Deaf Aotearoa Holdings Ltd. Board of Directors

David McKee 

 Dr David McKee – Chair

David is Research Director of the Deaf Studies Research Unit and Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington. He teaches the Certificate in Deaf Studies: Teaching New Zealand Sign Language and introductory NZSL courses.

He is also Managing Editor of the Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language, which was launched in 2011.

As well as his role as DAHL Chair, David has been a Trustee on the Combined Board of Trustees for Kelston Deaf Education Centre and van Asch Deaf Education Centre for the past two terms.

Ben

Ben Clifford – Deputy Chair

Ben Clifford was elected to the Deaf Aotearoa Executive Board in 2016 and became Vice President in June 2018.

Ben has more than 15 years’ experience serving on various boards and committees in the Deaf community.

He is passionate about improving living standards for Deaf people across all sectors of community life.

Oliver5

Oliver Ferguson

Oliver joined the Deaf Aotearoa Executive Board in 2011 and became President in May 2016.

Oliver grew up in a Deaf family in Christchurch and went to Deaf school. With his parents, he was involved in Deaf Club and Deaf sports.

Having three children, two of whom are Deaf, led Oliver to take on leadership roles as he lobbied and advocated for better Deaf education, joining the New Zealand Federation of Deaf Children and the Deaf Education Centre Board of Trustees. He was also the Chair of the New Zealand Deaf Short Film Festival committee in 2009.

As President of the Deaf Aotearoa Executive Board, Oliver networks with other Disabled People’s Organisations and is involved with the Ministry of Education Special Advisory Group for Deaf Education in New Zealand. He is also a representative for Deaf Aotearoa in the Oceania region of the World Federation of the Deaf.

Oliver continues to focus on improved education for Deaf children and improved access and services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for the Deaf community.

Outside of his roles in the Deaf community, for the last 10 years Oliver’s career as a freelance specialist in Visual Effects in the film industry has seen him involved in notable work on films including Avatar and The Hobbit trilogy.

Kevin headshot

Kevin O’Neill

Kevin grew up in Wellington with three deaf sisters. His father was heavily involved in promoting deaf education and Kevin is proud to continue his family’s involvement in the Deaf community.

He has worked in the not-for-profit sector in his role as a Chartered Accountant, with a focus on health. Kevin is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Scots College  and has also worked for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, the Ministry of Health and as Chief Financial Officer for Access Home Health.

Kevin brings his business acumen and knowledge of government systems to DAHL. He hopes these skills will support the growth of the services Deaf Aotearoa provides, while maintaining the organisation’s values and reputation for outstanding, innovative services.

Gail Stevens

Gail Stevens

Gail Stevens joined the Deaf Aotearoa Holdings Ltd board in 2017. Gail is a Client Manager with Perpetual Guardian, one of the statutory Trustee Companies in New Zealand with an unrivalled presence in the charitable sector.

Gail has several years’ experience in the trustee industry, both as a professional trustee and also from serving on two school boards. She is a member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and holds a Diploma in Trusts and Estates in New Zealand.

Lachlan

Lachlan Keating

Lachlan has worked in the disability sector for more than 16 years, firstly in Australia for Wesley Mission Brisbane, and since early 2006 at Deaf Aotearoa.

Initially working in Christchurch as an employment consultant, Lachlan progressed to the roles of South Island Regional Manager and then General Manager – Community Development, before being appointed as Chief Executive in 2012.

Lachlan attended the prestigious Harvard Business School in 2015 and has been a strong advocate for Deaf Aotearoa staff gaining additional qualifications. Leadership development has been a key focus during Lachlan’s tenure, with eight Deaf people appointed to leadership roles in the past six years.

Lachlan has led a programme of organisational transformation and restructured the organisation in 2015 to ensure an increased level of quality, professionalism, accountability and performance at all levels.

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