Reflection, Gratitude, and the Future

August 2022

Last month, we said farewell to the esteemed Charis Frethey who has been our Programme Manager for the last two years. 

Charis had the wonderful opportunity to join the localities work under Jean Fleming - a fantastic opportunity for her to infiltrate further into other layers of the health system and to continue to support the aspirations of us all. Fortunately, Charis will retain her ties with the group and will remain on the executive and participate in a couple of the working groups.


Read words of reflection, gratitude, and the future from Charis.

In 2020, Dr. Ruth Large approached me to become a part of the NZ Telehealth Forum (NZTF). It was a time when we were all adjusting to the ‘sci-fi life’ that was vastly becoming the new norm. The Covid-19 global pandemic had ushered us into a new daily routine which included 1pm news updates from the Prime Minister, remote working, and national lockdowns. I had limited knowledge of the NZTF - so I researched their website and contacted existing members who I knew to ask about the organisation.

The more I researched, the more I realised that this was an exciting opportunity - not only to work alongside Dr. Ruth Large, and the amazing Executive, but to really help by addressing some of the system issues in health, such as siloed workforces, significant duplication of work, and removing barriers to implementing telehealth.

Once I was officially onboard as the Telehealth Programme Lead in August 2022, I set about focusing my work programme on establishing the organisation. We undertook a strategic refresh between October 2020 to February 2021. This provided the new shape of the NZTF and facilitated awareness of the significant role that we played in supporting the outreach of telehealth education, information, and resource development. During this time, the growth of the organisation and its membership went from strength to strength, and we experienced the blossoming of what is now eight working groups (WG) and three community of practice groups (COP).

The leadership of each group was and continues to be at the heart of the success of the NZTF. Each group, the projects they undertake, and their respective achievements are all down to an incredible core leadership that drives outcomes, without financial gain. Without these leaders, who volunteer their time, the members of the groups, and the hard work of the Executive - we wouldn’t have achieved as much as we have over the past two years.[1]

Organisational highlights for me include:

  • Formalising the organisational structure

  • Establishing the five-year roadmap

  • Set-up of working groups (WG) and the new community of practice (COP)

  • Facilitating the networking of chairs across the organisation

  • Completion of the Telehealth Modules

  • Completion of the PASE whitepaper

  • Confirming the organisational move to an independent structure.

Through the work of our leaders and members, we are now able to shift our gaze to the future - one that is independent, targeted at sustainability, and supporting the sector through the health reforms.

I am sad to leave my role with the NZTF as Programme Manager. However, I am thrilled to be able to pass the role of programme lead to two new leads – each of whom will run separate parts of the job: the Strategic - Annemarie Thomas, and the Operational - Nicola Green. I have no doubt that Annmarie and Nicola will bring about further change and create exciting opportunities for the NZTF. They come to our organisation with knowledge, skills, and experience that will consolidate and further strengthen the NZTF.

Whilst my role has changed within the NZTF, I will still be present. The Executive has kindly offered me a seat as part of the team, and I will still be remaining on a couple of the Working Groups (WG). Lastly, a sincere thank you to all of our members, our partners, our amazing chairs, our Leadership Groups, including the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) and Executive, and to our wonderful Chair Dr. Ruth Large. It has been a significant privilege to have been able to serve, and I look forward to many more years of working together.


[1] These will be available in the two-year NZTF funder report – publication in September 2022