Mereana Wilkie | McCall MacBain Foundation Kupe Leadership Scholar

Ngāti Tarāwhai (Te Arawa), Ngāti Whakaue (Te Arawa), Ngāti Ranginui

Master of Physiotherapy Practice

I am passionate about the power of community and connection to the natural world. I have a particular interest in mental health and well-being, especially as extreme global events occur more frequently and severely, affecting psychological well-being.

While there has been a significant increase in publicity and resources around mental health issues, such as anxiety, I believe the potential for movement and green-space therapy has been underutilised to date.

The role of physiotherapy in the health system is shifting away from passive therapy to facilitating an individualised, empowered approach to health. This shift is an excellent opportunity to increase the scope of physiotherapy to include evidence-based mental health care.

I believe leadership is required to bridge the gap between physiotherapy and psychology to drive community-based solutions that target positive mental health outcomes through movement and the outdoors.

Sponsor: McCall MacBain Foundation

Mentor: Raelene Castle ONZM

Group Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand. She joined the organisation in December 2020 after seven years working in Australia as Chief Executive of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and then Chief Executive of Rugby Australia. She was previously Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand from 2007 to 2013.

Before beginning her career in sports administration, Raelene built a successful corporate career in communications, sales and marketing. This included general management and other senior roles at Telecom New Zealand (now Spark), Bank of New Zealand and Fuji Xerox. 

Raelene has held several governance roles in sport, previously serving as a board director of the ANZ Championship Netball, International Federations of Netball Associations, SANZAAR Rugby and the World Rugby Council.

She also has a rich sporting background as a former representative-level netball, tennis and lawn bowls player.

Raelene was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015 for services to Business and Sport.