 2014 Kevin was awarded the Water Safety New Zealand Award for his “outstanding contribution to water safety” and the 2014 Irish Medal by the Lifesaving Foundation in international recognition of “his exceptional contribution to the saving of lives from drowning.” He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours list 2015 for “services to water safety”. Kevin is the author of two books on water safety and drowning prevention, has published 50+ papers in international journals, and presented 60+ papers at more than 20 international conferences in the last decade.

Anne Degia-Pala QSM (GDipNFP, DMInstD)
Community Development Consultant
Anne is an advocate for ethnically diverse communities of migrants and seeks to represent the aspirations of minority populations, especially women and children. She works in injury prevention to promote social and cultural wellbeing. As an ethnic community leader she advocates for good governance, inclusive leadership and social change at all levels of society.

Anne is passionate about the not for profit sector; was a founding member of the Auckland Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel; Chair of Waitakere Ethnic Board; board member of Generosity NZ and Safer Communities Waitakere. She is a partner of WinMac Solutions Ltd and a Trustee of NixCrew Inc., a road safety trust. Strong, healthy, engages and vibrant pan-ethnic communities are important to Anne. In 2007 she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for her work with women and children. Her business, funding, governance and community development skills add strength to WaterSafe Auckland’s Board.

Sandie Gusscott (M Ed (Ed Mgt) Hons, Dip Sci Ed, TTC)
Sandie is General Manager Education at Auckland UniServices Limited where she is responsible for the delivery of tailor made University of Auckland credit programmes in international markets. She is also responsible for the New Zealand Ministry of Education research and professional development contracts delivered by The University of Auckland. Prior to this, Sandie held senior positions in the Auckland College of Education, the most recent being Manager of Contracting, where she oversaw the successful completion of several major contracts. She has a background in education as a Teacher, a District Adviser to schools, a National Co-ordinator and has been Director of a number of professional development programmes including the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Monique Pihama (Orakei Marae Blessing Coordinator / PA to Manager)
Monique is the coordinator for Orakei Marae – Ngati Whatua Orakei blessing representation in Auckland City. She has extensive work relationships with government agencies, iwi, schools and tertiary institutions, and is currently on the Future Auckland Leaders Programme 2016-2017 cohort. Monique is a recent graduate of The Ice House / Te Whare Hukahuka – Ka eke poutama Maori Governance programme. She is on the Ngati Whatua Orakei Sports & Culture Committee and actively supports the club through coaching and managing teams. Monique has been a sports representative at regional and national levels, and supports WaterSafe Auckland’s drowning prevention initiatives. 

Richard Pamatatau (BA (Auckland); Cert Tertiary Teaching)
Richard is a journalism academic at AUT University, teaching at both under and post-graduate levels in the School of Communication Studies, part of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies. He teaches media law and ethics, writing, the reporting of public and political bodies and broadcasting. He researches identity, media strategy, death and ritual, social media and how public policy is framed in the media landscape. Outside of the University, Richard is on the Auckland Museum and Red Cross Pacific Advisory Boards and is a former member of the Auckland Council Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel. He has been a surf lifeguard, long distance triathlete and spends as much as time possible sailing. Richard is passionate about Auckland and want to be in a place where people are able to use and play in its many water environments with safety top of mind.